Category Archives: Jerry’s Journal

Geraldine Hogan Kasperek, Columnist – Jerry writes “Jerry’s Journal,” a bi-monthly column featuring stories about local people and tales of the “good old days” in Fulton. She attended SUNY Oswego in the Writing Arts Program. She has written and edited newsletters for several different organizations and has had many articles published in various newspapers on community and environmental issues.

More Fulton history

by Jerry Kasperek

E-mails have flown back and forth between Marion Murphy Stanton and I that happily jogged each other’s memories, thanks to Mary Runeari and her writings in my last column.

Mary worked at Frawley’s luncheonette on East Broadway as a teenager and discovered that the “neat gentleman” who came in to get his coffee cup refilled each morning was none other than Mr. Murphy, who owned Murphy’s Gift Shop next door.

In later years, Mary became active with the American Field Service along with Mr. Murphy’s wife, Marie. The Murphy’s had two daughters, Eleanor (Vaynor) and Marion (Stanton) and one son Richard.

Eleanor and Marion still live in our community but Mary had lost track of Richard.

In case you don’t remember, Dear Readers, Murphy’s Gift Shop was on East Broadway, on the north side of the street, in the block between South First and South Second Streets (S. Second is now Route 481).

“John Finnocchario had his barber shop next door,” Marion wrote, “and the Victory Grill was on the corner, with Mr. Scanlon’s liquor store next door to the east. Mrs. Percival and later the Courbats lived in the little house, and after Quade’s came the Sealright Bowling Alley and the — I think — the Commodore Restaurant. Mr. Jonietz Texaco station was on the corner.

Marion continued, “I remember Mary working at Frawley’s (later Kanaley’s and Guilfoyle’s) and it was always a lot of fun when she was on! Not that the other staff wasn’t great too…We’ll share her recollections with our brother Richard who lives in Rochester,” she said.


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Chestnut Street and Curtis Street

JerrsJournal6-22by Jerry Kasperek

Let me set the scene for what I am about to discuss: Chestnut Street and Curtis Street are a block apart and run parallel to each other and both end up at the high school, which means that entire area must have been farmland long ago when Dick Candee lived there by the lake.

“Did your phone ring off the hook after your last column came out?” Mary West wanted to know as she reminded me that Candee’s old homestead was at the end of Cedar Street and not Chestnut Street.

She also said she remembers the home of the Kush family being the last one on Chestnut Street and that there was a cow pasture next to it.

A couple of days after I had the conversation with Mary, I bumped into Tony Gorea, who said he read the column as well and told me  that grew up on Chestnut Street and remembers an old man up the street who raised goats.

Then there was Henry Hudson, who stopped me in my tracks when he said: “You forgot the pigs!”

“What pigs?” I asked.

”The ones I took care of when I was a kid,” he said.

It seems his father, Dan Hudson, was a long-ago dairy farmer who made and sold ice cream. In fact, Hudson’s was the only ice cream maker in our entire area.

You could find Hudson’s ice cream in almost every store and every restaurant in town and beyond, Henry said.

The problem was, however, that skim milk was the by-product and there was a big surplus.

So one summer Mr. Hudson devised a plan to get rid of his skim milk by feeding it to the pigs, and he ordered 250 baby pigs and had them shipped in by railroad.

From the railroad car, the piglets were loaded onto trucks out on Route 176 — at the Curtis Street junction — and were taken to Candee’s farm over by the lake.

Henry’s father had rented the land from Mr. Candee; they were great friends, Henry said. A fence had been installed before the little pigs arrived. It went from about where the high school would someday be, down the hill where the athletic complex would be and stretched out a bit from there.

The pen was kind of three-sided affair with the lake making up the fourth side. “Only one pig tried to swim away,” Henry said.  (This writer didn’t dare ask what happened to it!)

Henry was only 16 or 17 that year he spent his summer lugging milk cans full of skim milk to feed the little pigs. That was their mainstay diet, skim milk, day in and day out!

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

West Broadway

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

By now, Dear Readers, you must have figured out that I’m not really a historian. I write mostly from memory and from what others tell me they remember.

Thus, I want you to know how happy and grateful I am for your input and for your corrections.

Now, before I move on to another subject, I still have a couple of items to address about West Broadway.

According to Elaine Rowlee Knight, it was Dick Candee and not Jim Candee, as I reported in a previous column, who ran a restaurant there many years ago.

Elaine’s mother was a Candee, so Dick was Elaine’s uncle, and she remembers the restaurant very well. It was long and narrow, with a showcase of pies in the front, a small space for the ice cream counter, and booths along both sides in the back.

The family slept in an apartment over the diner. Elaine remembers the high ceilings, as were usually found in tall brick buildings of yesterday. This particular one also had an intercom, which apparently came in very handy.

