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Yates County History Center
Students at Maiden Lane School in 1891. Seventy-five years ago, an item in the Chronicle-Express noted the Maiden Lane parking station was once the site of the school.

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

February 15, 1872 

Simeon Holton -- The death of Simeon Holton, Esq., late editor of the Seneca County Courier, occurred at his residence in Seneca Falls, on Tuesday, the 6th inst., in the forty-fifth year of his age. His funeral took place on Sunday last, and was attended by a large concourse of his fellow-citizens, by whom he was justly held in high esteem. The pall bearers were Mr. Stowell of the Seneca Falls Reveille, Mr. Tinsley, of the Lyons Republican, Mr. Van Camp, of the Lyons Democratic Press, Mr. Wolcott, lately an editor of the Yates County Chronicle, Mr. Adams, of the Geneva Courier, and Mr. Cleveland, of the Chronicle. Mr. Holton was a native of Seneca County, and during the last twenty years of his life a resident of Seneca Falls. As a teacher and member of the Board of Education, he was a very useful citizen. Though admitted to the bar, he became an Editor rather than a lawyer, and for several years occupied the editorial chair of the Seneca County Courier. As an editor he was industrious, capable, painstaking, and honest. Ill health compelled him finally to retire from active life and during the past year he has been a suffering invalid. Through his long and tedious decline his pains were alleviated by the tender and solicitous attentions of an affectionate and devoted wife, who is left a disconsolate widow with two interesting children to mourn the loss of an excellent husband and father. Their best consolation consists in the elevated character of the departed, whose name is mentioned with sincere respect by all, and reproach by none.

Mark Twain's New Book -- That rare and racy humorist, “Mark Twain,” has produced a new book, entitled “Roughing It,” which even excels his “ Innocents Abroad," and is from beginning to end a giggle-provoking, button-busting volume. As “a little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men” the work is having an immense sale. It is profusely and grotesquely illustrated, and is sold only by subscription. Mr. H. L. Kendig of this village is the only authorized agent for Yates County, and will be pleased to promote the general jollity of mankind by taking subscriptions for Twain's last and best achievement.

100 Years Ago

February 17, 1922 

Masten’s Bookstore to Be Enlarged -- A.V. Masten, of Penn Yan, has taken possession of the store in the “Kelly Block,” recently occupied by J. C. Bryan as an auto tire repair shop. Mr. Masten recently purchased the block and says he intends enlarging and greatly improving his bookstore. According to his plans, divulged to a Chronicle reporter, the partition dividing the Bryan store from his own will be removed; the store floors made level with the sidewalk; the stairway now between the stores placed to the extreme east of his property. A new front, he says, will be placed in the store of rubble faced brick and large plate glass windows. The store will also be extended some twenty feet to the rear. If these improvements are made, Mr. Masten will certainly have a very attractive and commodious store.

Masten's Bookstore; 100 years ago, A.V. Masten purchased the Kelly Block and intended to enlarge and improve his store.

Finger Lakes Association Looking to Improve Roads Around Lakes — First steps in its highway improvement program for 1922 have just been taken by the Finger Lakes Association, which this week sent a communication to the State Highway Department, urging it to give first attention to the state roads mapped out for construction around the six Finger Lakes. Following out its aim of assisting each associated town to carry out its individual highway program, the association has just asked, on behalf of the town of Jerusalem, Yates County, of the highway department that the continuation of the road from Penn Yan to Branchport be completed in 1922 at least as far as the Steuben County line. It has been planned to construct this road of cement, and the association calls the attention of the State Highway Department to the fact that near Branchport is a fine gravel and sand bank which will supply material in cement road construction at small cost and little inconvenience.

Power Project Revived -- The property and rights of the Lamoka Electric Water Power Corporation, of Corning, are to be sold to Syracuse capitalists, if negotiations now pending are carried through, and the big water power development which has been hanging fire since 1914 will be carried through to completion. An option has been granted upon the Corning company’s holdings to W. P. Gannon, of Syracuse, and his associates for $40,000 and 20 per cent (sic), of the common stock of the company which will be formed to develop the project. The Lamoka Company was granted a special charter several years ago by legislative act, the charter giving it the right to condemn lands needed for the development of the power project and other special privileges. The war, however, kept it from carrying out its plans. The company’s project called for the impounding of the waters of Lakes Lamoka and Waneta by the construction of a huge concrete dam across the Lamoka Valley below Bradford, and the dropping of this water through a concrete tube to the shores of Lake Keuka, two miles away but 400 feet below. Electricity approximating 35,000 horsepower was to be developed by the water power. Mr. Gannon and his associates are now said to be negotiating in Rochester for the sale of the power which it is proposed to generate.

Behind Prison Walls -- Harry Morse, of the Elmwood Theatre, estimates twelve hundred people were in attendance Sunday night to hear Dr. Arthur Copeland, of Auburn, give some of his experiences as chaplain of Auburn prison and see the screen picture of prison life in the real. Dr. Copeland has been chaplain at Auburn for ten years and is now lecturing with the aid of pictures to show old and new conditions in prison life, with a view of bettering the condition of prisoners. The Hon. Thomas Mott Osborne, who has spent much of his time, means and keen interest in the welfare of the prisoners of our state penal institutions, was shown in the pictures. Voluntarily he was sent to prison for ten days as a prisoner, his identity unknown to the prisoners and keepers, to get first-hand information about prison life. He has accomplished much good, but there is yet much to be done.

