The Weekly Outlook: Charles Eugene Banks

The second issue of The Weekly Outlook newspaper, dated Saturday July 18, 1896, highlighted a large bird’s-eye view of Davenport’s Tri-city Packing and Provision Company’s plant and grounds along with information on the company’s growth since its inception in 1893.

POINTS OF VIEW states that a seawall along Front Street from the foot of Iowa to Brown Street would improve the appearance of the city of Davenport one hundred percent.

WHEEL LIFE asks why not organize a local Bicycle Club? Tips regarding proper attire for men and women included wearing cashmere woolen stockings to save feet from blistering and assurance that since skirts reach nearly to the ankle, if properly shaped, lined and finished at the bottom there is no danger of catching said skirt in the bicycle. Folks are encouraged to buy quality – avoid a shoddy wheel!

MUSIC AND THE DRAMA reports the subscription concert series at Schuetzen Park by Strasser’s Second Regiment Band was gaining steadily in popularity and note the music pavilion erected last year “throws music into the park” and the colored lights which illuminate it “quite completes the charm”.

OUTING LIFE highlighted some favorite camp sites including Horse Island and the Rocks. There was also an advertisement for Manhattan Beach – boats leaving the foot of Brady Street at a cost of ten cents round trip.

Unusual in the newspaper were obituaries, but four appear in this issue on page eight:   Helen Clapp Jennings, wife of Samuel; Lillian Zimmerman, wife of William; Louise J. Lawson and Isador Lahman each receive a brief memorial paragraph.

Who were the confident, outspoken literary devotees that began this weekly publication of the late 1890’s?  The Outlook Publishing Company was under the management of Charles Eugene Banks, a native of Clinton County, Iowa. Born in 1852 and raised on a farm, Banks claimed New England pioneer ancestry. He began newspaper work in Wheatland, IA with a small weekly paper, and then was editor and proprietor of the American Commercial Traveler in Chicago 1885-1887. He spent several years as a reporter for the “Herald” in Chicago and was a founding member of the Chicago Press Club. Banks was married in 1892 to Carrie Wyatt Lounsbury and published his first volumes of poetry in 1893 and 1895.

The next two years found him overseeing production of the Weekly Outlook in Davenport and acting as city editor of the Davenport Daily Republican.  His first novel, “In Hampton Roads”, was published in 1898 after debuting as a play at the Burtis Opera House in December of 1897. Advertised in the final issue of the Weekly Outlook  as a new drama by Charles Eugene Banks and George Cram Cook, this “thrilling story of war, love and intrigue” was to have music provided by Professor Ernst Otto. The cast included both Banks and his actress wife, Carrie Wyatt Banks.

Further career opportunities took Banks to Seattle, Washington and ultimately Hawaii where he met his fate at the age of 80. He was struck and killed by an automobile in Honolulu on April 29, 1932; a tragic ending to a long and colorful life.

[submitted by Karen]

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