New Year, Old News: Bits from The Brockport Republic of January 4, 1917

by Sarah Cedeño, village historian

Fire on Main Street.

The Benedict Block suffered two fires within three years’ time. The second of these fires happened in early 1917, when owners returned from business to find their stores engulfed in smoke. This particular fire was one of a spate of fires that had occurred on Main Street in the past three weeks, and though there was an investigation, officials declared “spontaneous combustion” as the cause.

The flames were never visible from outside the building since the fire originated in the basement of the building. Both store owners lost their inventory.




The grip in Brockport’s words.



Though the outbreak of the Spanish Flu would become a pandemic, killing more Americans than WWI, the tone of this 1917 article in The Brockport Republic offers a candid account of the symptoms of influenza with a pretty ambiguous message about either the nature of the disease or the nature of the afflicted at the end: “Don’t care for anyone on earth, not one whit. No one cares anything about you–Glad of it.”



Runaway horse.



When Fred Richards, overseer of the poor, tried to cross a wintry Main Street in Brockport to get hold of Duke Bennett’s horse, he was almost trampled, but managed to capture the horse anyway–and to much appreciation. But the editor suggests quiet recognition, to spare Fred Richards’ embarrassment.

Published by Emily L Knapp Museum

The Emily L. Knapp Museum is a municipal museum associated with the Village of Brockport. The museum is located on the second and third floors in the former home of one of Brockport’s most prominent families, the Seymours, while the first floor contains the Village of Brockport offices. Those who visit Brockport’s collection of local history will feel they’ve entered a time when the Erie Canal was the bustling commercial center of this Victorian village: when ladies wore high-laced shoes and skirts that scraped the slate sidewalks, and the gentlemen sported tall silk hats; when phonographs and stereopticon views as well as novels by our famed authoress, Mary Jane Holmes, entertained the masses. Don’t take our word for it, see for yourself.

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