Saturday, August 25, 2007

"Mohawk Valley Living"

I just checked their website. It looks as if "What's New in Waterville" will air on Sunday!

That's Tomorrow!!!!!

7:30am WKTV
10am CW (Ch. 11)
12:05 Midnight WKTV


It's 70 degrees and very foggy Down in the Hollow.


The most important part of today's blog post is this:


Hundreds of photographs - perhaps thousands - were taken early last week during the demolition of the Old Mill. Knowing that a great many of these will be very dramatic and interesting to the everyone who was not able to be on the scene and to other photographers as well, Jeff Reynolds, Director of the Waterville Public Library, invites photographers to display their best pictures of that event on the Hallway Gallery at the Library.

  • Prints may be of any size.
  • Black & White or color
  • Photographer's identity - optional.
Bring your prints to the Library - along with thumbtacks! - and place them on the gallery space. (Tacks won't hurt that wall!)

If you have what appear to be wonderful shots but no way to print them, send me some JPEGS: I'll do what I can!

The display will probably be removed right after the Labor Day weekend.
You may retrieve your prints after that time.

WKTV offers some photographs of storm clouds taken last evening North of Utica and this forecast for today and tomorrow:

  • Saturday Morning: Hazy/Hot/Humid. Sunshine breaking through any fog. Temperatures well into the 80s by Noon.
  • Saturday Afternoon: Showers and thunderstorms developing. A line of storms with strong, gusty winds and very heavy rainfall is possible by late afternoon across all of CNY. Prior to any storms, still hazy and humid with highs around 90.
  • Saturday night: Showers and thunderstorms winding down. Decreasing humidity late. Low in the mid 60s.
  • Sunday: Decreasing clouds and becoming pleasant. High: 79, Low: 54
The O-D has more information about proposed improvements to Route 12. Route 12 Options
•Adding two or three passing lanes to certain parts of Route 12. Lanes could cost $2 million a mile, and potential areas could include areas just south of New Hartford and just north of Waterville.
•Intersection improvements at the Route 20 interchange in Sangerfield.
•Adding a limited access by-pass in Sangerfield at the intersection of routes 20 and 12.

A second article, "Be Practical on Route 12 Improvement" offers analysis of need.


It's a good sign!

I stopped at the Library to see how the Book Sale had been going:

it looks as if you're still in luck - if you get there before


These youngsters didn't seem to care how long their mother browsed through books at the sale!

And other youngsters didn't care if the platform was supposed to be a bandstand: they were having fun putting it to their own use!

I couldn't help but - once again - admire the overflow of petunias in the Watering Trough!

I wondered what it was like in Bouckville: worn-down pathways and disgruntled gulls.

North of Hamilton.


Have a great weekend.
I'll be printing Mill shots, tomorrow.
Back on Monday!

Friday, August 24, 2007


It's 67.8 degrees and gray.

  • Friday: Hazy, hot and very humid. Morning fog burning off and becoming partly sunny. Afternoon showers and thunderstorms likely. Some could be strong with extremely heavy rain. High in the mid to upper 80s
  • Friday night: Scattered thunderstorms and oppressively humid. Low near 70
  • Saturday: Hazy, hot and humid with afternoon thunderstorms. Some could be strong. High: 86, Low: 63
  • Sunday: Decreasing clouds and humidity. Becoming mostly sunny. Pleasant. High: 79, Low: 54
According to the O-D website, the thunderstorm that rumbled through, last evening, "left about 4,200 homes without power early Thursday night, according to National Grid's Web site.
More than 2,000 homes sustained power outages in the town of New Hartford. Utica had at least 1,100 without power at about 8 p.m."



Today from 10:00 - 5:30
Tomorrow from 9:00 - 12:00.


Last Saturday was the huge Boy Scout Yard Sale at the Suba residence on Hanover Road. When I pulled into the driveway to take a picture of that activity, there was a purple Smoke Bush, by the front door, and the sunshine made its blossoms look like spun gold.

I had a note from Nicki, a few days ago, saying: "Just wanted to update your readers on the success of our garage sale this past weekend. We had a steady turn out both days so we decided to keep it open for Sunday, which turned out to be slow but steady all day. The sale was a complete success with over half of the merchandise sold. We were surprised at the lack of furniture sold, though. If any of your readers were holding out on either of the table and chairs sets, now is the time to revisit!"

