In Years Past

In 1913, the Myob Athletic Club of Jamestown held a New Year’s party the previous evening which proved to be a most enjoyable one. Dinner was served at the Black Bear at 7:30 p.m., plates being laid for 28 in the private dining room. The dinner was served in excellent style and included all the delicacies of the holiday season. After dinner the young men returned to their club rooms which were artistically decorated. The club colors, purple and white, were used as the color scheme. Fruit punch and cakes were served. Albert Glatz spoke on The Advantages of a Steady Girl and read a poem entitled What a Fool I’d Be. Funny stories were told by George Berquist and Joe Soderstrom which provoked much laughter.

The belief was steadily gaining ground in Buffalo that Gordon Matthews, the attorney whose body was found recently and who was supposed to have committed suicide, was murdered. Jamestown lawyers and others who knew Matthews through his connection with the affairs of the bankrupt Jamestown Panel & Veneer Company, were keenly interested in the daily reports that were published by the Buffalo papers. The News, on Tuesday evening, in flaring headlines, asserted that Matthews was murdered.

In 1938, Jamestown Evening Journal carriers in the municipal area would present to all their regular subscribers, in accordance with a long established custom, a New Year’s Greeting. The Journal’s 1939 calendar included a sepia drawing of an attractive young girl and her dog, which, it was hoped, would appeal to Journal readers. A sufficient quantity of these calendars to permit presentation of one to every regular carrier delivered subscriber of the Evening Journal, had been supplied to the boys entirely free of cost to them with the intention that they be presented free of charge to the subscriber as an evidence of the good will on the part of The Journal towards both its carriers and their subscribers.

The world would climb to the crest of the year this night after a holiday week packed full of merrymaking and good cheer. Jamestown observed an unusually gay and festive Yuletide. A large number of affairs were announced to bid the old year adieux, while many reverent watch night services were also scheduled in the various churches of the city. Open house would be maintained in many homes, harking back to the old days when the Beau Brummels of the town donned their silk top hats and climbed into their shiny sleighs with their jingling bells and prancing Dobbins to make the rounds on New Years’ Day.

In 1963, two persons were injured when a roaring explosion jarred Kliney’s Restaurant, 16 W. Second St., Jamestown, about 5:30 p.m. the previous day, hurling a Christmas tree through the front window and into the store window of Sears, across the street. Officials were investigating the cause of the explosion, which shattered equipment and toppled over chairs and kitchen ware. Most seriously injured was William Welling, 27, of Greenhurst, a gas company employee, who was in the basement when the explosion occurred trying to locate the source of a gas odor. Welling was removed to the hospital by an unidentified motorist. He was in satisfactory condition at WCA Hospital.

A 14-year-old Falconer High School freshman was rescued from drowning in a camp pond by her 15-year-old cousin, a Jamestown High School Sophomore. Michelle Calabrese, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Sam Calabrese, was pulled out of seven feet of icy water of the 50-foot pond in 10-degree temperature at the Calabrese camp, Butts Road, Town of North Harmony. Her cousin, who rescued her, was Michael Constantino, son of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Constantino of Cross Street, Jamestown. The incident occurred when Michelle tried to retrieve a saucer type sled used by her brother, Sam Calabrese Jr., 9.

In 1988, the Tew House at the corner of North Main and Fifth streets was the only one of its kind remaining in Jamestown. Thanks to the Gebbie Foundation and the United Way, this historic mansion would continue to serve the city, not only as a place of business but as a guardian of the northern gateway to the downtown business district. The house was built in 1880-85 by a local banker, George W. Tew Jr., according to Delores Thompson, city historian. “Architecturally, it is an eclectic structure of the High Victorian style,” Ms. Thompson said. The Mansard roofline disguised a third-floor ballroom. According to reports, there once was a bowling alley in the basement.

Local stores and bars were offering free coffee and soft drinks to customers to help reduce the number of drunk drivers on roads over New Year’s weekend. Wilson Farms stores were offering free coffee to customers this day and Sunday. The free 8 ounce cup of coffee was available at all 78 Wilson Farms stores in New York and Ohio. Wilson Farms was one of several local business and civic organizations to offer special free product or services to help keep drivers sober over the weekend.