110 Years Ago
The lives of more than 100 miners were snuffed out shortly after noon today (April 23, 1913) when a disastrous explosion occurred in the Cincinnati Mine at the Monongahela Consolidated Coal and Coke Company at Finleyville, about 27 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. More than three score of workmen in the mine made thrilling escapes to the surface, crawling most of the time on their hands and knees through deadly gas fumes and over debris. Many of the men sustained burns. By 11 o’clock tonight 70 bodies of victims had been recovered having been located by rescuing squads of the United States Bureau of Mines and the coal company. The fire which followed the explosion has been subdued, it is said. From 76 to 78 men made their escape. Only a few of the miners who reached the surface were in a condition to talk. Seven foreign miners, who crawled from one of the entrances, all seriously burned, said the mine was “full of dead people.” Of the known dead, all are Americans. A gas explosion is thought to have caused the disaster. The force of the explosion was terrific. Mine cars were splintered and a 15-ton motor was turned over. Many feet of mine track were twisted and ripped from the ties.
90 Years Ago
An Englishman traveling through the United States jotted down some of the names of towns he passed through. In Mississippi they have Hot Coffee, Whynot, Possum Neck, Yoso, and Ten Mile; in Florida, Fifty-seven Mile, Three Sisters, Sonny Boy, Sisters Welcome, Jap Jay and Two Egg; in North Carolina, Hog Quarter Maiden, Matrimony, and Red Bug; in South Carolina, Six Mile, Sixty-Six, Ninety-Six and Nine Times; in Virginia, Ego, Pancake, Red Eye, Topnot and Swallow Well; in Arkansas, Fifty-Six, Poorman, Riddle, Self, Seldom and Smackover; in Louisiana, Blanks, Wham, Rufus and Uncle Sam; in Tennessee, Calf Killer and Gizzards; in Alabama, Java.
70 Years Ago
Oneonta firemen proved their mettle early yesterday morning when an oil truck caught fire and threatened to blow the Chestnut and West Streets neighborhood to smithereens. With the rear of the huge truck completely aflame, firemen could have “played it safe” by fighting the blaze from a distance and hoping for the best. But they didn’t. Unmindful of their own safety, but fearful that some 4,500 gallons of oil might explode any second and wreck the vicinity they rushed right up to the truck and began spraying foam and chemicals. Few bystanders realized the seriousness of the dramatic duel between five men and a hot fire. “Anything could have happened. We might have been hurt or killed,” Chief Joseph Scanlon said. In the late 1930s, when another oil tanker caught fire at River and Main, Francis Wright drove it all the way to the Pony Farm crossing to avoid any explosion in a heavily populated residential area. Several years ago, another tanker hit icy pavement on Main Street and cracked into a tree. Its oil load spilled into the street. In each case, firemen risked death to save lives and property. “You’ve got to take chances,” Chief Scanlon said. “That’s our job. Thank God, we’ve never had difficulties.” Chief Scanlon’s crew included Frank Angellotti, Kenneth Hooks, Nicholas Gardner, and Howard Fields. Other Oneonta firemen include Edward McDonough, Lester Haines, Donald Rarick, Herbert Sweet, and James Gill.
50 Years Ago
An interesting new book at the Huntington Library is titled “The Pact” by Orlando R. Petrocelli. This is a novel about a well-established Wall Street financier with a reputation for being ruthless in his business dealings. Although the Carlanas had become a premier family in the country, this man wanted to see one of his sons in the White House. If you liked “The Godfather” you’ll love “The Pact.”
Private Brenda Muehl, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Muehl, Oneonta, has graduated from Marine Recruit Training, Parris Island, South Carolina. Private Muehl is a 1972 graduate of Oneonta Senior High School and enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps for a period of four years. Upon completion of her home leave she will be stationed at the Communications School, San Diego, California.
40 Years Ago
Otsego County Republican Elections Commissioner Guy Maddalone has named Ann Paradis of Oneonta to succeed Violet Schallert as his full-time deputy commissioner and clerk in the Board of Elections office. Mrs. Paradis is the owner of R.E. Brigham Jewelers, Main Street, Oneonta. She is currently president of the Otsego County Women’s Republican Club and serves as vice-chairman of the Otsego County GOP Committee. She also coordinated last fall’s campaign to elect state assemblyman John McCann.
30 Years Ago
Hartwick College students will try to set a new category and world record for the Guiness Book of World Records by making the “World’s Largest Group Hug” on Thursday evening. Hartwick students, faculty, staff and administrators, plus students from the State University College at Oneonta, and Oneonta residents are invited to participate in the event. After the group meets at Hartwick’s Astroturf Playing Field at 6 p.m. instructions on making the hug will be given. The activity is part of “Wellness Week,” Hartwick’s alternative to “Alcohol Awareness Week.” The latter is supported by a brewing concern that raises a conflict of interest. “Wellness Week” emphasizes six areas of life – physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, social and occupational.
20 Years Ago
Hartwick College officials are expected to choose a successor to outgoing President Richard Detweiler from among three finalists by the end of next week. The search committee is expected to make its final recommendation to the Board of Trustees on Friday, May 2. Scheduled for today’s interview on campus is Richard P. Miller, Jr., vice chancellor and chief operating officer of the State University of New York. A graduate of Middlebury College, Miller was senior vice-president and chief operating officer at the University of Rochester from 1986 to 2000. He also serves as a trustee of Hobart and William Smith College. He is a decorated Vietnam War veteran.