In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, residents of Jamestown would learn with interest that various transactions in connection with the recent transfer of control of the Art Metal Construction Company of Jamestown, was likely to become a matter of court record. In fact, litigation had already been started by certain stockholders to restrain the company from certain acts which the plaintiffs regarded as unbusinesslike to say the least.

The Ashville Improvement Society would meet with Mrs. Julia Sperry on Thursday, Feb. 20. All were cordially invited. The Men’s Club of Ashville entertained the general public on Tuesday evening last with a stereopticon lecture given by D.F.M. Stone. There was a good attendance. The pictures were mostly wartime pictures, the lecture was instructive and thanks were due to the club for a pleasant evening.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities plan for retiring the entire bonded debt of the city over a 14-year period, by systematic payments from profits of the water and light systems in lieu of taxes, was unanimously approved by city council the previous night. The plan would greatly increase the city’s revenues from municipal utility profits and establish a policy which should preclude future “raids” on utility funds by extravagant city legislative bodies and, it was hoped, killed as a political issue the question of how profits from municipal utility operations should be used.

Appointment of Marketmaster DeForest W. Peterson to another two-year term in that office was confirmed by Jamestown city council after a move by Council President Paul A. Clark and four of his conferees to block the appointment was defeated. Although the opposition of Clark and his supporters was based on a desire to consolidate the office of marketmaster with that of the sealer of weights and measures, it was actually founded in the most bitter patronage feud in which the new council had yet engaged. Certain labor groups which supported Clark and his colleagues at the last election demanded the appointment of Alfred Larson, local butcher, as marketmaster. Some of those who had voted for confirmation of Peterson were approached by persons well known in labor circles and were told: “We’ll remember you two years from now.”

50 Years Ago

In 1963, Frederick E. Bigelow, 80, of 287 Hunt Road, West Ellicott, president emeritus and treasurer of Bigelow’s Department Store and a leader in community affairs for many years, died Feb. 14 in Jamestown General Hospital. His wife, the former Maude Harold, died just about a month ago on Jan. 18. Bigelow was one of the best-known merchants in the area, not only for his long leadership at Jamestown’s largest department store but also because of his generous contribution to many civic and welfare activities in the community. He had been connected with the store since 1914 and president since 1934. History of the store went back to 1888.

Eight persons were injured, two critically, in a rash of accidents the previous day and night as a severe snowstorm with near-zero temperatures buffeted the area. The wind-whipped snow severely restricted visibility in the northern part of Chautauqua County and brought with it a warning to motorists to refrain from driving unless necessary. A state highway spokesman said visibility on the Thruway was very limited and efforts were being made to curb use of the superhighway until conditions improved.

25 Years Ago

In 1988, blizzard-like conditions Saturday caused a two-vehicle fatal accident at 11:10 a.m. on Route 394 in the Cattaraugus County town of Coldspring, police said. John W. Draves, 47, of Elm Creek Road, Randolph, was pronounced dead at the scene by Cattaraugus County Coroner Howard VanRenssalaer after his truck collided with a car being driven by Henry C. Thomas, 41, of Erie. Falconer-based state police attributed the cause of the accident to slippery, snow-covered roads and poor visibility. Police said Draves’ Strohman’s delivery truck, which was westbound on Route 394, slid out of control while rounding a curve and slid into the eastbound lane and into the path of the Thomas vehicle.

An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 people turned out for the opening day of the Ice Castle Extravaganza at Mayville on Sunday with an even bigger crowd expected the following Sunday, weather permitting, according to Peter Wiemer, chairman. The grand opening had been set for Saturday but blizzard-like conditions postponed festivities until Sunday which was almost spring-like. “It was a dynamite day,” Wiemer said, with a shuttle bus from Chautauqua Area Regional Transit System kept busy.