From new voting machines to threatening strays over rabies, from an “ordinary” Final Four-bound Bonnies to support for upgrading Route 219, here’s a look back 100, 75, 50 and 25 years ago in this week’s edition of Turning Back the Clock.


Oct. 8 — A large number of Oleanders have signed a petition against the use of the old fire house on South Eighth Street as a pest house, a site to quarantine contagious diseases, as is currently being considered by the Common Council. A pair of dueling resolutions were passed by different boards, the Board of Health calling for the creation of such a hospital on the site, and a second by Alderman Wholeben of the Sixth Ward, in which the old fire house is located. That resolution calls for the sale of the structure, it having been abandoned for use as a fire house.

Oct. 9 — One of the new lever voting machines will be on hand at every city polling place for voters to practice on. There will be instructors to teach the voters, and while officials said the machines are very easy to operate, voters should not wait until the last minute to learn. Many of the sites chosen would not be dreamed of being used today, including Sturm’s barber shop on West State Street, the second floor of the police station on Whitney Avenue or the Willard home on Front Street.


Oct. 7 — Following a half-dozen positive tests for rabies, Olean and Allegany officials are cracking down on stray or unmuzzled dogs. All stray dogs are to be rounded up and shot in Olean, while Allegany is seizing unmuzzled dogs and charging their owners with violating a quarantine. “We have been impounding dogs taken so far, but the SPCA kennels are filling with the dogs we have taken in,” said Dr. John Johnson, city health commissioner. “Where we can learn the ownership … we will prosecute the owner.” State law also allows anyone may seize and confine or kill any dog found unmuzzled off of its owner’s property.

Oct. 12 — Another Oleander was named to the roll of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. Tech 5 George Chapus, was killed in action Sept. 19 in Italy, according to word received by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Chapus, 1640 Avenue B. Chapus entered service in February 1942, and was sent to North Africa for 10 months. He had been in Italy for three months. He was a graduate of Olean High School, Class of 1941, and was a member of St. John’s Church. Prior to the service, he worked for Bush Brothers. Among his survivors is a brother, First Sgt. Alphone Chapus, with the Allied military government in Italy.


Oct. 7 — Dr. Benjamin Spock, the famed baby doctor and peace movement leader, blasted the Vietnam War as “illegal, immoral and against the best interests of the United States,” as he addressed a crowd of 1,000 at the University Center at St. Bonaventure University. Spock, whose conviction for conspiring to aid and abet draft resistors, took shots at the U.S. policy of interference, while also bashing the efforts by groups like SDS to halt public speaking engagement by Nixon administration officials. “Violence breeds violence, and that is a poor way to usher in the new era.”

Oct. 11 — The first national college basketball magazine has landed on the newstands, and dismisses St. Bonaventure and All-American Bob Lanier with one word — “ordinary.” The True Basketball Yearbook doesn’t have the Bonnies in the Top 20, nor does it include Lanier in the Top 10 players. Fellow Little Three coaches at Niagara and Canisius, however, offered their praises for the squad for its depth and strengths in all areas. The magazine would eat that word, as the Bonnies made the Final Four for the first and only time in program history.


Oct. 7 — Gov. Mario Cuomo has thrown his support behind converting Route 219 into a four-lane highway from Springville to Pennsylvania, which local officials said can be wrapped up by the year 2000. Art Benson of Springville, head of the Route 219 Association for more than 20 years, is pleased by the news. “It’s just going to bring opportunities to Western New York and to the state.” Cuomo would lose the 1994 general election, with Republican George Pataki also supporting the measure. However, a quarter-century later, the highway remains in the planning stages.

Oct. 8 — Jess Turner was the game-breaker Olean High needed to register a deceptively-tough 33-7 win over Fredonia at that school’s homecoming game. The 6-2, 175-pound tailback scored Olean’s first touchdowns on 60- and 43-yard runs, then chalking up a 35-yard kickoff return after Fredonia got on the board. “That’s the first time this year we’ve seen a kid that had moves like that with the speed to go with it,” Fredonia coach Dave Ball said. Noting a penchant for running east-west sometimes instead of north-south, Olean coach Mike Kane said ”when he runs, he’s looking for (big gains) all the time, instead of sticking his nose in there.”