The ”Our Cities” section is compiled monthly by Carol Johnson of the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection. The entries were copied from the July issues of the New Paltz Independent. For a closer look at these diaries of the past, visit the Haviland-Heidgerd Historical Collection staff at the Elting Memorial Library at 93 Main Street in New Paltz, or call 255-5030.
Residents of Dayton Heights had a most enjoyable time on July 4e. The whole affair was celebrated on Mr. and Mrs. Geo’s lawn. Wicks, where the committee worked hard to make the scene very appealing. The porch was covered in streamers and flags hung with 32 red, white and blue electric lights, while more than sixty Japanese lanterns were used on the lawn. The shooting and noise started at 8am by the children after which games were enjoyed including a baseball game by the boys. The evening celebration began at 8:30 p.m. or as soon as it was dark when the lights came on and the music started. The fireworks were many and varied and lasted until 11:30 a.m. when The sweetness of the hearth was played.
Work in the classes for the children of the summer school will begin on July 10, Monday morning, at 8.50 am. Sessions will continue each school day until 11:50 a.m. The work will take place for three weeks only, while normal regular work will continue for six weeks. Arrangements have been made for a visit by the Tuskegee singers on Monday evening, July 17, to the Auditorium. There will be a lecture on black education in the South, particularly in Tuskegee, and it will be followed by a concert by singers of color. It will be a very useful and entertaining evening. Admission twenty-five cents, open to anyone in the village who might be interested in the work of education among the colored people.
Although the summer boarding school season had barely begun, the Friday night block dance compared favorably to its predecessors from previous years. A group of about 50 boys from Camp Wallkill who sang for the evening, our own New Paltz Youth Home for the summer break, and many Independence Day guests who stayed for the dance, helped inflate the numbers. In addition to these, there were hundreds of car parties from nearby locations, as the fame of the New Paltz Block Dances spread throughout the county, and the perfect moonlit weather provided additional incentive.
Blueberries in the Minnewaska area are starting to ripen. The abundant rains were favorable to the harvest.
Ralph LeFevre and his daughter spent several days at Lake Minnewaska. The place is more attractive than ever. The management always takes a warm interest in its customers, many of whom return year after year. Walks, car rides, boating on the lake, mountain views and excellent waiter service combine to make the location perfect. Significant improvements to Wildmere House over the past year include the introduction of electric lighting. The works are not yet finished. In order to provide the energy needed for power generation, a dam is being built across the Peterskill at the lower falls. There will be 150 horsepower generated, which will be enough for lighting, pumping, etc.
The new tank, Po’keepsieshould arrive from New York on Friday or Saturday.
Charles H. Bleecker, the one-armed Civil War veteran, died Tuesday at his home in this village. He was in his eighty-first year. His health had not been good for some time, but he had only been bedridden for a short time. His death removes one of the few veterans still left in this town, of whom we believe there are only five left. Mr. Bleecker enlisted in the summer of 1861, in the 44e New York Regiment (Ellsworth Avengers). A company for this regiment was recruited to a large extent, in and around New Paltz. Of this company, Mr. McN Walsh, the principal of the New Paltz Academy, was the captain at first. The 44e The regiment came from all parts of the state and was given the name Ellsworth Avengers to commemorate the brutal murder of Colonel Ellsworth, who was shot by a rebel while lowering the Confederate flag. The deceased served in many battles during the war and lost an arm at Gettysburg. For several years, he has resided in this village. Mr Bleecker’s funeral is at the home of his son William Bleecker this afternoon at 2pm.
Nine houses are now under construction in this village. The average cost is estimated between four and five thousand dollars.
A new dam will soon be built on the Wallkill at Walden which will be eleven feet higher than the old dam and will flood a larger area. The water will power the Wallkill Valley Light and Power Company and the New York Knife factories.
The Highland Boy Scouts are offering to spend two days this week camping on the Wallkill. A large number of Scouts have recently arrived at Camp Wallkill.
Camp Awosting is in a very thriving state. There are a hundred boys. There are ten councilors of which Irving J. LeFevre is one. Besides the school building, there are three lakeside cottages, one of which is occupied by Mr. Kidder and another by his father-in-law, Mr. Frizzell, a well-known New York banker. Lake Awosting is about a foot and a half deeper than in previous years, a dam having been thrown across the outlet of the lake.
Camp Wallkill, although only a recent addition to the long list of summer camps, will soon rank among the best. Plans for the physical and mental development of the youngsters were carefully drawn up months before the camp opened. Every camper showed great interest in athletics. The camp director went to great lengths to equip the waterfront with a wharf, a steel diving board, diving boards, a float and an initiation cradle.
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