The shooting of a top radio personality, the murder of a child in Williams County, a man targeted by a notorious gang and the worst tragedy at a school in America…these are all stories that were covered by a reporter from the area and will be featured in a program the morning of April 20.
The Stryker Area Heritage Council is inviting people to the Saturday morning presentation to hear all about the major crime stories written by Stryker native Ralph Goll.
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While Mr. Goll is known by many people in the area for writing stories that were used to thrill listeners to The Lone Ranger and Green Hornet radio programs, not many may remember that he was a national award-winning reporter for newspapers in Detroit and Toledo.
Mr. Goll also wrote many stories for national crime magazines, popularly known as “pulps,” that fed a fascinated public’s desire for details of the leading crimes of the day. Sold for the price of 15 to 25 cents, the monthly magazines became notorious for the in-depth coverage of the top crimes of the day and the photos of the crime scenes that often accompanied the stories.
Stryker Area Heritage Council Trustee Bill Priest will lead those in attendance back through some of the top stories of the murder and crime covered by Mr. Goll that occurred largely in the 1930’s and 40’s.
“Reporters in that time were a lot like private detectives. They had to search and find the people to interview and put together their story in much the same way that a detective was trying to solve the crime,” Mr. Priest said.
“In fact, in one case Mr. Goll actually discovered some issues in the way an arrest and prosecution was handled, and it affected the outcome of the case in the end.”
Mr. Priest is referring to a story written by Mr. Goll when he was a reporter for the Detroit Free Press that freed a man wrongly incarcerated for 26 years. That story earned Goll a national journalism award and a featured spot on a national radio and TV program of the day.
That story and others written by Mr. Goll will be shared by Mr. Priest during the program that morning.
Born in Stryker, Ralph Goll lived in the town until his family moved to Swanton in 1910. He later lived in the Montpelier and Nettle Lake areas of Williams County, and died in New York City in 1957. Mr. Goll is buried in the Goll Cemetery east of Lockport. The program is part of the effort of the Stryker Area Heritage Council to capture and retain the history of the area. It is open to the public and will be held at the Stryker American Legion, 110 South Defiance Street, on Saturday, April 20, beginning at 10 a.m. There is no charge to those attending.
Along with the presentation, the Stryker American Legion will be holding a breakfast that morning from 7 to 10 a.m. that is open to the public, and the Stryker Area Heritage Council will open the depot to people who would like to look over the historical items on display there. The depot will be open after the Goll presentation until 1 p.m.