Downtown 1888 — Spring improvements
Spring colors, as in paint and paper colors, were showing up in downtown Glens Falls.
“The Rockwell House (hotel) appeared on the streets yesterday arrayed in a new and attractive coat of paint,” The Morning Star reported on April 10, 1888.
Mother Nature may have been jealous of the new look, based on the ugly weather she dumped the nest day on Fountain Square, outside the hotel, which was located at what is now the Hudson Avenue entrance to Centennial Circle roundabout.
“Yesterday morning, the wind whisked the dust around the corners of the streets, converging at Fountain Square,” The Morning Star reported on April 11. “In the afternoon, a heavy snowstorm set in and the same locality was covered in ankle deep slush.”
Downtown revitalization was not limited to the hotel.
“The work of the painter and paper hanger is making a marked improvement in the appearance of Barney Singley’s barber shop,” The Morning Star reported on April 18. “The wainscoting has been painted a maroon and ebony black, and the ceiling and walls are now being papered.”
Elsewhere in downtown, “Paper hangars and painters are at work decorating the interior of G.H. Bassinger’s jewelry store,” The Morning Star reported on April 26.
Downtown Glens Falls merchants in the 19th century supported the arts.
“A wondering artist visited nearly all the business places in town yesterday,” The Morning Star reported on March 3, 1888. ”He was provided with some black paper, white cardboard and a pair of scissors, and did quite a flourishing business in cutting out silhouettes. There will be several of these old-fashioned pictures floating around town today.”
F.C. Wilson opened a “dining hall” at 128 Glen St., The Morning Star reported on March 12.
“Regular meals furnished at twenty-five cents.”
A “natural-born clairvoyant” who “hung up his shingle” on Park Street was attracting curiosity.
“He can be consulted on all the tribulations which the human race is heir to,” The Morning Star reported on March 29. “If Mr. Miller’s circular is to be believed, the aspiring politician will find in him a friend, he will calm the troubled sea of matrimonial life, and smooth the rugged way of swain and sweet heart.”
Elsewhere on Park Street, former owner Ira Kethunn bought back the Park Street grocery store, The Morning Star reported on March 31.
Thomas Thomson bought the Selleck & Baker’s flour, grain and hay store at 23 South St.
This must have been interesting to watch.
“Two well-known citizens, each weighing over 225 pounds, ran a foot race on Warren Street the other night in the quiet hours,” The Morning Star reported on April 9. “The contest was exciting and resulted in a tie.”
Here was a way to stretch the budget.
“Today is suspender day at the Rochester Clothing Store. A bargain in suspenders for ten cents. Only one pair to a customer,” The Morning Star reported on April 10.
A Morning Star editorial on April 16 praised Glens Falls police for cranking down on loitering.
“The street corners in the central part of the village were kept clear of loiterers yesterday for the first time on Sunday in several years. If the police officers will continue to keep the habitual loungers moving, on the Sabbath at least, they will earn the gratitude of the public.”
Glen Street insurance agent and home gardening expert Meredith B. Little was a downtown trendsetter.
“It is getting to be a thing just now to make show windows attractive with a collection of potted plants,” The Morning Star reported on April 17. “M.B. Little introduced the pleasing custom here by an exhibit of chrysanthemums. He was followed by Coolidge & Bentley for a time, and now McGarvy Brothers display in their office window a varied collection of fresh- looking plants, among them a Bermuda, or eastern lily, which is just about to bloom.”
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