The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the January 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.
Over 60 couples attended the annual New Year’s Dance at the Opera House on Tuesday night. The hall was nicely decorated. The music, furnished by Rutherford’s orchestra of Poughkeepsie was excellent. Mrs. Silas VanWagenen of Po’keepsie catered for the refreshments.
On New Year’s Eve, Mr. and Mrs. M. Gardner gave a midnight luncheon to a few of their friends. Very delicious refreshments were served. The chimes of Trinity Church were heard by radiophone.
Acting Postmaster Krom says that this Christmas was the busiest one he has experienced in his fifteen years of service. Not a Christmas parcel or post card was delayed, everything was cleaned up at the time of closing of each mail, and to the present time no complaints have been entered in regard to the loss or damage of mail. A brief estimate of the business done during the week is as follows: Parcels insured for dispatch 820, ordinary parcel post 940, making a total of 1760 parcels dispatched. Parcels received 141; parcels handled 3171. One day’s postal receipts were $189.69. Total receipts for the week were $598.74. If such business is kept up, we hope someday the postal department will give New Paltz a federal building.
One hundred prohibition enforcement agents were sent to Albany to assist the local prohibition bureau in keeping the city dry during the ceremonies for the inauguration of Governor Smith.
New Paltz people are burning a great deal of wood now-a-days. Leonard Newkirk cut his hand so severely while chopping wood on Saturday that he was taken to Vassar Hospital.
In publishing a few weeks ago our recollections of life on the farm we said nothing about the introduction of coal for fuel. Previous to that time wood was used altogether for heating and cooking purposes. On every farm there was a wood lot from which a supply of fuel was procured and chopping wood was the main business in winter. It was the custom to cut down for fuel only the trees that were dead on top or dying. Cutting down the trees, hauling the wood home and chopping it up on the woodpile gave work to a great many men in the winter. Cutting off wood and hauling it to Poughkeepsie and other places was quite an important business. The price of wood was about $4 a cord. There is not much of the original timber left in the county, but on many fields which have been abandoned for the cultivation of crops, a second crop of trees is coming in.
The storms of last week caused much trouble in the way of delay of trains and damage to vessels at sea. Six Normal School students walked to Highland on Friday afternoon, owing to the fact that the trolley was not running. On Friday night 14 people returning home from R. E. DuBois’ home in a big sleigh were thrown out as the horses were unable to get through the snow drifts.
Last Friday night at about one o’clock, Simon LeFevre of Bontecoe was awakened by a loud knocking at the door. On answering the summons, he found the five members of the Kingston basketball team, and their chauffeur, who were returning from a game in New Paltz, and whose car had been stranded near Mr. LeFevre’s house. Mr. LeFevre gave the wanderers a night’s shelter and the next morning they returned to New Paltz with the help of the milk wagon. Their car remained in Bontecoe for two or three days.
The roofs of four buildings in our village have caved in from the weight of the snow — the Smiley sheds, the brickyard sheds, Louis LeFevre’s store building at the foot of Main Street, and the barn of Lieut. Wohltman’s. Railroad officials say that this is the hardest winter to keep the tracks clear of snow that has ever been known.
John Yenne says that he found the snow two feet eight inches deep on the level in this village on Friday.The snow has been about two feet deep in the woods where it had no opportunity to drift. The depth of the snow makes it almost impossible to get around through the woods. The caterpillar tractors have been found very useful in opening the roads. The tractors as well as snow plows have been used quite extensively.
The delivery car of the manufacturers of Klean Maid Bread, Poughkeepsie, got through the storm early Monday afternoon with supplies for our village stores.
Arnold Petersen has filled his ice house from his pond. The cakes were about sixteen inches thick.
After being docked for repairs during which time new gears were installed, the ferryboat, Poughkeepsie, which is driven by electricity, was placed on regular runs today by the Poughkeepsie and Highland Ferry Company. Raymond Crum, one of the officials of the new company, today said that the new boat now has over a fifty percent increase in power and it is running in first-class shape. Before the gears and other repairs were made the boats was only travelling on 27 percent of its regular power. Although huge cakes of ice floating in the Hudson, the regular schedule is being kept up. The “Poughkeepsie” is now working together with the “Brinckerhoff” in carrying persons and cars between Poughkeepsie and Highland.
The elementary Regents examinations will be held in the New Paltz State Normal School Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, January 22 to 25. Pupils from outlying districts will be gladly received, if they bring with them notice from their teachers certifying to the fact that they have completed the necessary work. Examinations begin at 9:15 in the morning and at 1:15 in the afternoon, and continue in each case for three hours.
The law in regard to the retirement of teachers on part pay is that one who has served 35 years may retire on one-half the average salary of the last five years of service.