In This Place: May 20, 2015

Ready for Some May-hem?
In honor of the arrival of spring and warm weather I thought I'd spring a little May mayhem your way: a little collection of the unexpected, mischief-making or spring cleaning variety. Some of these stories portent a dire outcome that turns instead to be much ado about nothing.
First, a little spring paranoia, from 1905. We can suppose these gentlemen ultimately found the to-do humorous because it did not conclude with any gun-slinging:
May 12, 1905 — Some Four Strange Men
They came soon after the Gilbertsville Robbery
Everybody Said They Were Sizing Up the Town and Everybody Became Very Much Excited.
Four innocent men never created more excitement than four "picture enlargers" created who landed in Margaretville Monday evening.

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In This Place: May 13, 2015

The Days of Our Lives
The passing of Bonnie Etts last week — a genial and generous man who played his part “in this place” for almost 100 years — reminded me of the role the News has also played in those decades, not just reporting ‘news,” but also chronicling the small daily events and interactions that really make up the vast majority of our moments on earth. Not every day is a red letter day, but by taking Bonnie Etts as my subject, I was able to gather some delightful or poig­nant snapshots from his young­er days.

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In This Place: May 6, 2015

Some gift suggestions for you procrastinators in this April 22, 1955 ad.Some gift suggestions for you procrastinators in this April 22, 1955 ad.
Here They Come, Ready or Not
Although we regard Memorial Day weekend as the official kickoff of summer, in years gone by many summer boarders headed for the hills in May. The notice below regularly appeared around the end of winter, week after week, year in and year out, imploring lodging proprietors to get their act together. The information of summer lodging choices was so valuable to the railroad and its passengers that there was no charge for a listing.

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In This Place: April 29, 2015

May Days in Motion

May Day — traditionally celebrated on May 1, seems to have moved around a bit in the actual coronations of May Queens and such. At women’s colleges it was a matter of great prestige to be named Queen of the May, but the ceremony was usually held later in the month. I also was surprised to find many mentions of Arbor Day celebrations in May. Although it started out in the middle of April, it was officially moved to the last Friday in April at some point, but never mind that — I found plenty of Arbor Day stories drifting into May as well — probably so moved by the impracticality of planting trees in the mountains in April!


In This Place: April 22, 2015

Scattered Showers

This week’s column is a little spring bouquet of thises and thats, garnered from this time of year in decades past. As promised, with the change of seasons, we have another treat from Emmeline Scudder’s diary of farm life in the 1950s, Feminine Furrows.

Our first story, however, gives a whole new meaning to the term “opium den”:

April 16, 1915
Shot a Chuck — Highmount Man Makes Novel Capture of a Pet which Develops a Bad Habit