I was invited to visit the Falks, one afternoon, to see a Great Blue Heron that - in distress - had landed in their neighbor's yard the evening before and - apparently - expired at the Falks'. It wasn't good subject material for a photograph, but Kelly and Joe's Hop Vines are magnificent!

This week I remembered: seeing Faith leaving the Farmer's Market in the Park on Wednesday, I stopped and did some shopping and chatting, myself.

Dottie Ruane was there, getting veggies for supper.

A few days ago, I had an E-letter from Dottie's brother, Walter - "Jr." - Bartlett. He said that he'd been visiting the area, last weekend, and had been to Bailey Lake where the mess of litter and garbage was terrible. He urged me to go out and take a picture of it. Unfortunately - or fortunately - I didn't get there until Wednesday afternoon and, by then, it was as clean as I've ever seen it!


In the mailbox, this morning, another real treat!

A note from Glen Carroll, Vice President, ParTech International, who writes:

"Greetings from Singapore! Just thought I would share that it is nice to keep in contact with home whilst traveling. I shared the link of your blog with my offices in Australia so that they can have a better grasp of the people from the area of the company."

Thanks, Glen!


Yesterday's game between Boston and Chicago was washed out, so they'll make it up with a double-header, today, starting at 2:05.

Thursday, August 23, 2007


It's Garbage Day!

60.8 degrees and gray.
  • Thursday: Mostly cloudy with some sunshine possible later in the day. More humid. Chance of a shower. High in the upper 70s.
  • Thursday night: Partly to mostly cloudy, muggy and warm, with areas of low clouds and fog forming. Low in the mid 60s.
  • Friday: Clouds, some sun. Hazy, hot and humid. Chance of a few strong hit or miss afternoon thunderstorms, especially west of Utica. High: 89, Low: 69


The watchers - nearly everyone who had been there for the past two days - and others gathered
at the Putnam Street crossing, yesterday morning. Several boys on bikes circled 'round and sat down on lawns; Peg Knapp and her daughter and two grand-daughters came; Lovina Staring and some of her family; cameras and cell-phones snapped more and more pictures.

First a side wall was nudged over ..........

and then what was left of the second story was collapsed onto the first.

Late morning.


At a little after five o'clock.

The new view: the corner of Putnam Street and Conger Avenue.

The only people around were those hoping to find a brick or two to take home and keep.


I've never received as much mail from blog-readers as I have in the past two days. Those who have written have all expressed their appreciation for the photographs and remarks about the history of "the mill" because that building was important to them! Some had just walked past it for years; perhaps they'd never been inside. Others had worked there and reminisced about doing "piece work." Walter (a.k.a. "Junior") Bartlett wrote: "I worked on the third floor when I came home from the Navy in 1959 steaming and stretching material with Hester and Minnie, who work on either side of me. I could never keep up with them!"

This morning, Paul Fleischmann wrote, "The mill was a part of our life as kids in the village as my mother (Frances Fleischmann) and Jan's dad (Ralph Jones) worked there at some time in their lives. I recall going in to see my mom - probably to get some money for Coke and candy - and chatting with her and the other 'mill ladies.' It was my first exposure to the business world. Ralph worked there in his younger years (mid 1930's) and had many tales to tell, such as driving Mr. Jarman to Utica at high speeds!"

I heard a snippet of a story, yesterday. A lady who'd been watching the demolition had recalled, to those standing near her, that she'd worked there for some time, years ago, and remembered when she once got a ONE-CENT raise!

Perhaps the Historical Society should start having gatherings NOT so that a quest speaker can lecture for half-an-hour, but to let everyone share memories of something like "the mill" or "picking hops." The stories are there and people love to tell them!


And Yes: about those ornate columns of cast iron? I watched as two of them - thanks to the persistence of Karl Davis and Tom Ruane - were lifted, intact, from the rubble and set off to one side. (Whether the salvager is willing to part with them is something else, but Karl wasn't giving up easily! He did say that they were very thick and must weigh two ton each!) Also, the cluster of siren horns that had been on the roof of the building have been safely removed and will no doubt be given to the Village for the Fire Department.

And what about all the photographs that have been taken? I'm going to ask Waterville Public Library Director Jeff Reynolds if the hallway gallery could be used to display all of those that are offered. That space would accomodate lots and lots of 8 x 10 prints!!


