From prepping for the holiday shopping season to a close call for a local baby, from the march to a new school to Santa Claus Lane flip-flopping, 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.

1921

Nov. 22 — Come see the giant mixer, the huge humidifier, the enormous Peterson ovens and the other amenities at the new Booster Bread factory at the corner of West State and Second streets. The Petra & Company firm recently finished building the new facility and tours are being offered to the public. “Our new plant is worthy of any Olean citizen’s pride,” officials said. Today, the factory is under the ownership of Bimbo Bakeries USA and continues to churn out bread for the region.

Nov. 25— With Thanksgiving in the rear-view mirror, the Christmas shopping season begins. Bradner’s Toyland opens Saturday, and the little folks will simply go wild with delight over “the stupendous exposition of dolls, mechanical and electrical toys, blocks, velocipedes, wagons, autos, doll carriages, tool chests, pianos, laundry sets, doll trunks, tea sets, cooking sets, games and hundreds and hundreds of other toys.” Ivory Pyralin — celluloid plastic — brushes and combs are offered at A.M. Palmer & Co. The Olean Hardware Co. notes the most popular girl in town will be the one who asks “Dad” to buy her a Brunswick record player for Christmas. H.W. Marcus Co. notes “furs are like flowers” for those giving gifts.

1946

Nov. 22 — “The wrong people came home too soon,” said Ann McIlhanney of Buffalo, speaking to the Cattaraugus County Medical Society amid reports of American soldiers occupying Germany fraternizing with the frauleins. McIlhanney, a former major in the Women’s Auxiliary Corps, said the men remaining behind should have been the men who liberated Dachau and other concentration camps who would not forge the horrors of the Holocaust, the war and the Germans who orchestrated and carried them out. “How we’ve let them down,” she said of the victims.

Nov. 23 — A 16-month-old baby boy emerged unharmed after being dropped from a second story window of a house full of smoke this morning. The baby, Douglas Reeder, was awakened by his parents at their home at 421 S. Union St., as a short circuit in the refrigerator filled the house with smoke. Having to choose between falling with the child in her arms or into a hedge just below, Mrs. Reeder chose to drop the baby as carefully as someone escaping a house fire could into the hedge. She then dropped down herself and ran to the neighbor’s house to phone the fire department. Both mother and child escaped unharmed, and firefighters were able to put a stop to the blaze before it leveled the house.

1971

Nov. 22 — When the school bell rings after Thanksgiving, students at old School No. 4 will say hello to their new $2.3 million modernistic educational home. At 9:30 a.m., the 460 students will march from the old school at Seneca Avenue and King Street with flags fluttering to the new campus at Spring and Alder streets. The parade is about two years late, officials said, with bad weather and contractor problems to blame. The old building, serving the area since 1908, would be leveled and the site turned into King Street Park. The new building remains in use as East View Elementary School.

Nov. 27 — Red suit matching the color of one of Olean’s fire trucks, Santa Claus arrived in the city Friday morning to open his holiday headquarters in a small white cottage in Lincoln Park. With an escort of city police and the Olean High School band, he greeted many well-wishing children eager to see the jolly old elf. Among the first to get in a word about their wishes for Christmas were Tara and Christopher Fogarty — grandchildren of Mayor William O. Smith. At the time, Santa called the site home for 5 ½ hours a day six days a week until right before Christmas.

1996

Nov. 22 — The Santa Claus Lane Parade will take on a new direction — literally. For the first time since the parade was revitalized 11 years ago, marchers will begin at Lincoln Park and march north to the Olean Center Mall. Tricia Henzel, director of events for Greater Olean Inc., said the interior of the mall provides a warm space for post-parade festivities. Mall merchants are inviting children inside for hot cocoa, cookies and candy. At the end of the parade, Santa will give a signal for fireworks provided by Olean’s Dempsey Club. Around 30 units are expected to participate. The change in direction did not last long, and today is run along its traditional route.

Nov. 28 — This year’s hottest toys revolve around video games. Ninendo’s new Nintendo 64 console with games like Super Mario 64, Mortal Kombat Trilogy and Pilot Wings are expected to dominate the sales charts with Sony’s Playstation and the Sega Saturn. Meanwhile, classics are expected to do well. Barbie plans to stay on top of sales lists, while action figures like Batman, Star Wars and GI Joe are hot picks. Last year’s “Toy Story” also reinvigorated sales of classics like Mr. Potato Head and Slinky Dog. Kids also want anything that’s tied to Goosebumps, the children’s books written by R.L. Stine. And classic board games — Monopoly, Clue and Battleship — are moving to CD-ROM format for the multimedia home computers blowing up the market.

 

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