In This Place: November 5, 2014

Did You Vote?
Call me a sicko, but I love politics. I worked on the 1990 campaign of Deborah Glick, the first openly gay person ever elect­ed to the NYS Assembly. Some News readers may remember my coverage of the 2006 race of Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand, now our Senator.
I also love the math, science and strategy of it all. So, now that Nov. 4 has come and gone, let’s enjoy some very pre-Nate Silver election results.

November 5, 1909 — Close Vote Delays the Final Count
The recent election was probably the closest one in the history of the county, there being only a matter of about 100 votes between victory and defeat.
The result could not be author­itively announced until the official returns had been canvassed at Delhi Wednesday evening.


In This Place: October 29, 2014

Hallowe’en — Some Tricks, Some Treats

Let’s enjoy some of the old-fashioned hijinks of Hallowe’ens past. The costumes may have morphed over the years, and the elaborate parades with floats, window paintings on Main Street shops and fiercely fought costume contests are now largely a thing of the past. But trick or treating — as well as some devil­ish mischief-making — remain much the same. Let’s start with an early 20th century warning that seems to have been printed just in the nick of time!
Joe Duggan, Margaretville Boy Scout, looks up after finishing his pie in the Halloween pie-eating contest Monday evening at the Margaretville central school, while Sandy Scudder keeps eating. Despite his spectacular appearance Joe did not finish soon enough to win a prize. Who cares? The pie was prize enough.
—From the November 4, 1955 edition.Joe Duggan, Margaretville Boy Scout, looks up after finishing his pie in the Halloween pie-eating contest Monday evening at the Margaretville central school, while Sandy Scudder keeps eating. Despite his spectacular appearance Joe did not finish soon enough to win a prize. Who cares? The pie was prize enough.
—From the November 4, 1955 edition.


In This Place: October 22, 2014

October Olio

Traditionally a Spanish or Latin American “rich, highly seasoned stew of meat and vegetables,” the word “olio” has long since come to refer to any miscellaneous collection of items, a hodgepodge, as it were. So this week’s column of news that was reported on the front pages this week in 1904, ’24, ’34 and ’54 certainly qualifies as an “olio.”


In This Place: October 15, 2014

Mountain Italiano

The fate of that famous Italian Columbus — whether you consider him a daring explorer, an exploitative plunderer or a mixture of both — is well known. So instead I thought we could look at the fortunes of—and Catskills attitudes towards—the Italians who centuries later, followed in Columbus’ wake and wound up making a home in our hills.


In This Place: October 8, 2014

Fiddlin’ Around

This weekend’s Fiddlers! festival at the Roxbury Arts Group celebrates its 21st year in a perform­ance space named for one of the most renowned and most enduring of our mountain fiddlers, Hilt Kelly. Here’s a write-up of a little get together, when by my rec­koning Hilt would have been 15, probably the same age as the kids he entertained. Hope he got in on that gingerbread and ice cream.

February 7, 1941
Leighton Scudder entertained a dozen schoolmates at a party at his home on Saturday even­ing. To start things off, Leighton took everybody for an old-fashioned hay-ride, bells and everything. Upon their return, square dancing was in order, with music furnished by Hilton Kelly and Amos Kelder. Finally the young folks gathered around the fireplace and roasted hot dogs and topped off with home-made ice cream and gingerbread. Sounds like some party!