In This Place: Stories from the News Archives by Trish Adams

In This Place: December 10, 2014

The Christmas Sacrifice
December 1941 turned from Jingle Bells and Deck the Halls to war bonds and sending young men to the front in one fell swoop (literally) when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7. It is still amazing how quickly the country mobilized, in every possible way. Less than a week after the US declared war on Japan and Germany, in the issue of December 12, 1941, you could already read about everything from quelling rumors to how to prepare for a blackout.
From the December 25, 1941 editionFrom the December 25, 1941 edition

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In This Place: December 3, 2014

Curing What Ails You
In honor of World AIDS Day (December 1), I thought we would look back at other epidemics and how people faced them decades ago. I figured the Spanish Influenza pandemic of 1918 — probably the most deadly in recorded history — would afford me an entire column; however, it seems that flu was never as rampant in our mountain towns as it was in the cities, and most of the News coverage was simply an attempt to keep people calm.
Another disease which struck terror especially in the hearts of mothers, was infantile paralysis, or polio, which mostly hit infants and small children but could afflict adults too. Here too, it seems the dread illness was not rampant here, although its effect on the nation as a whole was widely recognized and feared.
GETTING READY FOR THE BIGGEST BIRTHDAY PARTY IN AMERICAN HISTORY<br />
Every community in the nation will honor President Roosevelt when he becomes 52 years old on Tuesday, Jan. 30 by giving a local ball to help endow an extension of the nation-wide work of the Warm Springs Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in which the President is so deeply interested. Upper left, the President and his mother. Mrs. James A. Roosevelt, who bought the first box sold for the New York ball in the Waldorf-Astoria, upper center. Colonel Henry L. Doherty, chairman of the committee of leaders arranging the observance of the President's anniversary; upper right, the official poster contributed to the movement by the famous artist, Howard Chandler Christy; lower picture, child patients at Warm Springs sharpening up knives and appetites for the largest observance of the President's birthday ever held at that health center. Tha cake, weighing 344 pounds and said to be the larger; birthday cake ever made, was presented to the children for their party by Chairman Doherty.  From the Jan. 26, 1934 editionGETTING READY FOR THE BIGGEST BIRTHDAY PARTY IN AMERICAN HISTORY
Every community in the nation will honor President Roosevelt when he becomes 52 years old on Tuesday, Jan. 30 by giving a local ball to help endow an extension of the nation-wide work of the Warm Springs Foundation for Infantile Paralysis in which the President is so deeply interested. Upper left, the President and his mother. Mrs. James A. Roosevelt, who bought the first box sold for the New York ball in the Waldorf-Astoria, upper center. Colonel Henry L. Doherty, chairman of the committee of leaders arranging the observance of the President's anniversary; upper right, the official poster contributed to the movement by the famous artist, Howard Chandler Christy; lower picture, child patients at Warm Springs sharpening up knives and appetites for the largest observance of the President's birthday ever held at that health center. Tha cake, weighing 344 pounds and said to be the larger; birthday cake ever made, was presented to the children for their party by Chairman Doherty. From the Jan. 26, 1934 edition

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In This Place: Nov. 26, 2014

Gobble, Gobble

This Thanksgiving column is so stuffed it leaves little room for commentary! Here’s some sticker shock from the first post-WWI Thanksgiving:

November 29, 1918 — Dear Turkey
Thanksgiving Dinner Costs $1 More This Year Than Last—$3 More Than in 1913.
Thanksgiving dinner for five persons, with an eight pound turkey, cost $1 more this year than it did last and $2.92 more than in 1913. These figures were complied by the Federal Food board and are based on what it considers “fair prices.”


In This Place: Nov. 19, 2014

Gone Huntin’

It’s the season when a young man goes seeking his first buck and our pages are adorned with their trophies. Hunting tales abound in our archives too, I hope you enjoy the ones I’ve culled for you this year — as with the deer, there are plenty that got away that we can scare up next year!


