Warren County Historical Society Presents …
The Digital Version * * * “REWIND”
January 1 1, 2014
The following article was originally published in Pasttimes in 2006. As we start a new year, it is interesting to look back at life over 200 years ago. Photos added by Webmaster to enhance content for Internet Publication.
1900 in Warren County
Marilyn Van Dyke
The year 1900 was in some ways unusual and in other ways not. Some people thought of it as the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Others argued that the new century did not begin until 1901 and so they postponed celebrating. Walter Lord in his book, The Good Years: 1900-1914, tells us that the emphasis at this time in history was on simplicity. Wealth was simple. Small boys grew up on Horatio Alger. If you were good and worked hard, someday you would be rich. Pleasures were simple. Small town orchestras, drama groups, German bands, and Gilbert and Sullivan troupes provided a way for people to amuse themselves. Rules were simple. Nice people did not mention sex and even smoking was questionable. Government was happily simple. Offices in Washington were pleasantly informal. One could find a ready access to President McKinley. The inventions of the previous century – the steam engine, railroad, telegraph, ocean liners, telephones, electric lights, the cash register – offered an optimism and confidence in the future. People were looking to this.
In 1900, Warren County’s population was 29,943. The largest town was Queensbury with 14,900. Of this number 12,613 resided in Glens Falls. The smallest populated town was Thurman with 809 people.
To examine what people were thinking and doing in Warren County at that time we turn to the first seven days of the year in the “Glens Falls Morning Star,” the major newspaper published in Glens Falls at the time.
Seeding Alfalfa where Broad-acres exists today.
One might think that this New Year, marking the beginning of a new century, would be celebrated with zest and merrymaking. Such didn’t seem to be the case. On January 1, all was basically rather quiet. The paper printed three poems and a drawing of a new year’s baby.
Some people entertained at social parties. A dance and supper for 20 chaperoned by George Roberts took place at the famed Halfway House on Route 9 on New Year’s Night with music by CC McClurg.
Color Advert for The Halfway House Route 9 near Route 149 intersection.
The Young Men’s Christian Association observed New Years Day with a diversified program which included a shuffleboard tournament, an open house with musical selections on the banjo and the Graphophone. Demonstrations with a dumb bell drill and mat work and German exercises, broad and high jumps and a basketball game were the highlight of the evening.
Downton Glensd Falls YMCA Building, Ca, 1900s
A pleasant social hop was held on New Years night at the home of James Shattuck in Hague.
Sunset View from Assembly Point Westward towards Prospect Mountain.
It was appropriate to give gifts to friends at New Years. A genuine Briar or Meerschaum pipe was suggested for a gentleman. Other gifts advertised were watches, diamonds, opera glasses, clocks, fine leather pocketbooks, gold pen and pencil sets, gold spectacles and eyeglasses.
Locally, the weather attracted a lot of attention. On West Mountain it was 10 degrees below zero with lumbering at a standstill. In Stony Creek the ice houses were being filled. The ice was 14 inches thick. Charles Hovey, at his pond in Queensbury, was harvesting ice where it was 11 inches thick. In Warrensburg the river froze over during the latter part of the week but on Monday a slight snow storm spoiled it.
In the little Knowlhurst hamlet there was fine sleighing on the main roads but not enough snow to get into the woods. The lumbermen were hoping for more. In Johnsburg there was excellent sleighing with it below zero every morning. Ice formed on Lake George closing the head of Diamond Island and the Narrows.
North Creek Train Depot Ca. 1900.
Pond at Crandall Park in Glens Falls.
The national news in some ways was startling. The Spanish American War and the British Boer War had ended. The National Guard was called in to fill a quota for officers for service in a volunteer regiment of the army. All those recommended for duty were officers of the recent Spanish American War.
An earthquake was felt in Russian villages while eyes were turned to China with advocates for an open door policy speaking out. The orient was now the market for new American goods.
Cases of bubonic plaque in Manila caused the island of Luzon to be quarantined. In Honolulu deaths from the plague caused bodies to be cremated.
Telegraph communication was established between Iceland and the continent.
The paper offered readers a variety of local social news. Annual meetings were to be held by the Northern NY Trotting Horse Breeder’s Association, Warren County Agricultural Society, Glens Falls Insurance Co., and Warren County Medical Society.
Empire Theatre on South Street in Glens Falls.
Other events listed include the Anti-tobacco League, which had 23 boys, met at 4:15 in the afternoon.; Harry Downs, proprietor of the Chester House, went to the Rockwell House in Glens Falls as a guest; and George Keenan was to do a lecture on “Cuba and the Cubans” at the YMCA.
At the Empire Theatre on South Street, one could see a comedy, “How Smith Met Jones,” a comedy for the admission price of 75 cents. The dramatic attraction of the season was to see the 70 people performance of Alexander Dumas’ “Musketeers.”
An always popular oyster supper was held for the Volunteers of America; the Masons honored the 100th anniversary of George Washington’s death; School district 2 in Bolton received a piano from JB Simpson of NY; and, Governor Theodore Roosevelt delivered his New Year’s message.
The automobile had come on the scene in Warren County. However, there was no mention of it in the press. An ad by W. Irving Griffing, offered fur coats , robes, and blankets for winter along with 3 seat surreys and single carriages at his livery shop.
Warren Street was being paved with the cost to be shared by property owners and tax payers.
The electric railroad ran from Glens Falls to Sandy Hill to Fort Edward while the D&H ran from Caldwell to Fort Edward. Plans to extend the trolley on Ridge Street were opposed as it was believed it would drive away the farmer’s trade from the countryside.
Hudson River Telephone Co posted its rates: residence $18 /yr; business $34/yr.
And delinquent water consumers were to have their water shut off.
Consumer goods were available and reasonable. It was bargain day at Goodson Brothers: a fur cape for $25; a three piece parlor suite for $214.50 at Wilmarth and Sons furniture; stoves and ranges could be had at De Long and Sons Hardware; and slab wood cost $1.25 per load sawed.
Successful Hunting in Stony Creek.
At his shop at 14 Warren Street in the city, F.L. Lincoln advertised these foods for sale: cranberries 5 cents /quart; Heinz sauce 2 bottles for 25 cents; Forest figs 11 cents; walnuts 5 cents /quart; and 3 lbs mixed ribbon candy was 25 cents. Seven year old rye or bourbon whiskey cost 75 cents; brandy 75 cents/quart. Cigars mostly from Cuba were $75 per thousand.
Maple syrup from local farms was 95 cents/gallon, and for the local spice salesman, one could save Lions Head coffee labels to buy needed household products.
A cough or cold could be cured with Green’s Warranted Syrup of Tar in 25 and 50 cent bottles at Ferris and Viele, RM Cole, RN Peck, Dolan Bros., Leggett and Peddie, Ames and Baldwin in Glens Falls and ER Ziebach in Lake George.
A homestead with 2 lots was offered for sale cheap on Lower Warren Street for $2,300.
Jobs were advertised: Wanted a girl for housework at 87 Ridge Street or A girl to work by the week, must understand cuff work.
The Presbyterian Church in East Lake George needed books for the new Mountainside library.
This vignette portrays an everyday existence in 1900. Over the next century much of this would change with transportation and technological advances pushing people into different lifestyles with different demands and needs. In the meantime, things remained simple for a little while.
Stagecoach North Creek Depot.
© January 1 2014, Warren County Historical Society
Originally prepared for Pasttimes, the quarterly newsletter of the Warren County Historical Society in 2006, this article was written by Marilyn Van Dyke, Queensbury Town Historian.