From divvying up surplus foodstuffs after the Great War to the theft of thousands of ration coupons, from arresting hippies on their way to Woodstock to helping a community heal, 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.


Aug. 13 — Like orders in a battle, the Olean Evening Times “must” be delivered. A tie-up in the lines of communication yesterday proved no obstacle, despite the strike of the Western New York and Pennsylvania Traction Company which normally carries the paper along its route to outlying areas. Thanks to Dodge commercial trucks of the Ideal Garage Company, deliveries are being made on time. The Olean Times Publishing Company will never regard any difficulty too much for it to overcome, the paper reports.

Aug. 15 — Surplus army food supplies will be sold at the Olean Post Office, it is reported. The foodstuffs were extra production left over after the war. Efforts by the U.S. Food Administration in encouraging rationing and increased food production were so successful that despite providing 5,000 calories to every soldier every day, millions of tons of supplies were left over almost a year after hostilities ended. The food would be shipped Parcel Post from the post office to families in the area who wanted to purchase the goods.


Aug. 14 — Pfc. Leo Butinski was killed in action in France, according to word received by his mother, Mrs. Rose Butinski, 1522 N. Union St. Butinski, who was 38, had been in the Army since 1930 and had been stationed overseas for a year. He entered France on the first day of the D-Day invasion. The last letter received from him told of his participation in the battle of Cherbourg. Of his five brothers, Pfc. Edward Butinski is stationed in Saipan.

Aug. 16 — More than 50,000 tire, sugar and gasoline ration coupons were stolen from a vault in the basement of the McKean County Courthouse, according to a report from the district attorney. The handle of the vault had been smashed and the lock broken, but there were no signs of forcible entry into the building. He said that the vault was intact Friday afternoon, and the theft was discovered late Monday. Included in the loot were 499 tire certificates, 10,000 sugar certificates, each good for 25 pounds; and 15,000 B and C, 5,000 T and 21,758 R gasoline coupons.


Aug. 13 — Top rookie prospect O.J. Simpson will qualify for the traditional haircut for those who survive the final cut at the Buffalo Bills, the Times Herald’s Chuck Ward reports from training camp. While his good looks won’t help in a third-and-long situation, Ward said Simpson is showing all the qualities of a $200,000-a-year Heisman Trophy winner. Simpson would prove his worth during his career at Buffalo, becoming the first running back to net 2,000 yards in a season. A quarter century later, however, he would be on trial for two murders.

Aug. 16 — Fifteen arrests were made in Randolph as a caravan of young people from Cleveland passed through the area on the way to the Woodstock Music and Art Festival. Police Justice Stillman, describing the group to the Times Herald as “hippies with long hair, and needing shaves,” fined them $20 each for marijuana and gave conditional discharges on possession of billy clubs. He lectured the group for 10 minutes, telling them they are robbing the United States of valued citizens, and destroying themselves in the process. “I extracted their promises to change their mode of living and to give up drugs,” he said.


Aug. 12 — Cuba Police Department patrolman John Simons and Mark Biermen are just two of the hundreds of officers to swell the ranks of the Saugerties Police Department to help control the crowds at Woodstock ‘94. The music festival — on the 25th anniversary of the 1969 music festival — is expected to attract a quarter million visitors to the town with normally 15 officers. Another 11 Allegany County Sheriff’s deputies will also be on the job. “I didn’t want to relive my old army days, so I said no,” said Cuba Police Chief Gary Fries with a laugh.

Aug. 16 — Alfred University senior Maurice Balk hopes the sculpture he is helping create will help the Steuben County village of Savona heal after the death of 2-year-old Derrick Robie last year. “It’s good to do something positive to counterbalance such a negative thing,” he said. A team at the university is helping a Corning sculptor create a permanent bronze memorial to the boy. Later that day, a jury would convict his killer, 14-year-old Eric Smith. Smith remains incarcerated for the crime.