In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, Earl H. Hill was once more in control of the Hill Piano School and the piano warehouse and rooms on the top floor of the Abrahamson-Bigelow building. He made good his promise to purchase the personal property and considerable other property belonging to the old Hill Piano Company. Some of the sheet music he said he would take but he did not care to take the pianos at the appraised valuation. The lease of the rooms, while of great value to Hill if he intended to continue his piano school, was of less value to any other person. Hill spent $5,000 in fitting up the rooms for the piano school and piano warerooms. The school room was decorated at an expense of over $1,000. There were signs which cost substantial sums of money that would of course be valueless to any person other than Mr. Hill.

The most disastrous fire in the history of Union City, Pa., Saturday night totally wiped out the plant of the Shreve Chair Company. All that was standing of what was the largest wood seat chair plant in the world, with a capacity of 6,000 chairs daily, was the heavy cement block walled storage warehouse built a year ago, about 150 feet west of the main building. The loss was estimated at $400,000 with insurance in 25 companies of nearly $200,000. More than 300 men were thrown out of employment. Crossed electric wires, it was believed, caused the fire. The Erie Railroad Co., with the main line between New York and Chicago, running on a high embankment about 30 feet from the building, had all telegraph and telephone lines destroyed and the ties in the roadbed damaged. The Union Mutual Telephone Co. had through lines between Erie and Corry burned out. Bell lines asked aid of the Erie fire department but the fire burned so rapidly that no hope of saving the factory was entertained after the first hour.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, with large throngs lining the streets for the excitement, the Jamestown Automobile Dealers’ Association staged a thrilling demonstration of the danger presented by defective automotive equipment at West Third and Cherry streets the previous evening during the parade of wrecked autos, featuring the local observance of National Used Car Exchange week. The fake accident at the busy downtown corner was the high spot of the program marking the efforts of Jamestown dealers and manufacturers to cooperate in the nationwide program to stimulate business. Headed by the American Legion fife, drum and bugle corps, the old automobiles were lined up on West Third Street and proceeded east on Third Street to Cherry where the well-planned collision was staged. Tow trucks, decorated with flaming red flares, then swung out of line, picked up the damaged machines and towed then to a gully adjacent to the Rosen Wrecking Company to be burned.

About 1,000 persons nearly filled the Jamestown High School auditorium for the sixth annual minstrel show, presented by the Willard District Men’s Club. Harry Nyquist, director of the presentation, presided as master of ceremonies in his usual clever style and the performance was enlivened by the jokes and antics of six endmen. Public officials of Jamestown and the county were the butt of many of the jokes and three soloists added to a show, one of the best of its kind to be presented in Jamestown in recent years. The audience was kept in almost continual laughter by such jokes as “You want to get a job on the sheriff’s force so that you can go to California to see Lucille Ball.” and Councilman Jones wanting “gas for an operation.”

25 Years Ago

In 1988, nine little Border Collie pups, huddled close to their mother at the Falconer SPCA, would be ready for a new home in three weeks. The mother, who had already been spoken for, had many fooled for awhile when the dog catcher thought she was a male. As she got bigger, though, it was soon discovered she was just the opposite.

A two-story storage barn was extensively damaged in a blaze that occurred at 675 Fairmount Ave. the previous evening. According to Celoron Fire Chief Ron Hasson: “When we got to the scene the fire was raging and severe damage was already done. No one was injured.” The cause of the blaze was still under investigation by the Chautauqua County Fire Investigation Team and no estimate on dollar damage had been reported. The barn was owned by Carl Vullo and Don Gaeta.