In Years Past

  • In 1913, an orchestra of 22 pieces to be known as Bratts Augmented Orchestra, had been organized in Jamestown with the aim of cultivating the taste for good music among the music lovers of the city. The orchestra would be the largest in the city and would be maintained permanently. It was made up entirely of local musicians who were foremost to their respective lines and who were working hard for its success, having volunteered their services for rehearsals and for the first concert to be given at the Mozart Theater, West Third Street, the following Sunday evening. This concert would be the first of a series.
  • All attendance records were broken at the Biederwolf revivals in Jamestown when the evangelist delivered his great sermon on Popular Amusements, the Card Table, the Theater, and the Dance. People began to arrive at the tabernacle soon after 6 o’clock and by 7 the place was filled and at 7:10 the police ordered the doors closed, the side aisles and the rear being packed at that time. Hundreds were then in front clamoring for admission and streams of people were still advancing towards the tabernacle. It was estimated that there were several thousand people turned away. The evangelist said: “Isn’t this wonderful. Isn’t this glorious…We are going to raise a monument to the grave of carnal Jamestown…and, yes, we will raise a monument over the dance, the putrid institution that has ruined so many young lives.”
  • In 1938, a change in weather threatened to send new Lake Erie ice floes tumbling over the cataract of Niagara Falls into ice-clogged Niagara gorge. This would cause new damage to the world’s largest power center. Deep in the gorge, a grinding mass of ice upheld the grotesque wreckage of America’s famous “Honeymoon Bridge” and almost completely covered the generating plant of the Ontario Hydro-electric commission. Plans for two new spans over the Niagara River gorge were being considered by engineers as the ice mass which tore down the famed bridge moved relentlessly onward to Lake Ontario.
  • When the last trolley car had clattered over West Third Street to the car barns this night, thousands of Jamestowners and suburbanites would be numbered among the “last day” street car riders, according to a statement by an official of the transportation company. Each of the “last day” riders was being given a memento of the occasion. Traffic on the Falconer-Celoron-Lakewood street car line was so heavy during the morning and early afternoon hours that the tokens were nearly exhausted. Boy Scouts were assisting the company in distributing the souvenir tokens. The last regular car over these lines would leave for Falconer and Lakewood at 9:30 this night.
  • In 1963, three small children perished and their mother was severely burned as their home near Ellington was destroyed by fire early in the morning. The blaze was one of several fires which plagued area firefighters during the night and on the previous day. The three victims, the children of Mr. and Mrs. Albert Leroy (Skip) Hitchcock Jr., Bentley Hill Road, were identified as Cindy Lou, 4; Albert Leon, 3; and James, 2. Their mother, Mrs. Marguerite (Peg) Hitchcock, 23, was reported in poor condition in Jamestown General Hospital with burns of the face, arms, back and neck. The youngest child, Michael Drew, 7 months, apparently escaped with slight injuries. Cause of the fire had not been determined. The temperature was 22 below zero at the time of the fire.
  • Jamestown Council President Jess J. Present said that a special committee would be named to study a request for holding a citywide referendum on the return of the partisan system of election to the city. The announcement was made after presentation of a petition to Council asking for the change. It was offered by C.A. Norman Johnson , former Council president and a member of the committee, which launched the movement at a meeting Jan. 10. The petition bore 1,700 signatures.
  • In 1988, an early morning fire in the town of Sheridan claimed the lives of an elderly couple, according to the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department. Samuel H. Hollins, 85, and his wife, Margaret Lee Hollins, 70, of Farmingdale Road were pronounced dead at the scene by Coroner Daniel Newman. The fire was discovered at 12:15 a.m. by the couple’s son, John Hollins, who lived nearby. Hollins tried to get into the house but couldn’t because of smoke and heat, a Sheriff’s Department spokesman said. The Sheridan Fire Department answered the fire alarm. Mutual aid was provided by the East Dunkirk and Fredonia Fire Departments. The cause of the fire was being investigated.
  • An informal meeting for residents of the Allen and Water street areas in Jamestown to learn more about a housing rehabilitation program for their areas would be held in the City Council chambers of City Hall. The city Department of Development was applying for $600,000 from a Community Development Block Grant through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. About $240,000 of the grant would be used toward housing improvements for property owners who could meet income, occupancy and ownership guidelines.