FROM PAGES PAST: 1872: Steamer 'Yates' to be built, 'Youngs' refitted

Yates County History Center

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

March 28, 1872

Sodus Bay & Corning Railroad - From the Dundee Record: We have lost the railroad, or in other words, it will not come through our village, and we suppose if old time theology was true, it was foreordained so to be. Yet we look back to two years ago, and think we can see that our citizens, if they had not then been penny wise and pound foolish, might, could, would and should have changed this state of things. We feel, however, that we have done our duty in the premises, and are out of pocket in time, money and labor, full as much as we are able to carry in the cause. Yet perhaps the least said about it the better, but we are sorry it is as it is. But when people are heedlessly and needlessly deaf, blind and dumb to their own best interests, it is generally the case they wake up and carefully put a lock upon the stable door after the horse is stolen. Had there been one half the interest manifested two years ago that has been for the last two months, we could have secured a road here. We have too many here who only seem to care for our folks, our pocket, and the income of our money to ever see the village flourish as it ought. This is a pitiful state of things, but that it is, none can truthfully deny.

From the editor of the Chronicle: The Record tells a large share of the truth in the above paragraph. At the meeting held at Geneva about two years ago when the company was formed for the prosecution of this work, Starkey had no representation on the ground but J. M. Wescott, and he had no subscriptions to back him. All he could do he did faithfully; but he could only tell the meeting what he believed his town would do. He could not show what they had done as other towns did. Dundee lost that day an advantage which it has not been possible since to regain. That the people there should be displeased with the situation is perhaps natural but some of them we think are inclined to vent their displeasure on parties not in the least at fault in the premises.

The steamer G.R. Youngs, renamed Steuben in 1872.

Lake Keuka Steamers - The Lake Keuka Steam Navigation Company will, we hear, rechristen the steamer Youngs, giving it the name of “Steuben,” while the new boat will he called the “Yates.” The latter will soon be launched at the yard in this village, and it is expected that she will be finished and ready for service by the first of June. The “Steuben” will be thoroughly refitted and with both steamers well officered (as we are assured they will be), all those who either transport business or seek pleasure on our beautiful Lake will be courteously accommodated.

General Kilpatrick’s Lecture - The lecture of Gen. Kilpatrick, on Wednesday night of last week, was listened to by a large and appreciative audience. The General tells the deeply interesting story of “Sherman’s March to the Sea” with graphic force, and seems not only inspired by his theme, but infuses enthusiastic interest into his auditors. Notwithstanding the high price paid to the lecturer ($150), the Grand Army “ boys” cleared about forty dollars.

Stage Capsized - As we were informed by one of the passengers in the stage running from Dundee to the railroad at Starkey last Saturday evening, two wheels of the coach passed over the end of a log near the depot, throwing the driver and a man sitting with him to the ground, when the horses started on a furious run, and whirling around by the south end of the depot capsized the stage, in which were five passengers, two of whom were ladies, but the team brought up in the sheds adjoining, and the passengers escaped without serious injury. The situation seemed fearful to the occupants of the stage until they were extricated from the unlucky vehicle.

100 Years Ago

March 29, 1922

New Dance Pavillion - The latest resort improvement project reported to the Finger Lakes Association is the work of constructing a dancing pavilion at Drake’s Point, just inside the west branch of Lake Keuka, a half-mile north of Gibson’s Landing. This work was begun a few days ago by a force of men under the direction of Eli Read of Bath. The job will occupy six or eight weeks, it is expected. In addition, a cement road on the west side of the lake from Hammondsport to Gibson’s is in course of building and will be ready for use in the summer. Drake’s Point was formerly the summer home of James A. Drake, of Corning, but was purchased several months ago by Hornell parties who plan to popularize the place as a summer resort. (NOTE: That is currently the location of the Lakeside Restaurant.)

Radio Communication - Wireless communication between points far apart is a great mystery. It is difficult for one whose knowledge of electricity is practically nil, to form any idea of how it can be done, but we all know it is a daily occurrence. It is fascinating to dip into the mystery a little, as many amateurs are doing with their sending and receiving stations. There are a number in Penn Yan and in the country within a few miles of the village. A regular business is now made of “broadcasting.” This means that a program is sent out from some station, and the amateurs within a radius of three hundred miles or so are able to “pick it up.” Some times the atmosphere is not just right because of static electricity or some other reason, and the results are not very satisfactory. At other times the whole program is heard. A week ago Sunday night, when William Jennings Bryan’s address was sent out, it was heard in Penn Yan just as distinctly as if the hearer occupied a front seat in the hall where it was being delivered. The possibilities of this radio communication are in their infancy. Last week Robert Edmonds, son of Lee Edmonds of Benton, tried an interesting experiment. He has a wireless station at home. Taking another lad, the boys strung some wires over the top of an automobile used by Robert in his trips to and from school. They put a “sending apparatus” in the car, and then drove around town sending out messages. And it worked. Local stations “picked up” what was sent out by these lads, and we presume other stations farther away got them. It is necessary for the receiving station to be “in tune” with the sending. That is easily accomplished if you know the number of vibrations of the sender. When matter is being “broadcasted” it is easy for the amateur receiving station to adjust their apparatus. The New York Telephone Company is preparing to establish a “broadcasting” station.

