Thursday, July 18, 2013

On a Thursday in 1889

Because the building on the waterfront that was once the Hudson Gasification Works is currently the subject of heated debate over whether or not it should be sold at auction, Gossips tried earlier this week to find out more about this historic industrial building. Turning to my favorite research tool, Fulton History, I searched for "Hudson gas works" and was taken to a page from the Daily Evening Register for May 16, 1889. The item about the gas works wasn't very enlightening, but the page included many other fascinating bits of news and commentary--all of which I share now.

Apparently the notion of taxing dogs, or licensing them, as we think of it today, was introduced in New York State in 1889. It's amazing that a century and a quarter later, the fees have not increased that much. In 1889, it was $2 for a male dog, and $3 for a female dog. Today, there is no gender distinction. In Hudson, the fee is $13.50 for a spayed or neutered dog and $50 for a dog that has not been spayed or neutered.

The newspaper that day also reports that first "paying train" to cross the newly completed railroad bridge at Poughkeepsie will be the Barnum's circus train. That railroad bridge today, of course, is Walkway Over the Hudson.

Then there is this notice of a lawsuit brought by a woman from Poughkeepsie who is suing the owners of a Hudson saloon because her husband got drunk and fell out the saloon, injuring himself to such an extent that he can no longer work.

It's very likely that the saloon the unfortunate Mr. Muldary fell out of was located in this building at Warren and Third streets. A saloon called McKenna's occupied the ground floor of this building for decades, and until the current owner removed them within the last decade, there were French doors on the ground floor.

This item, with a Newburgh connection, is a cautionary tale about the need to be precise with language and careful about what you agree to.

Most people who have been involved with gutting an old building have had the experience of finding old newspapers, which had been used as insulation, in the walls and ceilings. This item gives some insight into other 19th-century uses for old newspapers. (Buffalo bugs are carpet beetles.)

Then there is this item, which laments a growing problem on Hudson's streets in 1889: the use, by young men, of rude, offensive or foul language.

It sometimes seems that newspapers, when acknowledging an error, go to great lengths to exonerate themselves of any blame. Even given that, this response to a man who pointed out that the newspaper had reported the date of his wedding incorrectly seems both ungracious and harsh.

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