Sunday, March 28, 2021

Making Faster Fruit

 Fruit by Trolley

Suburban Trolley Service from Nearby Farms 

has been put in Operation.


Peaches From Olcott

First Car brought 350 baskets 38 miles in two hours.

Revolution in Fruit and Garden Truck business.


September 5, 1901

   Three hundred and fifty baskets of freshly picked peaches were brought by trolley from Olcott Beach to Buffalo Wednesday night. The car reached Buffalo at 1 o’clock in the morning, and shortly afterwards the fruit was unloaded at the Elk Street Market.  This marks an important epoch in the history of the fruit and garden truck business of Buffalo. The trolley car systems are certainly destined to revolutionize the hauling of the products of nearby farms into the city.  To the officials of the Buffalo Railway Company is due the credit for successfully working out this plan, which affects every householder in Buffalo, or will in the near future, as soon as the scope of the work is extended.

Street railway car designed specifically for the transport of fruit and
fresh market produce. Sign on car: Lockport & Olcott RY

   In the near future there will be an end to hauling of big farm wagons through Delaware Ave., Main Street, Niagara Street, Seneca Street and other main thoroughfares all night long.  The transporting of fruit and garden truck to Buffalo from farms in Erie and contiguous counties has been a serious problem for some time past. Transportation by local trains has been a most unsatisfactory method even where the rates charged have not been prohibitory. The result has been that nearly all fruit and garden truck had to be brought into the city in wagons. It has always been necessary to start these wagons early in the afternoon or evening, depending upon the distance required to be traveled.  During the many hours which the fruit was on the road it necessarily accumulated dirt and dust. the result of this has been that Buffalo housekeepers have not had as fresh and sightly looking fruit and garden truck as they should have.  

    On the other hand the passing of the wagons along the streets at night has long been a nuisance.  Take, for instance, Delaware Ave.  The street is cleaned up early in the evening for the next day, but all night farm wagons pass over the street so that by daylight the next morning the street is littered up.  Officials of the Buffalo Railway Co. took all these things into consideration, and determined to put an end to the trouble by establishing a nightly suburban trolley service for the handling of the products of farms within 40 or 50 miles of Buffalo. Nothing was said about the scheme, and consequently nothing was known of it except by those directly interested in the operation thereof. 

    At 11 o’clock Wednesday night a special trolley car was loaded at Olcott Beach with 350 baskets of peaches. The car was built especially for this purpose in the shops of the Buffalo Railway Company. It is equipped with a motor and closely resembles a closed trolley car.  It has a capacity of 600 baskets of peaches, and is closed so that all the contents are perfectly protected from the dust of the journey.  The run of about 38 miles to Buffalo was made in two hours over the tracks of the Lockport & Olcott, the Buffalo & Lockport and the Buffalo Railway lines. The entrance into Buffalo was via Main Street, whence the car was taken to Perry Street and over to the commission house of Charles Richardson at 58 and 60 West Market Street. This morning the commission men on the market were extremely jubilant over the successful inauguration  of the suburban trolley car delivery of farm products, and asserted that it would prove of the inestimable benefit not only to themselves but to every householder in the city.

   Inquiry at the offices of the Buffalo Railway Company this morning elicited the fact that the system has been permanently adopted. It was stated the another car would be put in service tomorrow; that a number of similar cars are now in the process of construction at the company’s shops, and that by next week several of these cars will be in successful operation.

Elk Street Market, Buffalo N.Y.

       Officials of the Buffalo Railway Co. promise that they can give a rate for transportation which will enable the farmers and fruit producers throughout Western New York to bring their products to Buffalo in a much better, quicker and more economical manner.  Instead of 12, 15 and 20 hours being consumed in the journey, all the products from the farms can be gathered late in the day, loaded after dark, and reach Buffalo Markets between 1 and 3 in the morning, fresh for the consumers.  Furthermore, this system will be in strange contrast to the transportation of produce by railroad from points not easily reached by wagon. All who have had anything to do with the handling of fruit and garden truck sent by train know the extremely stale and bad condition of most of it by the time it has been handled and re-handled before it reaches its destination.   
   As the Buffalo Railway Co., or the main organization, International Traction Company, controls all the suburban lines  in and  around Buffalo, the company is prepared to offer great inducements for the transporting to Buffalo of all products of farms many miles from Buffalo in almost any direction.  The officials promise shortly, the cars now being constructed will be completed and will at once be put into daily service. 

