In Years Past

In 1914, the Villenova picnic, held Friday at the old stand, Deckers Grove, lived up to its former reputation of being one of the largest and most enjoyable picnics held in the county. Villenova picnic was held under the auspices of the Villenova Historical Society and started out as a big picnic fourteen years previously and had been growing in size and interest ever since. Decker’s Grove was a beautifully located place for a gathering of this kind. It lay level and was a piece of nearly virgin forest, cleared only sufficient for the purposes of a picnic gathering.

The summer colony at Lakewood was provided a little unexpected excitement about 9:30 Saturday evening by an alarm of fire which had started at the home of Mrs. Huldah Starr located on Chautauqua Avenue on the main street of the village. It was not a particularly serious fire as fires go but there was an alarm, a jangle of fire apparatus and hustle and bustle and confusion and all the accompaniments of a village fire. People who in their city homes would watch the passing of fire apparatus and crew with great indifference turned out as interested as any and made a good sized crowd that watched with keen interest the work of the firemen. A chemical engine soon disposed of the fire but during the excitement E.J. Daugherty, one of the firemen, was temporarily knocked out. He was thrown against the wheel of the hose wagon and rendered unconscious for a few minutes.

In 1939, the weather became a major concern to 52,000 soldiers of the First Army at Plattsburg, N.Y., as they took the field to “fight” the second of a series of minor engagements leading up to the big push that would conclude the war games next week. To the doughboys, pelted with rain and hail which swept the 45-square mile battle area it was primarily a question of personal comfort. To the men of the mechanized artillery and cavalry units, however, the weather held the threat that a drenching rain might offer a stern test of their high speed equipment which had yet to prove, in these maneuvers, what it could do under unfavorable conditions.

A neighborhood party and perhaps Jamestown’s first “block” party was given Wednesday evening by residents of Andrews Avenue and a section of Hallock Street. A total of about 60 persons in that vicinity gathered in a group in Andrews Avenue and held an evening of games and sports. The street, which the police blocked at both ends to prevent vehicles, was well occupied by both old and young. Supper was enjoyed previous to the program of sports.

In 1964, the Jamestown Telephone Corporation’s directories would have a new look as they heralded the start of “all number calling,” due to begin on Sunday, Nov. 1. The new directories would combine into one alphabetical listing all telephone subscribers in the free service area, comprising Jamestown, Bemus Point, Ellington, Frewsburg, Gerry, Kennedy, Lakewood, Panama, Sinclairville and Stedman. All Number Calling was necessary to provide the additional telephone numbers which would be required throughout the country. Officials said that each day there were about 13,000 new telephones installed in the United States.

A 56-year-old man and his 14-year-old daughter were injured about 5 p.m. the previous afternoon when they fell from an amusement device at Midway Park. Edward Samuelson and Annette Samuelson, both of Main Street, Sinclairville, were listed in “satisfactory” condition in WCA Hospital in Jamestown. Mr. Samuelson suffered a lacerated forehead and a possible hip fracture, while his daughter sustained abrasions of the leg, abdomen and foot.

In 1989, local legislators were working toward setting a 15-mph speed limit at night for boats on Chautauqua Lake and a 5-mph limit at all times in the Bemus Point area. The speed limits were being considered at the request of Sheriff John R. Bentley. Bentley said that since most serious boating accidents occurred at night, the 15-mph speed limit should be set on all the lakes in Chautauqua County where there was a need for regulation. On Findley Lake, for example, the speed limit at night was already posted at 5 to 10 mph.

The chance of excessive water runoff from improvements to Route 394 was a source of concern for local government officials, who said the state Department of Transportation had not studied the problem sufficiently. A letter from Celoron Mayor Ronald Johnson to Ellicott Town Supervisor Frances Morgan expressed concerns about potential increases in runoff in the area of the road widening project, especially for creek bridges on Fifth, Seventh and Ninth streets in Celoron. Johnson’s letter said the state did no studies on the potential for runoff and asked if the town had done any such studies. Runoff and erosion were serious problems in the area, Johnson said. “We’re losing the creek now with erosion and with the loss of trees and added pavements. How will the small creek bridges handle this?” Johnson asked.