In Years Past

In 1914, Jamestown High School’s newest graduating class held its vigil at Sylvan Park Monday afternoon and evening. The party, numbering about 40 members, left on the chartered steamer Rochester at 3:30 p.m. and docked at Victoria from where they walked to Sylvan Park. The afternoon was spent in the usual picnic festivities, although the disagreeable weather interfered somewhat with the plans of the day. A sumptuous picnic dinner was served after which dancing was enjoyed in the dance pavilion to music furnished by Rosendahl’s three-piece orchestra. The party left Victoria shortly after midnight, returning to Jamestown at an early hour.

There was a serious automobile accident late Monday afternoon in Brooklyn Square when an automobile, owned and driven by Edward Anderson, proprietor of the Empire Market on East Third Street, knocked down and seriously injured Hjalmar Carlson of Forest Avenue. Carlson was walking in Brooklyn Square towards a car which was passing. He did not see the automobile and stepped directly in front of it. Anderson was not running fast but it was impossible to stop the machine in time. Carlson was knocked down and quite seriously injured. He was immediately removed to Jones General Hospital. Carlson attached no blame at all to Anderson, saying that he stopped the car as soon as possible.

In 1939, lightning struck with a vengeance in the vicinity of Stow and Bemus Point during a violent rainstorm at about 6 p.m. Wednesday evening resulting in a major conflagration in which the Sportsmen’s clubhouse on the lake shore was burned to the ground and caused a large barn on the Leon Saxton farm to meet a similar fate. Combined efforts of Bemus Point, Chautauqua and Ashville firemen to save both structures proved futile. It was the opinion of Oscar Lenna, president of the club that a lightning bolt struck a large evergreen tree at the northeast corner of the house traveling down the tree into the ground, a radio aerial being attached to the tree causing lightning to be conducted into the house.

Sinclairville folks were congratulating themselves that they had a fire department and they even hinted that they thought it the best one in the county. At 2 in the morning, fire was discovered in Parkie’s Lunch room on Main Street, across the street from the Sinclairville Hotel and for the third time in recent years when fire had broken out in this row of wooden buildings, separated by only a foot or two, the firemen had kept the fire practically confined to the building in which it originated. The rear of the building and attic floor were destroyed but flames did not break through to the front of the building where the lunch room was located.

In 1964, Captain Jim Atkins, pilot of the Ford Tri-Motor, thundered the “Tin Goose” down Jamestown Municipal Airport’s runway the previous afternoon, with the words, “we’ll now take you back to 1929.” For a half-hour Mayor Fred H. Dunn, Theodore Peck, chairman, Jamestown Airport and members of the press revisited a page from history. Atkins wasn’t kidding about returning to 1929. For in the era of the ’20s, the Ford Tri-Motor was the biggest thing in aviation. The one at Jamestown Airport was among the last of its kind. It was revamped for just such visits as the one at Jamestown Airport, before being presented by American Airlines to the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

More than 250 persons attended a public hearing in the Village Hall of Lakewood to express strong opinions for and against the re-zoning of six areas of Fairmount Avenue to commercial use from residential. After almost three hours of discussion, the board passed with a three to two vote, the zoning maps proposed by Joseph Katulski, planning consultant. The areas were portions on Fairmount Avenue near Clark Street, Chautauqua Avenue, Maplecrest Avenue, Elmcrest Avenue, Fairdale Avenue and Shadyside Avenue.

In 1989, millions of extra federal dollars could flow into Jamestown and Dunkirk under their new designation as a “metropolitan statistical area.” The MSA designation enabled Jamestown and Dunkirk to apply for and have a guarantee of receiving more money from many federal programs. This was money for which, in the past, these communities had to compete with every other small community in New York state – at half the funding level. The MSA designation meant the cities would automatically receive the money if they were eligible and they applied.

Several municipal officials clashed with the Chautauqua County Legislature’s Environmental Committee over a countywide recycling plan at a hearing the previous night. The two-hour question and answer session was peppered with charges by town and village officials that the County Legislature had saddled the municipalities with its landfill problems. Worse, they said, the legislature had not helped in relieving those problems. “It is imperative that the county show some leadership if you want the municipalities to help solve your landfill problems,” said Jamestown Mayor Steven B. Carlson.