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Our Old Times

Barroom brawls can have heartbreaking results

Picture the scene as Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling might narrate it: “You’re a blacksmith, and you’ve spent a hard day shoeing horses and pounding on your anvil. You’re tired, hungry and yes, a bit thirsty too, so it’s time to repair to the bar room of J.B. Bromley’s Central Hotel ...

Shedding some light on our gas light era

Scientists understood the process of manufacturing illuminating gas from coal by the 1790s. It’s use in street lamps made cities safer: it contributed to our industrial expansion starting in the 1870s by allowing factories to remain open after dark; it brightened theaters, stores and ...

Little quick bits of history number four

Readers state they enjoy these occasional collections of accidently-discovered short items, so here’s another collection. The May 8, 1911 Amsterdam Evening Recorder reported an unfortunate item. “The first fatality ever caused by an automobile in Gloversville occurred at seven Wednesday ...

First burial in Jewish cemetery due to an accidental death

On May 31 1887, referring to a major Little Falls fire, the Utica Weekly Herald noted, “There has been no similar excitement in that village since the death of Mark Mendel, the Amsterdam fireman, accidentally shot during a target practice on the flats at a fireman’s tournament.” My ...