From celebrating “America’s Apostle of Thrift” to a grand homecoming for World War II veterans, from two projects in one spot to happy snow days for Ellicottville, 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. 15 — “A penny saved is a penny earned,” according to Ben Franklin, “America’s Apostle of Thrift,” said Mayor Willis Georgia. Marking the birth of the Founding Father, Georgia declared next week as “Thrift Week,” encouraging residents to think and act wisely on money matters including earning, spending, saving, investing and giving. The proclamation was part of the national movement following the austerity of wartime economy to better prepare for the future. The movement petered out in the 1960s, but the campaign is still marked annually by some groups.
Jan. 17 — The Olean Aerie of the Fraternal Order of Eagles has purchased the vacant lot on West Sullivan Street between Union and First streets. The property, previously owned by J. M. Johnson and William Leahy, is 45 by 125 feet, and will be used as the site for the new home which the Eagles plan to erect. The Eagles completed their home at 116 W. Sullivan St. in 1925. However, the club sold the site in 2014 to the Sina family, which had also recently started Ravyn and Robyn Lounge on North Union Street.
Jan. 11 — Olean American Legion officials said they plan to host a gigantic welcome home party for servicemen and women this summer. The celebration for veterans of World War II is going to be held at the conclusion of the July Fourth services. Tentative plans include an ox roast at War Veterans Park, a spectacular program of entertainment in Bradner Stadium, and a mammoth dancing party with a national name band to present the program of music at the New York State Armory that night. It is estimated the entire affair could attract up to 30,000 people.
Jan. 14 — Although few have actually run out of feed, dairymen and poultrymen in the northeast are in a risky position this winter, said W.E. Washbon, the county’s agricultural agent. In the winter of 1944-45, 104 million tons of grain were fed, but this winter only 99 million tons are available unless more wheat is fed or more grains are imported. “Poultrymen and dairymen should protect their feed requirements the next few months as far as possible,” he said, adding between now and grazing season, poultrymen should plan their spring chick raising accordingly.
Jan. 13 — Two big projects in Allegany are on a crash course. Public officials and planners this week learned that a new bridge over the Allegheny River and the new village sewer plant — both in the works for years — are being planned for the same spot. The bridge, by Cattaraugus County, would replace the single-lane steel bridge from 1903. State officials have committed to help fund the project, which has been in the works for more than five years. Meanwhile, the village had been planning a new sewer treatment plant — which must be started before next March to get 60% aid from the federal Pure Waters Program.
Jan. 15 — A $1.5 million bond to pay for parking lots in Olean’s business district is going to be paid off by parking fees and businesses, officials reported, and not by taxpayers. The Olean Parking Authority will be charged if bond payments are not received, and the lots themselves will be the collateral. It is expected the 80 downtown business occupants that have pledged to help make it a reality are going to be paying an average of $1,000 a year. “Eyesores” along North First Street are expected to be leveled to make the lots, and officials said that without improved parking, there is no way to turn around the fortunes of downtown.
Jan. 15 — A string of bad winter storms have many unhappy — except those in business in Ellicottville. Holiday Valley is up 40% in skiers this season, with 4,300 season passes the highest ever sold. The resort’s 185 condos are at up to 90% occupancy midweek, officials reported. It was also the best time to open the new $8 million 102-room Inn at Holiday Valley, which is packed most days. Due to the snowfall, the resort town is picking up larger numbers of skiers from sites such as Bristol and Swain. Realtors are also busy selling vacation properties, as “people buy on excitement and impulse,” said Patty Crist of Ye Olde Towne & Realty. “We’re already taking reservations for next year.”
Jan. 16 — The sporting eyes of the country turned to Olean after UMass basketball standout Marcus Camby collapsed before playing a game at St. Bonaventure. Why he collapsed was unknown, UMass officials said, noting the preseason All-American fell unconscious in a corridor under the stands just before top-ranked UMass took the floor for final warmups. UMass won the game, 65-52, as Camby and coach John Calipari went to Olean General Hospital. “The hardest part was watching Marcus laying on the ground… a couple guys started crying,” said assistant coach James Flint said. “The victory means nothing when you see one of your players go down.” Camby would recover and go on to be the second overall pick in the 1996 Draft. He played 17 seasons in the NBA.