In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, the Fortnightly Club held its annual midwinter merry-making in the YWCA auditorium in Jamestown Friday afternoon, with a number of guests present, in addition to the members of the club. The program, which was of a very delightful character, consisted of 17 tableaux taken from studies included in the club’s program during the past few years. At the conclusion of the program, supper was served and a social hour was enjoyed. The tableaux were in the charge of Miss Gertrude Clemont and the supper was in the charge of Mrs. C.C. Wilson. The affair was in celebration of the club’s 20th birthday.

Had it not been for the fact that Policeman Albert Harrison was on duty on East First Street in Jamestown early the previous morning, it was safe to say that the Arcade building on Main Street, one of the largest business blocks in the city, would have been destroyed or at least damaged to the extent of many thousands of dollars by fire and the danger would have been great for the reason that the building was located in the business center of the city and adjoining other buildings. About 4 o’clock in the morning Policeman Harrison noticed flames in the windows in the rear of the fourth floor and without losing any time he turned in an alarm of fire. When the firemen arrived they discovered a roaring blaze in the kitchen of Jamestown aerie, Fraternal Order of Eagles. The firemen succeeded in extinguishing the fire with the use of chemicals and the chemical truck demonstrated that the purchase was a good investment on the part of the city.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, Mr. and Mrs. Silas Himelein met with a serious accident Monday evening when they were enroute home to Findley Lake from Westfield. During the severe wind storm their car left the highway of Route 20 between the state line and North East and plunged into a bank throwing Mr. Himelein through the windshield and inflicting severe head cuts that necessitated several stitches. Ralph Hugg took them to Dr. Simmons in North East where they were treated for lacerations and bruises.

Dorothy Wilson, 14, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William J. Wilson, 43 W. 10th St., Jamestown, was overcome by fumes from a gas heater in the bathroom of their home in the morning. Her condition was reported as satisfactory at the General Hospital where she was taken by police ambulance. The girl was found lying on the floor of the bathroom by William Bubb, who lived on the second floor of the house. He summoned Mrs. Wilson, who in turn, notified the police. The girl had been found lying on the floor in a semi-conscious condition with a bump on her forehead. The gas was turned on but not burning. There was a pipe on the stove leading to the chimney and this, together with the fact the girl was on the floor probably saved her life as most of the fumes rose and were carried away.

50 Years Ago

In 1963, an early-morning fire destroyed the Van Buren Bay Inn, a plush roadhouse which was recently purchased by two Buffalo men. The loss was estimated at $150,000, according to D. Purdy Monroe, Dunkirk insurance man. He said the restaurant was completely covered by fire insurance. Winds reaching 70 miles per hour caused blowing snow and clogged roads which led to the restaurant, located approximately five miles west of Dunkirk on Route 5. Anthony Randazzo, who had moved to Fredonia, was in the restaurant at the time of the fire, it was learned. However, he did not know the cause of the fire. Firemen were unable to determine the fire’s origin. Anthony Gugino of Buffalo was Randazzo’s partner in the business. The well-known steak house had been completely renovated by the previous owner about a year ago.

High winds, diminished visibility, and freezing drizzle created extremely hazardous driving conditions throughout the county in the morning. The note of optimism in the weather picture, however, was the fact that cloudy skies undoubtedly prevented the groundhog from seeing his shadow – possibly presaging an early spring. Wind-whipped snow obscured visibility along Routes 5 and 20, forcing authorities to close those highways to traffic from midnight to 8:30 a.m.

25 Years Ago

In 1988, debris was all that was left of a former gas station on Sixth Street in Jamestown, leading into Fairmount and Livingston avenues, where work was being done to straighten the street for the west end of the new Sixth Street bridge. Demolition work was also being finished on another gas station at the corner of Hall Avenue, looking east toward the Sixth Street bridge.

Punxsutawney Phil reportedly failed to see his shadow from atop Gobbler’s Knob this morning, signifying another six weeks of winter. And, while professional weather observers didn’t necessarily put too much confidence in the prognostications of the meteorological marmot, they did admit winter appeared ready to make its return. In Dunkirk, Dunkirk Dave crawled out of his groundhog burrow at dawn and found himself in remarkably unfamiliar weather. It was wet and soggy but there was no snow. No shadow, either. So he predicted an early spring.