Thursday, August 1, 2013

Eureka! . . . But No

I almost shrieked Eureka! in City Hall on Wednesday afternoon when, after poring through two years of Common Council minutes, I finally came upon mention of Hudson-Fulton fountain. It's a good thing I didn't though. My elation over discovering this item in the minutes for September 29, 1910, lasted only as long as it took me to read it.
Alderman Barlow said that about a year ago there had been presented to the city a drinking fountain but it had since disappeared. He would like to know if anybody could tell him where the fountain is located.
Alderman Finigan moved that Alderman Barlow and Alderman Flanagan be appointed a committee to investigate the matter.
The Recorder ruled the motion out of order, as the Council cannot designate a committee.
I don't know what rule of order the Recorder relied on to dismiss the resolution. During the two years of Council proceedings I'd been reviewing, several ad hoc committees had been created--the committee to advertise the city during the Hudson-Fulton Celebration, the committee to find out what happened to the flagstones, the committee to get the trunk highway to run through Hudson--so why the Council couldn't designate a committee to solve the mystery of the missing fountain, for Alderman Barlow and for posterity, is not at all clear. In the minutes for the remainder of 1910 and for 1911 there is no further mention of the fountain.

The item made Gossips curious to find out more about Alderman Barlow. Emerson Barlow represented the Third Ward, where the fountain had been situated when it stood at the Union Street entrance to Washington Park. By profession, he was a dentist, and with his associate, Charles A. Walker, he practiced dentistry at the Hudson Dental Parlors at 524 Warren Street. Barlow resided at 438 East Allen Street.


  1. I would set my sights on " the recorder"

  2. Replies
    1. To windle and rollo tomasi--I'm interested both in the position of "Recorder" and in the individual who was the recorder at the time. The recorder's obvious function was to record the minutes, but the recorder also seemed to function as the interpreter of parliamentary procedure--as we see him doing here.

      The office of recorder was an elected position, and one that carried with it, at least in 1867, some level of social position and esteem. I always imagined that the houses included in that 1867 "tour" of distinctive private residences were chosen more because of the people who lived in them than for architectural distinction, and one of the houses--what became 332 Warren Street--was the house of Henry Miller, who was "the Recorder."

      The recorder in 1910 was Milton Van Hoesen, who was a "linotype machinist operator" and lived at 823 Warren Street, an address he shared with Floyd E. Van Hoesen, who was a chauffeur.

  3. Terrific sleuthing! Thank you for doing that, Gossips.