The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the July issues of the New Paltz Independent. To get a closer look at these newspapers of the past, visit the staff of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, or call 255-5030.
The Fourth of July was one of the hottest days of the summer and the mercury mounted up to 93 in the shade. There was not much doing in the way of celebration on the Fourth in our village, except a display of flags and the popping of firecrackers. Nearly all the stores were closed. There was a great sale of ice cream and soft drinks. There was a Fourth of July celebration on Tuesday evening on the grounds of the Guilford Chapel. The program included speaking, instrumental and vocal music and refreshments.
Special policeman Pontus Ahlberg was stationed at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets to guide the auto traffic on the Fourth. Many autos passed through our village but no so many as on Memorial Day. The heat of the weather, no doubt, caused some to stay at home and the bad condition of the state road north of our village caused others to avoid New Paltz. Most of the tourists were going south. No doubt they were returning to their homes in New York or nearby places after having gone by another route into the Catskills or Adirondacks on Saturday or Sunday morning.
The great increase at the Summer School at the normal over last year’s attendance is a matter of congratulation. No doubt the attendance will continue to increase from year to year. The summer School will prove a great help, both to business and educational interests in New Paltz.
There have been about 50 Fresh Air Children at the Arbuckle Farms for ten days or more. There are three places at Springtown where there are now quite a number of boarders: John H. Relyea’s, Mrs. S. J. DuBois and Shuttricks. Miss Mary Nilon had her house filled with summer boarders last week. She has not very many this week, but expects a large number in a few days.
There have been over 400 guests of late at Mohonk and over 400 at the two Minnewaska houses.
On Sunday afternoon, a boy named James Goff aged 14 years, whose home was in Brooklyn, was drowned in the Wallkill at Tom Clip a short distance below Springtown. He had been spending vacation, as he had done in previous years at the home of Fred Osterhoudt at Shivertown. On Sunday afternoon he went with his brother who had come to visit him and with two other boys to the Wallkill to fish. The two Goff boys went into the water to swim just above Tom Clip. James Goff could not swim well and got into the water beyond his depth. His brother tried to help him out but did not succeed and the unfortunate boy drowned. A few years ago, one of a party of school teachers who were boarding at Springtown was drowned at Tom Clip, having slipped accidentally from the rock into the river. There is an old and undoubtedly true story, dating back a century, as to how Tom Clip received its name. In those day, the Ean family owned the farm adjoining. A Negro slave named Tom, owned by the Eans, was accustomed to showing his skill by diving from this rock and swimming underwater for a long distance, sometimes not rising to the surface until nearly across the Wallkill. Once, in sight of spectators, he dived from this rock, but his comrades waited in vain to see him rise to the surface. He was never seen again. The Dutch word for a high rock or precipice is “clip” and ever since that day this high rock on the Wallkill has been called Tom Clip.
The fires in the Shawangunk Mountains which extended from St. Josen to the Peterskill Falls, and had lasted for 13 days were finally extinguished last week. From 50 to 60 men including a number from Lake Mohonk and Lake Minnewaska were employed part of the time in fighting the fires under the direction of State Fire Warden Geo. W. Garrison of Alligerville. The fire was the most stubborn of any that have occurred in this section for a long time.
And the moon shown forth in all its glory on the Carnival decorations. In other words, it was a cool and delightful evening for the first Carnival and Block party of the 1921 season, held on Tamney’s Square in our village on Friday evening last. The popularity of these Block Parties is growing. Last Thursday night the crowd was considerably larger than at any previous effort on the part of the Community Committee. It is safe to say that 2,000 people were gathered in the square to witness the entertainment and to enjoy the dancing. The square was brilliantly lighted with vari-colored electric lights and with the decorations and costumes of the younger people, it was certainly an animated scene. Warner’s orchestra of eight pieces furnished good music for the occasion. The sale of tickets and refreshments was larger than at any previous Carnival. The community Committee realized $500 net as a nucleus for a suitable memorial to the soldiers from this town in the world War. People from miles around — from Kingston, Newburgh, Highland, Modena, Gardiner, Marlboro and other places came by auto and straw loads to take part and enjoy the gaiety of the evening. Our summer visitors and students of the summer school were out in numbers and greatly swelled the crowd and also helped to a large extent to swell the fund. The winners in the Carnival Parade were: Men, George Millham; ladies, Mrs. A. D. Brodhead; juniors, Lawrence Osterhoudt, Jr. Mr. Edward Kelly, of New York City gave a short patriotic address, His subject was “Lest we Forget.” Ethel Van Dusen, of New York City sang two vocal solos, which much enjoyed. The sack race was won by Elting Harp, Jr. Constance Osborne and Lois Van Wagenen did a clever tumbling act.
There is now not a house in this village and we believe not a place of business on Main Street for rent. Doubtless some more buildings could be rented, if they were put up, but everyone is expecting that mechanics wages will come down. Otherwise the high cost of building will compel landlords to demand a high rent in order to get a reasonable income on their building investment.
Ten New Paltz young men went to Esopus to play ball, on Sunday. They were beaten, 10-5. Served them right. We hope they will be beaten every time they play ball on Sunday.