In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, a fire which totally destroyed the office building of the Warren Ross Lumber Company about a quarter of a mile east of the village of Falconer, was discovered at 11:30 in the morning. The office force, with the exception of a stenographer, Miss Mable Spencer, was away at the time. Miss Spencer was working in the main office when she noticed that the room was filling with smoke. Going to the door to the other office room, she discovered that the room was in flames and quickly notified the men employed in the yards. A number of yard men hurried to the office and assisted Miss Spencer who was busily engaged in getting the files and records out of the burning building. Although firemen worked hard, the flames worked faster and the building was a total wreck in a short time. Fire was caused by an overheated steam pipe.

One of the largest wildcats that had ever been seen in this section was brought to Warren by Bert Dennison, a hunter and trapper, who resided at Kinzua. Dennison was trapping for small game and found the wildcat in one of his traps struggling for freedom. Taking aim, Dennison fired at the beast but missed and it tore free from the trap and sprang at him. Grasping his gun as a club, Dennison dealt the beast a blow that drove it back. Again, the animal came at him and fortunately, he knocked it down and killed it with his knife. It weighed 36 pounds and was a handsome specimen.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, the groundhog was likely to get a glimpse of his shadow almost anywhere in Upstate New York the following day, government meteorologist predicted – not that they took the legend seriously. If the groundhog, traditionally emerging on Feb. 2 from his hibernation, saw his shadow, that was supposed to portend six more weeks of winter. Otherwise, according to the legend, spring could come tripping in whenever she pleased. “The groundhog has nothing to do with the seasons,” said meteorologists at Albany and Buffalo as they forecast fair weather and slightly rising temperatures for Feb. 2.

Cattaraugus County authorities had meager clues to the identities of two masked and armed men who attempted to hold up Mrs. Frank James and her sister, Mrs. Mable Myers of Conneaut, Ohio, after they had broken into the James home at Franklinville. Screams of the two women, accosted when they entered the house on coming home from downtown on Saturday night, brought Mr. James, who was putting the car in the garage, into the house on the run. The two men, both believed by the women to have been young men, escaped out a rear door.

50 Years Ago

In 1963, Chautauqua County’s first highway fatality of 1963 was recorded the previous afternoon when Mrs. Audrey Neebe Janisch, 27, of Sherman, was killed in a two-car crash at Nettle Hill School, three miles north of Sherman. Mrs. Janisch, a bride of four months, was a passenger in a car driven by her husband, the Rev. James Janisch, 39, trustee of Shiloh. Mr. Janisch and the driver of the other car, Ray John Saari, 32, of Batavia, were injured. Saari, a baby chick salesman, was not held. Mrs. Janisch was a former Lakewood Elementary School teacher. Both she and her husband were thrown from their Volkswagen car and landed upon the snow-covered highway.

Blackstone Corp. announced plans for construction soon of a new plant in Sheffield, Pa., for the manufacture of a wide range of ultrasonic products. The plant would be built on Center Street. It would be known as Blackstone Ultrasonics, Inc. Cost estimates were being sought and company officials hoped the one-story structure would be ready for occupancy sometime in May.

25 Years Ago

In 1988, local representatives in Washington had their feet firmly planted on opposite sides of the Contra aid issue scheduled to come to a vote in two days time. “I’m in favor of the plan, said U.S. Rep. William F. Clinger Jr., R-Warren. U.S. Rep. Amory Houghton Jr., R-Corning, was maintaining the stance he took in March. He was against the idea of sending military aid to the Contras. “I plan to vote against any military aid,” Houghton said. He said that he was doing it “for the sake of the peace plan” which he thought ought to be given a chance to work.

Move over Hollywood and make room for South Dayton, Western New York’s own version of the motion picture studios. “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” finally premiered Friday in Gowanda, nearly a full year after the location was used for filming. Although locations were set in Gowanda, South Dayton, Cottage, Cherry Creek, Batavia and along Route 219 near Yorkshire, only the village of South Dayton and its square were clearly recognizable in the Paramount Pictures production.