Do You Remember?

Shinglehouse. Pa., Potter Co.

Submitted by PHGS Member Mike Henderson

Oswayo Valley Mail, Shinglehouse, PA, Potter County, June 28, 1956.


When I was just a tot, my grandmother took me to a home talent play in the old Opera House on Honeoye street.

All I can remember about it was Brooks Githens running around with a small oil can, forever squirting oil into his joints.

Does anyone remember the name of the play, or other members of the cast?

Of course you recall when Ralph Cooper operated a grocery store on Oswayo street and Burton Newton and his wife, Eva, ran the drug store.

Will Wandover also ran a grocery store next door, but can you remember when J. J. Haire had the dry goods store and Andy Simpson, the jeweler, was in the same block?

Remember when Tony Franz and Keith Foote sold groceries together in the Bank Block. Did they buy it from Roy Babcock, or was it the other way around?

If you remember when the entrance to the Bank was on the corner of the building your memory goes back over 30 years.

Have you forgotten that Roy Babcock bought Fred Gibson's clothing store and later moved it where Mom's Kitchen is now, before building the store now occupied by V. L. Howard?

We missed very few of the Fatty Arbuckle comedies that were shown at the Star Theatre, and we'll bet you didn't either.

When Bill Merkle ran the poolroom on Academy street he taught a lot of us "young men" how to play billiards.

Who operated the photo gallery on Oswayo street (now long gone) across from the Masonic Hall. Was it B. T. Barnum? Most of us had our pictures taken there at one time or another.

Can you still remember how good those home baked pies tasted that were served in the Prion & Russell Restaurant on Academy street?

You can, without great effort, remember when Ed and Nina Fenner conducted the store now operated by the Market Basket. And you can also remember their famous sales -- but does your memory go back to when it was operated by C. F. Locke?

Rock and Roll music wasn't even dreamed of in the mid-twenties but folks had a mighty fine time dancing at the Wild Cat and Clara dance halls -- that is until us young squirts began "The Charleston."

The Wild Cat dance hall was a popular spot for Saturday night dances and an annual picnic but demised in the early thirties.

Certainly you can remember when Nelt Eastman carried the mail up through Alma to Wellsville, but does your memory go back to Fred Kinnicut -- and George W. Dodge?

Do you remember when lightning struck the steeple on the Odd Fellows Hall? Not much damage was done, as I remember it.

Whether Rhetoricals were an innovation at Shinglehouse High School we don't know but we never heard of them anywhere else. Not only do you remember them but probably you took part in them.

The one part that sticks in my memory was Art Dunn's rendition of the famous "Cremation of Sam Magee."

You weren't a kid in Shinglehouse unless you remember following the old steam roller up and down the streets. Ira Kinney was about the only successful pilot the steam roller had.

You're old whether you admit it or not, if you remember Ira Kinney with his stepladder as he went about town lighting the gas lights. Some difference today, both in brilliance and ease of operation.

Reservoir Hill was used for other things than burning crosses by the Klu Klux Klan. For many years it was a storage place of water for use in the big window glass plant -- and as a source of fire protection.

Water was pumped from a well on the company's lot and had plenty of pressure when it returned to the plant.

How many of you oldsters can still dream of those NYP excursions to the Great Hornell Fair? Those were the days!

We are still disappointed to this day. All because Mr. Bender, who was in charge of the construction of the concrete road through town, didn't have a small engine to haul his train of cars that carried material to the concrete mixer. Remember how they were dragged up the track by a team of horses?

Remember when us fellows used to leave Shinglehouse on a Sunday afternoon and charge into Buffalo to see a movie?

I also remember five guys who slept on park benches at Niagara Falls the night before Labor day -- many years ago.

The year Lynn Chaple joined the Navy, the high school baseball team played on a field opposite the cheese factory. Lynn was catcher -- and a good one.

L. E. Page's old Model T Ford with the big brass headlights. It was around here until a few year's ago, but we mean when Mr. Page drove.

William Green stopped to get fully dressed -- even tied his necktie -- before coming to the Bank fire.

H. P. Toner sold fruit in his store on Oswayo street.

When the Post Office was next to the Star Theatre.

When "old Man" (that's all I ever knew him by) Whitton used to sit in his special chair on the stoop of the Arlington Hotel.

John Kelly sold oysters right out of the shell in a restaurant back of Fred Gibson's store that faced the NYP station.

Those of you who remember when Bert Davis drove the model T truck for the local bakery, this will make your mouth water when you recall Frank Freeborn's salt rising bread.

And Al Jones' Machine Shop on Honeoye street! Us kids will never forget that place with all its varied kinds of machinery. And the lessons we learned there, from Al, Earl Williams, Nip Grimes, Albert Myers and others -- if a job is worth doing, its worth doing well!

The Kelley Brothers Minstrels were the most popular show in this area.

Jimmy Hogan and the baseball bat he always kept in the bar of the Imperial Hotel.

Howard Morton had the first Funeral Home in Shinglehouse. Remember when he modernized the room in back of his furniture store. Keith Foote, were you with Morton at that time?

Gene Barney's Barbershop and Poolroom was at its height of glory when I was growing up.

Do you recall how you could go in there when Gene, Wardy Howell or Justin were busy, snatch a ticket off the wall and go into the poolroom while waiting your turn?

The barbers would stick their head through the door and bawl out your number. Chances were you were just banking the nine ball into the corner pocket -- and got a free hair cut!

Who was it that sold the Maxwells when the old Opera House was first turned into a garage?

Can you recall right now what year the First National Bank operated where Bridge's barbershop is now?

Where did you eat your first ice cream sundae, or drink your first ice cream soda? If Harold Toner didn't make it, then Mrs. Hallett did. Makes your mouth water yet, doesn't it?

Who remembers Bart's Fun Show that played two weeks at the Star Theatre?

If you can remember when Kate Newton operated a drug store, it was before the Big Fire of March, 1926, because she did not re-open.

You and I remember Pete Kelly, of course, but can you recall his famous chant when the Baptist Church sold lunches on the lawn during Shinglehouse's first Old Home Week?

It has since come down through the years, and I always recall him when I hear a barker shout, "A loaf of bread, a pound of meat and all the mustard you can eat."

Remember when the library was upstairs in the City Building of that day now houses the first and second grades. I reported my first Council Meeting from that very same room.

Who remembers a printer Dad employed for several years? His name was Seymour Osincup and he came from Hornell on the train -- not every day, of course.

I remember my first trip to Buffalo. It was with John Pearsall, back in the days when dealers went to the factory and drove in there own cars. No, I wasn't old enough to drive in one of the new Chevys.

Remember William Bissenden? The little English Cockney was a house painter in Shingle House for many years and an ardent Odd Fellow.

Our favorite recollection of "Billy the Business" is when he operated a steam powered merry-go-round on the lot next to the post office. It was owned by the IOOF for several years. In winter time the boiler was used to thaw water pipes.

There was also another cold trip we made later to Franklinville when "Bang" Langworthy drove his dad's Oldsmobile sedan.

If you like home made ice cream in the summer time, you will recall when Jim Donnelly ran an ice plant in his meat market where Dodd & Danforth recently held forth.

I still recall the acrid smell of ammonia, and can still see those cakes of ice bigger than I was.

Cecil G. Davis later had the equipment and made ice for sale about town prior to electric refrigerators until the plant was destroyed by fire.

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