1885


Jan 12
Engineer John Bloomfield Jervis dies at the age of 89, leaving $50,000 to the city of Rome, New York, for a public library.

Jan 27
Composer Jerome Kern is born, in New York City.

Feb 11
Rochester's Genesee Brewery burns, at an estimated loss of $125,000. ** Rochester's average temperature for the day is 14° below zero.

March
A troupe of trained horses perform at Rochester's Academy of Music. ** Rochester's executive board has a channel cut in the ice in the Genesee below the Main Street Bridge, to help prevent ice jams and bridge damage on the river.

Mar 16
An eclipse of the sun is visible in Rochester between noon and 3 PM.

Mar 21
Temperatures in New York City drop to 10 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Mar 22
New York temperatures drop to 12 degrees F, setting another daily record.

Apr 25
Veterans of the NY 140th are invited to unveil a Gettysburg monument.

May 15
The Adirondack Forest Preserve is created - "forever wild".

Jul 23
Ulysses Simpson Grant dies, in Wilton.

Jul 24
Rochester observes a day of mourning for Grant, draping homes and businesses in black.

Aug 8
Rochester holds a memorial service for Grant in City Hall.

Oct 4
Rochester's new jail is occupied after being inspected and approved by the City Supervisors.

Dec 10
The ship Southgate (later the Wavertree, currently at the South Street Seaport in New York City) is launched in Southampton, England.

City
An office building at 26 Broadway, the new home of Standard Oil, is completed. ** The Brooklyn Bridge cable railway installs new cable grips based on a design by A . S. Hallidie. ** The "Daly Law" prohibits apartment houses over six stories tall. ** American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T) is founded, to tie the Bell companies together. American Bell Telephone Company general manager Theodore N. Vail is named president. ** A man dies jumping off the Brooklyn Bridge, as a stunt. ** Operetta star Lillian Russell returns from London. Her husband Edward Solomon soon returns to England where he's arrested for bigamy. ** Brooklyn's Empire Stores builds its second group of buildings on its waterfront property. ** Flora Payne Whitney, wife of U. S. Secretary of the Navy William Collins Whitney, testifies for her friend Mrs. Amos Lawrence Hopkins in a celebrated divorce case. ** J. Edward Simmons is unanimously reelected president of the New York Stock Exchange. ** Edwards & Critten publish New York's Industries: A Commercial Review.

State
Watervliet is chosen as the site of a federal arsenal to produce the new breech-loading artillery. ** Construction is begun on Geneva's Belhurst Castle. ** Former governor Reuben Eaton Fenton dies in Jamestown, in his mid-sixties. ** Cornell University president Andrew Dickson White names his protegee, professor Charles Kendall Adams, as his successor. ** The use of flat-bottomed scows on Canandaigua Lake for cargo and grapes is introduced. The scows are towed to Woodville by steamboats and return to Canandaigua under their own power. The practice will last about ten years.

Albany
William P. Mason's Report on the Albany Water Supply made to the Albany Board of Health. The mayor vetoes a plan for using gang wells.

Rochester
Tobacco manufacturer William Kimball orders a 21-foot statue of Mercury to be placed above his factory. ** Builder John Canfield dies. (The city's Canfield Place was named for him).

Syracuse
H. P. Smith's History of Essex County is published here. ** The municipal water company obtains an injunction against the Mayor and Council, preventing them from awarding the contract to the newly-formed Central City Water Works Company.

 

1886


January
Writing in Leslie's magazine, Miss Linda Gilbert suggests turning the towers of the Brooklyn Bridge into observatories, to finance her social work for the poor.

Jan 6
The library in Rochester's Reynolds Arcade opens.

Jan 30
An International Billiard Match is held in New York City.

Mar 1
The first issue of Cosmopolitan magazine is published, in Rochester.

Mar 14
The steamship Oregon collides with a schooner off Long Island's Fire Island. The schooner's occupants are lost. The Oregon sinks eight hours later but her captain and crew are rescued.

Mar 24
A flower show is held in New York City's Metropolitan Opera House.

April
Richard Morris Hunt's base for the Statue of Liberty is completed.

Apr 10
The first U. S. exhibition of the French Impressionists opens in New York City.

Apr 24
Rochester's Democrat and Chronicle is expanded from 8 to 16 pages.

May 17
Congress commissions West Point graduates as second lieutenants.

May 28
U. S. President Grover Cleveland announces he will marry his ward Frances Folsom, daughter of his former law partner Oscar Folsom of Buffalo, within the week. They marry June 2nd.

