From remembering those who fought in the Great War to those on the home front being recognized for their contributions, from a “pilot program” for vocational education in Wellsville to a local aiming to buy his second pro sports team, here’s a look back on the week that was 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago on this edition of Turning Back the Clock.


Nov. 11 — Olean, in its observance of the first anniversary of the end of the Great War reflected the spirit of those in attendance on that great day. Indications were that practically every resident of the city took part in today’s celebrations. Hundreds from military, civic, fraternal and labor group marched, while thousands of onlookers lined the elaborately-decorated streets. From the Grand Army of the Republic veterans to Company I to Red Cross workers, the marchers were on foot, in automobiles or pulled by wagons for all to celebrate.

Nov. 14 — Charles E. Clark, 60, vice president of Cark Brothers company, died in his home in Wellsville last night of heart disease. With his brother, William P. Clark of Belmont, the brothers came to Olean in 1912 as they looked for a new home for their company. The Clark Brothers factory had burned in Belmont, and the workforce of Olean and rail access proved pivotal in getting the operation moved. Today, through various mergers and sales in the ensuing 100 years, the facility is owned by Siemens and remains one of the largest employers in Cattaraugus County.


Nov. 12 — Favored with an ideal fall day, a crowd of more than 1,200 turned out to watch the classy Olean Hi-Ramblers run up a 38-0 score over the Bradford Scholastics at Bradner Stadium. The team covered 38 yards in three first downs to score a touchdown after the opening kickoff led to a Bradford fumble on Olean’s 48 yard line. Little Joe Kwiatkowski and others alternated the ball lugging down the field. Bradford coach Jimmie Judge used all his 23 players in vain to keep the score down. It was announced the Olean team was negotiating a game against Niagara Falls Cataracts for next Sunday. {/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Nov. 13 — Daystrom Corp. received the Army and Navy “E” award for their contributions to the war effort. The award included a flag for the plant and lapel pins for the men and women at the plant. The company’s wartime contributions included foot pedals for Republic P-47 Thunderbolt fighters, ammo boxes for Curtiss P-40 Warhawks, engine mount nacels for Curtiss C-46 Commando planes and sighting devices for Navy ships. Daystrom would return to civilian manufacture of furniture after the war, but would close up operations in Olean in 1962.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}1969

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Nov. 12 — Only a sparse gathering of residents attended the Veterans Day ceremony on the lawn of the Olean Municipal Building. In an era of protests against an unpopular war in Vietnam, the Rev. Nicholas Salios of the First Baptist Church noted that it is “a sophisticated day in which motives of men are reduced and times past debased.” He lamented that “there is no magic power in democracy to save us or America apart from obedience to its high aims and purposes. It would be one of the ironies of history, if it should prove that it was our very freedom, selfishly used, that destroyed us.”{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Nov. 14 — A state “pilot program” aiming to change the way vocational training is underway at the old Sinclair refinery in Wellsville. The Vocational Division of Alfred State College, focusing on automotive specialties, building construction, mechanical drafting, electrical services and food services, is up and running this semester. A sixth program enrolled 20 girls from the region to educate them on machine clerical duties. “In most colleges, if you want to get in, you need particular courses and particular grades,” said Director Donald Jones. “Here, I’m more interested in what a student does after he gets here.”{/span}


{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Nov. 13 — Six members of the undefeated Olean Huskies were named to the Big 30 All-Star Football Team, the largest contingent of any squad for the year. It’s not the most from a single team, as the undefeated 1977 team saw seven members named to the paper’s team. After winning their first Section 6 title in 13 years, four from the offense and two from defense made the team for New York. In Pennsylvania, Allegheny Mountain League top dog Smethport provided five all-stars for the third year in a row. The team has accounted for 27 Big 30 All-Stars in the past six seasons. Today, only five players may be from one school.{/span}

{p dir=”ltr”}{span}Nov. 16 — John Rigas of Coudersport made a deal with the city of Pittsburgh to take over the helm of the Pittsburgh Pirates pro baseball team. Estimates put the deal between $80 million and $100 million just a few months after the Rigas family purchased 34% of the Buffalo Sabres. However, the MLB at the time was hesitant to sell teams to owners of television interests, including a 1989 deal to sell the Texas Rangers to a minority owner who had the TV station carrying team games. Rigas would not win the ownership of the team, but would go on to start the Wellsville Nitros collegiate wood-bat team which survives to this day. {/span}