150 Years Ago (February 1874)

Ingersoll Lockwood
Ingersoll Lockwood

Ingersoll Lockwood, the 6-foot-4 former U.S. consul to the Kingdom of Hanover [which became part of Germany in 1871] and the nephew of Cold Spring resident Nicholas Smith, spoke at the Baptist Church about women’s faces, both ancient and modern, to benefit the Sunday School.

William Garrison, who represented Philipstown on the county Board of Supervisors, proposed that the town be split so it would have two representatives. He noted that, with six supervisors, the votes were often ties, and that Philipstown had a third of the county population but only a sixth of the vote.

The pastor of the Baptist church, the Rev. Benjamin Bowen, wrote a long letter to The Cold Spring Recorder in which he offered to pay the salary of the highest-paid teacher in Philipstown for one year if anyone could show him in the Bible a mention of infant baptism (which Baptists do not practice), or where someone had received communion before being baptized, or any documentation of infant baptism before the middle of the third century.

While Charles Warren was delivering milk, someone stole $10 [about $250 today] from the cash box on his wagon.

Alfred Little painted advertising “business charts” at the post office and railroad station with notices for 13 local merchants and mechanics.

While walking on the railroad track at Constitution Island, Arthur Naylor of B Street saw a fox walk out of the woods. He drew his revolver and fired; the trophy was on display at Mosier’s oyster and fish store on Market Street.

Bernard Daley of Kemble Avenue lost a pig when it was struck by the No. 7 express train.

Bystanders with buckets filled at a nearby municipal pump managed to contain a fire at Mrs. McArthur’s newsstand on Main Street.

S.B. Truesdell was circulating a petition to ask the state to extend the ban on shooting robins from Aug. 1 to Oct. 1, to allow the birds more time to mature.

The Recorder reported that, after a snowball fight in Nelsonville got out of hand, a boy complained to his father. The father confronted the first boy he encountered, which resulted in a lawsuit.

A farm dog belonging to B.A. Yonmans that followed the horses to church was found dead the next day in the churchyard. It was supposed he had been poisoned.

The Recorder reported that 8,100 men, 1,375 boys, 581 horses and 41 steam engines were employed along the river securing the ice crop. One crew managed to get 2,700 cakes into an ice house in a single day.

Thomas Avery and William West of Cold Spring, who had announced they would embark on the manufacture of paper bags in the village, were dissuaded by the high rents and instead leased a structure in Fishkill that was built to order.

The Wappingers Chronicle claimed that it was common to see men walking in Cold Spring stop suddenly, place their hands on their knees and groan. In response, The Recorder noted that “Cold Spring whiskey is stronger than that to which some visitors are accustomed.”

The county school commissioner condemned the District 8 schoolhouse and estimated it would cost $800 [$20,000] to build a new one.

William Bennett of Nelsonville lost several toes after a 500-pound casting fell on his foot.

Members of the Ladies Aid Society and the Presbyterian Church held a masquerade with cakes and coffee at the West Street home of William Coleman.

125 Years Ago (February 1899)

At 10 p.m. on a Wednesday, young men walking the tracks from Garrison came upon four teenagers, ages 13 to 15, crying from hunger and cold. One of the boys told Officer McCaffrey that they had been playing at the freight yard near their homes at 32nd Street and Seventh Avenue in New York City when they climbed aboard a freight car for a ride to Spuyten Duyvil. But the train was going too fast for them to jump off and they had to wait until it stopped at a switch near Garrison.

The Recorder noted that a bill had been introduced in the state Legislature to allow women to vote in villages and towns concerning matters of taxation.

William Pope, who was employed at a fish market on Market Street, had his foot crushed by a cask of oysters.

When John Clune opened his bottling plant on West Street on a Monday morning, he found more than 200 glass bottles of ale and mineral water had frozen in the cold weather and burst.

The Recorder reminded residents who had fire hydrants in front of their homes to keep them free of snow for 10 feet on each side.

The General Chemical Co., with principal offices in Philipstown, was incorporated with $12.5 million [$462 million] in preferred stock and $12.5 million in common stock. The directors noted that the firm was a combination of 11 chemical houses that had reached an “informal agreement” to fix prices.

During a blizzard, the 138 passengers aboard the Chicago express were stuck on the tracks near Cold Spring for 14 hours. A few went into the village for provisions while every available hand was pressed into service for 20 cents an hour [$7.50] to shovel the tracks.

