In Years Past

  • In 1913, excitement in the Allegany oil field was at fever heat over the striking of an oil well near Whitesville which was flowing at the rate of 250 barrels a day. The well was located on the Oscar Potter farm and was owned by the Quintette Oil Company of Wellsville. Real estate had gone up by leaps and bounds. Oil men were confident that the well would increase to 300 barrels before the week was out. It was thought that the well had struck a vein which supplied Bradford and the Scio fields.
  • The measles epidemic in Jamestown showed little signs of subsiding. The report of the health superintendent submitted to the board of health at the regular meeting showed that in the past two weeks 468 cases had been reported, making a total of over 1,000 cases in the city since the epidemic began. Health superintendent Mahoney, speaking of the epidemic, reiterated the statement that it was not the harmless child disease many supposed but instead it was liable to attack adults and was dangerous.
  • In 1938, a sharp decline in fatal accidents involving New York transportation utilities was attributed in part by the public service commission to elimination of 1,288 railroad grade crossings in the past 11 years. “For a number of years accidents did not decrease but tended to increase because of the increasing use of automobiles,” the commission told the legislature. “In recent years, however, the increased vigilance in the inspection of facilities and equipment, the installation of modern safety devices, the enforcement of safety rules and the elimination of hundreds of railroad crossings have produced gratifying progress in the battle against the waste of human life and property.”
  • Mark Herald, 40, well-known local barber, was seriously injured the previous evening when he tumbled from the second floor to the basement of the Arcade building. His condition had been considered critical but was reported much improved at edition time. Herald and a companion, William Hawkins, both members of the Negro Elks Lodge, were investigating the possibility of using a second floor room for lodge purposes when the accident occurred. Hawkins was walking behind Herald when the latter suddenly dropped out of sight. Observing that Herald had fallen through a large hole in the floor, Hawkins raced to the basement. There he found Herald, standing in a dazed condition. The Arcade building, long in need of rehabilitation, was now city-owned property, having been taken over for non-payment of taxes.
  • In 1963, the controversial Gifford Building, cited as a key property in Brooklyn Square redevelopment, again was owned by the City of Jamestown, the high bidder at a public auction at the site. Samuel S. Edson, corporation counsel acting on the city’s behalf, submitted the final bid of $4,000. The sprawling, five-story, red masonry structure was built in 1890 and for years was the city’s most palatial residence. The building gradually deteriorated and eventually was condemned as a multiple dwelling structure. It then housed a few ground-level businesses until 1961 when an eviction notice on the last tenant was served by the city as a means of effecting an insurance savings. Previous sale of the building to Albert C. Walter for $1,500 at public auction on Oct. 29 of the past year was later declared an illegal sale because of improper advertising.
  • Samuel Guiffre, part owner of the Liberty Restaurant, 904 Pennsylvania Ave., Warren, was an unhappy and then a happy man all in the space of a couple of hours. Guiffre, on his way to the east side branch of the Warren National Bank, lost a money bag containing $700 in bills and coins. The police were notified and the unhappy man’s movements were retraced but no sign of the money was found. In the meantime, Officer Willard Zerbe had arrived at the bank and found that Peter Linder of Conewango Avenue, had found the money bag just outside of the bank and had turned it in to the bank teller.
  • In 1988, the Unigard complex of three connected buildings at 110 E. Fourth St., in downtown Jamestown had been acquired by James V. Paige Jr. of Lakewood who planned to develop it into quality professional office space. He told The Post-Journal that he had exercised his option to purchase the property with his Paige Development Co. expected to take title to the premises in 30 to 60 days. The announcement left Chautauqua County looking elsewhere for office space in downtown Jamestown. Social Services Commissioner Charles Ferraro said negotiations between the county and Paige broke down, causing his department to look for other options in the city.
  • Two members of the Falconer High School Band, Wendy Johnson of Water Street and Randy Hofgren of Horton Road, called their families from a local pay phone upon their return from New Orleans, where they took part in the seven-hour Mardi Gras parade. Band members, arriving home, would undoubtedly be telling their friends and relatives many exciting things about their experiences at the carnival.