Monday, December 30, 2019

Drying up the New Year

1920 Ushered in With a Solemnity Born 
of the Dry Law
 ----
Quiet Celebrations Downtown, Except for those who carried drinks with them.
Streets Deserted Early
Crowds hurrying home from the watch-night services, only sign of life after midnight

January 1, 1920
       The new year literally sneaked in last night and Buffalo woke up this morning to find the year 1920 upon itself without as much as a headache. True it is that those who had some of the joy juice stashed away or obtain a bottle on the deposit of a right eye, became at least jocular during the course of the evening and early morning. The old time racket of those who were wont to cut capers in Main Street as the new year came in, were lacking last night. Those people who visited the Iroquois (Hotel) and Statler showed signs of real life.  All through the day and up to the times that the parties started, men were seen to follow the beaten path to the hotels, bearing queer sorts and sizes of packages, grips, valises, jugs and the like.  Most of the celebrations were held in the homes.  The streets were deserted shortly after midnight, except for the crowds hurrying home from watch-night services in the churches.
   The only apparent noise on the main stem previous to the sounding of the whistles at midnight was the raucous call of the street vendor in a vain effort to sell his ware. Mr. Young Man, who in previous years after someone had bought him a drink or two, occasioned up and bought almost anything, this year kept a heavy triple pad-lock on his pocket. Many vendors along Main Street were forced to go to their homes carrying almost as much of the New Year noise makers with them as they had brought downtown.  
   At five minutes before twelve at the Statler, Manager John Daniels had the lights in the banquet hall dimmed and as the old year passed out, Herter A. House, leader of the orchestra sounded taps. The year 1920 was ushered in with a sounding of a Chinese gong as two electric signs blasting 1920 were lighted.  At the Iroquois the whole hostelry was thrown into darkness for a moment and the new year was ushered in with a lively Jazz piece by the orchestra.  The cafe men in the downtown district reported it the most quiet celebration in their memory.  The bars were practically deserted.  
   The police, who were out in great numbers for occasions such as has been held in former years, had nothing to do last night. The number of drunks was exceedingly small, even though it was not made hard by the “revenoos” to get a drink last night. Some persons with the evident intent to play a prank on the police, reported a holdup in a saloon on Washington St. There was a hurry call to headquarters  and a dozen detectives headed by captain Zimmerman rushed to the number given by the complainants.  
   When Clarence Barton, the driver, reached Washington street he turned north and slowed down to look for the number given as the place of the holdup. He proceeded cautiously along the street only to find that the number given would be included in the block in which the Soldiers Monument stands. The police searched the neighborhood for a half hour then returned to headquarters." 


One hundred years ago New Years 1920 was a somber holiday poised on the "eve" of Prohibition which was to go into effect on January 17th. 1920. However, restrictions were already being levied at the direction of the courts and congress, due to the War Prohibition Act which the 18th Amendment fell under. Called into special session to declare war in April 1917, the new Congress adopted temporary wartime prohibition as a measure to conserve grain for the army, America's allies, and the domestic population. The Lever Food and Fuel Control Act of August 1917 banned the production of distilled spirits for the duration of the war. The War Prohibition Act of November 1918 forbade the manufacture and sale of all intoxicating beverages of more than 2.75 percent alcohol content, beer and wine as well as hard liquor, until demobilization was completed.   Breweries and distilleries were already winding down operations and planning transitions to alternative types of production in preparation for this inevitable day. Interests affected by this were challenging certain aspects of the Volstead Act and the War Prohibition Act in courts, especially the brewing industry.   
   The 18th Amendment ratified January 16, 1919, made no reference to alcohol content, citing only "intoxicating liquors for beverage purposes" as being illegal.  This gave many people the false impression that beer and even wine with their lower alcohol content were not considered intoxicating and thus be spared restrictions.  But the resulting Volstead Act (the actual set of laws drafted by Congress to enforce Prohibition)passed on October 28, 1919 set the legal alcohol limit at one-half of 1 percent.  The legal action that brought about the headline below was a brewer Jacob Ruppert to restrain the government from interfering with him manufacturing his beer with approximately 2.75 per cent alcohol, alleged to be non-intoxicating, and that Prohibition would not go into effect till January. It was ruled that the Amendment being under the War Prohibition Act was in effect because the WP Act could not be cancelled until full de-mobilization of the armed forces took place.
   Since the 18th amendment, the Food and Fuel Control Act, the War Prohibition Act and the Volstead Act all overlapped in enforcement, Prohibition was essentially in place since 1917, restricting the production, supply, transport and alcohol content of alcoholic beverages. So 1920 was the first New Years to be affected by Prohibition.  
   Things have changed a lot in regards to alcohol consumption as we approach 100 years since the 18th Amendment officially went into effect. For better or worse? Well that's a discussion for another time, but not here.