While Dick did all the cooking — always with a folded apron over his clothes, he was a great cook — Elaine said, his wife did all the baking.

And if it got busy, they called upstairs on an intercom for their children, Polly and Ann to help out. Jimmy was their younger brother.

And, if she happened to be visiting her cousins, Elaine pitched in, too. “I took water to the tables,” she laughed. “That was before child labor laws!”

Dick Candee had many interests. He trained dogs, English Setters and Pointers, and horses for Frank Ash, who used them in local field trials. Mr. Ash, as we in the older population  will recall, was the head man at the Sealright Corporation and lived right here in town.

When Bill Myers took over the restaurant and Dick Candee retired, he spent the rest of  his life on his farm. The old homestead, at the end of Chestnut Street, was on a prime piece of property near our lake, which eventually became the site of G. Ray Bodley High School.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Checkerboard Feed Store

by Jerry Kasperek

Let’s begin with The Checkerboard Feed Store: it was painted red and white, as Roy Abbott reminded me per a recent phone call, not black and white as I had written in my last column.

And it was on Gansvoort Street, behind the building that today houses the Gift Shop on West First Street. Roy also reminisced that he had worked at the GLF on West Broadway in 1961 and 1962 before it became Agway.

About Agway, Dave Coant wrote me a letter saying: “In the late 60’s until 1972, the Agway Feed Store was managed by a man from Painted Post, NY, Howard Duane Potter. He also ran a small beef cow farm in Volney on the Howard Road across from where the Niagara Mohawk building is now. Part of that farm, that is now gone, is behind the fence that was put up around the old dump at the corner of Howard Road and Silk Road.”

Mr. Potter went back to Painted Post, ran another Agway, and farmed “the best sweet corn and red potatoes in the southern tier,” Dave wrote, recalling his youth. He said he became best friends with Howard Potter Jr. and he “spent many summers planting corn and digging potatoes and selling the vegetables from West High School parking lot.”

Howard senior passed away in 2010, Dave said.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News

Memories of Pop

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Hogan Kasperek

Wanna go to the feed store, Jeddy? My grandfather — Pop — would ask me when he was about to go on his Saturday morning ritual of errands and rounds.

Jeddy was my grandfather’s nickname for me (my proper name is Geraldine) and the feed store was the Checkerboard, or maybe the GLF, depending on what he was looking for.

Sometimes it was feed for his chickens; Pop raised them from hatchlings. They were so cute when he brought them home in a big, square cardboard box with holes in it.

I’m not sure where they came from, perhaps from a farmer, maybe from the feed store, who knows, I don’t.

He’d put them in a brooder to keep them warm while they were still babies. The chicks were white, fluffy, and noisy little things, peeping their tiny heads off, and I’d stick my finger through the holes to see if they would peck at me.

Never did it occur to me or even bother me that once they were grown, plump and pretty, they would become food for our dinner table!

My grandfather also raised vegetables. He and my Dad plowed the garden in the spring,

Now with a garden about to be planted, Pop needed seed as well as feed so we could be as well fed as his chickens, and it was off to the feed store with little Jeddy along for the ride.

I remember the smell of the hay, feed and seed; they have their own special aroma!

Back then a lot of basic farm supplies came in bulk form, in barrels and pails and little seed packets and clothe sacks.

Do you remember the cotton flour sacks with pretty designs printed on them? They had a dual purpose: these receptacles for flour, once emptied and washed, could be made into wearing apparel for us women folk, especially little girls like me.

I never had a dress made out of them, though. But I recall seeing a pile of them, all clean and folded at my Aunt Florrie’s house — I can just see her now, running her hands over them, feeling their good quality, and I know they were favorite material for “broomstick” skirts which were so popular among teenagers way back when.

What am I leading up to, anyway? Well, when I mentioned the GLF a few columns ago, I got an e-mail about from former Fultonian Dick Gillespie, who said the GLF was often known as the Co-Op, and that his John Gillespie who lived on the Whitaker Road “was it’s manager throughout the 30s and up to the mid 40s, when he was struck by a car by the Post Office. He was gone in a few days.”

“The GLF at that time was located just south of the Sealright by the South Second Street railroad tracks,” Dick said. “I believe it was sometime about 1950 they moved to the West Broadway location. It was basically a feed store and farm supply outlet and shared the local farmers market with the Checkerboard Feed Store west of the lower bridge.”

Dick sent me some information from the internet — thanks, Dick — which I decided to look up myself and discovered that a gentleman by the name of Charles E. Page wrote in 2003 an account about his personal experiences from his childhood and raised a few chickens by himself.

Feed, he said, back then, was a two or three pennies a pound.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Taxi stand

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Out shopping one Sunday afternoon, Ed and I bumped into Eugene “Sonny” Huard: “How did you ever forget Sully’s?” he greeted me with.

You know, Sully’s, the old bar off West Broadway!

