In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, crazed by the excessive cold and frightened after slipping upon the ice, Ella, a performing elephant of the Robinson Spellman indoor circus, ran wild through the streets of Watertown the previous afternoon, smashing into business places, causing two runaways, almost trampling women and children under foot and leaving a trail of wreckage behind her course. Two thousand men, led by five employees of the circus, armed with spiked poles, followed the animal through the streets. Firemen and policemen joined in the chase, though keeping a safe distance. The mercury stood at 15 below as the animals picked their way over the icy streets to the train to be loaded. Just at the car, Ella slipped and fell. In a flash the entire herd trumpeted and dashed in every direction, the onlookers running for their lives. Eventually John Robinson, owner of the animal, arrived and quieted the crazed brute. Another elephant was brought up and a huge rope tied about the runaway served to give assurance and then she was loaded onto the train.

Groote Winkel, the fair in Jamestown City Hall being conducted by Mt. Tabor Lodge, I.O.O.F., was bigger and busier than ever the previous evening. Over 1,200 persons passed the door-tenders during the evening. It was Fraternity Night and many lodge men of the city visited the fair, among them 30 members of Jamestown division, No. 5, Uniform rank, K.O.T.M., many members of the Eagles, the Moose, the Masons and other organizations. The hall was packed, every highway and byway of Groote Winkel being thronged with happy, fun-seeking crowds which left substantial sums of money in the cash drawers of the various business establishements. The bird booth was the center of interest until the supply was actually sold out.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, while the movement to stay out of the 1940 Olympics unless Japan decided to stay out of China seemed to be gaining headway in some quarters, current indications were that it was largely confined to the United States and the British Empire. Battle lines already had been drawn up for some brisk skirmished in New York with Jeremiah T. Mahoney, former president of the Amateur Athletic Union, heading the opposition and his old rival in such matters, Avery Brundage, favoring participation.

William Walsh, about 50 years old, of Bradford, Pa., was killed when he fell from a moving Erie freight train at Horseshoe Bend, near Carrollton. The body, cut in two under the wheels, was identified by relatives at the morgue in Salamanca. Coroner P.H. Bourne said Walsh may have been trying to alight from the train after he had boarded it in Salamanca with two other men. Railroad police who had been informed the men were seen getting on the train had pursued it and took the other two from the train at Carrollton. Walsh left a wife, two daughters and three sons.

50 Years Ago

In 1963, an aerial view of the Niagara River ice jam ended in death the previous day for four men when their single-engine airplane crashed a mile from the famed Horseshoe Falls. The men, night-shift employees of the Carborundum Company in Niagara Falls were Theodore Stevens, 27, the pilot; James Dowling, 20; Robert J. Dutko, 26 and John Barclay, 24, all of Niagara Falls, N.Y.

At Maple Springs, a 32-year-old mother of two children was injured when she jumped through a closed first-floor bedroom window as a fire of undetermined origin roared through the first floor of her two-story frame dwelling shortly after midnight. Injured was Mrs. Adrienne Hoover, who was admitted as a patient at the WCA Hospital after she was treated for lacerations on both hands, smoke inhalation and shock. Her 4-year-old son Richard, who jumped through the same window, was unhurt. They both landed in a snowbank. Her husband was D. Richard Hoover, a Bemus Point Central School guidance counselor. The couple’s other child, Shelly Ann, 12, was staying at the home of a friend.

25 Years Ago

In 1988, wildly fluctuating temperatures and a lack of snow had made it difficult for ski area operators around New York state to match the previous year’s record business. But most were hoping for a comeback during the following week’s school vacations and the weather appeared to be cooperating “It’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ride,” Dave Hanson, the manager of Gore Mountain in the Adirondacks, said of the year so far. “We haven’t had as much snow (as last year) and we’ve had some major thaws. Last year was one of those premium years that comes along every once in a while.”

Concern over recent Amish buggy/car accidents had prompted action to improve the visibility of the black horse-drawn buggies but some said educating their operators about safety was the key. Cattaraugus County Legislator Don Winship told The Post-Journal some improvements had been agreed to by the Amish after several meetings with Sheriff’s Department deputies and state troopers. Improvements included a lantern system which would be mounted above the wheel in a box lined with stainless steel to reflect more light. The buggies were also outlined with reflective tape along with the use of a triangular emblem on the rear that reads, “slow-moving vehicle.”