Jun 1
Pierre Lorillard IV founds Tuxedo Park, as an enclave for the wealthy.

Jun 15
The Atlantic Yacht Club of New York City conducts trials for an America's Cup defender. The wind dies off and the winner drifts in with the flood tide.

Jul 3
Otto Mergenthaler, working for the New York Tribune, uses his linotype to print a newspaper page for the first time.

Jul 11
Carlisle Graham shoots the Niagara River rapids in a barrel.

Jul 12
Workmen begin applying the copper sheets to the Statue of Liberty.

Jul 22
Albany celebrates its 200th birthday. 41 bronze memorial tablets have been placed throughout the city.

Jul 23
Steve Brodie claims to have jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge on this date.

Aug 4
1876 Presidential candidate and former governor Samuel Jones Tilden, 72, dies at Greystone, his home near Yonkers.

Aug 22
Mrs. Abelard Reynolds, wife of the Rochester pioneer, dies there at the age of 102.

Sep 2
The New York Stock Exchange takes up a collection for the Charleston, South Carolina, earthquake victims.

Oct 3
Metropolitan Opera and New York City Ballet costume designer Barbara Karinska is born in Russia.

Oct 10
Griswold Lorillard and several others wear a new tailless dinner jacket to a ball in Tuxedo Park. The jacket takes on the name of the village, but does not catch on right away.

Oct 12
Bloomingdale's opens a new New York City department store on 59th Street and Third Avenue.

Oct 28
The Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World) is dedicated, attended by President Cleveland, designer -Auguste Bartholdi and Suez Canal builder de Lesseps.

Nov 2
Industrialist Abram S. Hewitt, running on the Democratic ticket, defeats Republican Theodore Roosevelt and Labor Union candidate Henry George to become mayor of New York City, serving 1887-1888.

Nov 8
The temperature in New York City drops to 29 degrees F., the lowest on record for this date.

Nov 20
Publisher Joseph Pulitzer writes to Flora Payne Whitney, commending her for testifying on behalf of Mrs Hopkins.

December
Long Island Railroad (LIRR) president Austin Corbin buys a controlling interest in the East River Ferry Company (ERFC).

Dec 15
The New York Stock Exchange trades over a million shares for the first time in its history. A panic ensues even though the drop is only one to five percent on the average.

City
The world's first crosstown trolley line is built along Manhattan's 125th Street. ** John H. Taylor inherits Queens's Oakland Gardens nursery business from his father, restauranteur John Taylor. ** Henry Hardenberg designs a series of rowhouses on East 87th Street, for the Rhinelander interests. ** The Evelyn apartment building on West 78th Street is built. ** The city of Brooklyn annexes the town of New Lots. ** Brooklyn's Erie Basin graving docks are taken over by Handren & Robins. ** Joaquin Miller's novel The Destruction of Gotham is published. ** Atlanta Constitution editor Henry Grady makes a speech on "the New South", telling the New England Society that Southerners have accepted the war's outcome and bear the North no ill will. ** Fausto D. Malzone opens a bank and money exchange at 88 1/2 Mulberry Street. It will also house the Italian-American Amateur Theatre Club.

State
The city of Jamestown is incorporated. ** In a special election, Syracuse voters defeat municipal ownership of the city's water supply. ** A son, Paul Wilbur Woodward, is born to Genesee Pure Food Company founder Orator F. Woodward and Cora Woodward. ** Batavia's Eagle Tavern, destroyed by fire, is soon replaced with the Hotel Richmond. ** Former governor Horatio Seymour dies in Utica, in his mid seventies. ** Buffalo's St. Adelbert church is built for the Polish community. ** Canandaigua's Seneca Point Hotel is built. ** The Tonawanda River Lock of the Erie Canal is damaged by fire.

Corning
The city's First Baptist Church is completed. ** The approximate date the A. D. & M . S. Squires Company is founded at 16 East Market Street, dealing in lumber and bark (the later supplied to tanners). ** May and Kriger establish a confectionery business at 33 West Market Street.

Rochester
The Rochester and Lake Ontario Steamboat Company is formed to manage the Genesee River's excursion boat trade. ** The Rochester Yacht Club is founded. ** Restauranteur Osmer Hulbert dies. ** John Henry Bittner buys a farm from the Chattin family. ** Minister and former slave Thomas James publishes the pamphlet "Life of Rev. Thomas James, By Himself".

Troy
Female collar workers walk off the job, hold out for six weeks. ** Female collar ironers, members of labor organization Joan of Arc Assembly, walk off the job over the introduction of machinery. It ends with the machines still being installed but wage decreases being defeated. ** A local collar manufacturer refuses a small wage increase, precipitating a lockout, followed by an industry-wide strike lasting four months. Labor settles without winning on wages and without union recognition.

 

1887


January
New York City longshoremen walk off the job over cuts in wages and benefits.

Jan 1
Horse car service is inaugurated in Lockport. ** Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) professor Henry Nason publishes "Record of the Graduates".

Jan 7
Ice fourteen inches thick is measured in the Genesee River at Rochester.

Jan 22
Steuben County Republican Party chairman Herman Bates is born on a farm in Troupsburg.

Feb 11
New York City's Knights of Labor District Assembly 49 calls a strike.

Mar 8
The Reverend Henry Ward Beecher dies, in Brooklyn. He will be succeeded at the Plymouth Congregationalist Church by Lyman Abbott.

Mar 12
Unskilled workers in Rochester demand a nine-hour day.

Mar 18
Alexander Graham Bell visits Rochester, inspects the city's local nurseries.

Mar 20
A fire at Warsaw's salt manufactory causes $75,000 worth of damage, affects the area's supply.

Mar 22
Comedian-pianist Leonard "Chico" Marx is born in New York City. ** Rochester merchants declare themselves in favor of underground light and telephone wires.

Mar 30
Temperatures in New York City drop to 16 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Apr 8
Striking masons in Rochester turn down an offer of $3.50 for a ten-hour day.

May 24
Binghamton's Washington Street and State Asylum Railroad Company inaugurates the state's first electric trolley.

Jun 25
Broadway playwright-producer-director George Abbott is born in Forestville.

Jul 14
The wood-burning Canandaigua Lake steamboat Ontario II is destroyed by fire at the Canandaigua dock.

Aug 8
The charter of New York City's Columbian Insurance Company expires.

Aug 16
New York dentist Frank Abbott patents an automatic dental mallet.

Sep 8
Canandaigua begins horsecar (trolley) service.

Nov 19
Poet Emma Lazarus dies in New York City at the age of 38.

City
German-born metals broker Berthold Hochschild forms American Metal (Amco). ** American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) president Theodore N. Vail resigns following a dispute over policy. ** The National Institute of Health is created (as the Hygienic Laboratory, on Staten Island. ** Austrian immigrant Antone Stander arrives. He will soon be off for the Klondike. ** Twin daughters Julia and Comfort Tiffany are born to designer Louis Comfort Tiffany and his wife.

State
The R. E. Chapin Company is founded in Oakfield. ** John H. Alexander becomes the second black to graduate from West Point.

Batavia
The Batavia Carriage Works opens. ** The Bryan Seminary for Young Ladies, formerly the mansion of land agent Joseph Ellicott, is demolished to make room for Dellinger Avenue.

Rochester
1,000 telephone customers remove their phones from the hook and leave them off for eighteen months to protest a rate hike. ** A woman falls outside of the home of Georgianna Sibley, wife of merchant Hiram Sibley. Mrs. Sibley founds the Rochester Homeopathic Hospital on Monroe Avenue, so there will be a facility on the east side of the Genesee River. ** The city acquires resorts at Charlotte, converts them to a public beach. ** The Genesee Valley Railroad builds a station at Court Street. ** Monroe Avenue's Eames Bakery opens. ** The Board of Health orders a complete renovation of a block on North St. Paul Street, in the Italian section. ** The city establishes a mounted police unit.

 

1888


Jan 22
Temperatures in New York City drop to 0 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Jan 25
Rochester Germicidal liquid is patented.

Jan 27
Rochester's Ellwanger and Barry nurseries donates land to the city for Highland Park.

Mar 12
A blizzard strikes New York City. ** Henry Bergh, founder of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, dies in New York City at the age of 76.

Mar 13
Saratoga Springs gets 58 inches of snow.

Mar 14
Temperatures in New York City drop to 12 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Mar 24
Temperatures in New York City drop to 12 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

April
The lead water pipes in printer F. A. Fairchild's Hammondsport home are replaced with iron pipes. ** Stage service begins between Gibson's Landing and Prattsburgh.

Apr 3
1816 Rochester pioneer Ashbel W. Riley dies.

Apr 16
Batavia's Holland Land Office property, minus the building, is sold to Reuben Lawrence of Bethany.

Apr 18
Ophthalmologist-educator Cornelius Rea Agnew dies in New York City at the age of 57.

Apr 25
Veterans of the 140th NY are invited to the unveiling of a Gettysburg monument honoring the Fifth Corps on August 8th.

May
The Keuka Lake boat Lulu is taken out of the water at Hammondsport for repairs.

May 2
The Hammondsport Herald celebrates its fifteenth year, adds a third page.

May 13
Church services at Hammondsport's Episcopal Church are suspended this week while the steeple undergoes repairs. ** The carriage horse of the Randall Longwell family suffers the blind staggers while taking the family to church in Hammondsport, breaking the carriage. Longwell bleeds the horse and completes the journey.

May 18
The Canandaigua Lake steamboat Onnalinda is launched.

May 26
Congregationalist minister Lyman Abbott is named to succeed the late Henry Ward Beecher as pastor of Brooklyn's Plymouth Church.

May 30
New York railroad executive Chauncey M. Depew and lawyer-politician Colonel Robert G. Ingersoll deliver Memorial Day speeches at New York's Metropolitan Opera House.

June
Ewing Bailey builds a barn on the upper farm (the Rosekrans place) of Daniel Sanford in the Town of Urbana, Steuben County. It's 65 x 72 feet, finished in matched pine, with a gambrel roof and two cupolas. ** Canandaigua Lake steamboat companies announce a fare reduction between July 1st and November 1st, to 25¢. They follow the example of Keuka Lake's boats, which had reduced fares to 10¢, which lost money but promoted tourism and development.

Jun 5
The Lulu is refloated and taken up to Penn Yan for further repairs and for painting.

Jun 11
The Grove Springs House yacht Courtright visits Hammondsport today and tomorrow.

Jun 27
Stage director Antoinette Perry, inspiration for the Tony Awards, is born.

July
The contract is let for grading the Prattsburgh and Kanona Railroad.

Jul 4
George W. Foster murders Leroy Bogardus in Jamestown, New York, with a railroad coupling pin in order to rob him. Foster's given a life sentence.

Jul 20
Moses Hartwell, nephew of religious utopian Jemima Wlkinson, dies in Branchport at the age of 91.

August
An ice company is formed in Penn Yan. They build a 200-foot pier out into Keuka Lake, to haul ice in for loading onto railroad cars.

Aug 8
The monument to the 5th Corps is unveiled at Gettysburg.

Aug 15
John Ross of Bath sets out with friends in a home-made steamboat, for a trip from Hammondsport, on Keuka Lake, to Lake Ontario by canals and then by way of the St. Lawrence River, Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to New York City.

Aug 20
Fisheries expert Seth Green, 71, dies in Rochester.

Sep 4
George Eastman patents a roll-film camera, markets it with the slogan "You press the button, we do the rest".

Sep 17
Maude Adams makes her New York stage debut in The Paymaster.

Sep 24
The New York Herald reports Margaret Fox has confessed that her lectures debunking Spiritualism are being given solely for financial gain and that her sister Catherine has supported this confession.

Oct 8
The first play is given at Rochester's Lyceum Theater - The Wife.

Oct 16
Playwright Eugene Gladstone O'Neill is born in New York City.

Nov 1
The first U. S. golf game is played in Yonkers on the St. Andrews Golf Course built by Scottish immigrants John Reid and Robert Lockhart.

Nov 9
A fire at the Steam Gauge and Lantern Works in Rochester's Gorsline Building leaves 34 workers dead.

December
Alexander McKechnie, Williams H. Adams and M. D. Munger found the Red Jacket Club at the corner of Canandaigua's Main and Gorham streets.

Dec 7
Flora Payne Whitney, wife of recent U. S. Secretary of the Navy William Collins Whitney, publishes a letter in the Chicago Tribune, contradicting vicious rumors about Grover Cleveland and his wife. She takes Chauncey Depew to task for helping pass the rumors and suggests Kansas Republican senator John J. Ingalls may be behind the stories. Depew writes to Whitney, defending himself and apologizing for the manner in which Mrs. Whitney got her information. He also writes to the New York Tribune, admitting he passed on the story but calling Mrs. Whitney a liar.

Dec 8
Whitney writes from New York to his wife in Washington, scolding her for the interview, Depew being a friend of his.

Dec 9
The New York World criticizes Depew for engaging in a "barroom Parliament". The Tribune, a Republican partisan, defends Depew, says Cleveland should expect such attacks as a public figure. The Sun takes a middle ground, opining that Depew would regret his error. Whitney grants an interview to the New York World, admits his wife, whom he hasn't seen since, probably was quoted correctly.

Dec 11
The New York Times reminds Depew his remarks constitute criminal libel.

