Photos of Billy Pfeiffer
Roulette, Potter County

Submitted by: Barb Hyde
Photos courtesy of the Potter County Historical Society

On January 31, 1894 in Olean, William Pfeiffer, better known as Billy, married Nellie Boyington Walley of Roulette and moved to Roulette to be the first superintendent of the Roulette Telephone Company. This enterprising couple was interested in everything and they became two of the most enthusiastic boosters of Roulette.

Billy must have had a passion for new technology. Over a hundred years ago, he helped bring the telephone to Roulette, was an assistant engineer for the infant North Penn Gas Company, and was an expert electrician. He was also a photographer when that field was new. He had a studio in his home where he photographed most of Roulette's citizens at one time or another. Billy also took his equipment on the road. For over 40 years, at a time when a camera and all of its baggage could weight 30 pounds, he roamed all over the Roulette area taking pictures of buildings, demolitions, panoramas, and anything else that interested him or that a client requested.

His photography equipment was glass plate. As you can see from the pictures on this page, it produced remarkably high-quality prints. Over 100 years later, the prints are clear and true. (I wonder if anything we have today will last as well.) Equally interesting is that his photography style was what was in demand at the time and not out on the fringes of the field. Because of that, Billy's photographs provide a clear look at Roulette and its people as the century changed.

Click on any picture to open a larger picture in its own window. When the large picture is open, you can right click and save it to your computer. You can also view the picture enlarged by clicking on the square button that displays in the lower right corner of the picture.



Roulette before 1904
Note Pomeroy Bridge in the foreground.
New school and Methodist Church in left distance.
The large building in the center background is the Roulette Opera House.
Also, notice how bare today's heavily wooded hills are.

. . . and about four years later
A metal bridge has replaced the wooden bridge of the earlier view.
The second building has been added to the school and there are telephone poles on main street and on Fishing Creek Road.

The Roulette Creamery
(Southwest corner of Rte 6 and Fishing Creek Rd.)
At the turn of the century, creameries provided the best market for their milk.
The resulting butter and cheese was shipped to the city markets.
The Old Tannery
Many towns in Potter County boasted a tannery. The county's deep woods were
lumbered for their bark which was used to tan the hundreds of thousands of
raw hides from the western slaughterhouses into leather for Eastern markets.
Tanneries were a magnet that attracted as immigrants many of Potter County's familiar family names.
Roulette High School class of 1912
Back Row: Emma Ziska, Selma Carlson, Gladys Yentzer, Iva Fischer
Front Row: Robert Lyman, Agnes Webb, Milo Hallock
Roulette High School, 1906
If you can identify any of these students, please send an email to the
address at the bottom of this page.

Otis T. Lyman Family

George H. and Gladys Yentzer

Milo T. Lyman Family 9-17-1907
Milo and Kittie (Thompson)
Laura, Robert, Florence

Nick Ziska family 6-4-1907

Back to Potter County

If you have anything of genealogical or historical interest to add to this site, or if you are interested in becoming
a member of the Painted Hills Genealogy Society, please contact me at:
Painted Hills

 This page is maintained by the PHGS
 Last Update October 31, 2009

Main | Email Us | Look-Ups | Members Family Pages
Chat and Meeting Room | Disclaimer