75 Years Ago

February 20, 1947 

William Dart Dies At Gibson Landing, Noted Fisherman -- William Dart, 77, passed away at his home at Gibson's Landing on Keuka Lake in the Town of Pulteney Sunday afternoon, Feb. 16, 1947. He was one of the last of the old time trout fishermen of Keuka lake, widely known for his skill as an angler. For many years he operated a boat livery at Gibson’s. He died in the house where he and his wife had lived for the past 50 years and where they celebrated their golden wedding anniversary on Aug. 22, 1946.

Conservationists Plant Trout In Seneca Lake -- Four truck loads of lake trout, averaging between five and six inches in length, were planted in Seneca Lake last week. These fish, yearlings, were surplus at the Bath fish hatchery and were moved out to make room for the coming spring hatch, according to L. D. Winslow, head of the hatchery. Game Protector Olav White, who assisted with some of the plantings, reports that one load was put in at Watkins Glen, one was assigned to the Seneca Lake Sportsman’s group at Dundee, one to the Field and Stream Conservation club at Himrod, and one to the Rod and Gun club of Geneva These four loads approximated more than 7,000 fish. Last year, according to Protector White, more than a million and a half lake trout were planted in Seneca Lake. Most of them came from the Bath hatchery with some from the Caledonia hatchery. Fishing in Seneca lake last season was considered poor. The fish “ran about the same size but the catches were spotty.” The 1945 season was the best that deep Seneca had known for some time. Tourist accommodations were filled to overflowing and the roads, for days at a time during the days when the fish were biting best, were clogged with traffic and parked cars. Old timers, and those who do their predicting by moon phases, zodiac signs, and the way foliage grows thick or thin, predict another banner season for lake trout fans in 1947.

Penn Yan Oddity -- The Maiden Lane Parking station was once the site of the Maiden Lane school where many of Penn Yan’s citizens received their education when they were children during the span from 1842 to '93. Younger adults will recall when the school house was converted to a hitch barn by the late Owen Hoban, father of Leo and Owen Hoban; later sold and known as McConnell's hitching barn for many years, finally being razed to make way for parking.

50 Years Ago

February 17, 1972

Day Care Center Board -- A newly-appointed Board of Directors of Yates Day Care, Inc. met in the Lincoln-Rochester Bank meeting room Tuesday, Feb. 8 and elected officers. The Board consists of the following: Mrs. James White, Mrs. Arthur Wolcott, Mrs. Israel Heller, Mrs. John Bistoff, Mrs. Anne Balch, Mr. Richard Lent, Mrs. James McPherson, Mrs. James Toole, Dr. William Whitehill, Mrs. Edward Bolger, Mr. Ralph Setzer, Mr. Donald Meyer, Mr. Keith Bartlett, Mrs. Richard Jensen, Mrs. George Havens, Mrs. John Bailev, Mrs. David Darby, Mrs. Jordan Hopkins, Sister Alice McLaughlin, Mrs. Robert Hoban, Mrs. Earl Bloomquist, and Mr. Jack Clancy. Officers were elected as follows: President - Mrs. George Havens: Vice-President - Mr. Ralph Setzer; Corresponding Secretary- Mrs. Edward Bolger; Recording Secretary - Mrs. Anne Balch and Treasurer - Mrs. James Toole. The Center, under the able direction of Mrs. Doris Covert, is presently located in Penn Yan by this spring. Day Care is trying to fill the very real need for adequate child care by offering educational experiences for the pre-school children of working mothers.

Regent Scholar Winners -- Regents Scholarship winners in Yates County are headed by Mitchell Wilber, son of Mr. and Mrs. Norman Wilber of County House Road, a senior at Penn Yan Academy. His score was 270. Wilber, the top scorer in the county, has already been awarded a full $4,000 academic scholarship at Brown University where he will major in pre-law. He is employed part time at Pinckney Hardware in the village. The top five winners in the county are: Wilber (270); Robin J. Nicolo, PYA; Jane F. Dombroski, Dundee RD 2; John W. Gibbon, 209 Walnut St.; Michael D. Dugan, County House Road, Penn Yan R.D. 

Annual Grape Growers Confab Draws Over 300 -- Over 300 vineyardists and others associated with the grape industry in various capacities jammed the Penn Yan Grange Hall last Thursday for the 23rd Annual Grape Growers Convention. A progress report on a vineyard site study was given the group by Gilbert C. Smith, cooperative extension specialist for the grape industry. The study was prompted by the realization that winery requirements in the next five to ten years will mean fully planting existing vineyards and moving into new areas not now in grape production. Smith told the throng that growers  have only one chance where they will plant. He added that the importance of this is noted in the fact that [their] grandchildren may harvest grapes from the same vineyards.