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Our Old Times

Betz’s odd bits of history number 7

Here we present yet another collection of accidently-rediscovered news bits, too short for a complete article, but still worth sharing, from the days of our old times. The March 1, 1894 Gloversville Daily Republican informed readers, “Horatio Grant Sr. was found guilty of abusing his wife ...

Innocent Santa letters caused post office problems

While grade school and even younger children grimace at writing an essay, they exhibit no qualms writing their annual ‘gifts wanted’ letters to the jolly man in the red suit, Santa Claus. Exactly when this seasonal activity began and such letters were first published in local newspapers, ...

Shining some light on World War II blackouts

This time of year, drivers sometime worry about whiteouts, but at least they don’t have to deal with blackouts, those World War II civil defense exercises during which residents of entire cities and even counties turned off every light in their house, business, or factory and temporarily sat ...

Walter C. Porter, Gloversville’s disappearing drummer

If younger readers immediately wonder what an old-time drummer was, that’s no surprise considering the only drummers drumming these days drum in bands, but in our old times, although a ‘drummer’ made little noise unless he laughed or sneezed, he was still an essential component in ...

Keystone Hotel fire gave Gloversville a sad Christmas

It was December 21, 1909 and happy Gloversville citizens, like those of other cities across America, were engaged in the usual holiday preparations. What could go wrong? Unfortunately, the vibrant city was about to be hit by a double-whammy of misfortune, including loss of life. To quote ...

Odd bits of history collection number five

Although well-preserved today, Sir William Johnson’s 1749 stone mansion, referred to now as “Old Fort Johnson,” has endured more than one threatening experience. Besides being flooded several years ago, the July 21, 1936, the Amsterdam Recorder headlined, “Ice House Damage Set at ...