Downtown 1894 — Glass blowing troupe

Maury Thompson
4 min readSep 7, 2023


It brought out crowds, even on a snowy night.

“Madam Nora’s original troupe of glass blowers, workers and spinners are in Glens Falls, and will give exhibitions from 2:30 to 5 and 7:30 to 9 p.m. in the store at 8 Ridge St.,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Feb. 14, 1894.

Madam Nora and her troupe traveled for several decades, offering an unusual combination of arts and entertainment, according to the Corning Museum of Glass.

People paid admission to watch them craft glass sculptures such as animals and ships.

Female glass blowers were rare in that era, and it was even more rare for a woman to manage a traveling show, according to the museum.

Each person who paid admission received a gift at the end of the show, and there were special prizes.

At Glens Falls, admission was 15 cents — the equivalent of $5.33 in 2023 dollars.

On Feb. 22 at Glens Falls, for example, the woman that the audience voted most popular received a free glass-blown lamp shade.

Kate Noonon, with 67 votes, won the prize.

On. Feb. 23, the man that the audience voted most homely received a free glass-blown Turkish smoking pipe.

“One of our popular justices of the peace” won the prize.

From Feb. 19–24, there was an ongoing vote for the cutest baby.

At the end of the first night, 258 votes had been cast.

Irene Hodgman was in the lead with 104 votes.

Anna Delaney, daughter of Officer Delaney, had 76 votes, and Grace West 20 votes.

Twenty-one contestants had received votes at the end of the night on Feb. 20.

Hodgman had 227 votes, Delaney 183, and West 32.

The entry pool was up to 32 competitors at the end of night on Feb. 22.

Delaney, with 446 votes, had taken the lead.

At the end of the night on Feb. 23, Delaney led, with 507 votes.

Le Roy Jewett had 185 votes, and West 170 votes.

Delaney, with 800 votes, won the contest.

There were about 40 entrants.

Madame Nora and her troupe moved on to Whitehall for a week’s engagement.

In other February 1894 downtown Glens Falls news collected from historic newspapers of the region:

  • “Henry F. Simard has opened a merchant tailoring establishment in the Sherman building,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 1.
  • “James E. Thompson, formerly with the firm Thompson & Floyd, was set to open a jewelry store and repair shop March 1 at 85 Glen St., Long’s Block, The Morning Star reported on Feb. 3.
  • “Billet, Hollenbeck & Toomey of Albany will soon open a crayon portrait establishment in Glens Falls. The firm will also give instruction on photography,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 8.
  • George Pardo, owner of The American House hotel at the corner of Glen and South streets, usually did his own fishing.

“Zanas Van Dusen yesterday presented Landlord Pardo, of the American House, with a pickerel that tipped the scales at exactly sixteen pounds. The fish was caught in the river above the Feeder Dam by Mr. Van Dusen, and is one of the largest of the kind ever captured in that vicinity,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 14.

  • A little help would make the mail go through faster, suggested a Morning Star editorial on Feb. 16.

“In behalf of the letter carriers, The Star would suggest that persons in front of whose premises letter boxes are located should shovel the snow from around the boxes instead of piling it up around them. It is not pleasant for the carriers to have to climb through banks of snow shoulder high to get at the boxes.”

  • The Mission Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was set to hold a Washington’s Birthday celebration at the group’s new hall on Park Street.

“Anyone desiring to do so can get an early supper, with tea or coffee, for 35 cents a couple (the equivalent of $12.44 in 2023 dollars),” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 21, 1894. “The singing by the Glen Quartet will fully repay you for the price of your supper. Music will also be furnished by the Banjo and Guitar Club.”

  • “H.C. Pearsall of the City Drug Store has sold his stock to R.N. Cole of the Original Package Drug Store, Crandall Block,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 22, 1894. “On March 1, Mr. Cole will vacate his present quarters and take possession of the City Drug Store.”
  • “The Lawton Furniture Company of Fitchburg, Massachusetts will open a retail furniture store in the Robertson building on Glen Street on March 1,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 22, 1894.
  • “The evening mail train on Saturday was about an hour late in reaching Glens Falls owing to the breakdown of one of the tires on the wheel of the locomotive,” The Morning Star reported on Feb. 26.

Click here to read the most recent previous downtown Glens Falls history post.



Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY