FROM PAGES PAST: 1947: Geneva sneak thief robs Knapp Hotel

Yates County History Center
Manufacturing in Penn Yan along the Keuka Lake Outlet. A drought 150 years ago led to a lack of water that interfered with the manufacturing plants on the lake.

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. 25, 1872

From the great drouth (sic) in this part of our state during the past two years, our streams and lake have failed to received their usual supply of water. This has interfered quite seriously with the manufacturing on the outlet of the lake, as well as with the navigation of the canal. This may recur again, and it has occurred to us that it is a matter of so serious a character to the business interests of our village as well as the county, that an immediate remedy should be sought.

A reminder of the sad fate of Mr. and Mrs. Richard M. Smith has been received in Penn Yan, in the shape of their large traveling trunk, which was recently washed ashore on Lake Huron from the wreck of the propeller in which they were drowned. The trunk was last week received here by Charles Strobridge.

Last Monday morning, as the 10:10 express train was passing Himrods, going south, a man named Mack Miller, belonging in Milo, attempted to drive a span of horses around the track. Both he and the horses were struck by the engine and instantly killed. Rev. Mr. Holt, a clergyman living at Himrods, was also in the wagon, but escaped injury by jumping out. Mr. Miller was a young man, aged about 35 years, and leaves a wife and several children. He was in the employ of Eben Potter.                 

100 Years Ago

Jan. 25, 1922

The largest state and county tax ever paid into the treasury of Yates County was paid this month to County Treasurer Bennett by the New York Central Railroad, amounting to $8,773.94; the Pennsylvania Railroad followed with $5,199.07. As the new county budget is $146,472.85, these two railroads have paid nearly one-tenth of the total 1921 county budget.

The Watkins basket ball team defeated the Penn Yan Academy team Friday evening in a very exciting game. Score 28 to 27. The Penn Yan Academy girls basket ball team defeated the girls team from Watkins Friday night in a game played here by a score of 45 to 5.

The highest percentage received by any scholar who tried the regents examinations in spelling at the Liberty Street school in Penn Yan was 97, and was attained by Addie Smith, of the Benton Center School District No. 8 of which Miss Jessie Turner of Penn Yan is the teacher.

1922: The Liberty Street School. One hundred years ago, Addie Smith scored the highest grade on regents examinations that took place at the school.

75 Years Ago

Jan. 23, 1947

After running down clues enough to solve an Ellery Queen mystery, Yates County law enforcement officers have arrested the Geneva man who admits stealing $200 and a quart of whisky from the New Knapp Hotel on Nov. 3 The money which was stolen was a fund which employees of the New Knapp Hotel were accumulating for a party and entertainment and was held in a large glass bank in the hotel's tap room. Nov. 3 was a Sunday, and when the hotel was opened for business around noon that day, the bank was found smashed and all the money gone. The man told arresting officers he hid in a section of the hotel basement under the lobby Saturday night until the hotel was closed and then made his entrance into the tap room through a trap door from another part of the cellar, taking the money and a quart of whisky.

The possibility of building an addition to the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital as a memorial to the veterans of World War II from Yates County was favored by the association members in an annual meeting Friday afternoon. The erection of the hospital building itself was accomplished following the First World War as a memorial to its veterans. The group asked the board of managers to give the matter further study. Dr. William P. Rhudy, representing the staff, Lynn Carpenter of Dundee, Courtney G. Earle, Charles T. Andrews, Willis Burt, and Mrs. John Hyland, all of Penn Yan, were named members of the board of managers.

The Spinning Wheel Roller Palace with the assistance of the Spinning Wheel Amateur Roller Club is staging a number of special skating events and numbers each evening of roller skating from now until Feb.15, along with their other regular activities in the attempt to gather together enough dimes to reach from one side of the rink to the other for the infantile fund. Special games are played among the roller skaters and 50 percent of each game goes to the winner while the other half goes to the fund. The club's slogan is "We Who Can Skate Will Help Others to Skate Again."

50 Years Ago

Jan. 27, 1972

Two of the brightest stars in the gridiron world, one from the college ranks and one from the professionals, will headline a star-studded Sports Night program sponsored by the men of St. Michaels Catholic Church on April 6. Walt Patulski, All American lineman of the Notre Dame gridiron machine, and Pete Gogolak, place kicking specialist with the New York football Giants, will be present.

The Yates County Sheriff's Department made a total of 533 arrests in 1971, according to the report released this week by Sheriff George Spike. Vehicle and Traffic law infractions amounted to 330 for the year. There were 28 assault arrests, 14 for fraud, 17 for public intoxication, one for rape, six for larceny, eight for burglary, two for forgery, three for sex offenses, two for disorderly conduct, 11 navigation law infractions, and 89 miscellaneous arrests. A total of 2,440 non-criminal complaints were investigated by the department. Four hundred forty-one motor vehicle accidents resulted in injury to 178 persons. Fourteen deaths were investigated.

High winds were causing endless troubles for utility crews in the Penn Yan area Tuesday. Many reports of trees and tree limbs down, as well as power and telephone lines, were keeping crews busy. The temperatures in the area dropped from a high of 52 at 6 a.m. Tuesday to about 20 at noon.