In Years Past

In 1914, about 40 or 50 residents of Beechwood attended a meeting Wednesday evening at the home of John J. Frank for the purpose of making Beechwood a more satisfactory place in which to reside. There was considerable interest in this meeting. The original meeting was called for the purpose of discussing the streets of Beechwood. Ziba Squier, who laid out most of the streets of Beechwood, was not present, however, and nothing definite could be done about the matter. The streets of Beechwood, it was stated, were in a very deplorable condition. The village of Beechwood was in the village limits of Lakewood and so the Lakewood officials were asked to make the necessary repairs. Arnold Hopkins had been assigned to police duty at Beechwood and would patrol the streets to suppress disorder.

Was there ever a herald like the man who announced the approach of the circus? Was there ever a more grandiloquent utterance than his? Was there ever a herald who was heard more willingly or who held his audience more surely? He came out of the winter with a superb confidence. He moved briskly, he talked boldly, he proclaimed the wonders of his tents in convincing superlatives. Everybody responded with a determination to attend. There was a pleasant anticipation for all. As baseball was the national sport, the circus was the national amusement. The herald of the Barnum and Bailey Greatest Show on Earth, which would exhibit in Jamestown the following Thursday, announced that the performance this year would present new and startling acts. Promises were made that the street pageant would prove a free carnival of entertaining merriment.

In 1939, a large holiday throng the previous day observed Independence Day at Chautauqua in a program that was complete with music and fireworks and without benefit of oratory. The Jamestown High School band and the Jubilee Singers of Buffalo were the principal attractions during the day and early evening, while a colorful fireworks display at the lakefront concluded the celebration at night. Threats of rain abbreviated the afternoon concert of the band to a slight extent. The Jubilee Singers provided the morning fare with special arrangements of Stephen Foster selections and well known Negro spirituals. Modern rhythms dominated in the closing numbers with, It Ain’t Necessarily So, The Lonesome Road and Shadrack.

The husky figure climbed slowly up the old wooden stairs back of the Yankees dugout, shoulders bent, right leg limping and throat torn by sobs. This was Lou Gehrig living the most dramatic moment of his life. Back of him, 61,808 fans piled on Yankee stadium’s tiered sides, cheering till the rafters shook and out on the field a big, round-faced flat-nosed fellow stood as tears rolled down his cheeks. He was Babe Ruth, the one and only, who had just voiced for everyone who knew three strikes were out, their feeling about Lou. On the field, Lou stood, surrounded by gifts from the club and his teammates. He said a few words into the loud speaker. Several times his voice broke and a sob escaped as he announced, “Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

In 1989, police agencies across New York opposed a State Police laboratory charge imposed after local budgets were adopted and Assemblywoman Patricia McGee, R,C-Franklinville, hoped something could be done about it. A little-publicized shift in this year’s budget for the State Police laboratories passed $942,000 in operating costs, or roughly a third of their budgets, on to the 47 counties using their facilities for evaluation of evidence in local criminal investigations. This was the first time such a charge had been imposed. The services previously were available without charge.

A wounded Afghan freedom fighter treated for war injuries at WCA Hospital had returned to Afghanistan. Shah Sawar, 18, came to WCA as part of the national Afghan medical program and was treated without charge. He received treatment in Pakistan but needed reconstructive surgery not available there. In fighting against Soviet forces, Shah Sawar received six bullet wounds – five in a thigh and one in a calf – and sustained a broken leg. He also lost an arm when a rocket exploded near him. Sawar was originally from a small town near Kabul, Afghanistan’s capital. At age 8, he began training to fight the Soviets. He had been in combat since he was 10 years old. “It’s our holy war. The jihad will continue until we get the Islamic government in Afghanistan,” he said.