Looking Back in Philipstown

The Waverley bicycle, popular in 1895, was made in Indianapolis.

150 Years Ago (March 1870)

The night watchman at the depot reported that the engineer and the brakeman of a freight train had a fight while the cars were stopped at the Cold Spring station. “It seems that the engineer put the brakeman off the locomotive, and the latter sneaked behind him while oiling some portion of the machinery and struck him a heavy blow from behind,” the Cold Spring Recorder reported. “The brakeman got an axe from the caboose but the conductor got the train under motion and the instinct of their trade took each to his respective post.”

The directors of the Cold Spring Reading Room, founded seven years earlier and supported by annual subscriptions paid by residents, voted to close.

Thomas Vance challenged any reader of the Recorder to “combat with me in figures, including examples based upon algebra and arithmetic, to be decided by three judges and place of solving said examples at the discretion of the one who returns this challenge.”

A propeller steamer forced its way from Garrison through the ice to a point opposite Cold Spring, cutting a channel between the village and West Point. The captain was paid but then his ship became stuck “as if melted lead had been poured around her.”

A load of hay driven by John Baxter of Philipstown got so tightly wedged in the passage between the stores of Robert Smith and T.B. Truesdell that it had to be unloaded.

In 1870, a Cold Spring resident owned a copy of this 1541 book.

Matthias McCaffery reported that he had in his possession a book published in London in 1655, Private Devotions for Several Occasions, Ordinary and Extraordinary. William Paulding then reported that he owned a medieval poem about daily hygiene and diet called Regimen sanitatis saleni [commonly known as The Flower of Medicine] published in London in 1541.

Miss E.J. Pierce, M.D., of Newburgh, delivered a lecture at Town Hall illustrated with oil paintings and entitled, “Diseases Peculiar to Women.”

The roof of a barn in Nelsonville owned by Daniel Griffin was blown off in a gale, with one half going north and the other half south.

A hailstorm caused many cancellations.

After decapitating two turkeys in the street in front of his store, Stephen Pierce left them in the snow and went inside his home. When he returned, two men were seen making their way up the street with one of the fowls. When confronted, they claimed they had been playing a joke.

When hearing complaints that the village streets were overdue for repair, the editor of the Recorder said he would reply, “Did you vote in the last election?” When the reply was “no,” “we frankly expressed our opinion that the village matters were none of his business — that he didn’t live in these parts and should shut his mouth.”

125 Years Ago (March 1895)

E.L. Post, the dry goods merchant, was attracting attention with his window display of gent’s furnishings.

Thieves ransacked the residence of James Ladue of Chestnut Street while he away because of an illness in his family. They took a pot of butter, food and clothing.

George Ferris left for Fire Island, where Rep. Hamilton Fish of Garrison secured him a position as watchman. Rep. Fish also secured $15,000 in state funds to complete the road between the State Camp and Garrison.

Sixty-three votes were cast in the annual Nelsonville village election for trustees, clerk, collector, treasurer, assessors, street commissioners and pound master. The following week, the newly elected board passed ordinances banning the playing of marbles on the sidewalks and “fast driving.”

The board called Levi Wood to appear before it to explain why he was claiming that members of the previous board had “expended money for which they gave no account, to the amount of over $100.”

Alexander Spalding purchased a vacant lot at the corner of Main and Furnace.

“Eggs are the latest fad with women,” the Recorder noted. “It has become a common sight at leading ladies’ restaurants in the New York shopping districts to see whole regiments of women file past the man at the counter busy breaking eggs in wine glasses. The beverage is then tossed down in a single swallow.”

A flock of 20 eagles in the lower cove caught the attention of travelers on the railroad.

In Garrison, Eugene Crawford purchased a new Waverley bicycle that weighed 22 pounds.

George Smith, the telegraph operator, returned home after visiting friends in Connecticut.

Prof. P.A. Carciofini, of West Point, who gave a boxing class in the village last year, was hired by Princeton College in New Jersey to teach “the manly art of self-defense” to students. [Later that year, the Princeton Bric-a-brac reported: “Prof. Carciofini started a boxing class and incidentally tried to get up a prize fight among the fellows. The faculty promptly sat on the preliminaries and the professor imported a couple of would-be sluggers, and held a séance at Kingston, attended by a few students and much disappointment.”]

The proprietor of the Pacific Hotel said he planned to remodel its interior and change its name to the Burnett House.

