From diving into a river to dodge the Huns to letters from the cockpit of an American bomber, from a big Bonas win over a Little 3 opponent to the saddest of days for Bills fans, 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.
Jan. 28 — “We started with 176 men and returned with 40,” writes Pvt. Morris Richardson of 1306 W. State St. to his wife, finally allowed to open up in his letters home a month after the war in Europe ended. In a letter dated Dec. 5 that just recently arrived, he said that “I couldn’t begin to tell you, but we have certainly endured some hardships both in the lines and when moving on the road.” “I thought sure I was done for once,” he said, as he came under fire while delivering a message to the company headquarters and dove into the river for cover. “I crept along for a half mile until I was out of danger, and delivered the message.”
Jan. 30 — Olean is in line for another big industry, city officials reported, with a deal in the works to draw another business to town. The details are thin, but Chamber of Commerce members are on their way out of town to secure the deal. In the early years of the century, city fathers were aggressive in attracting businesses from other areas of the state and country, leading to the relocation of businesses like Union Cutlery — now part of Cutco — and what is now Dresser-Rand.
Jan. 31 — In a desperate act of heroism, Mrs. Raymond Sullivan, of 1316 River St., snatched her three-year-old son from the flames of a house fire. Her rescue was most timely, as the fire, caused by a defective chimney, had begun to eat the clothing upon which the little fellow was asleep. Mrs. Sullivan was awakened by the smoke of the fire, she first escaped with her one-year-old. The older boy was sleeping on the second floor, and the mother charged up the stairs in the knick of time.
Jan. 28 — First Lt. Stephen Bazow writes from Italy as his 12th Bomber Group continues to bring the war to the Axis. He finds great comfort in letters from home — often arriving by the dozen due to delays — as well as his Olean Times Herald. He recently received the Air Medal and four bronze oak leaf clusters for his service in a North American B-25 Mitchell medium bomber. He also remarked that just a year ago he was in flight training in Texas, now his B-25 is “playing in the hard ball league.”
Jan. 29 — Bradford is the logical place for an air terminus in the area, United Airlines official John Walker told a dinner meeting at the Emery Hotel. Service will include fast transport and freight ships on regular schedule at the Mount Alton airport, he said, with a 24-hour schedule at the airport sought, federal officials said. The airport would likely serve military needs, as well, and lighting upgrades are set to be completed over the summer.
Jan. 31 — Jake Pitler, Olean Oilers top baseball man for the last five years, is moving on to the Durham, N.C., club in the Brooklyn Dodgers farm system. The elder statesman of the PONY League managers, Pitler helped found the Olean team and has served as its only manager — the only manager to stay with a PONY team that long. While local fans feel his promotion is well merited, they regret his removal from the PONY League, where he has been one of the most popular managers in the circuit.
Jan. 28 — The Higgins site, north of the Penn-Central line in downtown Olean, will be the first to be developed under the Olean Urban Renewal Agency program. The property is the only one to see interest from developers, and officials said they hope to choose a developer after presentations to the URA board. The 26-acre site then was home to Carley Manufacturing Co. With only $7,000 collected the year before in property taxes on the site, officials hope to increase that dramatically with new development. The site today houses Delaware Park Centre, with Big Lots as the largest tenant.
Jan. 30 -- A four-guard offense led St. Bonaventure to crush Canisius College, 79-61, at home in front of almost 5,200 fans. Such a setup worked well when the one non-guard is All-American Bob Lanier, who cashed in for 33 points, 19 rebounds and generally made life miserable for Golden Griffs coach Bob MacKinnon. It was the seventh-straight win over the Griffs by the Bonnies. The team struggled to maintain a lead in the first 20 minutes, but guards Jimmy Satalin (later head coach) Billy Kalbaugh, Dale Tepas and Mike Kull got the club moving.
Feb. 3 — Cooler temperatures mean one thing — ice fishing is likely coming to Cuba Lake. Water levels rose in the last week amid rain and surrounding snow melt, the lake superintendent, George Watson, noted. However, ice fishermen and even a few snowmobiles braved the ice as temps dropped. With the ice sheet loosened at the edges from the rising water levels, fishermen had to use planks to cross the gap and make it to their shelters.
Jan. 28 — A new Allegany County jail may be the only way to fix the problems with the current facility. The jail on the top floor of the county office building can only hold 35 prisoners officially, but a state variance allows for an additional 10 to be crammed into the space. Building codes, space requirements and other regulations would make renovations impossible or cost-prohibitive, county legislators reported. A new jail would be constructed south of Belmont in the mid-2000s, with space for more than 130 prisoners.
Jan. 29 — Ron Filjones hopes to become competitive in dogsled racing after several trips to Alaska from Allegany. Now with six dogs and year-round training, he hopes to competitively hit the trails next winter. Getting geared up was surprisingly easy, he said, with a dealer in Lewis Run, Pa., a good starting point. In the future, Filjones would race and even help organize competitions in Allegany State Park.
Jan. 31 — Local Buffalo Bills fans are recovering from the worst of hangovers — four consecutive losses by their team in the Super Bowl. Granny’s Verona Tavern owner Jeff Grandusky gave the saddened fans a pep talk after the game, and the team “has nothing to be ashamed of — they were beat by a better team.” Fans report that they will stick around for the team, however. Cindy Fox of Olean is greeting callers on her phone with “Strive for five, back in ‘95,” with hopes the team would return for another Super Bowl next year. However, the New England Patriots with sophomore quarterback Drew Bledsoe would take the team’s place in the next round of playoffs.