Look back | local history

Looking back

The North

10 years ago

August 10, 2012: Massena officials have expressed deep concern that forcing Alcoa Corporation to pay up to $1 billion to clean up the Grasse River for past pollution there could result in Massena becoming a city phantom. Fears that Alcoa would close the two Massena plants prompted Sen. Charles E. Schumer to urge the Environmental Protection Agency to expedite the proposed cleanup. The St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Government, located downstream in Hogansburg, has called for the river to be cleaned enough to eat fish from it again, which is currently limited to one per month per person due to sediment contaminants.

25 years ago

August 10, 1997: Rosella V. Curtis, 86, a resident of the town of Russell, was frightened when she recently received a letter from the Social Security Administration. Federal welfare reform in 1996 required proof of citizenship to retain SSI benefits as a disabled diabetic living most of his life in St. Lawrence County on a farm with no telephone or electricity. She was born in Canada under British rule and came to America in 1914 with her mother. Despite a number of instances where Ms Curtis could have been declared a US citizen, no paperwork was ever filed. A deal was struck that kept his benefits intact despite his twisted life story, infuriating his family every step of the way.

50 years ago

August 10, 1972: The maple wilt that ravaged 10,000 maple trees in Syracuse has so far not affected Watertown, and there are no signs of it affecting trees here. Wilt is a fungus that lives in the soil and affects the root system of the tree. Symptoms are brown-edged leaves about half their normal size. Maple disease can be controlled by keeping the tree well watered, protecting it from extreme heat and, if necessary, fumigating the soil, according to the Syracuse University School of Forestry.

75 years ago

August 9, 1947: Construction begins on Sears Roebuck & Company’s $1,000,000 shopping center on land bounded by Arsenal, North Massey and Coffeen streets. The work, including the reinforced concrete walls of the building, will be carried out by A. Friederick & Sons of Rochester. The shopping center project will include a modern retail store, a gas station and two parking lots that can accommodate a total of 208 automobiles. The project will last almost a year.

100 years ago

August 10, 1922: Alexandria Bay bartenders at Crossmon, Thousand Island House and Rathskeller are arrested by liquor police officers posing as Buffalo polo players for violating the Volstead Act for the alleged sale of intoxicating alcohols. William H. Warburton, the owner of the Crossmon House and the Thousand Island House is wanted for maintaining a nuisance. Soda fountains dispensing alcoholic beverages in establishments concealed illicit sales in paper cups such as those used for soda water concessions. Officers said “good booze” was sold at all three locations.

125 years ago

August 10, 1897: Tickets for the ball game between Watertown and Watertown Heights at Athletic Park on Thursday to benefit Watertown’s ailing first baseman John Whalen sell well, as they should. The Watertowns are veterans, but the “kids” have been “playing ball” all summer and they’re looking for glory.

150 years ago

August 10, 1872: It is now authoritatively acknowledged that Mr. Charles Kiefer, at Race Brothers, is the finest dress cutter that ever was in the city, and we would also declare that their new stock of spring produce which comes of arrived, comes alive at 14 Court Street.

The world

1519: Ferdinand Magellan’s five ships leave Seville to circumnavigate the world. Basque second-in-command Juan Sebastián Elcano would complete the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.

1675: The foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London is laid.

1776: The declaration of independence of the United States arrives in London.

1793: The Louvre Museum is officially inaugurated in Paris, France.

1846: The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by the United States Congress after James Smithson donates $500,000.

1897: German chemist Felix Hoffmann discovers an improved method of synthesizing acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).

1948: Candid Camera makes its television debut after spending a year on radio as Candid Microphone.

1954: In Masséna, the first sod of the St. Lawrence Seaway takes place.

1977: In Yonkers, 24-year-old postal worker David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) is arrested for a series of murders in the New York area over a year-long period.

1990: The Magellan space probe reaches Venus.

2020: Derecho, Iowa becomes the costliest thunderstorm disaster in US history.

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