What the newspapers said 100 years ago

Ferdinand Foch (1851-1929) was a French general who served as the Supreme Allied Commander during World War I. On November 1, 1921, Foch was in Kansas City, Missouri to take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for the Liberty Memorial. Among those present that day were President Calvin Coolidge and General John J. Pershing. After the groundbreaking, Foch made a 3,000-mile trip around the United States, which included ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery for what was then called Armistice Day. During the tour he received numerous honorary degrees from American Universities. On December 10, 1921 Foch and General Pershing stopped at the Highland Railroad Station for a small ceremony. (Photo courtesy of the World Digital Library)

The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the December 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 top of the Shawangunks was white with snow on Tuesday. 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. 


Miss Hilliard, who has been canvassing our village for the Red Cross has met with a generous response, considering how many calls New Paltz people have on their charity.

The Rondout Bridge is now completed and the Storm King Road is rapidly approaching completion. There will be now a great increase in the automobile travel along the west bank of the Hudson. It is probable that some of the travel which used to go through New Paltz to get to Kingston by the Eddyville Bridge will now be diverted to the River route. A culvert for the new state road is being built on the turnpike at Put Corners. We understand the turnpike is open all the way, but is not in condition for travel. Culvert making has been in progress since concreting stopped.

Many New Paltz people have been contributing to help the Armenians, either by means of barrels of clothing sent out by the Reformed church or through some other channel. Some of the Armenian girls are now making a heroic attempt to help with their own support. The Christmas shopper will find at 151 Fifth Avenue examples of the handiwork of these girls, from laundry bags to filet lace collars. The best of this work is said to compare favorably with exquisite objects found in the Fifth Avenue shops. Mail orders may be sent to Near East Relief, Industrial Dep’t., 151 Fifth Avenue.

Two or three of our village boys have been trapping for skunks with fair success.

Jesse Elting, custodian of the Memorial House, has had a new roof place on a portion of the building. The relics will now be safe, so far as damage from rain is concerned, as some of the roof was laid some time ago. There is no other building in this part of the country which has so tall and steep a roof and this, as well as its location adds to its unique and imposing appearance. New Paltz has a number of new buildings of which we may well be proud, but none, we think, of so much interest to visitors as the Memorial House. The Elting house on Huguenot street has also had a new roof placed on part of the building. Next fall we hope the State Historical Society will be here and inspect all the old stone houses on Huguenot Street.

An eel six feet long and six inches in circumference got into the water pipe and shut it off all together at the grape juice factory at Highland.

The train from West Point with Marshall Foch and General Pershing aboard with some 12 or 13 Po’keepsians who had accompanied them from West Point stopped at Highland station for five minutes on Saturday evening shortly after seven. A crowd of over a thousand from Po’keepsie and Highland greeted and cheered as he bowed his acknowledgements. A boy and a girl, the later born in France, each aged about thirteen years, gave Foch a message from the Boy Scouts of Poughkeepsie and a bouquet of flowers from the Girl Scouts. The Marshall patted both children on the head and kissed the little girl. The train proceeded northward on schedule, going to Albany for its next stop, spending twenty minutes there, and thence going to Montreal and Quebec. In Marshall Foch’s private car, the space was nearly all taken up with flowers, fruits and other gifts.

The New Paltz boys have formed two basketball teams, known as the Big Brothers and the Little Brothers. They have a hall at the Riverside. The Big Brothers are John Dodd, Jay Zimmerman, Harold Smith, Harold Coutant and James Boyd. The Little Brothers are Jesse Storr, Erwin DuBois, Jas. Gaffney, Geo. Benjamin and Walter Simpson. Arthur Fitch is referee. The boys for their first game went to Walden December 3 and played the Y.M.C.A. team of Walden. The New Paltz boys were beaten. Last Saturday the Empire Five of Newburgh came to our village and were defeated 44 to 14.

Town constables do not have as much work to do as they had before the organization of State Troopers. The total charge for constable bills, in this town, this year, is only $5.05. In Gardiner, there were no constables’ bills, this year.

We are told that George Millham’s new barrel factory, the foundation for, which is now laid, will be the largest apple barrel in the state. This vicinity is fast becoming a great center for the production of apples and Mr. Millham has been supplying a great part of the fruit growers with barrels.

More and more of the farmers are working out of the dairy business and into fruit and poultry raising. Only the full development of the Dairymen’s League can save the dairy industry in this state.

The practice of sending out Christmas cards to one’s friends is growing from year to year. It is a pleasing custom.

The Community Christmas Tree standing at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets, was lit up for the first time on Saturday evening and presented a beautiful appearance.

Ever since the Three Wise Men bore gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh to the lowly manger at Bethlehem, the Christian world has commemorated this time with gifts of precious sentiment. The sentiment that inspires you to give at Christmas time to some friend or relative is best expressed in giving to the less fortunate of your community. Several years ago the idea of this Community Christmas was born at a meeting of the Dutch Arms. A committee meeting was appointed to do this work and with the later help and co-operation of our four churches, has each year carried out the Community Christmas idea and program. Solicitors have been named from our village churches who will visit every home. Money, clothing, vegetables, toys for the children, etc., will be most acceptable. Christmas boxes will be distributed to our most worthy poor, as in the past, on Saturday morning, December 24.

Rev. Austin A. Vandenburgh of Beacon, formerly of this village, recently performed a marriage ceremony under novel circumstances. The contracting parties were Frank G. Piper, former city judge at Beacon and Mrs. Joanna Sherman of the same place, each seventy-four years old. Fifty-five years ago, when they were each nineteen, they were engaged, but quarreled. Now they have made up and married.

The light snow the latter part of last week did not make much sleighing, but it made coasting for the boys and girls, at least on the sidewalks which they utilized for that purpose. Pedestrians generally took the middle of the street, which was safer than the sidewalk. Autos were able to get around.

The recent cold weather froze the ground to the depth of ten inches. There were very many skaters on the Wallkill on Christmas Day.

Happy Holidays!

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