Tag Archives: Amsterdam

Amsterdam and the Flu Pandemic of 1918


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newyork001When the world-wide influenza pandemic struck in 1918, Amsterdam had its share of disease and death.

The flu became more deadly in the fall of that year, near the end of World War I. From October 1918 through January 1919 there were 176 deaths in Amsterdam from flu or pneumonia, half of one percent of the city’s population.

Amsterdam had 23 cases of influenza in September and eight people had pneumonia. In October the number of flu cases jumped to an astounding 3,386; 255 people had pneumonia. Amsterdam had 43 flu deaths in October and 77 deaths from pneumonia, which often followed the flu. Both St. Mary’s and City Hospital were filled to capacity. Continue reading

Kirk Douglas: Amsterdam Native’s 1960 African Safari


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Kirk Douglas in the navyAmsterdam native and movie star Kirk Douglas, who will turn 98 next month, killed a leopard and other big game during a 1962 African safari.

According to an article in the men’s magazine True, Douglas, 46 at the time, said at the end of the trip, “I’m hooked. I don’t know how I got along all those years without hunting.”

History enthusiast Emil Suda, who lives in Amsterdam’s East End where Douglas grew up as Issur Danielovitch or Izzy Demsky, provided a copy of the magazine’s account of Douglas’s safari written by Ralph Daigh. True folded in 1975. A chapter called “Killer Douglas” is devoted to the actor’s hunting trip in his 1988 autobiography The Ragman’s Son. Continue reading

‘Immoral Tendencies’:
When Amsterdam Banned Burlesque


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Rose Hill FollyTwo Amsterdam clergymen had concerns and asked Mayor John Dwyer to do something about the situation. The Rose Hill Folly Company was planning to perform on Wednesday, November 6, 1889 at the Potter Opera House on Market Street.

The formidable Reverend John McIncrow of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church and Reverend Donald Sprague of St. Ann’s Episcopal Church told the mayor the company had an “immoral tendency.” The clergymen also asked Dwyer not to allow the “posting of indecent pictorial advertisements of shows” in the city. Continue reading

Amsterdam Mayor Arthur Carter Was An FDR ally


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Amsterdam Mayor Arthur Carter 1933During the 1920s, Arthur Carter from Amsterdam worked as an auditor for the State Comptroller’s Office in Albany and got to know Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Roosevelt became President in 1933. Later that year, Carter was elected mayor of Amsterdam, defeating incumbent Republican Robert Brumagin by 1,169 votes.

The nation was gripped by the Depression. An estimated ten thousand people turned out in Amsterdam on a raw and windy November 9, two days after the city election, to parade for economic revival. Continue reading

The Historians: Ghosts of the Past and a Dedicated Drummer


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians”, Jerry Snyder of Historic Amsterdam (N.Y.) League on their Ghosts of the Past Tour; Barry Wygel of Time Warner Cable News on the 100th anniversary of the Glove Theatre in Gloversville; my story of two Congressional Medal of Honor recipients, one black and one white, who fought in the Civil War

In the second half of the show I talk with Angela Cave, author of the book Keeping Time, the remarkable story of 98-year old drummer Fred Randall from Schenectady.

Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/

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Bob Cudmore: How ‘The Historians’ Came to WVTL Radio


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Bob Cudmore on WVTLMy first foray into local history was in 2000 when Steve Dunn and I co-produced the WMHT television documentary “Historic Views of the Carpet City: Amsterdam, N.Y.” Amsterdam is my home town. That same year my first book came out, self published. “You Can’t Go Wrong: Stories from Nero, N.Y. and Other Tales” was a compilation of satirical newspaper columns I had written for the Troy Record and Daily Gazette of Schenectady about Nero, a mythical Upstate New York city settled after all the good classical names such as Troy, Utica and Syracuse had been taken. Nero is a place so negative that “I don’t blame you” is a compliment.

In 2000 I pitched the Daily Gazette on doing “Focus on History”, stories from Montgomery and Fulton Counties. The column ran every other week until 2004 when it became a weekly fixture of the Saturday paper. Until his death last year, the column was edited by the Gazette’s incisive city editor Irv Dean. Continue reading

Schenectady: The Life of Clarissa Putman


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Clarissa Putman, the jilted lover of Sir John Johnson, son of William Johnson, has been the subject of much Mohawk Valley mythology over the years.

The Schenectady County Historical Society (SCHS, 32 Washington Avenue, Schenectady) will host a talk on Saturday, November 3, 2012 at 2:00 p.m. by Peter Betz entitled The Life of Clarissa Putman to sort out fact from fiction by providing a non-fictional mini-biography of her life based on reliable sources. Continue reading

Old Fort Johnson Flood Recovery Events Planned


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Amsterdam City Hall and Old Fort Johnson National Historic Landmark will bring history and creativity together as local area businesses, designers, organizations and individuals craft festive wreaths for all seasons that will decorate Amsterdam City Hall. All the wreaths will be available for sale at a silent auction, and all the proceeds will go to Old Fort Johnson’s Flood Recovery Fund.

It has been over two months since Old Fort Johnson National Historic Landmark was damaged by devastating floods. Approximately five feet of water rushed into the Old Fort, reaching the tops of the mantels on the first floor. The Visitor’s Center had close to two feet of water inside, and the 18th century privy was tipped on its side. Restoration costs have been high and there is still much work that needs to be done.

The event will kick off on Saturday & Sunday, November 26th & 27th with an open house at Amsterdam City Hall where there will be a children’s craft activity, holiday refreshments, local items for sale and wreath hunt to locate the many mini-wreaths hidden throughout City Hall. You can also do a little holiday shopping.

Amsterdam City Hall will be decorated with almost 50 wreaths of all types and for all seasons. Many include gift cards or other items. For example, Dolci Bake Shoppe’s “Sugar and Spice, Emerald Cinemas’ “Experience the Magic of the Movies”, Oakes Framing and Art Gallery’s Ebeneezer’s Redemption”, and the Marching Rams, Boosters and Alumi’s “All That Glitters” all have gift certificates included with their wreaths. Damiano’s Flower’s wreath “Pine Cone Greeting” has a matching table centerpiece. Other wreaths include Rulison Honey Farm’s “Sweetness and Light”, Get It Done Construction’s “Sweet But Don’t Eat” , Kara Reed’s “Christmas at the Cape”, and Mary Lou Kristie’s “Four Seasons” to name just a few of the wreaths that will be a part of this fundraising event.

On Saturday, November 26, local author Bob Cudmore will be on hand from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm to sign his latest book – “Stories from the Mohawk Valley: the Painted Rocks, the Good Benedict Arnold and More”, a great holiday gift. Also, Rachelle Cotugno will be providing musical entertainment singing holiday carols. On Sunday, November 27, the Amsterdam High School Select Chorus will be performing at 3:00 pm.

On Saturday, December 3rd from 1:00 pm to 4: pm Amsterdam City Historian Rob von Hasseln will be conducting free tours of historic Amsterdam City Hall. This is a chance to learn more about the building and one of the most prominent families in Amsterdam history. Participants will be able to view the wreaths and place any silent bids on ones you’d like to see in your home.

The wreath display will continue through December 6th, and wreaths can be viewed and bid on during normal City Hall business hours. All wreaths will be available to be picked up on Saturday, December 10 at Amsterdam City Hall during a closing reception at 1:00 pm.

For additional information call 518-843-0300, or visit www.oldfortjohnon.org.

Photo courtesy Old Fort Johnson.