Jerry’s Journal — Hannibal Street history

Almost the Mayor of Hannibal Street: Tom Trepasso has lived on Hannibal Street his entire life and says there’s only one person (Charley Liberti) who’s lived there longer than he has. “That makes me almost the Mayor of Hannibal Street,” he laughingly remarked.

I visited with Tom in his home a few weeks ago, per his invitation to stop by and look over some artifacts he offered to loan me.

Those artifacts included a booklet of poems entitled “As I Remember” written by Fred Kenyon Jones in 1934 (the year this writer was born, gulp); a booklet announcing a Reunion of Teacher and Pupils at Walradt Street School in 1922; and a booklet about the Second Annual Field Day, sponsored by Fulton Police Benevolent Association, Inc., at Recreation Park on Monday, Sept. 4 (but of what year is left to wondering).

The booklets are sitting on my desk to glean from for future columns, so stay tuned. There’s lots of good stuff in them, such as the excerpts at the end of this columu.

Fishing for a circus elephant: Tom can tell you almost everything you might want to know about Hannibal Street’s history.  He remembers fishing for bullheads as a kid in Tannery Creek when it was still deep and full of fish, the circuses that were once held in the field by the old airport – and the circus elephant that got stuck in the creek one summer!

He remembers Kate, Helen and Charley Mangeots’s farm on Hannibal Street, their milk house out back – “the best milk in town” – he said, the dinner bell ringing and the time the cows got loose and wandered onto the railroad tracks.

“It was a terrible, terrible mess, scattered everywhere” he recalled about the cleanup after the cows and a train collided.

These days, Tom and his wife Barbara, they’ve been married for 43 years, still live in a beautifully kept home that once was his parents’ house. It’s the one on Hannibal Street with the Yankees’ logo on it. “Everybody’s a Yankee fan,” he said, but some don’t know it!”

Tom worked at Sealright for 14 years, then at Roller Bearing for 30 years. Now retired, he loves to work around the yard  — it changes with the season — the decorations, that is.

Right now it’s Halloween in his yard, and soon it will Christmas, his favorite time to decorate, he said, though in recent years he’s cut down some.

Colorful work: The North End Paper Mill came up in conversation and  I asked Tom if he knew what was going there. Those of us who frequently travel Hannibal Street can’t help but notice there is some kind activity in that old place, but what?

I was pretty sure they were not manufacturing paper any more, but I had seen cars parked there off and on and had taken note of the new sign on the front of it, and from what I can see there’s the possibility that one of these days that old mill will be sporting a brand new roof.

But, wow, was I surprised when Tom said his wife Barbara is the manager there and oversees a handful of men and women, mostly women, who also work there. She’s been there in some capacity since 1977, and now the manager, he said.

A crew of seven or eight, depending on who can work on any given day, usually four days a week, cut big rolls of tissue paper — “every color of tissue paper,” he said — into squares to package and ship out to florists and gift shops.

The building has been there for more than 100 years,” he said. “It might have been a tannery to begin with. It’s right by the creek and the railroad tracks.”

Tom reminisced about walking the tracks when he was a kid to go swimming at Recreation Park, and of his four years at Good Old Fulton High School, he said “it was the best time of his life … everyone used to have fun back then … we weren’t rich but never went without … it’s too bad young people (of today) can’t visualize what it used to be like,” he said.

Historical Humor: I thank Tom for taking the time to talk to me and for sharing the booklets as well. I especially enjoy the book of poems because it not only recounts our hometown history in rhyme and humor but also because of the people who lived here in that era — many of their names still ring familiar to me and I’m sure to many of you — like Fanning, Youmans, Perkins, Osborn, Case, Freeman, Loomis, Coleman, Knight, Mason, Baker, Allen, O’Brien, Dyer, Stevenson, Williams, Holden, just to name a few.

And, it would seem, our poet/historian, Mr. Fred Kenyon Jones had, at one time or another, many jobs around town: “I worked at Nestlés in 1901,” he wrote, “with 40 girls, we has such fun.”

In another of his poems he said, “I worked once in the Woolen Mill, Jimmy Connell came and went at will. Pay day I drew just three-sixty. Did I stay: Yours truly says nixie.”

And in a poem entitled Digging up the Dirt he wrote: “I worked once for Emmet Conrad, Bert Loomis was his business comrade; their business really wasn’t bad, the trouble was the help they had.”

His booklet is the source of the ads accompanying this column.

Now, here’s my caveat: Reader beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others want to share. Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up.

I hope you have fun reading my stuff. Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome. You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email JHogan@aol.com. Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

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