The New York Evening Post reported that a group called the Prison Association of New York was agitating for the abolition of the county jail system in the state, citing as an example the situation at the Putnam County jail, which during an inspection had 86 prisoners in a 32-by-32-foot area designed to hold 18. When asked about the overcrowding, the sheriff replied that the jail had held up to 160 prisoners in the space.

The St. Mary’s Athletic Club hosted a running high jump competition. The bar began at 2.5 feet and progressed one inch at a time. William Bell won by clearing 4 feet, 7 inches, and the top three finishers each received souvenir spoons.

After the young sons of Green Crookston and Meade Van Tassell got into a scrap, the fathers did, as well, which resulted in Crookston suing Van Tassell for $1,000 in damages. [Crookston, a Civil War veteran, died 25 years later, in March 1920.]

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Allchin had planned to move to Coney Island but decided to continue living at the Garrison Hotel for another season.

James Dibbell, the librarian of the Garrison Reading Room, visited New York City to purchase books with funds donated by the Social Club of Garrison.

Three copperheads were spotted sunning themselves near the Main Street railroad crossing.

The Garrison Walking Club took its first venture of the spring, going from West Point to Central Valley, then to Newburgh, and returning home by rail.

The Recorder noted in a correction that John Donohue had a yoke of oxen, not a team of horses, for sale at the Garrison Hotel stable.

100 Years Ago (March 1920)

Henry Metcalfe recalled in a letter to the editor that about a year before she died in 1913, Julia Butterfield had asked him what he thought she could do for the medical welfare of the village. He suggested “a visiting nurse, to live in a little dispensary, stocked for simple emergency cases.” He noted that “she had grander ideas.” [In her will, Butterfield bequeathed $150,000, or the equivalent of $3.8 million today, to build Butterfield Hospital.]

The New York State Police opened a substation in Cold Spring at the residence of Mary Royce on Main Street. Any call for assistance could be directed to telephone 47-J.

A gunshot heard near Fair Street turned out to a resident firing at a prowler.

BREAD WARS — Competing ads in a 1920 issue of the Cold Spring Recorder

A state examiner sent to Cold Spring to look at the village books declared that a $5 payment made to place a wreath of flowers on Mrs. Butterfield’s grave was illegal.

After a complaint by the Village Board to the railroad company about Train 160, which was typically 60 to 90 minutes late bringing about 75 commuters home each day from Beacon, the train began to arrive at its scheduled time of 5:34 p.m.

At the request of Alice Haldane, the Village Board changed the name of Oak Street to Giles Street to honor the late Dr. Richard Giles, a longtime Cold Spring physician.

After the village election for treasurer ended in a tie, the winner was chosen by drawing one of two ballots from a hat.

FREE DELIVERY — A 1920 advertisement from the Cold Spring Recorder

The chairman of the Memorial Day Committee offered to donate to the village the gun and carriage that had been made at West Point Foundry and used in a number of village celebrations.

The Cold Spring Light Co. installed wire to supply electricity to a new hat shop on Market Street.

The Village Board voted to move its meetings from Fridays to Tuesdays.

75 Years Ago (March 1945)

The Hudson River Conservation Society held its annual meeting at the Essex House in New York City, under the leadership of President William Church Osborn of Garrison, to discuss “safeguarding the shores,” the Recorder reported.

The parents of Pvt. Robert Thom, 19, of Pine Street in Nelsonville, received a telegraph saying he had been wounded in combat in Luxembourg.

The trustees of the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Hospital announced that Minnie Boyd had bequeathed the hospital  her property on the west side of Paulding Avenue known as the Boyd Estate, which it planned to sell.

Putnam County Sheriff Scofield Palmer led an assembly for students at Haldane Central School that included a demonstration of various types of firearms and their safety features. The chemistry class later presented an assembly that included a demonstration of how to make cold cream.

Frederick Mosher Sr., 64, a North Highlands farmer, died of a heart attack while working in his fields.

Jessie Farman and Dorothy Rogers of Garrison each received one-sixth of the $1.5 million estate of their aunt, Mary Wiltsie Fuller, the founder of the Wiawaka Holiday House at Lake George.

The Westchester-Putnam Scholastic League champion Haldane Central basketball team defeated a squad of All Stars from other schools in the league, 40-22.

Sgt. Robert Howlett, a Haldane graduate and former Cold Spring resident, was awarded a Purple Heart for a combat injury suffered in Belgium in November 1944. He had been wounded again in February and was recovering in a French hospital.