It's Garbage Day!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wednesday morning

It's Recyclables Day!



56 degrees.

  • Today: Mostly cloudy with a few patches of drizzle possible. Perhaps a few peeks of sun late. High in the low 70s.
  • Tonight: Mostly cloudy with a chance of a spotty t-storm. Low 60.
  • Thursday: Mostly cloudy in the morning, but becoming partly sunny with a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. Turning slightly more humid. High: 80, Low: 64


Having spent nearly all of yesterday parked at the corner of Elmwood and Putnam, I took no other photographs and barely spoke wih anyone who had anything but "the mill" on their minds. There were lots of questions about the building and the builder: last night I pulled a few things together that I hope will give some answers.

George Putnam was the son of one of Waterville’s early settlers - Nathaniel Putnam. The family lived in a house that was right at the beginning of Putnam Street – in the middle of what is now the road! It had been there since Isaac Terry built it around 1800 and it stayed there until around 1866. That was when George, at age 52, and having become a very prosperous hop farmer, owner of the Putnam Block on Main Street (now Morgan’s Hardware Store and a leader in social and civic affairs of the village, set upon a new venture.

His first goal was to make sure that railway service by the new Utica-Chenango & Susquhanna Valley Railroad came to Waterville. His plan also included establishing a brand new street that would lead from Main Street directly to the railway tracks. That, of course, necessitated the removal of his old home to a new location on Babbott Avenue, where at least parts of it still stand.

Adjacent to the tracks, he would build a warehouse facility of such size that it could also accommodate large community functions in its third-floor auditorium.

Elegant cast-iron columns flanked the front doorways. The contractors will try to save these for the Historical Society.

The last brick of his three-story warehouse – Putnam Hall – was set in place in October, 1867 – just about a month before the first railway trains came. One of the largest celebrations to ever take place in Waterville happened on that grand day - November 14, 1867 - thanks to George Putnam.

Between that impressive structure and Main Street, he had building lots surveyed and houses built on them and sold them to the better-off people of the village.

He kept this Putnam Street home for himself.

The story goes that although the new street was the shortest way to get from Main Street to the warehouse and depot,
no workmen were allowed to take that route to their jobs dressed in work clothes and carrying their "lunch pails."

For the next dozen years, Putnam Hall served as a public social center and Waterville’s Opera House. High school graduation exercises took place there. Concerts, recitals and dances were held there, too, and the wealthy - like celebrated artist Albert Bierstadt and his wife Rosalie (Osborn) - gave gala New Year’s Day Oyster Dinners there.

In February, 1879, however, the building was sold to E.W. Buell to become Buell’s Boot and Shoe Factory.

Date unknown.

Hop Bales on the way to the depot in 1904.
Even before then, Waterville had become the major shipping point for this entire area. Riding on one of the wagons was a boy named Fred Zweifel!

This photograph is the only indication of when Buell sold to the Knitting Company. And when asked, recently, a former employee of the knitting mill said that she thought that the mill had finally closed in 1991.

Putnam's "Castle" was built in the 1880's

George Putnam died in 1891. His “warehouse” outlived him by 116 years; the Putnam Block along with his “castle” at the corner of Stafford Avenue and Main Street and his fashionable home on Putnam Street still survive as does his “summer place,” the Karram residence on Tower Street, the residence, for many years, of his son and daugher-in-law, Earl and Grace Putnam.

The Putnams' Summer Place.


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Old Mill

8:18 A.M. The "Supervisors" gathered.

Sue Jones brought her nephew, Cale Engle, to watch.

More waiting, while debris already on the ground and accessible within the structure was sorted into heaps: metal here and wood there - all amazingly accomplished by the "claw."

At one point, I was told, the equipment operator spotted a basketball in the rubble and, ever so carefully, picked it up in the "jaws" and carefully swung around and gently handed it to one of the work crew.

At just around two o'clock the giant "claw" reached up and gave a nudge in just the right spot and, with just a little encouragement, what was left of the roof caved in.


An hour or so later action moved to Putnam Street, and
two more big sections of wall collapsed.



I left soon after 3:00. Debris had been scraped and swept from the street and it looked as if work was done for the day. There had been about two-dozen bystanders and just about all of them had cameras. You expect hundreds of photographs to be taken at a social function or the dedication of a building, but this had to be a unique occassion.

What a display all of those photographs would make!