FROM PAGES PAST: In 1946: Oliver House Museum established by YCGHS, Penn Yan

Staff reports
The Chronicle-Express

The Chronicle-Express

Consolidation, January 1, 1926, of the Yates County Chronicle (1824) and the Penn Yan Express (1866); the Rushville Chronicle (1905) and the Gorham New Age (1902)

The Yates County History Center’s volunteers have gleaned these entries for your enjoyment from their digitized newspapers. You can access them at the free site For more information about the YCHC, visit

150 Years Ago

Jan. 26, 1871

We were shown, a few days since, an interesting document in the hands of a gentleman, who unquestionably "believes in Penn Yan," and fully appreciates the importance of a united effort on the part of our merchants and business men generally, with the views to the establishment of "The Citizens Bank of Penn Yan" paid up capital of $100,000. He was so earnest in his belief that such a bank could be easily established, that we propose to put it on paper, and ask its favorable consideration by our citizens (part of whom perhaps don't believe in a bank, or Penn Yan either) and in so doing we are compelled to mention the names he had selected. The Citizen's Bank is to be composed of stockholders owning one thousand shares of $100 each.

On Sunday morning, Jan. 8, a freight train struck a broken rail at Himrods, and two cars were thrown over a steep bank and smashed to fragments. Conductor Dale escaped with some severe bruises, and a brakeman named Meadows was badly burned.

Keuka Lake has been frozen over on the east branch as far up as Kinney's Corners. The west branch has not as yet been frozen over, except the basin at Branchport. The basin is a little body of water separated from the main lake by a sandbar, and lies just east of the grist mill.

100 Years Ago

Jan. 26, 1921

Railroad Jack is dead. He was a clever dog because he made his home at the local Pennsylvania railroad station where he acted as a messenger, in addition to being on hand to welcome incoming passengers, apparently knowing the time of the arrival of first class trains. Like all good soldiers, Jack died in the performance of his duty, having been struck by a train while carrying a message from the passenger depot to the freight house. Two veterinarians, Drs. Belt and Stone, of this village, were immediately summoned, but the dog was injured internally, making it necessary to chloroform him. Jack 'boarded around" only with the railroad families, however disdaining a hand-out from any other source. He would condescend, too, to ride in an automobile driven by any member of the railroad fraternity, but refused point blank to even run after any other car. He was buried in the flower bed. There is great mourning at the depot as a result of his demise. About two years ago, Jack walked into the depot and was given such a cordial reception he remained.

Nine-inch ice has been cut in Dundee and ten-inch in Bellona and ice houses are filled. People in Penn Yan are not so fortunate — not yet. Ice in Lake Keuka is about four iches thick at the Penn Yan end of the lake.

Frank Hoffman, member of the County Board of Supervisors from the second Geneva District, returned to Geneva yesterday from Albany, where he interviewed the legislators in reference to the prospects of the improvement of the lake road between Geneva and Kashong, Geneva's summer colony, for the improvement of this road, which runs along the west shore of Seneca Lake. He was informed the road has been placed on the state map of roads proposed for immediate consideration and will be one of the first for which contracts will be awarded.

75 Years Ago

Jan. 24, 1946

The machine shop class is one of the most popular in the several courses being offered by the Penn Yan Board of Education for the benefit of returned GIs who want to take either new or refresher lessons in specialized subjects. All of the men in the class either have jobs at which they are already working, doing their studying evenings, or positions waiting for them when they shall have completed this course. The present enrollment is 11 and the limit is 15, shop and class accommodations not allowing for a larger number. Pictured on the front page were Donald Campney, instructor, Bennett Carey, Milford L. Smith, Charles Carrell, James VanAmringe Jr., John Finger, all who served overseas.

Donald Phelps, 24, of the Town of Gorham, has received word to report at Jacksonville, Fla. Feb. 1 at the spring training camp of the New York Giants to begin training. Donald has played ball since his hands were large enough to grasp the ball. He started out to be a pitcher, but has lately concentrated on being a third baseman and hitter, and in that capacity he is now hired by the New York club. He graduated from Gorham Central School in 1939 after pitching for the school team through high school. Last year he played with the Syracuse Athletics, a semi-professional team, and in September was called to New York for his first try-out with the Giants club, and was accepted. He owns a farm next to his parents, Mr & Mrs. Arden Phelps. He expects that his first assignment may be with the Trenton or Jersey City teams, both of which are owned by the Giants.

The collection of historical articles housed for some years in the basement of the Penn Yan Public Library will soon be moved to rooms provided in the Oliver House, Corner of Main and Chapel Streets, Penn Yan. In annual meeting last week the Yates County Genealogical and Historical Society took the necessary action so that it may use for storage and display as a museum the two north rooms on both the ground and second floor of the Oliver House. Other rooms will be made available to the society by the village as they become necessary for displaying the collection of articles which record the growth of Yates County from the days of the Indian and pioneer to the present.

Local historian Arnold Potter organized articles to be on display at the Oliver House. The Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society was allowed four rooms.

50 Years Ago

Jan, 28, 1971

All indications point to the closing of St. Michael's Parochial School in Penn Yan, but a final determination has been delayed for about two weeks to allow further study of the situations. The announcement was made to the parish of St. Michael's this weekend. A meeting held Sunday afternoon revealed that there was mixed feelings on the closing of the school, therefore the final determination was delayed two weeks. Enrollment was cited as the reason which prompted the recommendation to close the school after the current school year. At present there are 89 students in the school, down from an anticipated enrollment of 109.

The Penn Yan Mustang cagers put it all together last week as they pulled a major upset in Wayne Finger Lakes basketball, downing second place Waterloo 58-51 in a thriller. Each of the starters had a vital hand in the victory. Jack Nielsen tossed in 21 points, a number of them on soft jump shots around the key. He also rebounded very well along with John Housel, who added 13 points of his own. Mike Cook was red hot, especially in the second quarter, when he tossed in 3 out of 4 from the corner.

Richard Harris of Branchport was the winner of the Yates County American Legion Oratorical contest held recently. He was pictured with Charles Kramer, speech and drama teacher at Penn Yan Academy; Elaine Ackerson of Penn Yan, second place winner; and Miss Carlotta Crozier, PYA librarian.