What the newspapers said 100 years ago

Born in Greece, Charles Pappas opened the Olympia, a fruit, candy and ice cream parlor at 50 Main Street in 1916. Elting Harp had built the building in 1887 and had housed his harness store there. In 1921, Harp sold the building and the building next door to Pappas, who owned them for many years. During an early renovation, Charles Pappas had his name put atop the building at 52 Main Street, where it remained until the two buildings burned in February, 1987. (Courtesy of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection)

The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the November 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 leaves have been falling fast for the past ten days and nearly all are now off the trees.


There was no performance of any Hallowe’en tricks in our village worth mentioning. The children contented themselves with innocent devices, such as wearing masks and tricks of little account. 

At Walden on Halloween a number of boys got into the high school building and did a considerable amount of damage so that it took several days to get things in order. Nothing could be learned as to who were the offenders until a fingerprint expert was brought from Middletown. Then the boys became frightened and made confession.

A large barn and two small adjoining buildings with the contents were burned on Friday evening on the Jud. Addis place, formerly the David LeFevre place at Butterville, now owned by a New York man. Members of the fire company, in autos and carrying buckets, hurried from our village to Butterville, but it was too late to save the buildings or their contents. The fire is thought to be the work of an incendiary, as there have been, quite recently, two other fires in the neighborhood in a short time past — one at the police aqueduct barracks and one on the C. H. DuBois place. There is insurance, but not enough to cover the loss. A telephone message was sent to Poughkeepsie to see if it was possible to get bloodhounds to track the supposed firebug, but it was learned there were none in this part of the state. The State Police were on the scene the next day.

There were about 900 votes cast in this town on Tuesday. This is a greater number than ever was cast before and about fifty percent more than a full vote before the women were given the ballot. We were told before the election that a large number of women would vote for Dan Shaw for Supervisor. We did not believe it then, but now we are quite certain this is the case, for otherwise we cannot account for the result. It is difficult for a man to decide in any matter what a woman is going to do. Aside from this, the only reason we can assign for the result is that the Democratic workers seemed to concentrate their efforts on the Supervisorship, and give little attention to the rest of the ticket.

In New Paltz, as well as elsewhere, the number of hunting licenses issued is very large. E. C. Elmore reports 138 hunting licenses issued in this town during the month of October alone. The licenses cost $1.20 each.

A few mornings ago a trolley car when near the Highland terminus, got slipping on the down grade and crashed into an empty freight car standing at the end of the track just this side of the West shore track. The passengers, about twenty in all, were considerably frightened but no one was hurt.

Tomorrow is a legal holiday and the banks will be closed. There will be no school at the Normal tomorrow, Armistice Day. The bell at the Reformed Church and the fire bell in our village will both be rung just before noon tomorrow to summon people to join in silent prayer.

Extensive improvements are in progress at Lake Minnewaska. The Wildmere House is being wired for electric lights. The Cliff House has already been wired. The electricity is to be generated at the lower falls of the Peterskill. Repairs are to be made at the Cliff House and an addition is to be built to the garage at the Laurel Inn.

The ice men are all hoping for a cold winter as the ice houses along the Hudson are all empty since there was scarcely any ice harvested last year. The ice houses have now only the capacity for about 5,000,000 tons some years ago their capacity was twice as great, but a number have been torn down or burned down and not rebuilt.

A meeting of the New Paltz High School was held last week to organize a basketball team. The boys hope that they will soon be in trim to meet opposing teams.

The price of sweet cider is thirty cents a gallon by the barrel. The Mohonk estate is selling corn on the stalk in this village at a very reasonable rate. Turkeys for Thanksgiving are very scarce. Few turkeys are raised by the farmers of late years.

The turnpike is now open from our village to Centerville and the work of putting down the concrete has lately been in progress on the Illinois Hill section. The concrete roadbed is 18 ft. wide.

Charles A. Pappas of the Olympia now has possession of the two buildings recently purchased of Elting Harp. He expects to make improvements. The third floor in the corner building will be for rent. Mr. Pappas desires to thank the public for the patronage which he has heretofore received.

On Thanksgiving day the sleet made the ground and sidewalks very slippery so it was difficult to keep from falling and many automobiles skidded. The telephone wires were also covered with ice.

Lorin Kelder, who left his wife and three children at Samsonville recently, and went to Newark, N.J. in company with Mrs. James W. Scott of Kingston, who left a husband and two children, has been convicted of adultery and sentenced to serve from two to three years in the New Jersey state prison. The woman was sent to the Reformatory. Both plead guilty.

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