In Years Past

  • In 1913, Oscar Williams, the steeplejack who was to make the slide for life from the top of the Mayville courthouse, dashed headlong into the ground at the bottom of the wire and was almost instantly killed. The accident occurred early in the afternoon of July 4, the slide for life being one of the attractions on a bill for a real old-fashioned Fourth of July celebration at the county seat. It was witnessed by a crowd estimated at 500 people. The cable down which Williams rode was attached to the courthouse dome, stretched down across the courthouse lawn, across Chautauqua Street and to a tree in the Whicher orchard. Williams was about 35 years old and had been living in Jamestown for the past two years.
  • Two immense audiences saw the Ringling Brother circus Thursday afternoon and evening and, if the frequent applause which swept over the long rows of crowded seats was a correct indication, the performances gave the utmost satisfaction. The circus was one of the largest on the road, perhaps the largest, and the manner in which every detail was handled was a source of wonder and delight to the spectator. The opening spectacular production, Joan of Arc, was one of the finest things of the kind ever seen in Jamestown.
  • In 1938, the carefree atmosphere of a holiday weekend was broken Sunday evening at Lawson’s boat dock at Bemus Point as a flame shot into the air and the cry of fire attracted all attention to the lakeside. A shorted battery, which caused gasoline to ignite, did nearly $700 damage to the large boat owned by Dr. Gustav F. Berg of Pittsburgh. The boat had been placed in the water in the afternoon for the summer and men were still working on it at the time the fire occurred. The boat was not covered by insurance.
  • Youth, New York state hotel owners agreed, had done less drinking since repeal of prohibition than any age group. In answer to a questionnaire distributed by the state liquor authority, owners of 220 hotels in 48 counties said most drinking in their bar rooms was done by persons between 25 and 40 years of age. The result of the survey bore out the recent report of the national conference of state liquor administrations that drinking among youth had declined since repeal.
  • In 1963, the integration problem was more moral than political and the United States must and would quickly solve it, Brooks Hays, former Arkansas congressman and special advisor to President Kennedy, told an audience of 4,000 at the Chautauqua Amphitheater the previous afternoon in a speech. “On the race front there is discord and misunderstanding,” he said. In referring to “the nation’s number one problem,” Mr. Hays said, “The issue is moral before it is political, even though there are political aspects to it.” Stating that segregation is “an affront to human dignity,” he expressed his belief that “different ethnic origins can live in mutual respect.” Thanking God that we were under one flag instead of two, he said, “I know I speak for my President. He prays more for this than any other problem.”
  • It was really a grand and glorious Fourth in Chautauqua County. Beautiful weather and a traffic record clear of serious accidents helped make it so. Sunshine, comfortable temperatures and low humidity combined to make the Fourth of July holiday near perfect for the picnics and outings that had become an integral part of the Independence Day celebration. Midway Park reported a near capacity crowd for the day and other parks throughout the area also played host to large numbers of visitors.
  • In 1988, the governor wrote, Manley Anderson typed and the media watched. Mario Cuomo came to The Post-Journal this day on a dare to walk a few miles in a reporter’s shoes and as the next day’s newspapers rolled off the press, Cuomo dictated his story for the following day’s paper to business reporter Anderson. While he spoke, Journalists and television newsmen from across the state stood in the newsroom and reported on the action.
  • Smoldering chemicals in the wreckage of a plastics plant destroyed by fire in Tonawanda had sparked new fears of environmental damage in a community that was roused from its sleep a night earlier to flee toxic fumes. Firefighters warned that “hot spots” in the wreckage of the Polymer Applications Corp. could re-ignite chemicals leaking from ruptured storage tanks at the site. Much of the area around the plant was kept off limits.