In This Place: Nov. 12, 2014

End of Hostilities

In honor of Veterans Day, I thought we could take a happy glance back to those days when the end of a war was announced. The holiday itself was first known as Armistice Day, to honor the day that World War I (the war “to end all wars”) ended. These first few items all appeared on the
November 15, 1918 front page.

Celebrated News of Peace with Great Spirit
Margaretville made noise all day and part of the night.
Kaiser Hung From A Wire And Burned
Many people said the day was the happiest they ever knew.
Margaretville celebrated the news of peace Monday with a vengeance.
The false peace alarm of last Thursday got a foothold here but when it was found to be a fake the celebration stopped. The deserted Sweeney house on upper Main Street was burned that night at about 8 o’clock. No one knows how it got afire.


In This Place: November 5, 2014

Did You Vote?
Call me a sicko, but I love politics. I worked on the 1990 campaign of Deborah Glick, the first openly gay person ever elect­ed to the NYS Assembly. Some News readers may remember my coverage of the 2006 race of Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, now our Senator.
I also love the math, science and strategy of it all. So, now that Nov. 4 has come and gone, let’s enjoy some very pre-Nate Silver election results.

November 5, 1909 — Close Vote Delays the Final Count
The recent election was probably the closest one in the history of the county, there being only a matter of about 100 votes between victory and defeat.
The result could not be author­itively announced until the official returns had been canvassed at Delhi Wednesday evening.


In This Place: October 29, 2014

Hallowe’en — Some Tricks, Some Treats

Let’s enjoy some of the old-fashioned hijinks of Hallowe’ens past. The costumes may have morphed over the years, and the elaborate parades with floats, window paintings on Main Street shops and fiercely fought costume contests are now largely a thing of the past. But trick or treating — as well as some devil­ish mischief-making — remain much the same. Let’s start with an early 20th century warning that seems to have been printed just in the nick of time!
Joe Duggan, Margaretville Boy Scout, looks up after finishing his pie in the Halloween pie-eating contest Monday evening at the Margaretville central school, while Sandy Scudder keeps eating. Despite his spectacular appearance Joe did not finish soon enough to win a prize. Who cares? The pie was prize enough.
—From the November 4, 1955 edition.Joe Duggan, Margaretville Boy Scout, looks up after finishing his pie in the Halloween pie-eating contest Monday evening at the Margaretville central school, while Sandy Scudder keeps eating. Despite his spectacular appearance Joe did not finish soon enough to win a prize. Who cares? The pie was prize enough.
—From the November 4, 1955 edition.


In This Place: October 22, 2014

October Olio

Traditionally a Spanish or Latin American “rich, highly seasoned stew of meat and vegetables,” the word “olio” has long since come to refer to any miscellaneous collection of items, a hodgepodge, as it were. So this week’s column of news that was reported on the front pages this week in 1904, ’24, ’34 and ’54 certainly qualifies as an “olio.”


In This Place: October 15, 2014

Mountain Italiano

The fate of that famous Italian Columbus — whether you consider him a daring explorer, an exploitative plunderer or a mixture of both — is well known. So instead I thought we could look at the fortunes of—and Catskills attitudes towards—the Italians who centuries later, followed in Columbus’ wake and wound up making a home in our hills.


In This Place: October 8, 2014

Fiddlin’ Around

This weekend’s Fiddlers! festival at the Roxbury Arts Group celebrates its 21st year in a perform­ance space named for one of the most renowned and most enduring of our mountain fiddlers, Hilt Kelly. Here’s a write-up of a little get together, when by my rec­koning Hilt would have been 15, probably the same age as the kids he entertained. Hope he got in on that gingerbread and ice cream.

February 7, 1941
Leighton Scudder entertained a dozen schoolmates at a party at his home on Saturday even­ing. To start things off, Leighton took everybody for an old-fashioned hay-ride, bells and everything. Upon their return, square dancing was in order, with music furnished by Hilton Kelly and Amos Kelder. Finally the young folks gathered around the fireplace and roasted hot dogs and topped off with home-made ice cream and gingerbread. Sounds like some party!


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