75 Years Ago

March 27, 1947

Gale Force Winds Blow Huge Elm Tree Across Main Street - The high wind toppled over the huge Elm tree in front of the Methodist church on Main Street about 2 o’clock Tuesday afternoon crushing three parked cars and injuring Charles Kirkpatrick, who was driving past and was caught in the center of the street under the falling tree. The Kirkpatrick car was caught by the large part of the tree trunk, the impact practically flattening the rear of the vehicle. The driver, who lives at Benton Center, Penn Yan, RD 4, was just far enough past the weight of the tree to escape being crushed instantly. As it was, he suffered head wounds and body injuries, and his condition at the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital is serious but not critical. A parked car on the west side of the street, practically against the tree butt, was owned by Warren Morse of Violet Avenue. The young owner had just gone into the bank about a block away when the tree fell. The weight of the tree base flattened the car against the pavement. On the other side of the street a new car owned by Dr. Ralph H. Davis was parked. The larger upper limbs smacked this both fore and aft. After the branches had been cut away the vehicle moved off under its own power, but it was a sorry sight. A fourth car, parked some distance in front of the Davis vehicle, had several windows broken from the blows of large limbs but was the least damaged of any of the four. Public utility lines were broken and the maples on the east side of the street were stripped of branches, but also protected the Charles Stratton and Oliver Sheppard houses from damage. Main Street was closed to traffic from the four corners to Court Street on the west side and to Clinton on the east side while the municipal workers repaired power lines, the highway department sawed and chopped wood in a swirling snowstorm, and tow cars eventually removed the wrecks.

‘Cradle of Aviation’ Closes Airport April 1 - The Hammondsport airport known as Mercury Field, for the past 40 years famous as the “cradle of aviation,” is being closed April 1. This small field has been mentioned in many flying and airport magazines as the oldest airport in the United States. Glenn Curtiss used part of the field in his experimental flights in 1908, and the field was officially opened by Aerial Service in the ‘20s. Mercury Field is small and the valley in which it is located is narrow. It has been cursed by many pilots as having the most hazardous and turbulent air currents this side of Hades. In spite of this, the field claims a record second to none. There has never been a major accident and no person has been seriously injured on the field. Because of the unsuitable conditions in the Hammondsport valley, further development of the present airport is impractical.

50 Years Ago

March 30, 1972

Local Businessman Notes Anniversary - “Penn Yan has been good to me, and I want to show my appreciation,” Jake D’Augustine, owner of the Surplus Outlet, 16 Main St., said. Mr. D’Augustine will observe his 20th anniversary of doing business in Penn Yan with a store-wide sale Thursday, Friday and Saturday (March 30-31 and April 1). In addition, he is giving away a number of door prizes. A Paulin three-burner gas stove, (propane gas) is first prize with a Zebco rod and reel as second prize. Three nylon jackets will also be given away, plus a Taxco 8 x 30 binoculars and a Spaulding basketball, a dozen Haines Stretch socks, and a Northern Sleeping Bag. The drawing will be Saturday afternoon. A native of Geneva, Mr. D’Augustine came to Penn Yan in 1955 from Canandaigua in mid- March, locating on East Elm Street in the old Moses block. Later he moved to 4 Main St., now the Cook Liquor Store. In 1961 he purchased the Old Bakery Building, in which he located his present store.

County Little Miss Pageant Set in May - Yates County will hold its “Our Little Miss Pageant” in May. The Miss LaPetite division is for youngsters, three to six years of age. They will model party dresses, and sportswear outfits and will be interviewed by judges. Our Little Miss division, for girls seven through 12, will also model a party dress, a sportswear outfit, will be interviewed by judges, and in addition, will perform a talent display between two and three minutes. Three young “misses” will be selected at the local pageant to compete at the state event. The titles are “Our Little Miss,” “LaPetite,” and a special title of “Talent Winner.” The latter enters the next level of competition, purely on a talent ability.

Blue Oyster Cult in 1975. Joe Bouchard is on the far right.

Branchport Resident Is Recording Star - Joe Bouchard, a young man who makes his permanent home in Branchport, has just completed a record album for Columbia Records called the “Blue Oyster Cult.” He is one of five members in a New York-based band also known as the Blue Oyster Cult. The record, according to Joe, has sold more than 20,000 copies so far with sales increasing each day. “We’ve even made Billboard Magazine which lists us as the 214th most popular recording group after only one week of sales. That’s better than we expected and things look very promising.” At present, 104 radio stations are using the album which includes WCMF FM in Rochester. The band plans to make a live broadcast from this station on the evening of April 3rd. When asked what kind of music the band plays, Joe replies “Rock and Roll.” “It’s all original material written by the persons with the band. The kids like it because it’s different but we keep it conservative enough for the general public.” The sales indicate that this approach has indeed been successful. Why do the Bouchards live in Branchport? Their answer seemed unanimous — “it’s a refuge from a very hectic life in which we sometimes find ourselves. It’s permanent and in an area we both like very much.”