In Years Past

In 1914, Manager Lohr’s Jamestown squad of ballplayers, who were scheduled to clash with ball tossers from Niagara University on Saturday in the first of a series of spring practice games, put in a busy day on the Celoron lot and from all appearances they were all in good shape to give the fans a taste of real baseball. The way they pegged around the bases warmed the hearts of Lohr and the few enthusiasts who were on hand. Although the diamond was still a little heavy, they dug the bases out of the mud in great shape and whipped the ball around the circuit with plenty of speed.

Dr. John J. Mahoney of Jamestown, state sanitary inspector of the district, arrived in Dunkirk to take cognizance of the typhoid fever situation there. Dr. Mahoney had a conference with Mayor Sullivan, Dr. George E. Ellis, city health officer and Howard Longhouse, city milk and dairy inspector. The various phases of the typhoid situation were gone over from the time of the outbreak in March for the purpose of determining, if possible, to a certainty, what the epidemic could be attributed to. Was it the water supply or the milk or was the typhoid fever due to some other causes? These were the matters for which Dr. Mahoney would attempt to find answers.

In 1939, the most alarming blaze the city of Jamestown had seen in years broke out with startling suddenness at the plant of the Jamestown Macadam Company at the boatlanding at 3:35 p.m. Saturday, when an empty railroad tank car, which had contained highly inflammable coal tar, burst into flames. When firemen arrived on the scene, clouds of dense black smoke bellowed from the tank car and flames leaped high and wide from the car to lick at a full car of tar situated directly alongside the burning car on the same spur of track. The flames threatened buildings of the Jamestown Macadam Company as well as other structures in the area. A general alarm was sent out and the entire fire department was called to the fire. The use of fog nozzles quickly quenched the conflagration.

Efforts to locate the bodies of John C. and Glenn A. Bargar, brothers who were drowned in Chautauqua Lake a week previously while fishing near Grass Island, were redoubled this day after a weekend of grappling near Celoron which brought to light a piece of cloth said to be the same as that in the suit John Bargar was wearing at the time of his disappearance. The piece of cloth was recovered Saturday afternoon and was identified by John Bargar’s wife. Searchers dragged the area from which the cloth was recovered with great intensity but discovered nothing else of interest. The S.M. Flickinger Company had offered a reward for the finding of the two bodies.

In 1964, a $60,000 general alarm fire fanned by a high west wind, damaged three stores in a building the previous day on Lake Shore Drive East in Dunkirk. Several firemen were injured. The fire broke out in Bert Roan’s contracting company store. Roan discovered the blaze near the top of an open stairway situated in the rear of his place at 11:50 a.m. Flames, smoke and water caused the greatest damage to Roan’s place. He estimated that the fire ruined wood cabinets valued at thousands of dollars. Smoke damaged the Tedrous Sea Food Market and the Hudson Liquor store. Volunteer firemen reported injured suffered minor cuts, according to police.

Jamestown General Hospital would hold an open house Sunday, May 17, for public inspection of its newly completed east wing, in conjunction with National Hospital Week, May 10-17. The hospital’s Women’s Auxiliary would sponsor the tour and refreshments would be served in the hospital’s cafeteria. The new wing had four floors, which included the new laboratory on the first floor; pediatrics section, second floor; medical patients, third floor; and surgical section, fourth floor. Mayor Fred H. Dunn and City Council members had been invited to view the new wing.

In 1989, power and road crews throughout the area were catching up this day after a busy weekend caused by a record May snowfall. At 7.9 inches, it was the heaviest snowfall ever for May 7. Everyone expected a moist freshness to pervade the air in spring, but this was ridiculous. Daffodils and tulips that had been cheery signs of spring bowed their heads in deference to the boisterous return of Old Man Winter. Some people admired the beauty of the “winter-weighed” boughs, but now that skis had been put away, most people on a spring walk would prefer to see greening canopies and flowers that could hold their heads high.

Mildred H. Testrake, 83, of Ripley, died May 6 in Westfield Health Care Center. Testrake was the mother of TWA pilot Capt. John Testrake, whose jetliner was hijacked to Beirut, Lebanon, in June 1985. Her son was the pilot of the Athens to Rome TWA Flight 847 which was hijacked by Lebanese Moslem Shiites. Testrake and 38 others who were held hostage over the next 17 days and survived. One American passenger was shot to death by his captors. Throughout the hijacking ordeal, Mrs. Testrake, then 80 years old, gave several interviews in the backyard of her home in Ripley.