In This Place: July 23, 2014

July 23 Potluck

A half-page ad from the July 23, 1915 edition.A half-page ad from the July 23, 1915 edition.

The middle of July can be a slow time for news. Folks are vacationing, and barring any fires, drownings, car wrecks or other tragedies of an “ambulance chas­ing” nature, a reporter can be hard pressed to deliver a zinger.
So I thought I’d fall back again on the tradition of summertime family reunions and give you a potluck from issues all dated the same day as this edition: July 23.
Like some potlucks, it was hard­er than I thought to provide a balanced meal of savory and sweet. There were plenty of sensational choices, including people being run over by trains and cows killed by lightning. I took a slightly higher road, but not by much. Trout fisherman take note: when a storm breaks, you don’t want to turn into the Big One that Didn’t Get Away:

— Lightning Tears Man’s Boot Off
Lighting attracted by a steel fishing rod caused severe burns on the right side of the body of Fred Eames, of Leonardsville while he was fishing in the Unadilla river one day recently. A boot was torn off by the bolt. He will recover. Eames was wading about four feet off shore when the storm broke, but he continued fishing. The bolt landed and he fell unconscious with his head above water. He came to his senses a few minutes later and shouted until he attracted attention of residents nearby.

Decades ago, it seems “popular girl” contests were all the rage. The News itself led one with a prize of a brand new piano. Popularity was determin­ed by balloting. Is it just me, or does this feel like an early 20th century exercise in social humil­iation, possibly as devastating as garnering less than a hundred friends on Facebook, or a measly dozen or so followers of your tweets? This is one tradition I wasn’t sorry to see fade away!

1937 — Legion Seeks Popular Girl
Contest In Connection with Carnival to be Held Here
As an outstanding feature of their annual carnival scheduled to be held from August 2 to August 7 on the baseball grounds in this village the local American Legion post are sponsoring a contest to determine who is the most popular girl.
Prizes of $500 in diamonds will be awarded to five winners in this contest. There will be a first, second, third, fourth and fifth prize. The contest will start today and continue until the close of the annual field day. There is no entry charge.
Among the various attractions which have been engaged to appear on the carnival grounds are the Eureka shows with a high class midway of riding devices, shows and concessions as well as various added free attractions which will appear nightly.
The contest committee will be headed by Fred A. Keller. Assisting him in the various details connected with the staging of the entire affair will be Capt. Harry Perry and various members of the Legion special committees. Contest entry blanks should be handed in at the Legion Home.—adv.

Here’s a milestone seldom reach­ed even today. Sadly, given Mr. Van’s health, folks probably thought it best not to wait for the 70th anniversary to pull out all the stops.

1948 — Roxbury Couple Celebrate 69th Anniversary Monday
Roxbury, July 20.—Mr. and Mrs. John L. Van Valkenburgh celebrated their sixty-ninth wed­ding anniversary yesterday. They are the oldest married couple in town, and have spent all their married life in Roxbury. They were married here at a quiet ceremony July 19, 1879, when each was nineteen.
Their only son, Herbert Van Valk­enburgh, and his wife of Buffalo, had planned to be with them. Mr. Van Valkenburgh was called to New York city on urgent business connected with the Dunlop Tire and Rubber company of which he is vice-president. However, he has made arrangements for a special anniversary dinner.
The day before, Mrs. Lynn J. Stewart appeared from the Roxbury hotel and informed Mrs. Van she was to order anything she wished. The dinners for Mr. and Mrs. Van and their housekeeper, Mrs. Linnie Wheeler, would be sent from the hotel the next day and served by Mrs. Stewart. Mrs. Van chose a turk­ey dinner with all the fixings.
In the afternoon Mrs. Van, assisted by Mrs. Wheeler, served cake, ice cream and punch to many callers who came to congratulate the couple upon attaining this remarkable mile­stone. Mrs. Van was in fine health and spirits, and enjoyed reminiscing of the old days. Mr. Van, who has poor health, was somewhat better that day, and able to be up and dressed, Mrs. Van wore a corsage of red roses presented her by Mrs. L. J. Stewart. The couple received many cards, flowers and gifts. The climax of the day came that evening when about sixteen members of the Roxbury Rotary club appeared after their supper at the hotel to add their congratulations.

From the July 23, 1937 edition.From the July 23, 1937 edition.
If Kingdon Gould could go back in time, I suspect he would have four very instructive words for these earnest committee men: “Don’t hold your breath.” At least, not until there is a community pool to jump into. Mr. Gould finally completed that long-held dream this spring after literally decades of effort.

1948 — Can Build Memorial Pool for about $12,000
The committee for a swimming pool war memorial has changed the prospective location of the pool from near the Margaret­ville hospital to the spot near the village ball diamond. This will allow a liberal supply of water and good parking space. There was a question lat the hospital site as to whether there would be ample water in dry weather.
The committee met with the village board and surveyor Law­rence Weber and contractor David Crawford last week to dis­cuss the details of construction. Mr. Crawford is of the opinion that the completed pool, with chlorinating plant, water supply and drainage will cost less than $12,000. He will be able to make a definite price when Mr. Weber completes a set of plans.
Before the village can put the matter up to vote for a bond issue there has to be on hand $600 in the village treasury to pay for plans, advertising, cost of election and the like. The village budget is made up for the year. Therefore, the committee must secure the $600 by solicitation. Members will canvass the village in an endeavor to secure this sum.

From the July 23, 1954 edition. Below, you can read all about one boy's surgery adventure at the Jamboree a decade later . . .From the July 23, 1954 edition. Below, you can read all about one boy's surgery adventure at the Jamboree a decade later . . .
Many July pages are full of boy scouts at their Jamboree. Here’s an episode that falls under “Moth­er’s worst nightmare,” although it has a happy ending.

1964 — Jamboree Boy Has Appendicitis Operation
Scout Dennis Balcom of Fleisch­manns underwent an emergency appendectomy at the National Boy Scout jamboree at Valley Forge Thursday, less than 12 hours after his arrival.
He complained of a stomach ache shortly after reaching the area and was admitted to the sec­tion health tent. When he did not improve Wednesday even­ing he was picked up by Army ambu­lance for removal to the Army hospital on the grounds. His con­dition was diagnosed there and he was transferred to the Valley Forge Army hospital for surgery. He was the first patient.
The medical care at the Jam­boree is excellent. There are three doctors on the section staff.
Dennis was back to the section health tent Tuesday, where he could participate in the less-ex­erting activities of the final days of the jamboree.
His mother, Mrs. Barbara Bal­com, received the following letter from the head surgeon of the hos­pital:
July 16, 1964
Dear Mrs. Balcom:
This will confirm our telephone conversations of July 16, 1964. Your Scout, Dennis A. Bal­com, was operated upon at 3 a.m. this morning for acute appendicitis. He is doing quite well, and it is anticipated that his course will be entirely smooth.
It is anticipated that he will be returned to the Jamboree Health Lodge under the care of a Scout physician surgeon who has agreed to care for him in order that he may participate in the Jamboree, though to a limited extent.
It is not planned to contact you further unless necessary until the end of the Jamboree at the time that transportation will need to be arranged.
Rest assured he is receiving the best of care by conscientious cap­able personnel.
Charles H. Boettner, M.D.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer
William M. Smith, M.D.
Chief Medical Officer

Ideas, comments, suggestions or amendments, please direct to: And don't forget to enjoy your own snooping in the archives!