The Crooked Lake Review

Summer 2003

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April, May, June 1903 and 1953

Glancing Backward

News items from the Naples Record 100 years and 50 years ago


Beth Flory

April 1903

Hardworking Dr. Barringer who was constantly on the go treating illnesses and injuries came to grief when his horses took off down Prattsburgh Street (Route 53?) And his buggy overturned, throwing him out and giving him a bad sprain and "a severe shaking up." The horses, loosed and unhurt, were finally caught on Weld St.

The Record noted that the street sprinkler was badly needed because the dust “was almost unbearable.” Overseers of highways were supposed to remove loose stones from roads each month from April to December. Street Commissioner F. P. Byington had the scrapers out to good effect. The Memorial Town Hall park was raked and cleaned up satisfactorily.

The village welcomed the reopening of the cheese factory and the advent of Henry Paul, a “practical cooper,” while the newspaper noted that the town needed a shoemaker. Nellis Westbrook advertised that he had bought 14 cows, a wagon and bottles from Hiram Warren, was now delivering milk twice a day and hoping for customers.

Organizations moved into high gear. The Neopolitan Musicale was reviewed enthusiastically with fulsome praise for the many singers and pianists. “The quartet, composed of Messrs. Howard and Hess and Mesdames Roop and Caulkins, sang very effectively ‘The Miller's Wooing.’ Loud was the applause without avail, for they betook themselves to obscurity and forgot to reappear.”

The Jolly Old Maids met every two weeks. Fifty out of the eighty members of the Naples Tent of the Knights and Lady Maccabees gathered for supper and music. The Baptist Ladies Aid reported that over the previous year they had raised $334. Members of the Camera Club met “for the cultivation and advancement of the art and science of photography” as well as for socializing. Instruction was available and outings were planned to take pictures of nearby "mountains, glens, rocks and cascades."

The Record reported the death of Mrs. Mary Maxfield, widow of Hiram Maxfield, and praised her quiet modesty and kindness.

Snow whitened the hills and was followed by fair weather. The lake trout, pike and pickerel seasons opened and the dock at the north end of the lake was lengthened by 100 feet. After running on schedule for two weeks, the Ogarita was again tied up, “waiting for business sufficient to pay running expenses.”

A topic of conversation was the exploit of Charles Sheffield, a fruit grower from Sheffield Point on the west side of the lake. He bought a cow on the east side and to bring it home, he “took two barn doors, fastened them across two rowboats, built a stall thereon, drove the cow onto the shaky ferry, and, using the third boat as a tug, rowed the outfit across the lake, arriving safely.”

April 1953

“The scene is changing on Main St.," declared the Record editor. Rennoldson and Barber, new owners of what had been Morley's garage, were refitting the building. The Arthur Smith store next door would be razed as part of a large parking lot. The editor remembered previous businesses on that site, the first being “‘Quality’ Remington's oyster saloon.” This was followed by Clara Benjamin's boarding house and half a dozen other businesses.

The Smith store was of unusual “plank” construction. The frame erected, planks were nailed on, vertically, clapboards covered the planks on the outside; inside, lath and plaster covered the planks with no studding and no air space in the walls.

A new cinder block telephone building would contain automatic switching equipment. Four miles of cable, 125 new poles and 176 miles of wire were needed and all phones would be changed from the old crank type to dial.

NCS announced that Jean Pressler would be valedictorian of her class and Gary Braun salutatorian. Juniors Phyllis Tiberio, Patricia Graves, and Nancy Koby and Seniors Jean Pressler and Georgia Snyder were inducted into the National Honor Society. Awards were presented by Principal Llewyn Thomas.

William Widmer addressed Naples rotary on the subject of grape growing and processing and showed a colorful film that provided a detailed overview of this important local industry.

On a half day during spring vacation the Boy Scouts planted about 3,000 fir trees on land of J. Andrassy in Gulick. Participating were Carl and John Widmer, Gerald Strong, Robert Bashford, Eugene Graff, Albert and Samuel Hanggi, Louis Angelo, Eldon Woodard and James Stafford. Clayton Wheat was the new Scoutmaster, to be assisted by Proctor Smith and John Keith.

