In Years Past

In 1913, a large section of Jamestown’s Second Ward was threatened with destruction by fire during the night but fortunately the flames were confined to the round house and shops of the Jamestown, Chautauqua and Lake Erie Railroad at the boatlanding. The fire broke out at about midnight and within an hour the buildings were simply a huge mass of wreckage, so quickly did the flames sweep through them. There was a strong wind at the time, in fact, almost a gale, and showers of burning embers were carried long distances over the Second Ward, some of them dropping as far away as Washington Street. None of them started a fire, however.

Two men students and a former woman student of the University of Michigan were drowned in a canoe accident on the Huron River at Ann Arbor, Michigan late Sunday night. They were Miss Ella Rysdort of Spring Lake, Mich., Henry Bacon of Pontiac, Mich., and Arthur Crandall of Brocton, N.Y. Arthur Crandall was the son of Jay E. Crandall, president of the Crandall Panel Company and was one of the most popular young men of the village of Brocton. He was 20 years old and this was his first year as a student at the University of Michigan.

In 1938, several recent automobile thefts in Jamestown were believed to have been solved by the arrest at Westfield the previous night of two Jamestown youths who were in possession of a machine previously reported stolen by Donald Mackey, 811 Prendergast Avenue. The youths were caught by Westfield police after a four mile chase from Westfield, up Westfield Hill toward Jamestown. One of the youths was just 16 years old and the other was 15. Both would be arraigned before Judge Lee L. Ottaway in children’s court the following Friday. They had confessed to several recent auto thefts, telling police the cars were taken for joyrides.

Jamestown High School’s a capella choir would return home shortly after midnight this night from its trip to the national choral competition festival in St. Louis where it was awarded a rating of “good” according to announcement by Miss Ebba H. Goranson, its director. The group left the midwest city in its special railroad coach about 10:30 in the morning. Arthur R. Goranson, local director of school bands, joined the group for the homeward journey.

In 1963, motorists were warned by State Police that the Hunt Road, one of the few wide improved highways in the area, would not be tolerated as a speed lane. Motor vehicle traffic was permitted to travel at 50 miles per hour maximum most of the way, but beyond that, motorists were taking their chances. Falconer State Police patrol had its radar speed system in operation on the Hunt Road the previous day and eight motorists were given summonses to appear before Peace Justice George H. Chiverton.

The Packard Estate, offered to the village of Lakewood for $80,000 as a possible village-township municipal center, was in excellent condition and would meet the requirements of a long range plan as a community center as well. However, no action was taken. Mayor Roland C. Rapp, serving for the first time as chief executive, succeeding Mayor Nels Carlson, and other village board members all felt the report should be deferred for further study.

In 1988, Jim Jordan, who delighted radio audiences for decades as the well-meaning but bumbling Fibber McGee in the classic show Fibber McGee and Molly, died the previous day. He was 91. Jordan had been hospitalized for about a week after a fall at his home, said a family friend. Fibber McGee and Molly was on the air for the NBC radio network from 1935 to 1960 and was the top-rated show in the country for seven of those years. It was the source of such familiar routines as McGee’s overstuffed closet, which always unloaded mercilessly on Jordan’s character whenever it was opened. Even McGee’s address, 79 Wistful Vista, became a place on the American cultural roadmap.

It seemed it was a good thing the presidential election wasn’t being held any day soon because many Jamestown-area voters apparently didn’t know whom to vote for. No one seemed to be excited about any of the candidates. The Post-Journal asked several people at random who they would vote for if the election was held this day and what they considered to be the most important issue of the presidential race. “Can I say I’d vote for Barry Goldwater?” joked Patrick Walker, plant manager with a local business. “No, I don’t see any of the candidates as substantially better than the others, not yet.” Like Walker, Polly Boehm, a secretary for a local claims adjuster, also said she had to wait awhile longer before she could make a serious decision about the candidates. “The way things are looking right now, I’d probably vote for Pat Paulson,” she said.