In Years Past

In 1913, at about 10 o’clock Monday evening the japanning ovens in Plant No. 1 of the Art Metal Construction Company on Jones and Gifford Avenue exploded, causing quite serious damage to the building in which they were located. The ovens were heated by natural gas and were located in a detached building adjoining that which housed the paint department. The explosion was heard for a considerable distance and broke many windows in nearby factories and houses. So terrific was the force of the explosion that half of the third floor of the japanning department was blown away and a portion of the debris blocked the main tracks of the Erie Railroad which ran behind the plant. There was no loss of life and no fire resulted.

Anthony Rajake, a sixteen year old Dunkirk boy, living at Lord Street, was brought into juvenile court the previous morning, being accused of car robbery. He was taken into custody at his home Sunday night by Officers Luczkowiak, Stuart and Honert and taken to police headquarters. The police had a statement of young Rajake in which he admitted being implicated with another lad, not yet under arrest, in half a dozen car robberies extending over a period of three months. In the statement, he told of breaking into the Lake Shore Railroad freight cars on six different occasions and stealing various articles such as boots and shoes, brass, candy, etc. He doubtless would be sent to some correctionary institution by Judge Nugent.

In 1938, Millers Valley residents were praising the ambition of Kyle, Herschel and Don Morse, sons of Earl Morse, who got up at 4 o’clock every morning to milk their herd of dairy cows and then drive from a point five miles beyond Ashville to Randolph where they had employment. Kyle walked 10 miles, daily, in order that he might attend school at Randolph. The past year he attended Cornell University and he expected to continue his studies there next fall. Don, the youngest, planned to enter the Dessell School at Philadelphia. Herschel’s plans for the future were still indefinite.

Charles Laycock, manager of the local convention and visitors’ bureau, was named chairman of a committee of local businessmen and merchants interested in a proposed bridge in Jamestown over the Chadakoin valley at Washington Street. The committee intended to conduct a campaign of publicity prior to the taxpayers’ referendum on Saturday, July 30. Jamestown Mayor Harry C. Erickson said of the proposed bridge, in part: “I am in favor of the Washington Street structure because it will tend to relieve the traffic congestion in Brooklyn Square. One thing that every citizen should watch in casting his vote is the smooth flow of traffic.”

In 1963, Family Restaurant, Russell, Pa.’s only public eating facility, was destroyed by fire which also threatened nearby businesses and apartments before it was brought under control about 11 a.m. by firemen from six departments. The blaze broke out at 9:50 a.m. and sent fire to the roof of a nearby filling station and garage with an apartment upstairs. The side of another adjoining building, American Hardware, also was charred by flames. Harold Perryman, occupant of an upstairs apartment on Liberty Street, was given oxygen by firemen after he became exhausted from excitement and work of removing his belongings from his threatened home.

LaVern Hitchcock, 86, of Jamestown, died unexpectedly on Sunday, July 21, while attending a family reunion at the camp of his daughter, Mrs. Dorothy Lyon, near Gerry. Mr. Hitchcock was widely known to local residents as the elevator operator for the past 12 years at the Bank of Jamestown. Despite their age, Mr. Hitchcock and his wife, Grace, shared the job of elevator operator, he in the morning and she in the afternoon. Born March 8 in Gerry, Mr. Hitchcock operated a farm on the Gerry-Ellington Road for 41 years. He and Mrs. Hitchcock celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary on May 30.

In 1988, New York legislators were accustomed to bending an ear to special interest groups. But now they were beginning to hear from a new and increasingly vocal sector – older women. Once reluctant to raise a voice or be seen and heard en masse, older women were banning together in an organization called the Older Women’s League with 20,000 members across the United States in 100 chapters. But instead of pushing for issues like planned parenthood, abortion rights and the equal rights amendment, OWL was concerned with things like social security, pension benefits and tenants’ rights.

Mayor Steven B. Carlson and members of the Jamestown City Council had been ordered to show why the state Supreme Court should not issue an order of restraint to prevent the sale of Jamestown General Hospital to WCA Hospital. The request for the order to show cause was filed the previous day by the Civil Service Employees Association, which represented most non-nursing personnel at JGH.