The ‘‘Our town’’ column is compiled each month for the New Paltz Times by Carol Johnson, coordinator of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the December issues of the New Paltz Independent. If you would like to get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit Carol Johnson and the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library, located at 93 Main Street, or call 255-5030. Meanwhile, enjoy these words from a century ago.
Several New Paltz people attended the horse fair in New York last week.
The foundation has been laid for an addition to the Ohioville chapel. It will be used in part as a kitchen.
Nearly 50 Highland people work in Poughkeepsie, going back and forth, each day.
Very many carloads of automobiles are passing over the West Shore railroad to New York for shipment to England. Traffic on the West Shore Railroad was tied up for 13 hours on Sunday by a collision at Esopus, resulting in the burning of three cars.
Fourteen persons of foreign birth became naturalized citizens at the recent term of court at Kingston, Justice Rudd presiding. Among the number were two women. Franz Vasquez, the Spanish barber in this village, was among the number to be naturalized. Frank Fumfreddo, the Italian, who lives at Put Corners, and has been in this country eleven years, was asked where the laws were made and replied that they were made in New Paltz. His answer was not strictly correct, but showed he had a good opinion of his home town. He will have another examination later.
Water from the Ashokan reservoir is now running through the great tube into the Kensico reservoir. the work of testing the tube has been in progress for months past. Everything is in perfect order. It will take three months to fill the Kensico reservoir and then the water will be taken to the Hillview reservoir at Yonkers and thence to New York.
About three o’clock on Tuesday morning a fire started in the basement of the Memorial Hall connected with the M.E. Church at Marlboro. Soon the church was on fire. Sparks from the burning building passed over the roofs of the houses and set fire to the steeple of the Presbyterian Church. The fire company at Marlborough was unable to cope with the situation. Two Newburgh fire companies and two Cornwall companies were telephoned for and prevented the fire from spreading further and from destroying the balance of the Presbyterian Church. The Methodist Church and the Memorial Hall were burned. The village library of 1,300 volumes in the Memorial Hall, valued at $1,000, was destroyed. The total injury by the fire is about $50,000. The Methodist Church cost $20,000, the Memorial Hall and library cost $12,000 and the contents were valued at $5,000 more. The damage done to the Presbyterian Church is between $3,500 and $5,000.
Alfred Harcourt has been made a director in the large publishing house of Henry Holt & Co. of New York, with which he has been connected for many years. Recently, Mr. Holt, the president of the company, celebrated the 50th year of his connection with the company.
The Wallkill Cow Testing Association, which includes about 25 farmers in New Paltz, Gardiner and Shawangunk, has been organized by Manager Hook, who made about 75 calls on farmers in six days. Cow testing will begin soon.
At the end of a close and well-fought game last Friday evening, our Normal boys finally succumbed to the superior shooting ability of Newburgh Academy by score of 12-15. Both teams played hard and vigorously from start to finish. At the end of the first half the score stood 5-5. Then each team made a field basket and Walsh of the locals shot a foul, thus giving New Paltz a lead of one point over the visitors. But though our boys fought gamely to the finish, they were unable to check the long distance shooting of the Newburgh visitors and the game resulted in the above score. Fitch, our local recruit, showed up pretty good in his first game. The game was umpired by Harry Zimmerman.
There has been hardly any subject of conversation for the past few days but the snow. Estimates as to the depth on the level vary from 2 1/2 to 8 feet. It is generally said that more snow fell on Monday and Monday night than in the great blizzard in March 1888, but at that time there were deeper drifts. On Monday afternoon in this village a sidewalk just shoveled clean showed six inches of snow an hour later. On Tuesday, the cars on the railroad and trolley lines, as well as automobiles, sleighs and wagons were unable to run and it was quite a task to get from one house to another on foot. But everywhere the snow shovels were at work, and the sidewalks about our village were cleaned to a considerable extent before Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning the work of snow shoveling was resumed. John C. Kaiser shoveled snow all day on Wednesday. He is about 80 years of age. Tjerick DuBois, superintendent of our village streets, had several teams and a number of men at work opening the streets. Vanderlyn T. Pine, town superintendent, also had teams and men at work opening the roads outside of the corporation. The New Paltz turnpike was drifted much more than the roads running north and south. On Tuesday, the trolley track was opened for only one mile east of out village and up to Thursday night only as far as Brooks’ Crossing. Along the state roads automobiles are seen here and there where they were abandoned by their owners during the snow storm. Work on the new piece of road and bridge at the brickyard was stopped when the snow came; likewise the piping of the brook on the Catholic Church lot. The school bell did not ring on Tuesday and no attempt was made to hold school. On Wednesday morning the bell rang and a number were able to get to the school building. The weight of the snow has caused a heavy strain on the roofs. At the brickyard and at Millham’s barrel factory the roofs have failed in account of the weight of the snow.