In Years Past

  • In 1913, 15,000 people at the Hamburg Fair saw Albert Gerstner, a balloonist, 22, of Gloucester, N.J., drop to his death. For an hour after the tragedy probably not more than 100 persons in the crowd knew they had seen a tragedy. During the fair the young man had been making a double parachute drop from a balloon and after the first parachute had opened successfully, the second failed him and he fell some 400 feet. He was found dead by Deputy Sheriffs Westenfelter and Inderbitzen. Gerstner had two parachutes and he dropped from one to the other in coming down. It was a thriller. At the ascension people gasped and turned away thinking the man had fallen until assured by others that it was all part of the act.
  • At a hearing conducted by Coroner Stone and District Attorney Harry Nelson at Shinglehouse, Pa., it developed that two boys started the freight engine which crashed into the passenger train on Sunday evening, causing the death of Lewis Cornish of Canisteo. John Hoffman, who lived nearby and his son, saw the man leave the engine just before it started. One of the boys was questioned and it was said admitted that he and another boy had mounted the engine and had unintentionally started it. Becoming alarmed, they jumped off and ran into the heading mill where they told a night watchman that an engine was running away.
  • In 1938, state and local health officials were investigating the outbreak of a case of typhoid fever at a trailer camp at Crystal Bend, near Beechwood and reported that the single case discovered was of distant origin and that a spread of the disease in this area was highly unlikely. In addition to the one patient suffering from the disease in the isolation ward of Jamestown General Hospital, five other persons, all members of the same trailer tourist party, were at the hospital under observation. Margaret Costello, 38, who was from Providence, R.I., was the fever victim. Her condition was complicated by pneumonia. No new cases of the fever had broken out among the other five suspects by edition time, it was said. There were 21 persons in the party, traveling in four trailers.
  • A 92-year-old man was instantly killed in a traffic accident Sunday afternoon. Peter Madson, who resided about four miles north of Cherry Creek, was the victim of the fatal crash. The accident occurred at about 5 p.m. Sunday when Madson allegedly stepped into the path of a car driven by Howard Maplesden of Cherry Creek. The tragedy occurred almost directly in front of the Madson home. Maplesden informed Coroner Ruttenbur that Madson was crossing the highway and stepped directly into the path of his car. Efforts to avoid striking the aged man were unavailing, he said.
  • In 1963, Charles Bartlett, 19, of Cheektowaga, driver of the car in which seven teenagers narrowly missed death in Allegany State Park Monday night, was fined $50 and given a 30-day suspended sentence by Police Justice Floyd Mohr in Salamanca. Gail Simon, 16, of Kenmore, thought merely to have suffered a slight knee injury was found to require hospitalization for head injuries after her return to Kenmore by her parents early Tuesday morning. She was entered in the hospital there and it was reported that she had head injuries which required continuing medical attention. Linda Stallman, 15, also of Kenmore, was thought to be the most seriously hurt but was discharged from the hospital the previous day.
  • Area physicians were alerted by Dr. Lyle D. Franzen, state health officer, that vacationers returning recently from the Caribbean area might have been exposed to dengue fever. The illness, also called “break-bone fever,” was not contagious and was transmitted only by the bite of the Aedes Aegypti mosquito. Doctor Franzen said dengue fever rarely occurred in the United States. But some 2,000 cases had been reported over the summer in Puerto Rico and about 80 cases in Jamaica.
  • In 1988, New York State Police would begin using Ford Mustangs on state highways by Labor Day. Forty of the subcompacts would be deployed. The Fords had a top speed of 150 mph, while the standard Dodge Diplomat had a top speed of 110 mph. The Mustangs would be used on interstates and controlled-access highways only.
  • Authorities in several communities were cleaning up after a series of vicious storms swept across New York state, killing a Schuyler County woman, toppling trees and power lines, dumping golf-ball sized hail and canceling the last two races at Saratoga Race Course. High winds verging on tornadoes accompanied Sunday’s storms. “Apparently, it was almost a tornado,” said Dispatcher David Bush of The Tompkins County Sheriff’s Department. “The wind was blowing at 50 or 60 mph. It was snapping telephone poles right at the bases.” Killed in a storm that hit the Town of Hector was 70-year-old Alice Mahoney, who died after her mobile home was destroyed by the wind at about 3:45 p.m. The Mahoney mobile home was rolled 25-30 feet by a wind that was as brief as it was devastating.