May 1903

Snow, wind and an inch of ice came to the Naples area on the opening days of the month and ruined the cherry crop. In spite of bad weather, noted fisherman Capt. Coye was out on the lake catching the first trout of the season. One day the atmosphere over the water was dense with smoke. When it cleared, the air was luminous. Jacob's Landing correspondent Uncle Ed Wetmore who had lived in Kansas wrote that it looked the way it did before a western cyclone. The smoke was believed to have come from forest fires in the Adirondacks.

The steamer was running again but riders were few. The Ogarita left Woodville at 7 in the morning and Canandaigua at 4 in the afternoon.

World-wide geography, travel and literature interested many. A stereopticon lecture on the slave trade in Africa in the 1860's gripped a large audience as did “the trials and suffering unto death of David Livingstone who practically laid down his life for the amelioration of the condition of the poor blacks.” The Literary Club met to discuss Oliver Wendell Holmes' life and writings while the Baptist missionary society was continuing its study of India.

The “Dog and Pony Show” is a phrase that has entered our current usage but originally it referred to a touring exhibition of trained animals. A street parade preceded the Naples performances of this popular attraction. The Darlings' company traveled by rail “using elegant cars and coaches” and carried its own enormous tent.

Eating habits, like clothes, are subject to fashion and they change over the years . One social of the Presbyterian ladies featured hot bouillon and ice cream. Money raisers were held at J. H. Tozer's store where the following were sold: ice cream and cake, 10 cents; one tongue sandwich, 5 cents; two bread and butter sandwiches, 5 cents; hot bouillon and wafers, 5 cents.

Dr. Barringer, working hard as usual in spite of his accident in April, was equal to the challenge when the young son of Joseph Konz of Rhine Street fell while playing with a stick which “went down his throat and out under the jaw, nearly severing the jugular vein. Dr. Barringer was called and the boy is now doing well.” The Doctor also successfully dealt with the fractured shoulder of Gottlieb Klingenberger who fell from a lumber wagon and the broken arm and dislocated elbow of seven-year-old Charley Randolph of Vine Valley who tumbled off his father's stone boat.

As always, dozens of people helped with Memorial Day planning: the men made the decisions and the speeches and the women provided flowers. James Tozer was President of the Day. The line formed at the GAR Hall (between the Baptist and Presbyterian Churches) led by the band, veterans, town officials and representatives from civic societies. Followed by “school-children and citizens,” they marched to the Town Hall for music, a military exercise, a reading of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, prayer and a memorial address. The line then re-formed and went up to Rose Ridge for “the Grand Army Ritual for the absent dead.” Graves were decorated and all returned down West Hollow road to their point of origin and dismissal.

May 1953

On May 11 it was 90 degrees in the shade, beating previous records for the day. The new bridge over West River was completed and opened to the public.

A son was born to Sgt. and Mrs. James Grove in Aberdeen, Maryland. Mr. and Mrs. Delmar Drake also had a son, Lindsley. Pvt. Anthony Stopka was sent to Germany and Capt. Frank Stockton was on leave before departing for duty in Newfoundland. J. Leonard Guerrette, AT3, left Pearl Harbor for duty in the Japan-Philippine area. Robert Lafler was told to report to Syracuse for army induction.

Bill Eichberger was chosen to attend Empire Boys' State, sponsored by the American Legion.

Plans were made for Naples' 85th observance of Memorial Day. Naples had begun to recognize this special day a year before 1869 when the country officially did. The American Legion Post was in charge, under the direction of Post Commander Edward Ulmer. Maurice Swingle was marshal and Scout James Swingle was bugler. For the 29th consecutive year, Naples Boy and Girl Scouts conducted a sunrise service at Rose Ridge. At 10 a.m. The Band marched from the school to the Village Hall where it was joined by the Maxfield Hose Company, the Legion and its Auxiliary. Back to the school they went to pick up the rest of the parade line. This year the route went south down Main St, west on Vine, south and east on James and back northward on Main Street for the traditional program in the school auditorium.

