In Years Past

In 1914, Verne Oatman, engineer on the new locomotive crane used by Mahoney & Swanson, contractors in charge of the work of the Erie Railroad grade crossing elimination in Jamestown, miraculously escaped serious injury shortly after 5 p.m. Thursday afternoon when the huge machine plunged from the track down over the embankment. The machine was received Monday from Cleveland and this was its first real work. A pile of lumber was being conveyed by it to be used in the construction of forms for a concrete wall and, without warning, the great bulk of steel toppled over with a resounding crash that could be heard some considerable distance. That the engineer was thrown under the heavy machine yet was only slightly injured, was nothing short of marvelous. It had been claimed that carelessness on the part of employees was responsible for the trouble.

Eugene V. Debs, one of the most prominent of the Socialist leaders, addressed an audience that completely filed Institute Hall in Jamestown Friday evening. His delivery was as forceful as of yore and he held the rapt attention of the audience from his opening sentence until the concluding recital of Ingersoll’s vision of the ideal world. George Ferguson of the local Socialist Club presided and paid the speaker a very pretty tribute as he introduced him. The chairman also announced the Socialist picnic, to be held at Midway Park Sunday, June 14 at which time the speaker would be Gustave A. Stobel of Syracuse.

In 1939, all eyes centered on the Erie railroad station about 11:40 Sunday morning as prize-laden musicians of Jamestown High School returned “with the bacon” from the national school music contests in New York City. Jamestowners turned out en masse to welcome the tired students, filling the station platform and the waiting room to capacity, while the plaza on Second Street from Washington to Jefferson streets was choked with cars. Musical assistance to the well wishers was provided by a portion of the Lincoln Junior High School band. Both the JHS band and orchestra gained first division ratings of superior, highest possible in competition.

Olive Alexis and Bert Hall, Falconer High School seniors, were named Queen and King respectively of the annual spring festival, held at the school Saturday afternoon and evening. They were attended by the next four most popular couples in the school. The feature event, the coronation, was held in the school gymnasium due to the rain during the latter part of the afternoon. Following the crowning, five little girls were presented to the King and Queen by Beatrice Kinne. Then the whole court paid homage. Directly after the coronation, the King and Queen and royal crown bearers took their places in a specially constructed box to enjoy the stage show which was under the direction of Eugene Fitzpatrick.

In 1989, a thunderstorm early this day brought an end to the perfect weekend weather that prevailed for Jamestown’s traditional Memorial Day parade the previous day. Sunny skies and warm temperatures contributed to a good turnout of spectators along the parade route over Fourth Street from Washington Street and up Prendergast Avenue to Lake View Cemetery. Capt. William R. McLaughlin of the Jamestown Police Department who commanded the department’s color guard in the parade, declined to estimate the turnout. “It was a good crowd,” McLaughlin said, “but I thought it was a little sparse compared to other years.”

A small amount of chemicals, possibly PCBs, leaked during work on electrical transformers at the Cummins Engine Co. this morning, but was “really not that much of a hazard,” Lakewood Fire Chief Steven Smouse told The Post-Journal. Steven Warnick of Cummins, meanwhile, described the leak as “minor” and said no highly toxic PCBs were involved. Some transformers at the engine assembly plant were changed over the weekend and a small leak prompted a call to the Chautauqua County Hazardous Materials Team. HAZMAT went to the plant and contained the leak.