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In Years Past

December 28, 2012
The Post-Journal
  • In 1912, the coolness of J.R. Douglas, assistant postmaster of Westfield, in the face of an unusual danger, prevented a threatened catastrophe in the local post office. As a result, a man who said he was Harry Payne of Chicago was held in the village lockup and the post office employees were beginning to breathe easy again. Douglas was at the stamp window when a well-dressed stranger approached him. "The government owes me $10,000 and I want you to produce it at once," he said. Douglas was a little bewildered but told the man he did not have that much money there. Then the man pulled a bottle from his pocket and shouted, "This is nitro-glycerin and if you stir one step I will blow the whole building up." The man was eventually subdued and taken away. The bottle's contents were examined and it was nitro-glycerin.
  • A search lasting two years for her actor husband and the woman with whom he eloped was concluded in Detroit the previous day by Mrs. Nellie M. McGuire of Jamestown. James Francis McGuire was under arrest with Belle Lamar, the alleged husband-thief. The pair were arrested at the St. Charles Hotel by Detective Blake Lockard. They were charged with a statutory offense. The commitment of McGuire, 32, and Belle Lamar, 23, who had been married and divorced, to the Wayne County jail, broke up their engagement in a local theater were they were performing a song and dance act.
  • In 1937, Buffalo and its suburbs, representing a population of approximately 700,000 encountered its second serious emergency within a month when electric service failed in more than 100,000 homes. Three weeks previously, a winter storm crippled the city and its environs. Hospitals, office buildings and stores also were affected by the power tie-up in the state's second-largest city, source of one of the world's largest hydro-electric power developments. Shoppers and office workers were marooned in elevators between floors in eight downtown buildings. Traffic lights failed. Gasoline pumps could not supply gas to cars. A low rumbling explosion in a large distributing plant in suburban Tonawanda followed by fire cut off the electric service of virtually all residential sections.
  • Falconer High School athletic teams won baseball, track and football championship honors in Chautauqua County competition in 1937. The cross country title went to Silver Creek and the basketball championship to Dunkirk. The track and baseball titles were annexed the past spring when Kenneth M. Anderson was coach of the Blue and Gold suburban teams with the Southwestern grid conference championship being won by Maben E. Cameron, his successor.
  • In 1962, a 63-year-old farm hand was found wandering in a grape vineyard at 7 p.m. the previous evening while the mercury hovered around the 20-degree mark. The farm hand was wearing only shoes and gloves. He was found by an unidentified woman motorist as she drove her car by the Stanley Winkelman farm, Route 20, near Westfield. The man's clothes were found in the vineyard. Winkelman summoned the firemen's emergency squad, which rushed the man to the Westfield Memorial Hospital. He had been placed by Winkelman, a former employer, in a sleeping bag after calling the firemen. A hospital spokesman said the victim was suffering from exposure and possible frostbite.
  • If all went as planned, New York state would have a new city on New Year's Day, 1964. It would be the state's seventh largest with a population of 105,000 - bigger than Niagara Falls, smaller than Albany. Some of its streets would have street lights; others would not. Some residents would have their garbage collected more often than others. The city, north of Buffalo, would be called Kenmore. It would encompass the town of Tonawanda, replacing the town and village governments with a mayor-council form of government.
  • In 1987, the exterior of the ALLTEL telephone building at 201 E. Fourth Street in Jamestown looked much like it did when it was built in 1929 but the interior continued to undergo significant change. Adjacent and connected at various floor levels was a new structure that would largely house operations of ALLTEL's northeast region. In earlier days, the third floor housed operator toll board positions and was the working area for about 46 operators. It now had about 30 people on the floor as employees of ALLTEL's northeast network planning group and the New York state staff.
  • Saturday mail delivery and other services were not expected to be affected by the national deficit reduction package passed the previous week. Nicholas Fabozzi, director of marketing and communications for the Buffalo division of the U.S. Postal Services, said a reduction in customer service was not anticipated at the present time. As a result of the deficit reduction plan passed by Congress and signed into law by President Reagan, it was announced that up to $43.5 million worth of construction projects in the postal service had been put on hold, including new post offices for Lakewood and Olean.


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