In Years Past

In 1914, Miss Helena Soderland, a woman about 60 years of age, was terribly burned in a gas explosion which took place shortly before 9:30 Sunday morning in the basement rooms in which she lived at 134 Stowe St., Jamestown. She was hurried to the Jones Hospital where she died at 11 in the morning. The explosion was heard blocks away and sounded very much like a blast of dynamite in the stone quarry near the Chadakoin. The east wall of the basement was bulged out by the force of the shock. Furniture in the room was blown to pieces. It was believed that a short rubber hose leading from a side gas light to a hot plate became disconnected, allowing gas to escape. When Miss Soderland went to light a fire, it caused the explosion.

Sunday the residents of the east side of Chautauqua Lake felt that their dreams had come true. The buzz and clatter of the trolley car was heard at intervals during the day from Jamestown to Bemus Point. The officials of the Jamestown, Westfield, and Northwestern railroad were electrifying the line as rapidly as possible. The trolley wires had been strung as far as Bemus Point. The rails were not as yet bonded and there were other details yet unfinished but enough work had been done so the trolley cars could be operated well enough to carry passengers.

In 1939, Skateland was being erected at Celoron Park. According to the management, this new roller skating rink would be the largest and finest in this part of the country and would be opened to the public June 1. The rink, which would be 85 feet wide and 168 feet long, was being constructed in a parking lot. A new style of construction was being used to eliminate posts from the skating floor.

Only the quick and efficient work of the Lakewood Fire Department early in the morning saved the business section of the village. The firemen were called out at 3 o’clock to Chautauqua Avenue, the main business street, where the three car garage not more than 10 feet from the Quality Cash store was on fire. In not more than five minutes, it was reported, the fire department was at work and the flames were confined to the building in which they started. An automobile owned by J. A. Conners was practically destroyed but the fire was kept entirely away from the big wooden structure, which occupied much of the west side of the block between Summit and Third streets.

In 1964, President Johnson asked Congress for an extra $125 million to help step up the war against communism in South Vietnam. The money would go into increased support of both military and civil operations of the Vietnamese. In a special message, Johnson spelled out the needs and the intentions. He said that “By our words and deeds to a decade of determined effort, we are pledged before the world to stand with the free people of Vietnam.”

The Church of the Nazarene, an old Jamestown landmark, was being demolished to make room for the new Park Manor Nursing Home which would be erected on the south side of Prather Avenue, between Prospect Street and Forest Avenue. The new building would provide the most up to date nursing facilities in Western New York. The building being demolished had been occupied as a church since 1930. It was at one time one of the factories of the old American Aristotype Co., which was founded in 1889 by Porter Sheldon and Charles S. Abbott. After 10 years of operation the business was sold to the Eastman Kodak Co. of Rochester. Kodak continued operating the plant in Jamestown until 1920.

In 1989, plans for an “ongoing, living memorial to Lucy” would be announced during ceremonies in memory of Lucille Ball Friday at Jamestown City Hall. Before she died the past month, Lucy had planned to be in Jamestown Friday. She was to be honored in ceremonies set for noon on Tracy Plaza. Those ceremonies would go ahead as planned in honor of her memory, according to Mayor Steven B. Carlson. Carlson would announce details of the community’s plans to honor Lucy with a vital, long-term tribute to her comedy talents.

President Bush promised to veto “faster than the eye can see” a raise in the minimum wage and Republican lawmakers were confident Bush would win his first domestic policy clash with Capitol Hill’s majority Democrats. “We want to make it very clear this fight is not going to go away and we are going to continue the battle until we get a fair and justified increase in the minimum wage,” said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass.