1897


January
Otto Hermann Kahn joins New York City's Kuhn, Loeb and Company, his father-in law's firm.

Jan 20
The remains of Civil War officer Ely Parker are buried in Red Jacket's plot in Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery.

Feb 10
The New York Times begins using the slogan "All the News That's Fit to Print".

Feb 11
Philo McGriffin, leader of the defeated Chinese navy at Yalu River, shoots himself to death, in New York City.

Feb 12
The New York Morning Journal claims that male Spanish police boarded the U. S. Steamship Olivette and strip-searched three Cuban women on board. It's a lie.

Mar 18
Seventeen Rochester engineers meet at the office of City Engineer Edwin A. Fisher to form a society. Fisher becomes the first president of the Rochester Engineering Society.

Apr 16
Metropolitan Opera radio announcer Milton John Cross is born in New York City.

Apr 20
Dentist-inventor Frank Abbott dies in New York State at the age of 60. ** Temperatures in New York City drop to 24 degrees F, lowest here for this date.

Jun 15
Fire destroys the main immigration building at Ellis Island. All records are lost.

Aug 4
The boys of Canandaigua's taxidermy class have an outing at Canandaigua Lake Outlet.

Sep 27
Maude Adams opens in James M. Barrie's The Little Minister, at New York's Empire Theatre.

Sep 28
Hugh Morton (Charles M. S. McClellan) and Gustave Kerker's The Belle of New York opens in New York City at the Casino Theatre.

November
New York City Court presiding judge Robert A. Van Wyck, running on the Democrat ticket, defeats Republican Benjamin Tracey and Citizens Union candidate Seth Low, to become mayor, serving 1898-1901. Voters approve a new city charter, consolidating the five boroughs.

Nov 25
Jazz composer-pianist-vocalist William Henry Joseph Bonaparte Bertholoff "Willie the Lion" Smith is born in Goshen.

Dec 10
The New York Morning Journal announces that their correspondent Karl Decker has rescued the Cuban Evangelina Cisernos from a Spanish jail in Havana.

Dec 31
On the eve of consolidation New York City celebrates with fireworks and a parade from Union Square to City Hall, sponsored by New York Journal publisher William Randolph Hearst. Rain turns to wet snow.

City
Construction begins on Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz' building for the Society of Civil Engineers on West 57th Street. ** The Yale Club, for university alumni, is founded. ** Explorer Robert Peary discovers a 38-ton meteor in Greenland, brings it back to the Museum of Natural History. He also brings six eskimos, including the hunter Qisuk and his young son Minik. ** A city coroner, paid by the body, having handled a body dragged from the river, is caught reporting the same body repeatedly, to cheat the city out of $10,000. Next year coroners will become salaried. ** The Arbuckle Brothers grocery firm adds a sugar refinery to its Jay Street Terminal area complex.

State
Temperance reformer Frances Willard returns to Churchville, her birthplace, to visit an aunt. ** The R. E. Chapin Manufacturing Works, founded in Oakfield to manufacture oil cans, moves to Batavia. ** Fishkill orders the demolition of Orson Fowler's octagonal house, calling the rundown structure a public danger. ** A deepening of the Erie Canal in Pittsford, into the following year, exposes black shale and interbedded dolomite, which will be named Pittsford Shale in 1903. ** Le Roy salt wells are producing 1,000 barrels a day. ** The widowed Lydia Avery Coonley marries Rochester professor Henry A. Ward. ** Pearl Bixby Wait of Le Roy invents a gelatin dessert. His wife May names it Jell-O. ** Tonawanda becomes two cities, as North Tonawanda is set apart. ** An electric mule is considered on the Erie Canal, using overhead wires such as trolley cars utilize. The idea never catches on. ** Polish American Buffalo artist Jozef is born in Galicia. ** Construction begins on the Upper Steel Arch Bridge at Niagara Falls, the largest steel arch bridge in the world.

Rochester
A Rochester Herald search of police files covering the city's downtown "Bowery", clears the area's record on many lurid journalistic "scoops" of previous years. ** North Avenue becomes Portland Avenue. ** Grain merchant J. Starkweather buys a house on Lafayette Place formerly occupied by deputy sheriff Matthew Warren. ** The Law and Order Society generates grand jury indictments and bench warrants are issued to baseball players for violating local laws against playing on Sunday.

 

1898


Jan 1
New York City takes its present form with five boroughs - Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island. The combined population of 3,400,000 makes New York the second largest city in the world, after London. ** Antonio Zucca becomes New York City Coroner with George P. LeBrun as his secretary.

February
Willa Cather writes her final book review column for Pittsburgh's Home Monthly. She spends a week in New York, writing play reviews for the Sun, attending the Metropolitan Opera and lunching with actress Helena Modjeska. ** Qisuk, one of the Greenland Eskimo brought back to New York City by explorer Robert Peary, dies, leaving his son Minik an orphan. After a mock funeral Qisuk is dissected and his bones are stored in the Museum of Natural History.

Feb 1
The first automobile insurance policy is issued, to Buffalo doctor Truman J. Martin, protecting his auto against damages caused by frightened horses.

Feb 7
A new version of Lottie Blair Parker's Way Down East opens at New York City's Manhattan Theatre.

Feb 9
Newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst prints a private letter in his New York Tribune from Señor de Lome, the Spanish minister to the U. S., criticizing president William McKinley as "feebleminded".

Feb 18
Temperance leader Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard dies in New York City.

Feb 21
Frances Willard's funeral train stops in her home town of Churchville for a day before continuing on to Evanston, Illinois, for her burial.

Mar 11
Jazz trombonist Irving Mifford "Miff" Mole is born in Roosevelt, Long Island.

Apr 12
The Dickersonville Cemetery Association receives the deed to the Ridge Road property near Lewiston.

May 16
New York City's Metropolitan Opera debuts its first production of Giacomo Puccini's La Boheme.

May 21
Businessman Armand Hammer is born in New York City.

May 25
Publisher, author and television panelist Bennett Cerf is born in New York City. ** Boxer Gene Tunney is born in New York City.

Jul 6
Poe scholar Thomas Ollive Mabbott is born in New York City.

Jul 14
Realist painter Alexander Brook is born in Brooklyn.

Aug 1
The U. S. War Department, warned that over 3,000 of its troops in Cuba are suffering from yellow fever, orders all healthy personnel off the island, to be returned to Long Island's Montauk Point.

Aug 7
Geologist-paleontologist James Hall dies in Albany, at the age of 86.

Aug 26
Art patron Peggy Guggenheim is born in New York City.

Sep 9
New York Giants second baseman Frankie Frisch, the Fordham Flash, is born in New York City.

Sep 15
The American Social Science Association meets in New York City and forms the National Institute of Arts and Letters.

Sep 19
New York State's Cornell School of Forestry is established.

Sep 26
Composer George Gershwin is born in Brooklyn, New York. ** Henry Arthur Jones' The Liars opens at New York City's Empire Theatre.

Oct 6
Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac opens at New York City's Garden Theater.

Oct 10
Hall Caine's The Christian opens at New York City's Knickerbocker Theatre.

Oct 18
The Sodus farm of Peter E. Vosburgh is put up for auction. Featured items are 1 brown mare, 1 bay mare, 1 full-blooded cow, 1 sow with pigs, 75 hens, 40 turkeys and 20 tons of hay.

Nov 8
Theodore Roosevelt is nominated for governor of New York State by the Republican Party.

Nov 16
Rochester, businessman Gilman H. Perkins dies.

Dec 6
Companies A and H of the 3rd New York Volunteer Infantry are mustered out at Rochester.

Dec 10
The 202nd New York Infantry leaves Rochester for duty with the Army of Occupation in Cuba.

Dec 28
New York City landlady Mrs. Katherine Adams dies of cyanide poisoning after drinking medicine given her by border Harry S. Cornish, director of the Knickerbocker Athletic Club. Cornish relates that the medicine had been sent him as a anonymous gift.

City
Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz' headquarters building for the American Society of Civil Engineers is completed. ** The first public high school is opened. ** Boring & Tilton's immigrant processing center on Ellis Island is completed. ** Fidelity Bank owner Louis Silverman brings his son Sime to the city to become an appraiser. Sime will rebel, found the show business weekly Variety. ** Future diplomat Stephen Bonsal reports on the Cuban revolution for The New York Herald. ** The National Arts Club is founded at Gramercy Park, in a mansion once owned by governor Samuel Tilden.

State
The Brockport Normal School converts a private residence into the Principals' residence. It will one day be Alumni House. ** Steam tugs begin operating out of Dunkirk. ** Bragdon and Hillman's Livingston County Courthouse opens. ** The Methodist Church's Silver Lake Assembly facility closes, a victim of high costs. ** The Westchester County village of Croton-on-Hudson is incorporated. ** Costs on the still-uncompleted second enlargement of the Erie Canal reach $9,000,000. The state assembly passes a stop law to halt construction. ** John Starin has a windmill moved from Long Island's Orient Point to the 'Dutch Village' at his Glen Island resort near New Rochelle. ** The second Upper Suspension Bridge at Niagara Falls is replaced by the Upper Steel Arch Bridge (the Honeymoon Bridge). The former structure is dismantled and moved about seven miles downstream to connect Queenston, Ontario, with Lewiston, New York.

Albany
The city gets its first effective water purification system with the building of the North End Filtration Plant, at a cost of $300,000. ** Socialite Huibertje Pruyn marries Bostonian Charles Hamlin.

Batavia
The former Brisbane Mansion is taken over by the village. Renamed Ellicott Hall it will be used as a City Hall beginning in 1915.

Buffalo
The School of Pedagogy at the University of Buffalo, having issued only two doctorates, closes after four years of operation. ** Dr. Annie Cheyney (Spofford) earns her medical degree from the University of Buffalo.

Rochester
The Academy of Music is gutted by a fire. ** The city's Italian population begins a concerted attempt to get it's own Catholic Church, an effort the will reach fruition in 1906. ** A nurses' residence is built at the Rochester Homeopathic Hospital. A surgical wing is also added this year.

Austria
Esther and Meyer Wolfe Horrowitz, future parents of Broadway producer Jed Harris, emigrate from Lemburg to the U. S. for the first time, settling in New York City. They return to Europe within a year.

 

1899
Jan 1
The eastern two-thirds of New York's Queens County becomes Nassau County.

Jan 9
David Belasco's English-language adaptation of Pierre Berton and Charles Simon's Zaza has it's New York City premiere at the Garrick Theatre.

Feb 10
Temperatures in New York City drop to 6 degrees below 0 F, lowest here for this date.

Feb 11
New York temperatures set another daily record, hitting 2 degrees below 0 F.

Feb 14
New York mayor Robert Van Wyck signs a law changing the name of Western Boulevard, the extension of Broadway above Columbus Circle, to Broadway.

Feb 18
Former U. S. Secretary of the Navy Williams Collins Whitney writes to recently elected New York senator Chauncey Depew. advising him on living in Washington.

Apr 21
Composer Randall Thompson is born in New York City.

Jun 13
The Delaware and Hudson Canal is drained and abandoned.

Jun 30
Cyclist Charles "Mile-A Minute" Murphy, following a Long Island Railroad train, breaks the 60 mph speed barrier for bicycles.

Jul 11
Author-editor E. B. (Elwyn Brooks) White born in Mount Vernon, New York.

Jul 17
Film actor-singer-hoofer James Cagney is born in New York City.

Jul 20
New York City bootblacks and newsboys go on strike, win higher wages.

Jul 29
The first motorcycle race is held, at Manhattan Beach.

August
A volunteer fireman's convention is held in Canandaigua. ** The first automobile in Geneseo makes a trip to nearby Long Point, on Conesus Lake.

Aug 17
A fire starts in the laundry room of Canandaigua's Seneca Point Hotel, destroys the hotel.

Sep 9
Pearl B. Wait of Le Roy sells the formula for Jell-O to Orator Woodward, for $450.

Sep 11
Construction begins on the Rochester & Sodus Bay Railway Company interurban line.

Sep 29
New York honors Admiral Dewey upon his return from the Philippines. A 36-foot-high electric sign reading "Welcome Dewey" is erected atop the Brooklyn Bridge.

Oct 16
Israel Zangwell's play Children of the Ghetto opens at New York's Herald Square Theatre, runs for 49 performances.

Nov 6
William Gillette's drama Sherlock Holmes, with the author-actor in the title role, opens at New York's Garrick Theatre, runs for 256 performances. The play will be revived often, with Gillette performing it up through 1931.

City
Gangster Abner "Longy" Zwillman is born in Brooklyn. ** Hugo Hoefler's Victor Hugo apartment building at 1878 Second Avenue is completed. ** 17-year-old Charles Ponzi arrives from Italy. ** Virginia journalist James Branch Cabell goes to work for the New York Herald. ** Charles W. Morse's American Ice Company is investigated by New York State anti-trust officials. He moves his operation to Chicago. ** Developer Hamilton M. Weed, anticipating a future subway route, buys land at the corner of 71st Street and Broadway (called the "Boulevard" above 59th Street until this year) , for $275,000. He will have the Dorilton apartment house built there in 1902. ** New York Central & Hudson River Railroad staff engineer Robert Giles designs the Spuyten Duyvil Improvement, a swing bridge built to carry trains across the Harlem River. ** Black songwriter Gussie Lord Davis dies. ** The city has 43 newspapers, 23 of them published in English. ** The Bronx Zoo opens. ** The Brooklyn Children's Museum opens. ** The 30-story Park Row building is completed; the city's tallest. ** Macy's creates the first mechanical department store holiday window displays. ** Missionary Maria Francesca (Frances Xavier) Cabrini arrives from Italy to open a mission for her Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart order. She founds a school that will become Cabrini High School

State
Dr. Annie Cheney of Detroit, Michigan's Women's and Children's Hospital moves to Batavia and begins a practice. ** A syndicate buys up most of the salt wells in the Warsaw area. ** Eight-year old William Averill Harriman accompanies his father, Edward Henry Harriman, on an expedition to Siberia ** Cheektowaga's Chopin Club Room and the Chopin Singing Society are founded by Boleslaus Michalski. ** John Starin installs a Filipino Village at Glen Island, with imported indigenous musicians. ** Space along the Niagara Falls Hydraulic Canal basin is now fully in use. ** Charles Baeder, a clerk at Geneseo's Big Tree Inn, buys the establishment.

Buffalo
The Worthington Company absorbs the Snow Steam Pump Works and changes its name to Worthington's Snow or the Buffalo Works. ** Corpus Christi Roman Catholic Church is founded for the Polish community.

Le Roy
Pearl B. Wait opens a factory to produce Jell-O. ** Daughter Helen is born to Orator and Cora Woodward.

Rochester
The Rochester Yacht Club captures the Canada Cup from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club. ** The West Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church is completed.

Canada
The Richlieu and Ontario Navigation Company's night passenger steamer Toronto is built, at a cost of $300,000, to cover the Lake Ontario passage to Rochester.

 

1900
January
The town of Bethany is connected to Batavia by telephone lines.

Jan 3
Giuseppe Verdi's Aida opens in New York City.

Jan 4
The price of block ice in New York City doubles from 30¢ to 60¢.

February
Doubleday, Page publishes Frank Norris' A Man's Woman. ** August Belmont announces the formation of a Rapid Transit Construction Company, to build a subway in New York City. It will build the IRT. ** Orator F. Woodward erects a limestone fence around his East Main Street house in Le Roy.

Feb 5
Clyde Fitch's adaptation of Alphonse Daudet's novel Sappho opens at New York's Wallack's Theatre, starring Olga Nethersole. ** Rochester conductor Hermann Dossenbach presents the first of three monthly classical concerts at the Powers Hotel. The program consists of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony and pieces by Delibes and Strauss.

Feb 6
Theodore Roosevelt announces he will not accept a nomination as vice president.

Feb 12
Novelist Frank Norris marries Jeanette Black in New York City.

Feb 24
Contracts are signed in New York City to begin construction on a subway tunnel.

Feb 25
Broadway producer Jacob Hirsch Horowitz (Jed Harris) is born to Esther and Meyer Wolf Horowitz in Lemburg, Austria.

Feb 28
Forty-three-and-a-half inches of snow falls in Rochester over the next 63 hours.

March
The route of a Broadway subway is announced. Hamilton M. Weed files plans for an apartment building (the Dorilton) at his Broadway and 71st Street property. ** The Oakfield Book Club is formed. It will raise money for a new library and for other civic improvements.

Mar 5
The New York City police close Sappho for immorality. Olga Nethersole is arrested. ** David Belasco presents a one-act-play version of John Luther Long's Madame Butterfly at New York's Herald Square Theatre. It runs for 24 performances. ** Dossenbach presents the second monthly Rochester concert.

Mar 6
Out on bail, Olga Nethersole revives Arthur Wing Pinero's The Second Mrs. Tanquery.

Mar 24
Ground is broken in front of New York's City Hall for the city's first subway, to connect Manhattan with Brooklyn. Mayor Van Wyck turns the first spadeful of earth.

Mar 26
Edward Hugh Sothern stars in an English-version of Gerhardt Hauptmann's The Sunken Bell at New York's Knickerbocker Theatre.

April
Scribner's publishes Edith Wharton's The Touchstone.

Apr 2
New York's Automobile Club announces plans for a transcontinental highway. ** Dossenbach presents the third and final monthly Rochester concert.

Apr 3
The Vanderbilt railroad interests take over the Reading, Lehigh and Erie Railroads. ** Olga Nethersole's trial begins.

Apr 6
Olga Nethersole's trial ends in acquittal. Sappho reopens and plays for another 86 performances.

Apr 7
Hudson River School painter Frederick Church dies.

Apr 9
Simultaneous versions of Henryk Sienkiewicz' Quo Vadis? open at Manhattan's New York and Herald Square theaters.

Apr 14
Andrew Riker, driving an electric automobile, defeats eight cars using gasoline, to win the first 50-mile auto race, on Long Island.

Apr 23
Buffalo Bill and his Rough Riders appear at Madison Square Garden.

May
Frank Norris, working as a special reader at Doubleday, Page & Co., discovers Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie. ** The first driver's license in Genesee County is issued to Ray F. Otis.

May 1
Rochester's street railway system inaugurates "all- night" service, running until 12:30 AM on weekdays, 1 AM on Saturdays and midnight on Sundays.

May 6
University of Rochester president Rush Rhees delivers his first address.

May 19
William Randolph Hearst attends a meeting of the National Association of Democratic Clubs in New York City, is elected president of the organization.

May 23
The Associated Press news service is founded, in New York City.

May 28
An exhibit of the paintings of Frederick Church opens at New York City's Metropolitan Museum.

Jun 19
The Republican convention, meeting in Philadelphia, nominates William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

Jul 8
Military historian Samuel Lyman Atwood Marshall is born in Catskill.

Jul 19
New York's Grand Eden Theatre (Riccardi's Grand Eden Caffe), built for actor Guiglielmo Riccardi by fans D. Karp and F. Hill, opens at 2157 First Avenue in Italian East Harlem.

August
Theodore Dreiser signs a contract with Doubleday, Page for Sister Carrie.

Aug 22
The Rochester & Sodus Bay interurban begins service between Sodus Bay and Glen Haven.

Sep 7
Edward Hugh Sothern opens in Hamlet at New York's Garden Theatre.

Sep 8
Hurricanes strike Galveston and Houston, Texas, and New Orleans, Louisiana. 6,000 people die in Texas. Victor Herbert will conduct a huge benefit concert in New York's Madison Square Garden for the victims.

October
Frank Norris moves to a cottage at Roselle, New Jersey, to work on The Octopus.

Oct 20
Jazz vocalist Adelaide Hall is born in Brooklyn.

November
Vice-president Theodore Roosevelt speaks in Batavia to a crowd of nearly 5,000 people. ** Domenico Volpe opens New York City's Villa Giulia Concert Hall at 196 Grand Street, featuring Nicola Brigante's Compagnia Drammatica troupe.

Nov 5
Sappho is revived at Wallack's Theatre and plays another 28 performances.

Nov 6
William McKinley is re-elected President of the United States, with Theodore Roosevelt as his Vice-President.

Nov 7
Prices soar on the New York Stock Exchange.

Nov 8
Dreiser's Sister Carrie is published, with no publicity, due to its realistic portrayal of the underclass.

Nov 12
The musical Floradora premieres on Broadway at the Casino Theater.

Nov 14
Composer Aaron Copland is born in Brooklyn.

Nov 19
New York's New Metropolitan Opera House presents its first opera sung in English - English composer Arthur Goring Thomas' Esmerelda.

Nov 20
French actress Sarah Bernhardt arrives in the U. S., gives a press conference in New York City.

Nov 21
Temperatures in New York City rise to 74 degrees F, the highest here for this date.

Nov 26
New York's Italian-American Amateur Theatre Club, in existence since 1878, gives its final performance.

Dec 5
Munitions tycoon Francis Bannerman buys a Hudson River island.

Dec 15
New Yorker Staats-Zeitung publisher Oswald Ottendorfer dies at the age of 74.

Dec 17
Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge's Union Station in Albany opens.

City
The Paderewski Foundation opens. ** The Spuyten Duyvil swing bridge is built, to serve as a railroad bridge linking the upper tip of Manhattan with the Bronx. ** The Euclid Hall apartment building on upper Broadway is completed. ** Music publisher J. H. Wehman dies, in debt for $130,000 for copyright infringement. ** The International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union is founded. ** Composer Charles Ives becomes the organist for Central Presbyterian Church. ** Race riots break out in the Tenderloin District, precipitating a black migration up to Harlem. ** Needing more space, the American Female Guardian Society and Home for the Friendless decides to move from it's Manhattan site on East 28th Street and build a new headquarters at Woodycrest and Jerome avenues in the Bronx. ** Six factories, employing nearly 500 people, make automobiles in the city. ** A five-year pier reconstruction project is begun at the Brooklyn Wharf and Warehouse/New York Dock Company site. ** The approximate date Barbadian immigrants begin settling in the city.

State
Population reaches 7,268,009. Rochester's is 163,000; Syracuse's 108,000; Albany's 94,000; Utica's 56,000; Tonawanda's 7,421 (1,834 foreign born). ** Librarian Clara Higgins Smith leads the effort to build the Angelica Free Library. ** Port Gibson ships a record 2,000 pounds of currants, by express wagon, to New York City. ** Itinerant painter Susan Catherine Moore Waters dies. ** The Pickle Boat begins making twice-daily voyages between Old Forge and Inlet, taking supplies to Adirondacks campers. ** Future Sears, Roebuck executive Robert E. Wood graduates from West Point. ** General Motors begins assembling steam automobiles in North Tarrytown. ** Production of Jell-O begins at the Genesee Pure Food Company plant in Le Roy. ** Katharine Bement Davis is named superintendent of the Bedford Hills women's correctional facility, to be opened next year. ** Shinnecock tribesman John Henry Thompson is photographed on Long Island, standing by an Indian "barne", a covered hole in the ground for food preservation. ** John Starin opens a Puerto Rican Village at Glen Island. ** The old Canandaigua Academy opens as a public school.

Batavia
The Crickler Bottling Works is founded. ** The approximate date Milo B. Langworthy builds a shed for parking shoppers' horses on State Street. ** Alice Day (Gardner), working as a clerk in her father's law office, enrolls in the School of Law of the University of Buffalo. ** Mrs. Julia Young, president of the King's Daughters, and Mrs. Helen Sherwin found the Woman's Hospital Association of Batavia, to found a hospital. ** Residents see their first motion picture, in a Jackson Street store.

Rochester
A little under 3,000 births are recorded here this year. ** The Canada Steamships Lines' steamboat Kingston goes into service on Lake Ontario, connecting Rochester with Ontario. ** Eastman Kodak introduces the Brownie camera.

China
British Methodist missionary Frederick Brown writes to the New York Christian Advocate, reporting his district around Tientsin is being overrun by Boxers.

 

 

© 2001 David Minor / Eagles Byte

 

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