The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the February 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.
At a meeting of the Local Board held in the Principal’s office at the New Paltz State Normal School, on Wednesday, January 31, 1923, the resignation of Principal John C. Bliss was handed in. We receive with deep regret the news that Dr. Bliss is resigning on account of ill health. The school has grown greatly since he has been principal, the north wing, whose beautiful auditorium is one of the largest in the county, having been added to the building during his term of office. It is hoped that Dr. and Mrs. Bliss will continue to make their home in New Paltz where they have so many friends. Dr. Bliss has been in New Paltz about fifteen years. He is the fourth principal of the school. His predecessors were Eugene Bouton, Frank S. Capen and Myron T. Scudder. He came to New Paltz about the time the school moved to the new location on the hill. His taste in landscape gardening has served a good purpose in beautifying the new campus, which with its trees, flowers and lawns, and its noble and commanding view of mountain and valley, is now worthy to form the predominant feature of our village landscape. Personally the editor must note Mr. Bliss’s interest in his own home garden. In the matter of raising the first spring peas, he has proved a formidable rival.
The second of February is called Candemas or Ground Hog Day. The story is well known that the bear and ground hog will come out of their holes and if the sun is shining so they can see their shadows they will go back again. The old Dutch settlers had another story which we think is known only by descendants of the old settlers. They called the day “Vrauentagh” or Women’s Day” and for this one day the women through the land were supposed to rule the men.
Ulster County hens, for the production of eggs, according to, the United States Census Records, have the second place in New York State and the twenty-ninth in the three thousand counties in the United States.
School children who have had little breakfast will find great benefit from a drink of milk at ten o’clock, which many schools are providing.
Monday was Lincoln’s birthday. There are few people in the country who can say that they saw Lincoln, but the editor of the Independent can tell a long story of shaking hands and having a long chat with the great Emancipator one hot afternoon in August 1864.
The Ladies’ Aid of the Modena M.E. Church will hold a “Backward Social” at the Parsonage Friday evening, February 16. Come backwards, clothes on backwards, well, everything backwards, but your disposition. Menu — coffee, cake, salad, pickles, biscuits, scalloped salmon and potatoes.
There was a Valentine Party at the Normal School on Friday afternoon. It was a real Valentine’s sociable — each girl brought a Valentine as an admittance fee, and received a different one when she left. Mrs. D. A. Hasbrouck appropriately entertained at “Hearts” on the afternoon of St. Valentine’s Day. The rooms and card tables were decorated with hearts, cupids and arrows and the refreshments carried out the same idea. At the Valentine Party given for St. Charles’ Church at Gardiner last week. The prize for the best boy’s costume was won by John Moran, aged three years, son of Frank Moran. He wore an evening suit, beaver hat, and carried a cane. The girl’s prize was awarded to Virginia Carlin, daughter of Edwin Carlin. She was dressed as a pink Couple butterfly with bow and arrows.
Such spectators as were present witnessed the most exciting game of the season when the Riordan Quintet played the New Paltz High School in the school gym. Van Wagenen and McAndrews were the high scorers for us, while Fisher and Frye starred for our opponents. The issue was in doubt up to the last five minutes. Riordan outweighed the home five by a great deal. There was plenty of action and sometimes a little roughness, but no one was injured. Both teams played a good game. The score was 32 to 21 in favor of the visitors. There was dancing after the game. Mr. Fisher played several jazz selections which were very much enjoyed.
Monday’s snowstorm brought the total fall for the winter to more than forty-six inches, thus breaking the record for the severe winter of 1919-20. The snowfall that season was 45 Inches. The deep snow causes considerable inconvenience to our village merchants in delivering goods. They have to deliver them by sleighs as they cannot use autos.
The bowling alley at the Riverside Hotel caved in recently due to the heavy weight of snow upon the roof. Instead of rebuilding it Mr. Donoghue is having an alley built under the Casino. One of the large windows in Dr. Coddington’s house was broken by ice falling from the roof.
Those who have not been filling their ice houses before are doing so this week. The price paid for labor is $3 a day. Loren Schantz of Highland has filled his ice houses. He has about seven thousand tons.
New York State has been cleared of tramps, once numerous, since the state police was organized five years ago. Major George F. Chandler, superintendent of the department, stated in his annual report submitted to Governor Smith.
The Shandaken Tunnel, the sections of which were brought together last week, is over nineteen miles in length and is the longest tunnel in the world. It is six miles longer than the Simplon tunnel. Work on the Shandaken tunnel began in 1918 and for five years the rock drills have been eating away under the highest levels of the Catskills.
The celebration of the 300th Anniversary of the settlement of New York City by the Huguenot and Walloons is making progress. President Harding and President Poincare of France, Queen Wilhelmina of Holland and King Albert of Belgium have accepted invitations to honorary chairmanships. There is no place in the country, next to New York City, so much interested in this celebration as New Paltz. In New Paltz there are more reminders of the Huguenot settlers than in any other place in the country.
“Rube” Forsythe, the celebrated New Paltz hay shaker, who achieved fame in Hudson Valley baseball circles within the past three years is in much demand this year. As a matter of fact, nearly every manager in the Hudson Valley is rushing about trying to get the well-known slabsider to sign on the dotted line for next season. Like all good ball players Rube is holding out until some sweet young manager comes along with proper figures. According to Freddie Wetmore, who has joined the parade, Rube is out for the long green and the manager who finally gets him will have to come across with plenty for his services.