In Years Past

In 1913, J.D. Woodard, owner of the Humphrey House Hotel of Jamestown, announced that he had practically completed a lease of the hotel to Herbert S. Bennett of Falconer. Bennett would take possession on Monday and would assume entire management and control of the hotel. Bennett was well known in Jamestown. He was in the hotel business at Lily Dale for a number of years and later came to Falconer, where, under his management, The Inn, then well known in that village, since destroyed by fire, had a period of great popularity and prosperity.

The prevalence of diphtheria in Jamestown and the extreme danger of a serious epidemic of the disease, had attracted the attention of the state health authorities and it was not at all unlikely that they would establish a laboratory here for the convenience of both the public and the state health department. Health Superintendent Dr. John Mahoney was in communication with the state department over the long distance telephone and was asked if the establishment of a laboratory here would be of assistance. He replied that it would.

In 1938, Fire Chief David Sanderson announced that plans for the annual Christmas treat and tree for the children of Falconer were well underway and that various committees had announced that everything would be in readiness a week before the party. Present plans were for the erection and trimming of a huge Christmas tree Sunday, Dec. 18. Dave Larson, head of the candy committee announced that the candy would be procured before that same date and the entire department would assist in packing the sweets at the next regular meeting. The tree would be placed on the lawn of the Community Building where the exercises would be held.

A proposal that the city of Jamestown attempt to collect taxes on properties which were long delinquent by instituting civil lawsuits was tabled by city council after an executive session discussion which lasted for nearly four hours. Council considered many other matters while closeted in conference but the proposed new tax collection method was about the most important item on its agenda. The resolution proposed that the legal department be permitted to start such suits against properties upon which taxes were more than one year in arrears.

In 1963, the 135-year-old Sinclairville First Baptist Church was destroyed by fire the previous night following two roaring explosions from an accumulation of coal gas from a coal burning basement furnace.The loss was estimated at upward of $70,000, partially insured. More than 50 volunteer Sinclairville and Gerry firemen battled the fire for more than four hours in 20-degree temperatures. No one was injured. The large white frame church on Park Street was one of the oldest edifices in Chautauqua County.

At approximately 2:20 p.m. the previous day, a line of automobiles rolled across Jamestown’s new Washington Street bridge to culminate an idea born some 30 years before. At 2:07 p.m., Mayor William D. Whitehead spoke the words: “I do now formally open this bridge to traffic.” With this, the city had a modern north-south arterial designed to relieve downtown traffic congestion. A woman driver was the first to actually cross the bridge after it was officially proclaimed open to traffic. She was Mrs. Joseph Sinatra of Newland Ave., who had read that the bridge would open at 2 p.m. The southern terminus of the bridge was closed to traffic but officials overlooked the Forest Avenue entrance and several cars, led by Sinatra, crossed the span, south to north, minutes before the official motorcade got underway.

In 1988, if there was one nightmare shared by everybody who shopped the downtown Jamestown business district that nightmare was – parking. While they were still safe for public use, two of Jamestown’s existing parking ramps, those on Cherry and Main streets, would require reconstruction within a few years. Three new ramps – to be located on Prendergast, Washington and Second streets – were proposed as part of the Reg Lenna Civic Center Development Plan.

The nursing shortage at hospitals in rural areas had reached crisis proportions in some areas of the state, according to Joseph Gerace, director of the state Office of Rural Affairs. He said rural hospitals had a difficult time competing with larger urban facilities for a very limited number of nurses. “There is a greater demand of nurses than there is supply. It is edging crisis proportions in some parts of the state,” Gerace told The Post-Journal from his Albany office.