In Years Past

In 1913, the Lake Shore express train No. 24, which arrived at Westfield at 5:15 p.m., was robbed between Westfield and Erie Thursday afternoon and the men escaped. It was not known how much booty was secured. It was believed that the robbers boarded the train at Erie and threw the things from the train. This train carried no passengers but when it stopped at Westfield, three men were seen to alight. This was thought strange and after an examination it was found that one of the locked express cars in which no messenger rode, had been entered and robbed. Officers Irish and Ford of Westfield were at once notified but the three men had disappeared.

Following the usual course in receiverships the Jamestown, Chautauqua & Lake Erie Railroad which had been in the hands of a receiver for a long time, was advertised to be sold at the courthouse at Mayville on Oct. 7 to the highest bidder. George Bullock of New York had been receiver for some years. Under his management, extensive improvements had been made on the roadbed. The earnings apparently had not been sufficient to pay the interest on the $750,000 in bonds and so the bondholders had taken steps to order a foreclosure. There were really three corporations. One was the Jamestown, Chautauqua & Lake Erie Railroad Company which owned the road from Jamestown to Mayville and the spur from Mayville to Chautauqua. Another was the Jamestown & Chautauqua Company which owned the road from Mayville to Westfield and the other was the Chautauqua Steamboat Company which owned the red stack steamers.

In 1938, a gaunt, shattered skeleton was all that was left of the tiny “safety aircar” in which Commander Frank Hawks, one-time flying speed king and his passenger, J. Hazard Campbell, upstate socialite and sportsman, were killed when the plane hit a group of electric wires just after taking off at East Aurora, near Buffalo. Hawks, who a year previously renounced the daring speed exploits which made him famous, to promote “safety and comfort” to flying, was demonstrating the safety features of the aircar to his passenger. Hawks had declared he would rather fly the stubby, automobile-like biplane than any other aircraft. The two were killed in the tiny two-passenger cabin biplane, built to be “driven like an automobile.” The plane crashed as Campbell took off from a polo field and struck telephone and electric power wires.

A dog and cat cemetery, the first of the kind in this vicinity, was being planned by Dr. Marie A. Koenig, veterinarian, to occupy a portion of the premises owned by her father, Dr. Frederick F. Koenig, 236 Fluvanna Avenue. Official sanction for the enterprise was given by the Jamestown board of appeals. Miss Koenig informed the board that there were but 40 such cemeteries in the country, the nearest being in Rochester. The purpose of the cemetery was to provide a place where persons might bury their pet dogs and cats. By the resolution of the board, the graves must be at least four feet deep. Miss Koenig said that only airtight burial boxes would be used and that persons would be permitted to erect small markers over the graves. There were but two objections to the proposal, one coming from Mrs. Ada Anderson, who owned the property at 254 Fluvanna Avenue. Mrs. Anderson’s main objection was she feared there might be odor arising from such a burial plot and suggested that the plot be placed back at the far end of the Koenig property which extended through to West Oak Hill Road.

In 1988, half of the workers who lost their jobs when the Bethlehem Steel Co. closed its massive plant at Lackawanna in 1983 were still unemployed three years later, according to a state survey. Those who did find jobs did so only after being unemployed for an average of more than a year, the survey found. And, nearly all workers suffered severe drops in family income, despite an increase in the number of working spouses. The report was based on interviews in 1986 with 1,200 of the nearly 4,000 workers who lost their jobs when Bethlehem shut down its core operations at the Lackawanna facility. The massive plant, which at its peak before World War II employed more than 20,000 people and was one of the world’s largest steel making operations, closed mainly because of competition from overseas manufacturers.

Ellicott Town Supervisor Frances Morgan promised a citizens committee opposed to a state plan to expand Fairmount Avenue that she would discuss safety and other key issues with the state Department of Transportation when she was to meet with them on Tuesday. Members of the citizens committee expressed concern at the previous night’s town Board meeting about the DOT not getting what they called the full story from the Town Board. Mrs. Morgan promised otherwise. “We’re going to look at drainage, we’re going to look at waterlines, electrical wiring. If DOT goes ahead and builds this road, we’ve got to make sure these things have got to be taken care of,” Mrs. Morgan said.