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.
A most enjoyable time was had by the residents of Dayton Heights on July 4th. The entire affair was celebrated on the lawn of Mr. and Mrs. Geo. Wicks, where the committee worked hard to make the scene very attractive. The porch was covered with bunting and flags hung with 32 red, white and blue electric lights, while over sixty Japanese lanterns were used on the lawn. The shooting and noise making commenced at 8 a.m. by the children after which games were enjoyed including a baseball game by the boys. The evening celebration started at 8:30 p.m. or as soon as it was dark when the lights were turned on and the music started. The fireworks were many and varied and lasted until 11:30 when Home Sweet Home was played.
The work in the grades for summer school children will begin July 10, Monday morning, at 8:50. Sessions will continue each school day until 11:50. The work will be held for three weeks only, while the regular Normal work will continue six weeks. Arrangements have been made for a visit of the Tuskegee singers, Monday night, July 17, in the Auditorium. There will be a lecture on Negro education in the South, especially at Tuskegee, and this will be followed by a concert by the colored singers. This will be a very helpful and entertaining evening. Admission twenty-five cents, open to all in the village who may be interested in the work of education among the colored people.
Despite the summer boarding season has scarcely yet begun, the block dance Friday night compared favorably with its predecessors of previous years. A party of about fifty boys from Camp Wallkill who sang during the evening, our own New Paltz young people home for the summer vacation, and many Independence Day guests who staid over for the dance, helped swell the numbers. Besides these, there were hundreds of automobile parties from neighboring places, for the fame of the New Paltz Block Dances has spread through the county, and the perfect moonlight weather offered further inducement.
Huckleberries in the Minnewaska region are beginning to ripen. The abundant rains have been favorable to the crop.
Ralph LeFevre and daughter have been spending several days at Lake Minnewaska. The place is attractive as ever. The management always take a warm interest in their guests many of whom return from year to year. The walks, the drives, the boating on the lake, the mountain views and the excellent table service combine to make the place perfect. Among the important improvements at the Wildmere House during the past year, is the introduction of electric lighting. The work is not yet completed. In order to furnish the power for generating electricity, a dam is being built across the Peterskill at the lower falls. There will be 150 horse power of electricity generated, which will be enough for lighting, pumping, etc.
The new ferryboat, Po’keepsie, is expected to arrive from New York on Friday or Saturday.
Charles H. Bleecker, the one-armed veteran of the Civil War, died at his home in this village on Tuesday. He was in his eighty-first year. His health had not been good for some time, but he had been confined to his bed only a little while. His death removes one of the few old veterans still left in this town, of whom we believe there are only five now surviving. Mr. Bleecker enlisted in the summer of 1861, in the 44th New York Regiment (Ellsworth Avengers). A company for this regiment was recruited to a considerable extent, from New Paltz and vicinity. Of this company M. McN Walsh, the principal of the New Paltz Academy, was captain at the outset. The 44th Regiment was drawn from all parts of the state, and the name Ellsworth Avengers was bestowed upon it to commemorate the fact of the brutal murder of Col. Ellsworth, who was shot down by a rebel as he was hauling down the Confederate flag. The deceased served in many battles during the war, and lost an arm at Gettysburg. For a number of years, he has resided in this village. The funeral of Mr. Bleecker is held at the home of his son William Bleecker this afternoon at 2 o’clock.
Nine houses are now going up in this village. The average cost is estimated at between four and five thousand dollars.
A new dam will soon be built across the Wallkill at Walden which will be eleven feet higher than the old dam and will flood a larger territory. The water will supply power to the Wallkill Valley Light and Power Company and the New York Knife works.
The Highland Boy Scouts propose to spend two days this week camping on the Wallkill. A large number of boy scouts have lately arrived at Camp Wallkill.
Camp Awosting is in a very flourishing condition. There are about a hundred boys. There are ten counselors of which Irving J. LeFevre is one. Besides the school building there are three cottages there at the Lake, one of which is occupied by Mr. Kidder and another by his father-in-law, Mr. Frizzell, a well-known banker of New York City. Lake Awosting is about a foot and a half deeper than in preceding years, a dam having been thrown across the outlet of the lake.
Camp Wallkill, although only a recent addition to the long list of summer encampments will very shortly rank with the best. Plans for the physical and mental development of the youngsters were carefully laid out months before the camp opened. Every camper has shown a great interest in athletics. The camp director has gone to the great expense of fitting out the waterfront with a dock, steel diving tower, springboards, float and a beginner’s crib.