Decree of Highest Court Confirms Power of Congress to Fix Alcohol Content 
of Liquor that May Not Be Sold - Sustains Law Prohibiting the Manufacture or Sale 
of Beer Containing More Than Half of One Percent

   So enjoy your New Years Eve parties and celebrations for 2020. Be Safe, responsible and happy that you can enjoy your favorite beverages legally. 

  Happy New Year to All!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

A Nickel and a Dream, The Bijou Dream Theatre

     
                Bijou Dream Theatre, Corner of Main and N. Division Streets - Courtesy of B&ECPL

   The Bijou Dream Theatre at 347 Main St. with the large number “5” on the side, was a nickelodeon that started operating by March 1908. A nickelodeon, was the first type of indoor exhibition space dedicated to showing projected motion pictures. Usually set up in converted storefronts, these small, simple theaters charged five cents for admission and flourished from about 1905 to 1915. Nickelodeons usually showed films about ten to fifteen minutes in length, and in a variety of styles and subjects, such as short narratives, "scenics" (views of the world from moving trains), "actualities" (precursors of later documentary films), illustrated songs, local or touring song and dance acts, comedies, melodramas, problem plays, stop action sequences, sporting events and other features which allowed them to compete with vaudeville houses.
    Nickelodeons were strong throughout the years 1905-1914. Statistics at the time show that the number of nickelodeons in the United States doubled between 1907 and 1908 to around 8000, and it was estimated that by 1910 as many as 26 million Americans visited these theaters weekly. Nickelodeons however, became victims of their own success as attendance grew rapidly, it necessitated larger auditoriums. With the advent of the feature film, and as cities grew and industry consolidation led to larger, more comfortable, lavish movie theaters. Longer films caused ticket prices to double from 5¢  to 10¢.  Although their heyday was relatively brief, nickelodeons played an important part in creating a specialized spectator, "the moviegoer,” who could now integrate going to the movies into his or her life in a way that was impossible before. The nickelodeon explosion also increased the demand for new films, as thousands of theaters needed new product.
    The Bijou Dream Theatre was operated by W.K. Killmier and presented continuous shows daily. It had one screen, 300 seats and closed around  1914.  The theatre was located at 347 Main St.,  corner of N. Division, where One M&T Plaza is now located. The sign atop the building, ”New Site for Bank of Buffalo” hints of it’s eventual fate, as in 1917 The Bank of Buffalo opened on that site.  Photo courtesy of B&ECPL  

The Bank of Buffalo Building was built on the site of the Bijou Dream Theatre & other Buildings
Buffalo History Gazette Collection

   The Bank of Buffalo was located at the north-east corner of North Division & Main St. and designed by McKim, Mead & White of New York. The bank opened on September 11, 1917.  It was built on the site of the old nickelodeon “Bijou Dream Theatre” and other buildings. The Bank of Buffalo was incorporated on January 25, 1873 and originally located at Main & Seneca St. The Bank was consolidated with the Marine Trust Company in 1920.   (Buffalo History Gazette Collection)

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