FROM PAGES PAST 1922: Forest Fire at Glenora

Yates County History Center

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

May 9, 1872

Run on Great Fire edition of Chronicle -- We provided last week for a large edition of the Chronicle, but soon found that our supply of extra copies was far too small. Such was the rush for copies to be sent away that we were obliged to place our forms on the press a second time and print a new edition. We found after all that four hundred extra copies would not satisfy the public demand, and had to promise to reprint our account for the fire this week. We have revised and corrected it, and made some additions, and will try to furnish all who want the Chronicle this week. (The updated version included additional losses of $3,850, bringing the total to $133,850, equal to $3.1 million in 2022 dollars.)

Fire Photographs -- Dr. John C. Mills has taken a fine photograph of the burned district on Jacob Street, of convenient size for framing. Also a number of stereoscopic views of both the Jacob Street and Benham Street ruins. These pictures are excellent for preservation, and everybody will want some keepsake of the greatest fire that ever desolated Penn Yan. The Doctor furnishes them at reasonable prices. That they are good pictures in assured by the fact that Dr. Mills took them.

Dr. John C. Mills captured this stereopticon view of the fire that destroyed a portion of downtown Penn Yan 150 years ago.

Benham St. Extension -- It would be a good thing to extend Benham Street southward to Canal Street. It would, in fact, be a village improvement of no slight importance, and most especially to the citizens of Canal Street. It would of course cost something and probably the consideration of cost will prevent it is being accomplished.

100 Years Ago

May 10, 1922

Young Man Saved from Drowning -- As Charles Carr and Harvey Christensen, 16-year-old boys, were coming down the channel in a rowboat, Carr in leaning too near the edge of the boat fell overboard. Although he can swim, he was taken with a cramp, and went under. Christensen shouted for help and jumped in after Carr. Help soon arrived and young Carr was dragged ashore. Two men who live near the outlet gave first aid and after ten minutes Carr regained consciousness.

Runaway Milk Wagon -- A horse on one of the J.W. Woodard & Son's milk wagons ran away Thursday morning, spilling the load of milk. The animal started on upper Clinton, turned onto Main at the Presbyterian church corner, ran through the business section, up East Main Street, leaving the wagon, milk, bottles, harness and a few other things strewn along the way.

Forest Fire at Glenora -- There was much excitement at Glenora May 2 when a forest fire raged for a time, nearly destroying "Cherith Cottage," erected by the Reb. Samuel Eastman, one of the largest cottages in Glenora, doing damage to fruit trees and ornamental shrubbery. The beautiful pine grove set out years ago by Mr. Eastman, which was his pride, was a roaring mass of flames when discovered by Fred J. Estabrook, of Elmira, whose cottage is located just across the street. At one time it was reported Prof. John Rossa's beautiful cottage might be in danger. The lattice work was just taking fire under the cottage when Mr. Estabrook discovered the blaze.

75 Years Ago

May 8, 1947

Penn Yan Police Monthly Report -- In his report for April, Police Chief James Moody reports 15 arrests for misdemeanors: 8 for intoxication, 4 for disorderly conduct, 1 for burglary, and 2 for assault third degree. There were 10 traffic violations: 5 for speeding, 2 for passing stop signs, 1 for operating a car without a license, 1 for failure to signal a left-hand turn, 1 for passing a red light. There were 68 meter tickets given out, 15 prisoners in the village lockup necessitating the serving of 7 meals and 142 visits by police, 7 long distance phone calls, 3 street doors found unsecured, 5 accidents investigated, 19 complaints answered, 5 lost children returned to their parents, 1 mail escort and 1 bank escort provided, 7 funerals policed, 36 street lights and 1 other light reported out, and 6 quarts of milk gathered for the laboratory.

Penn Yan Express Driver Killed -- James Franklin Shefler, 42, of Penn Yan was killed instantly at 8:45 Monday night at the Pennsylvania railroad crossing at Milo station. Mr. Shefler, who has been employed for the past three months as a driver for the Penn Yan Express trucking company, was on his way home from Elmira. His truck, a straight job and not a tractor-trailer, was loaded with kegs of nails some mattresses and other general merchandise. A northbound freight train was stopped across the crossing at the Milo station waiting for some minor repairs to be made. In the rainy darkness, Mr. Shefler apparently never saw the train at all and crashed into it with no slackening of speed.

Seventy-five years ago, the Seneca Recreation project in Hall was planning to sponsor several softball leagues during the summer.

Baseball Leagues in Hall -- The Seneca Recreation project in Hall is planning to sponsor several softball leagues this summer. Teams from Bellona, Benton, Potter, Hall, Stanley, Gorham, Reeds Corners, and Seneca Castle are being invited to participate in Senior league for boys 16-21, Junior league for boys 12-15; midget league for boys under 12; and Pettycoat league for older girls and young women.

50 Years Ago

May 11, 1972

The Walkerbilt Woodworks Inc. plant. Fifty years ago, Godfrey Kubli, who had worked at the plant since 1914, celebrated his 80th birthday during a coffee break with coworkers.

Kubli Feted for 80th at Walkerbuilt -- Godfrey Kubli, who turned 80 May 2, was feted by his co-workers during a coffee break celebration at Walkerbilt Woodwork Inc. A native of Switzerland, he came to America in 1913 from Paris, France. He worked in the trade he had leaned in Switzerland by joining an antique firm in Paris. Upon his arrival in Hammondsport in 1913, he first worked in a wine cellar for six months, then helped remodel the historic landmark, Isle of Pines. He joined Woodwork Inc., Penn Yan in 1914 as cabinet maker, a post in which he is still very active. His fellow employees and his bosses, consider him one of the best in the business.

Tomion Wins Music Prize -- Mark Tomion of Ferguson Corners won first prize of $100 at the 10th annual talent show May 6, sponsored by Willard State Hospital. He competed with 18 contestants from surrounding communities. A pianist, he played "Liebestraum" by Franz Liszt. Proceeds of the show ere presented to the Patients' Amusement Fund.

PYA Baseball Roster -- The Penn Yan Academy baseball team was pictured: Jeff Lamphier, Joe Abraham, Bert Dailey, Jim Burris, Joe Trombley, John Banach, Tom Orr, Larry Wigden, John Gibbon, Pete Klock, Jeff Benulis, Dan Simmons, John Lauer, Roger Paddock, Steve Lizi, Ralph Corey, and Mike Burns, manager.