John Cosgrove, who delivered milk in Garrison, pushed through before daylight in the minus 8-degree chill but took the next day off.

Common Wisdom
(from The Cold Spring Recorder, February 1899)

It’s surprising how easy it is to get something that you don’t want.

Falling in love costs nothing, but keeping up the delusion makes the money fly.

The trouble with a great many young men is they don’t like to work between meals.

Where does the weather go when it clears up?

100 Years Ago (February 1924)

Members of the St. Luke’s Tennis Club, from Beacon, performed a three-act comedy, When a Feller Needs a Friend, at the St. Mary’s parish house.

Frances Kiernan, the Philipstown public health nurse, reported she had made 17 visits to the Haldane, Garrison and Loretto schools and recorded 111 defects in students, including five vision, 23 tonsils, 84 teeth, three posture, 28 nutrition and four scalp problems. She noted that underweight children could purchase a glass of milk at Haldane each day for a penny, and that the school had given her an exam room. When she arrived for a visit, the teachers were alerted by a gong.

Edward L. Post & Son, Cold Spring’s “economy electric shop,” connected a horn to a radio each evening and attracted a crowd of listeners. Its advertised models cost $65 to $145 each [$1,100 to $2,600], including installation and antenna positioning.

The Philipstown Garage in Nelsonville reduced the price of its Maxwell Motor Corp. vehicles to $795 [$14,000], while Mekeel Bros. Garage in Nelsonville offered the latest in Chevrolet sedans starting at $490 [$9,000].

This 1924 Chevrolet coupe, sold by Mekeel Brothers in Nelsonville, had a list price of $490.
This 1924 Chevrolet coupe, sold by Mekeel Brothers in Nelsonville, had a list price of $490.

Under a proposed law, fines imposed on motorists could no longer be pocketed by villages and towns but had to be deposited in the state police pension fund or the state treasury.

Patrick Clancy of Garrison was awarded workers’ compensation of $19.15 per week [$344] for 61 weeks after he burned both of his hands while working as a watchman on a locomotive.

Professor George Anthony Morrison, the principal of the Nelsonville School, toppled dead from his seat while waiting for a train home at the Ossining station.

The Town Board agreed to purchase, for $300 [$5,400] each, the four voting machines it had rented in 1923. It also appointed the supervisor to investigate adding a fire escape to the west side of Town Hall.

The Cold Spring Village Board approved $14,500 [$260,000] in spending for 1924, including $1,000 [$18,000] for concrete sidewalks and $500 for ice melt (calcium chloride).

75 Years Ago (February 1949)

Nearly 1,200 people attended two performances of the first annual Blackface Minstrel Show hosted by the Cold Spring Fire Co. at Haldane’s auditorium.

The first of five state-certified firefighting classes held at the village municipal building covered knot-tying and ladder raising and climbing.

Loretto Hall hosted a night of boxing, with eight bouts. Tommy Loughran, a former world light-heavyweight champion; Arthur Donovan, who refereed 14 heavyweight title fights between 1933 and 1946; and George Bothner, a former professional wrestler, were in the crowd.

The Garrison School offered a fluoride dental treatment for students.

After Mrs. Saunders resigned from the Garrison school board, Mr. Ridgeway declined a nomination and Mr. Nelson asked if he could think it over.

The Cold Spring Lions defeated the Beacon Lions, 12-10, in a game of donkey basketball at Haldane.

Amos Squire
Dr. Amos Squire

Dr. Amos Squire, a Philipstown native who was the Westchester County medical examiner for 23 years, died at 72. Earlier in his career, Squire had been the chief physician at Sing Sing for 11 years, during which he witnessed 138 executions in Old Sparky despite his opposition to the death penalty. (His job was to tell the executioner to shut off the current.) He also examined at least 20,000 prisoners and, in his 1934 book Sing Sing Doctor, dismissed with his own statistics a popular belief that most criminals were left-handed.

Thomas Dale of Nelsonville was appointed superintendent of the new Durisol building panel plant in Beacon. He had been the zone manager for Venezuela and the Netherlands West Indies for the Ford Motor Co.

The Garrison Fire Co. met to discuss setting up a fire district.

Hudson History

Sophia Acquisto
Sophia Acquisto

Sophia Acquisto, a 2018 graduate of Beacon High School who is pursuing a master’s degree at Columbia University, is the creator of My Hudson History, a digital map that showcases locations of interest in 10 counties.

