The Crooked Lake Review

Spring 2005

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April and May 1905 and 1955

Glancing Backward

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


Beth Flory

April 1905

Motorized vehicles were increasing in number but horses were still very much on the scene. The two modes of transportation did not mix well. When motorcycles frightened the horse of rural mail carrier Mr. Flint, it took off and wrecked the buggy. Samuel Covel of Italy lost a good mare when she began to run coming down Sugar Hill and broke her leg. In both cases the drivers escaped injury.

Barton Olney along with his wife and mother, traveled to Atlanta to sell eggs and honey. (Eggs sold for 15 cents a dozen.) They hitched up next to two other horses and buggies. One of Avery's horses pulled back, uprooting a post and scaring a second horse which ran away, wrecking two of the conveyances. (The eggs were also casualties.)

The Editor complained that the many paths made by people taking shortcuts were spoiling the looks of the Town Park. Streets were rough and rutted. A steam roller was hired to flatten them out after they had been scraped.

Spring was traditionally the season for literally dozens of Neopolitans to pack up their belongings and move to other houses in or outside of town. The Record Editor documented the many changes of residence and expressed amusement at this annual phenomenon.

Lake boats had begun their seasonal runs but there was no stage between Woodville and Naples. "Old Reliable" Amos Simpkins was no longer on the scene but Clark Barker agreed to take over. Then as now, lakeside property was valuable. Former Woodville Hotel proprietor Thomas Hewitt sold the hotel and paid $6500 for the Walterita and Red Cedar cottages and land, farther to the north but also on the west side, for a proposed "summer hostelry."

There was cause for celebration when the water pipe in the Record office, frozen for over nine weeks, finally thawed out.

April 1955

Mrs. Leonard Foltz and Pauline Mosher reported watching a bear—"good sized and two and a half to three feet high"—on the Foltz farm in Eelpot. Several men had seen the animal but had "said nothing, for fear of being laughed at." The sighting prompted reminiscences of previous encounters, the destruction of Albert J. Braun's apiary among them. Earlier a posse had pursued a bear up Grimes Glen, then lost him.

The public—especially parents—greeted with joy and hope the news that Jonas Salk's polio vaccine had been tested, declared safe and was ready to be released. A series of three shots was scheduled to be given to the school children under the direction of Dr. P. J. English.

The Maxfield Hose Company elected officers at its annual meeting: Lylle Winter, President; George Ostrander, Vice-President; Willard Clawson, Secretary; Irving T. Barber, Treasurer; George Hoose, fire chief; and Albert Hanggi and Orey Wright as first and second assistant fire chiefs. The Hose Company was called out four times on one weekend to deal with grass fires.

May 1905

Drillers under the direction of George Granby found little gas at 800 feet but a "splendid showing" of gas with high pressure at 1120 feet. Granby and partner George Hemenway had a franchise to lay pipes in the village streets.

Old Fairview Cemetery was much improved by the efforts of J. P. Coons and F. P. Byington. Over eight weeks, brush was cleared and toppled stones righted. An appeal was made for funds to continue the restoration and to maintain the historic burial ground.

Portrait photography in Naples was well established and there were several men over the years who had their own studios . W. R. Conklin had over 100 sittings, on one day.

Many Neopolitans expected to travel to Geneva or Canandaigua to attend performances of John Robinson's three-ring circus. The 83-year-old attraction boasted "feats of daring and cavalry showmanship, featuring Edna, the world's only somersault rider. An added attraction was "King Solomon's Temple and the Queen of Sheba, requiring a cast of a thousand men, women and children and horses, 100 ballet girls reproducing the day of the king of a thousand wives." The daily circus parade was said to be a mile long, the gilded cages bearing exotic animals from all over the world.

Downie's one-ring circus was coming to Naples for one day with four bands and "a magnificent steam piano, " fifty acts, 25 clowns, 200 horses and ponies and "the only singing donkey in the world."

A fine crop of hay was ready to be gathered from three sides of Memorial Hall Park. "Why not let the front also become a hay field?" asked the disgruntled Editor.

Captain Coye of Coye Point caught the first known trout of the season at the south end of Canandaigua. Park Stoddard and Seymour Sutton went over to Keuka Lake to try the fishing there.

Memorial Day was taken very seriously and a number of people felt it should remain a solemn occasion and should not be undignified by baseball games and horse races.

There were rumors that the lake road would soon be closed for construction beteen Woodville and Griesa's.

May 1955

The Nundawaga Society lost its founder, Arthur C. Parker, on New Years Day but resolved to continue, meeting with President Robert Moody to plan the coming season. The 1954 play would be repeated on September 2 and 3 on an improved and raised earthen stage in the sycamore grove near Clark's Gully.

A stubborn fire at the village dump near Italy-Naples County Line required seven trips to town for water and seriously injured Francis Fisher whose eyeballs were burned. Two other firemen were cut by broken glass. Chief George Hoose asked the public to remember that there were no nearby water sources and that some of the material deposited in the dump had been unsuitable.

Naples Central School announced that Frederick Scheeren would be Valedictorian of the Class of '55 and Doris Lee, Salutatorian. Killed in a car crash on the lake road during a heavy rainstorm was Leota Johnson Doyle in the first fatal local accident of 1955.

An oil truck lost its brakes and all but demolished the Vine Street entrance to the Grange Hall. Rather than risk lives by coasting into Main Street, the driver chose to steer into the concrete foundation of the Grange.

A Special Glancing Backwards to 1939

As Rotary International observes its 100th anniversary in 2005, the Naples Rotary Club is celebrating its 66th year. It was organized during the winter of 1939 with twenty charter members. Directors were Frank Widmer, Harrie Weatherlow, Glenn Loomis, Jim Reed, Al Jenkins, Charles Salyer and Bob Allen. The first slate of officers included Sergeant at Arms, George Marshall; Treasurer, Harrie Weatherlow; Secretary, Harry Deuberry; Vice-President, Charles Salyer and President, Robert Allen. The Charter Night Banquet was held on May 1 at the Methodist Church when Mayor Harry Otto welcomed 225 Rotarians from 18 area clubs.

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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