In Years Past

100 Years Ago

In 1913, Charles Munson, one of the best known characters about the village of Mayville, was found dead at his home near the Pennsylvania tracks, south of the village on this morning Coroner Illston was called and after an investigation, pronounced death due from heart failure. It was thought that he had died about March 10. He was probably taken ill suddenly. Munson had resided in the village for many years and for a long time conducted the popcorn stand at the Pennsylvania Railroad station where he was well known to both village people and summer visitors. His pleasant ways would be missed by many in the coming summer. He was about 70 years of age.

The Jamestown High School debating team lost to that of Westfield by a unanimous decision at Westfield Friday evening. The question under discussion was: “Resolved, That the federal government should establish and maintain a central bank as planned in Senate document No. 243.” The affirmative was upheld by Jamestown and the negative by Westfield and all three judges decided in favor of the negative.

75 Years Ago

In 1938, fire which broke out early in the morning in the Best Seed Company building on the north side of Main Street, Forestville, destroyed that building and its contents, the Gage Lunchroom and the W.C. Stone general dry goods store adjoining and damaged the Forestville National Bank and the Dye Hardware Store. The origin of the fire was not known. Firefighting apparatus was summoned from Dunkirk, Fredonia and Silver Creek to help the Forestville Volunteer firemen. Mr. and Mrs. Morton Gage, who owned and operated the Gage lunch room and who lived in the building, were carried to safety by firemen. It was believed the new Forestville water line system saved the business section from being completely swept by fire.

A drop of 19 percent in the sales of electricity by the Jamestown Board of Public Utilities during January and February as compared with sales during the same two months of 1937, was reported to the board at a meeting in City Hall. The decline was only partly due to the cut in rates which became effective Jan. 1. Decreased industrial activity, increased unemployment and the loss of sales for streetcar power were all reflected in the decrease, according to the report.

50 Years Ago

In 1963, a slight push by a customer entering the new Chili Auto Supply Store in Jamestown caused $250 damage to the entrance glass. A freak combination of temperatures inside and outside the store caused an instantaneous crystallization of the glass doors. The doors, measuring 3-by-7 feet, seemed literally to melt in his hands and crumpled into millions of pieces at his feet. William Bergquist of Falconer, the customer, was nonplused for a full minute while the incongruity of the situation made him speechless. Gust Chili, proprietor of the store, the former Dolly Madison restaurant, 1201 E. Second St., contacted John Johnson of Falconer Plate Glass who informed him chances of an accident of this nature were about one in a million.

Sweden’s ambassador to the United States, on his first official visit to Jamestown Friday, April 26, would be honored at two festive occasions open to the public. He also would be taken on tour of the city’s industries, as well as the Furniture Mart and the “Made in Jamestown” fair at the state Armory. Tentative plans were that Ambassador Gunnar B. Jarring would be accompanied by Mrs. Jarring and by Love Kellberg, counsel general of Sweden and Mrs. Kellberg. Festivities open to the public would include noon luncheon at the Moon Brook Country Club and reception and dinner at the Hotel Jamestown.

25 Years Ago

In 1988, Burt Lancaster was the fast-talking tough guy. James Stewart his drawling partner with homespun common sense as they rode into town to fight for a principle – only this time it was real life, not a movie. The two Hollywood legends began a two-day whirl of lobbying in Congress and on television talk shows to plead for the preservation of their film classics against modern moguls out to “make a buck.” Lancaster shook his finger at a packed room of reporters, arguing passionately for a halt to the controversial coloring of black-and-white films. Although he was passionate before the news cameras, Lancaster said he toned town his private performance before members of Congress. “We’re dealing with politicians – and we have to be a little political too,” he said.

A motion that had been on and off the table so often that it must be getting shopworn was back there again as a result of action by Chautauqua County Legislature’s Judicial and Public Safety Committee. A frustrated Chester L. Tarnowski, D-Dunkirk, said the motion was in its fourth month of consideration. It called for supporting state legislation that would make it optional for municipalities to provide retirement benefits for volunteer firemen, based on length of service. The proposal was seen as an incentive to recruiting new members and retaining present ones.