The southbound Empire State Express destroyed a car stalled on the tracks at the Manitou crossing at 8:30 p.m. on a Friday. The driver, a Westchester County deputy sheriff, abandoned the car when he saw the train’s lights. He said he had taken a wrong turn driving to Garrison and stopped on the tracks when he realized his headlights were reflecting on the Hudson River.

Lt. Paul Mansell, formerly of Cold Spring, died with 15 others when an Army transport plane crashed while flying from London to Paris. The passengers included seven USO entertainers.

Pvt. William Puckey, 29, of Annsville, whose aunt and uncle lived in Nelsonville, died of wounds suffered five months earlier during combat inside Germany.

The parents of Pvt. Dominick Bocchino of Parsonage Street, who had been reported missing in action, received word that he was a prisoner of war.

First Lt. Herbert Bowden, of Garrison, who served with the U.S. Army Air Corps, was killed in action over Iwo Jima.

50 Years Ago (March 1970)

The Continental Village Republican Club hosted a talk by Lucy Muscarnaro of the Movement to Restore Decency that included two short films on “sensitivity training and sex education in the schools.”

Cold Spring Mayor James Early signed a contract with the State Pure Waters Authority for a $1.9 million project that would “substitute modern waste management for the village’s current practice of pouring raw sewage into the Hudson.”

Dave Mattern of Haldane finished third in a free-throw shooting contest sponsored by Dutchess Community College. Mattern and a teammate, Bob Heady, were each named to the 10-player Putnam All-County Basketball Team by The Reporter-Dispatch in White Plains.

Milton Powers, chair of the Philipstown Board of Assessors, returned from the annual meeting of the Association of Towns of the State of New York, where he attended a seminar on “real property exemptions.” He noted that Philipstown had the highest percentage of tax-exempt property in the county, at 43 percent, compared to 19 percent in Carmel and 18 percent in Putnam Valley. Of the Philipstown parcels, 14 percent were schools, 14 percent religious, 5 percent hospital and 1 percent owned by the state.

Four members of the Putnam County Board of Supervisors visited pulverizing installations in Madison, Wisconsin, and Albuquerque, New Mexico, to see if grinding methods could help resolve Putnam’s waste-disposal problems.

The Cold Spring Lions Club held its 31st annual Charter Night Celebration at Gino the Chef’s Restaurant. Four charter members of the club, which was founded in 1939, were able to attend.

John Jay Bennett died in Vietnam on March 2, 1970.

According to the Army, Specialist John Jay Bennett, 23, whose wife lived on Hamilton Street in Cold Spring, was killed in Vietnam by a booby trap in an abandoned building. An Army officer from West Point and a priest delivered the dispatch. Bennett was scheduled to be discharged in April.

About 125 residents showed up for a meeting of the Garrison school board to discuss a proposal to hire an assistant principal for $15,000 annually [about $100,000 today].

A science teacher at Haldane High School, Jon Lovelet, organized a modern folk music club for students.

Edward Sharples of Nelsonville was named Dutchess County’s first commissioner of aviation.

The Army announced that Constitution Island would be opened during the summer as a recreation area for cadets. The DeWitt Wallace Fund provided $250,000 for a five-year project to add pavilions, restrooms, a lodge, concessions, picnic tables and possibly a pool.

25 Years Ago (March 1995)

Haldane said it would need to add a fourth kindergarten class because enrollment was projected to increase by nearly 10 percent.

Gov. George Pataki, of Garrison, and his wife, Libby, joined about 130 other people at the Plumbush Inn to honor Abby Hartman on her retirement as chair of the Philipstown Zoning Board of Appeals.

The Garrison school board voted 5-2 to give the superintendent a raise for the past year, present year and coming year.

In their fifth trip to the Class D state tournament semi-finals in eight seasons, the Haldane girls’ basketball team lost to Pine Valley, 65-53.

Anthony Phillips won re-election as Cold Spring mayor over Antonia Godsey, 410-128.

Voters approved a proposition, 204-187, to provide Cold Spring firefighters with “service awards” at age 62 of $10 monthly for each year on the force.

Putnam County Legislator Vinny Tamagna, whose district included Philipstown, said he would push to make Continental Village a part of the Garrison postal district, instead of Peekskill’s.

Brion Travis of Garrison was appointed to head the State Board of Parole.

Putnam County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 27-year-old Philipstown man whom they accused of selling five pounds of marijuana to an undercover agent over a two-month period.

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