Dec 12
President Cleveland writes to Mrs. Whitney, thanking her for her defense. The Washington Post and the New York World publish yesterday's interview with Mrs. Whitney in which she state's she's pleased Depew did not believe the stories he passed on and probably didn't realize the effect they'd have. The New York Times calls Ingalls an immoral slanderer.

Dec 18
Urban planner Robert Moses is born in New Haven, Connecticut.

Dec 21
Sewer construction on Rochester's Atkinson Street ruptures a line carrying naphtha from the Vacuum Oil Works, sending the substance into sewer lines and igniting a Platt Street factory, exploding along the sewers for two miles. Manhole covers are blown off and flames shoot into the sky. Five men are killed and several people seriously wounded. The Jefferson Flour Mill explodes and the Washington and Clinton Mills burns to the ground.

City
The Players Club opens on Gramercy Park. ** Democratic city sheriff Hugh J. Grant defeats Republican Joel B. Erhardt to become mayor, serving 1889-1892. ** Following last year's walkout all Port of New York longshoremen's organizations have disappeared. ** William Dean Howells hunts for an apartment in Manhattan. The experience is so frustrating he will satirize it in his novel A Hazard of New Fortunes. ** Spiritualist Catherine Fox Jenkin returns from England to live in New York. ** Printer G. W. Dillingham publishes an edition of P. T. Barnum's autobiography under the title How I Made Millions, sells it for 25¢ a copy. ** The operetta The Queen's Mate goes on national tour. Star Lillian Russell sues producer James Duff for the right to wear tights rather than appear barelegged in the road company production, wins. ** Horse fancier John A. Morris purchases land in the Bronx and erects a racetrack on the property, to be known as Morris Park. ** Italian-born shoeshine man Frank Caramanica opens a three-chair stand outside of Brooklyn's Borough Hall.

State
The city of Ithaca is incorporated. ** New York City architect Robert H. Robertson designs Camp Santanoni in the Adirondacks. ** Macedon's Erie Canal Lock 60 is lengthened to accomodate tows. ** Binghamton clock maker Willard Bundy invents the time clock. ** The oyster sloop Priscilla is launched at Patchogue, Long Island. ** Spiritualism movement co-founder Margaret Fox begins a series of lectures debunking spirit rapping and other phenomena. Spiritualists denounce her as a drunk. ** A state special commission is created to decide on a source for Syracuse drinking water. ** A railroad bridge is built over the Hudson River at Poughkeepsie. ** The extension of the Seneca River Towing Path of the Barge Canal between Baldwinsville and Jack's Reef is abandoned. ** The Moore-Scahfer Shoe Manufacturing Company locates in Brockport. ** The state assumes the responsibility for executions, at which point it adopts electrocution. ** Buffalo's Assumption Roman Catholic Church is founded to serve the Polish community. ** Former Governor John Thompson Hoffman dies in Germany, around the age of sixty. ** Clay is found on the grounds of Keuka University suitable for making bricks for proposed buildings. ** Cornell University has 1,020 students. ** The Chautauqua Lake Railroad is completed at a cost of $1,080,000, linking Jamestown to Mayville. ** The New York Central Railroad Station at Niagara Falls is destroyed by fire.

Batavia
The Palmer and Rowell Box Factory (later the E. N. Rowell Company) is founded by Rowell and W. T. Palmer, and begins manufacturing paper boxes for pills and medical powders. Rowell's divorce from his adulterous wife is finalized, with Rowell gaining custody of their two daughters. ** The Bank of the Genesee, a national bank since 1851, reverts to being a state bank, and moves from East Main and Bank to Main and Park Place.

Rochester
"Poison Row" in the Italian section, condemned by the Board of Health, is demolished. ** Vaudeville star Tony Pastor appears at the Academy of Music this season and next. ** The People's Rescue Mission opens at 173 Front Street.** The White Caps, an Indiana Ku Klux Klan offshoot, surfaces in the city. ** The Lyceum Theater of Clinton Avenue is completed. ** The Ellwanger and Barry Nursery donates land to the city that becomes the nucleus of the Rochester Parks System. They dedicate the Children's Pavilion in the new Highland Park, on the east side of South St. Paul Street. ** The Grandview Breach Railroad obtains a charter to build a steam railway between Charlotte and Long Pond. They will finally erect a trolley system instead. ** Businessmen, led by patent medicine king H. H. Warner, form a Chamber of Commerce. ** The city's first baseball stadium, seating 3,000 people, is erected at Windsor Beach. ** The German Insurance Company erects a ten-story office building at 19 West Main Street

 

© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte

 

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