“History is usually taught as a broad narrative,” she says. “All students, but especially those of under-represented backgrounds, are less likely to become interested in learning history when they can’t see themselves in the stories they read.”

Acquisto created the map while studying history education at SUNY New Paltz, where she received three grants to research and categorize 940 locations. See myhudsonhistory.org.

50 Years Ago (February 1974)

The Haldane boys’ basketball team defeated Dover Plains, 69-45, behind the defense of Kevin McConville and Mike Lyons, who combined for 11 steals, and the offense of Jerry Downey, who scored 21 points.

A barn owned by Henry Kingsley of Route 9 blew over in gale-force winds, although a doghouse a few feet away did not move.

Betty Ann and Edward Cleary prepared to open Ed’s Variety Store in the former Glick’s Hardware at 93 Main St.

The Haldane principal presented a report to the school board on the district’s present and future needs, noting that it used temporary facilities to accommodate about 368 of its 1,026 students. The deficit was expected to rise to 700 students within five years. He recommended the district construct a 750-student elementary school, renovate the main building into a middle school and option a 17- to 25-acre site for a high school.

25 Years Ago (February 1999)

Lucio Petrocelli of Garrison donated $12,000 [$22,000] to the Desmond-Fish library for children’s programming and to purchase a 19-volume set of poetry criticism.

James Endler of Garrison, a West Point graduate, was the author of a new history, Other Leaders, Other Heroes: West Point’s Legacy to America Beyond the Field of Battle. After his military service, Endler became the executive responsible for construction management at the World Trade Center, the Renaissance Center in Detroit and Disney’s EPCOT Center in Orlando.

Eight Philipstown residents filed a lawsuit in state court to overturn a referendum in which voters approved an expansion of the Garrison School.

Nelsonville passed an anti-littering ordinance that banned throwing “advertisement publications,” such as the Money Saver, on sidewalks or lawns.

The Haldane junior varsity boys’ basketball coach was fired after being accused by the district of having a “social relationship” with a female Haldane High School student.

The sheriff reported that 292 bad checks had been passed the previous year in Putnam County, with a face value of $144,770.05 [$267,000]. Investigators were able to recover 76 percent of the funds.

In a case of road rage, a Croton man confronted a Garrison man at a gas station on Route 9, running toward him with a claw hammer. Unfortunately for the angry driver, the Garrison man was a retired police officer with a handgun. The Croton man fled but was arrested four days later and charged with menacing.

Thomas Murray, most recently director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Case Western Reserve, assumed the presidency of The Hastings Center in Garrison.

More than 30 residents attended the monthly meeting of the Continental Village Property Owners Association to protest a 74 percent increase in their water district tax rate because of bond payments on capital improvements two years earlier.

The Garrison school board hired Les Weintraub of Newtown, Connecticut, as superintendent for $90,000 [$166,000] annually.

There was a discussion at a Town Board meeting about the development of a 440-acre tract at Graymoor in Garrison. Two architects told the board the Franciscans had hired their firm to come up with ideas.

The Philipstown Depot Theatre reopened after renovations that included a lobby and concession area under raised seating. The first show was Joe Hartin’s Harley Holmes, a murder mystery farce about Sherlock’s brother.

At a special meeting of the Town Board, County Executive Bob Bondi proposed a county-funded property tax revaluation for Philipstown.

The Town Board rejected the design for a proposed 425-unit retirement village and luxury lodge on the Route 9D site of the Capuchin monastery. The buildings are “too big, too high and too many,” said Supervisor William Mazzuca.

Behind The Story

Type: News

News: Based on facts, either observed and verified directly by the reporter, or reported and verified from knowledgeable sources.

A former longtime national magazine editor, Rowe has worked at newspapers in Michigan, Idaho and South Dakota and has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University. Location: Philipstown. Languages: English. Area of Expertise: General.

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2 Comments

  1. I had to look up videos to see if donkey basketball was real. It is! One thing for sure, there’s no fast break in the game. Fun to watch, but the donkeys just look confused and a bit irritated. Thanks for the laugh today, Highlands Current!

    1. That game took place in 1949 between members of the Beacon and Cold Spring Lions clubs, but donkey basketball is far less common now as a fundraiser because it’s viewed as cruel to the donkeys and dangerous to the players, who sometimes are injured and file lawsuits.

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