The ‘‘Our towns’’ column is compiled each month by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries have been copied from the June 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 members of Sullivan-Shafer Post, No. 176, American Legion, had charge of the Memorial Day celebration for the Village of New Paltz. A large representation of ex-soldiers met at their rooms at 8:30 and at 9 o’clock were assembled by Elting Clearwater who was in command of the firing squad. The Post has just cause to be proud in possessing ten rifles loaned by the government together with cartridge belts; also a beautiful silk flag which has just been given them by Mr. Beebe of the Normal School faculty. The line of march led from Main Street down South Chestnut Street where autos were waiting to convey the soldiers to the cemetery entrance. Here the line of march was resumed and a place of honor given to two veterans of the Civil War, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Decker who participated in the services. The Post took its position before the soldiers’ monument, where the beautiful and impressive ritual of the American Legion was in charge of Post Commander Howard Zimmerman, and Memorial Prayers were offered by the Reverend F. R. Wilson acting as Chaplain. At the conclusion of the services the firing squad took its position and fired the salute to the dead. Then from a remote corner of the cemetery a bugler blew Taps, and so New Paltz through its soldiers, and with the gathering of citizens who journeyed out to the cemetery once more paid solemn tribute to its heroic dead.
A large congregation gathered from far and near to attend the Union Memorial Services at the Reformed Church Sunday night. The audience must have numbered at least five hundred. At the beginning of the exercises, representatives from various organizations including the Grand Army of the Republic, the American Legion, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the New Paltz Fire Department, marched into the church to the stirring strains of the Dutch Arms Orchestra. And took seats reserved for them. The address of the Rev. J. Robert Halmshaw, the new pastor of the Methodist Church, who was the speaker of the evening was a masterpiece. It was well conceived and clearly presented and was ideally appropriate for the occasion.
The play, “Daddy Long-legs” given on Monday night by the Junior Literary Society will never be forgotten by those who saw it. The play itself is a masterpiece. It was written and dramatized by Jean Webster, niece of Mark Twain. It was so well presented that the actors were forgotten in the story they put across the stage, that the orphans of the world are more hungry for sympathy and understanding than for food, raiment and shelter. The play was directed by Bruce Bennett.
Mr. and Mrs. Philip H. DuBois and son Louis spent Saturday in New York City and saw Babe Ruth play.
The addition which is being built to St. Joseph’s Church will increase its seating capacity to about 275, which is double the number it will accommodate at present.
The Governor signed the Bridge Bill at six o’clock on Saturday evening. The signing of the Po’keepsie Bridge Bill was expected, as he had indicated that he had favored the measure; there will be much rejoicing in all of this part of the state. The appropriation is only $200,000. This is only a starter. More will follow. Eventually a bridge will be built. The bridge will not be free. Tolls will be charged until they amount to enough to pay the rest of the structure. Two of the most expert bridge builders in the world are to be consulting engineers in the construction of the bridge at Poughkeepsie.
Carlton S. Preston of the Ulster County Fish and Game Association has distributed small-mouth bass in the Wallkill and other streams of the county. This is done every year and the fishing is thereby much improved. This helps attract summer boarders here.
The first drowning accident in more than thirty years occurred at Lake Mohonk late Monday evening, when Lawrence Miller, an employee in the porter’s office was seized with cramps while diving and drowned before his only companion, who could not swim, was able to summon help. His body was recovered after several hours and Tuesday morning was taken to his home in Ellenville, where he lived with his half-brother, Henry Miller.
Commencement week at the Normal began with the class day exercises of the Senior High School Class on Friday evening in the Normal Auditorium (now Studley Theatre). A very interesting program was given. Sarah Kimble had the president’s address, Louise Freer the class history, John Myers the Class prophecy. Some unusual music on the harmonica was introduced by Warren Burns and John Gaffney presented the mementoes. A play entitled Betty’s Butler, quite as romantic as Mid-Summer Night’s Dream, was presented by members of the class. The members of the class are: Bessie Catharine Deterick, Narrowsburg, N.Y; Marie Pauline Duley, Port Jervis; Mildred C. Joyce, Masthope, Pa.; Grace Elma Sheeley, Grahamsville; Arthur Warren Burns, New Paltz, Lucille Dill Coddington, New Paltz; Mary Louise Freer, New Paltz; John Joseph Gaffney, New Paltz; Sarah Rebecca Kimble, Gardiner; Edna Catharine Mollenhauer, Rosendale; John Myers, New York; Thelma Shappe, Gardiner; Walter Lawrence Taylor, New Paltz; and Lester C. Upright, Gardiner.
Normal School Class Day Motto: Friendship, “a word, the very sight of which in print makes the heart warm.” Class Colors: silver and blue, Scene: the campus, east of the building (Old Main). Class President: Miss Constance Bennett. First came the processional by the school orchestra. The appearance of the young ladies of kindergarten size, who in their bright flower dresses, ran down the steps and fluttered to their places on the grass where they represented “The awakening of the flowers.” The class history, with its many bright “hits” was given by Elizabeth Valentine. After the class song, the gifted class poet, Janet Terwilliger, read the class poem, which was modeled on Hiawatha. The formation of the class of 1923 consisted of evolutions prettily performed by the young ladies in flower-colored class-day dresses. Last in the program came the school songs, New Paltz Girl and Alma Mater. Ice cream was served to everybody.