From thousands marching for labor to an Olean Oiler making the supreme sacrifice, from saving a life with another one lost to a vision for a regional walking trail, 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.
Sept. 3 — Twenty-five hundred union men took part in Olean’s Labor Day parade, and the day’s celebration was one of the best ever in Olean. Olean observed the day in true wartime spirit, with patriotism evident everywhere, including the gate money for the athletic program heading to the Red Cross. A resolution passed by the union men reassured the boys in France that they are sparing no effort in furnishing food, ships and munitions to the cause of freeing the world from barbarism.
Sept. 5 — The body of Allen A. Parker, 51, of the South Side, was found in the Allegheny River at the foot of South 11th Street a day after he went missing. Parker, who worked at the Pennsylvania Railroad shops, was last seen heading to work Tuesday morning. He had crossed the river in a boat as part of his daily commute for 20 years before the boat was found overturned. His body was found a few feet away underwater.
Sept. 7 — With more demand for services, but higher costs, the New York & Pennsylvania Traction Co. will be raising its rates dramatically — from 5 cents to 7 cents. The state Public Service Commission authorized the rate increases reluctantly, noting that the cost is high but company officials expect only a 4.5 percent profit. Most of the funds will go to maintenance, with some going into stockholder dividends.
Sept. 3 — Big crows in a holiday mood, ideal fair weather and many attractions helped the “Old Reliable” Allegany County Fair keep its namesake as the 99th annual fair opens in Angelica. Superintendent Myron Morton pointed out that horses, cattle, sheep, swine and poultry are at the fair in greater numbers than in recent years, with temporary pens erected to house the overflow. A total of 55 harness horses will vie for six $300 purses offered this week, and a free-for-all race was also added to the program.
Sept. 7 — The Olean Oilers did everything the fans hoped for in their final appearance of the 1943 season at Bradner Stadium. Trailing 7-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the men of Jake Pitler rallied in the inning for the win. After getting the score up to 7-6 with a series of great plays, with the winning runners on base, catcher Simons came up to the plate with the fans in hysterics. Si didn’t fail them, and obligingly parked one into the right field bleachers for a double and a ball game.
Sept. 7 — Despite the great win over Labor Day weekend to wrap up the home baseball season, a pall was cast over fans when club President Spencer Harris announced over the PA system the death of Johnny Moller somewhere in the Pacific. An Army pilot, he was reported killed in action — the first PONY League graduate to make the supreme sacrifice. Moller won the final game of the 1941 championship for the team.
Sept. 3 — With 300 antique cars to ooh and aah over, it’s no surprise more than 5,000 visitors descended on War Veterans Park for the Cars from Stanley Steamers and Model T Fords up to the hottest cars off the assembly line were on display, with cars of every type, size and propulsion. The best of show by spectators was deemed Walden Schmitz’s 1930 Cadillac, while Frank Deemer’s 1908 American roadster won the judge’s top place.
Sept. 3 — Fifteen-year-old Michael Stoll of Getzville got a new lease on life after the death of George Foster, 23, of West Valley this weekend. Foster, who died of head injuries when his car rolled off the Rosick Hill Road near Machias. Foster’s family was given the choice to use their son’s kidney to help save Michael’s life, as he was traveling to the city three times a week for dialysis. The family, although grieving over their son’s death, was rewarded with a hopeful smile of the Stoll boy as he was rolled into the operating room.
Sept. 10 — A new plastic toy — the “Zulu Gun” blow gun — is making the rounds in Olean, and local doctors are warning parents to take them away. Not because of lethality of the darts being shot out, but because of inhalation risks. An Olean surgeon used a bronchoscope to remove a 1-inch plastic dat from the lung of a local boy, while a pediatrician noted that a local store had been given some samples of the toy that later found their way to children’s hands. A test market in Philadelphia was shut down after two weeks after 30 children inhaled the darts.
Sept. 5 — Joe Higgins, who is leading the effort to build a biking and walking trail between Allegany and Portville, said that anyone who wants evidence that such a trail is needed should check out the walkers and riders who are using the built-but-unopened Constitution Avenue. “It’s amazing,” he said, adding that if his trail is ever built, “I know it will be used a lot.” Today, the trail he envisioned (which connects downtown Olean and South Olean to Allegany) is known as the Allegheny River Valley Trail.
Sept. 6 — “Welcome to the NFL, Mr. Bledsoe” the Times Herald writes above a photo of rookie New England Patriots quarterback and future Hall of Famer Drew Bledsoe curled into the fetal position after a sack thanks to the Buffalo Bills defense. The Patriots saw a beating at the hands of the Bills in a 38-14 pounding to open the season at Rich Stadium. The Bills would make it to the Super Bowl for a fourth consecutive year at the end of the season, but losing again to the Dallas Cowboys.
Sept. 7 — Dresser Industries and Baroid Corp. announced that the firms will merge in an all-stock deal worth around $900 million. “Our product and service offerings are highly complementary, and we are impressed with the spirit and know-how of the Baroid people,” said Dresser CEO John J. Murphy. Following the deal, the firm would become the third-largest oil services company in the world. Today, it is a subsidiary of Siemens.