The old magnolia tree on the School lawn was “proclaiming the spring season with a profusion of glorious blooms.”

June 1903

The great fires that began in April in the dry Adirondacks continued to affect the Naples area creating smoke so dense on the lake that a steamer had to draw near to shore to see if flags (signals for "please stop") had been raised. Fishermen were finding too many carp—called mud hogs—and Alex Granger found a trout covered with sores. Seth Green had said trout were not getting the right food and proposed that sawbellies from Keuka Lake be brought in.

Hot, dry weather was followed by eight successive days of rain. “Grip” and German Measles were prevalent and so were accidents and deaths. Five cows belonging to John Cook of Putnam's Hill were killed by lightning. Seymour Edson's unhitched team took off from the Griswold mills yard and were tearing down Main St. when the back wheels and the load of lumber fell off. The team took to the sidewalk and ended up on the front porch of the Naples Record office. The horses survived and their owner fixed the damaged porch.

The community was shocked by the suicide of farmer Tip Stebbins. When Albert Weisenberger's home was broken into by Delbert Hinckley and John Leggett, they beat him into unconsciousness. The two were jailed almost immediately while their victim lay in critical condition.

But not all was bleak. The baseball season had begun and “the battle of the giants was fought on Powell Hill when the Rhine St. Athletic Club met the Powell Hillites and defeated them.” The score was 17 to 6 and the game was notable for "superb work at the bat and brilliant fielding." Unhappily, the high school team was badly beaten by Rushville.

Cyclists had notable stamina. Rev. H. D. Hardway headed for a conference in Peterborough, NY and rode 70 miles the first day and 82 the second. Frank Tozer and Arthur Smith went out for a ride and passed through Canandaigua, Middlesex, Bath, Prattsburgh, Atlanta and Naples, and then home. School was out and popular Miss Goundry ended her term with exercises and ice cream and cake.

A. F. Hotchkiss was pleased to hear that he had been granted a patent for his invention—an arm rest for telephones. "No more aching arms from holding the receiver to the ear, for it can be raised and lowered to suit the operator." There were high hopes for its wide acceptance.

Meanwhile Mrs. Hipsey Graves was already looking ahead to the Naples Fair where she expected to exhibit her three-legged duck.

June 1953

Life in Naples proceeded as usual, undistracted by the coronation of a young British queen. More exciting was the news that Al Kaline, 18, who had been sought by 14 big league teams before he graduated from high school, was said to have made his decision. Moviegoers headed for the Naples Theatre to see TITANIC starring Barbara Stanwyck and Robert Wagner.

Thirty three seniors were to graduate from NCS on the 22nd. Edwin Briggs was class President, Shirley Brand, Vice-president, Georgia Snyder, Secretary and James Worden, Treasurer. Cadet Ronald Johnson graduated from Valley Forge Military Academy and also received an Associate's degree from the Academy's junior college. Pvt. George Ratcliffe and Pvt. Donald Francis were on leave while Ac3 William Domm had been made a member of Lowry Air Force Base Fife and Drum Corps. Capt. and Mrs Robert Woodard and children arrived home for good, his active duty concluded. Woodard spoke at a meeting of his fellow Rotarians upon his return. Llewellyn Spangler was promoted to petty officer third class.

On Main Street, the Maxfield block was sold to Peter Savage. Rennoldson & Barber moved their store to the former Morley Garage which they had purchased.

Toward the end of the month a day of 98 degrees in the shade was followed by violent thunder-storms that did extensive damage to the shores of Honeoye Lake while hail hit Hemlock. The storms broke the heat wave and the next day it was 46.

Mrs. Helen Lyon was declared winner of the molasses cookie contest held by the Naples Grange. Runners up were Mrs. Alice Folts and Mrs. George McPhee.

Beth Flory's "Glancing Backward" column in the Naples Record is compiled from
old news items that appeared in the Record. Reprinted with permission of the Naples Record.
Index of articles by Beth Flory
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