“Of course, I remember it!” I said — now that you mention it — “It was on a side street behind the west side Fire Station.”

Well, there was nothing to do but to look it up in the 1953 City Directory. Its address was 259 West Seventh Street; William D. Sullivan and his wife Eva were the proprietors; and its correct title was Sully’s Inn.

And, as its faithful patrons fondly recall, it was a favorite “watering hole” for locals who needed to be refreshed by a couple of beers and a few friendly faces and, according to Sonny, “There was chicken, too!”

I got a call from Al Myhill, the decorated WWII veteran who will be honored at Fulton’s annual Memorial Day Salute Parade. He said the taxi stand I wrote about was owned by his in-laws, Earl Pealow and his wife and that he drove taxi for them.

Their fleet consisted of a white Dodge and two Plymouths. Taxi service was mostly around the city, 50 cents a trip, but would go outside of the city for a couple of bucks if asked to. They put chains on the taxis in the winter because there was no such thing as snow tires.

Al recalled Policeman Tom Alnutt on his beat stopping by the taxi stand.

Coincidentally, Tom Alnutt, owner of Riverside Auto, also called me. He said his parents Tom and Mabel Alnutt owned the taxi stand when he was a child.

And, my good friend Ellie Roach Pryor told me as a teenager she filled in for her father answering the phone at the stand. Who knew!

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Charley the Barber

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Thanks for your phone calls and e-mails. I now know that the GLF stands for the Grange League Federation — a farmer-owned cooperative where you could buy feed and seed and other kinds of farming supplies.

But, I’m going to put the story of the GLF aside for another time and write about what I promised you: 1) take a trip on the DL&W Railroad; and 2) learn a little bit about the life and times of Charley the Barber.

His name was Charles Santoro; his barbershop was downtown on South Second Street in the block between Montgomery Ward on Cayuga Street and Perkins’ Corner on Oneida Street.

There were three or four small businesses squeezed into that short block and Charley’s was the one between Fanny Farmer’s and the Elizabeth shop. (To jog our collective memory: Farmer Farmer’s sold yummy chocolate candy while the Elizabeth Shop sold upscale clothes for kids.)

I knew Charley’s wife, Carm, because she worked at the Sealright with my mother many years ago. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to hear from Dennis Santoro, their son, who called me about one of my columns when I mentioned X-ee (or Ex-ee) Libera’s barbershop on West First Street.

His dad had started there and also had worked at Galizia’s on North Second.

He had moved here from Oswego, Dennis said about his father. “He chose Fulton, because there was more industry and it was more prosperous.”

And when his dad got a place of his own on South Second Street he happily barbered there from 1952 to 1972 until Urban Renewal and Route 481 changed the downtown landscape. He then moved his shop to Oneida Street, Dennis said, until 1978, when his father passed away on his way to work.

“His passion was to be with his customers,” Dennis spoke lovingly of his dad, whose footsteps he tried to follow and become a barber. He went to barbering school for three summers and became an apprentice. But it just wasn’t for him.

Today, he is a retired teacher from the Cicero, North Syracuse School District. He said he has lived here — in Fulton — all his life and wish people could know what it was like back then in his father’s day.

I thank Dennis Santoro for sharing his father’s story with us. Charley’s barbershop was part of the Dizzy Block that we so fondly recall.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Tales of West Broadway, Part V

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Tales of West Broadway, Part V:  Let’s use the old 1948-49 and 1953 City Directories as our guide once again and let’s start at the Broadway Cleaners and head toward West Second Street.

Who remembers Ottman’s Department Store? It was between Buell’s Drapery Shop and JR Sullivan’s furniture store. My classmate Joanne Bower Thompson said her father took her there at the beginning of each school year to buy her a pair of shoes.

What kid doesn’t like a new pair of shoes? Another good friend, Ellie Roach Pryor, remembers Ottman’s, too. “They sold Buster Browns!” she said.

My classmate Joanne Bower Thompson said her father took her there at the beginning of each school year to buy her a pair of shoes. Another good friend of mine, Ellie Roach Pryor, remembers getting shoes there, too.

“They sold Buster Browns!” she said.

Crossing West Second, who remembers the Polish Educational Society at 206 West Broadway? Or, that it would be replaced by the West Broadway Grill, to eventually become a carpet and tile store by the name of Litwak and Baker?

My friend Mary Czeriak West remembers it well; her sister Anna Burnett had her wedding reception in the Polish Educational Society Hall in 1946

“Or 47? Our memories aren’t always that good,” Mary chuckled.

It was Fulton’s original Polish Home before a “new” one was built in 1949 (or 1950) on West First Street. Many of us older citizens fondly remember that once-vacant lot on West First for the carnivals that were held during the summers of our youth.

And, who remembers Dick Wray’s Ice Cream Parlor in 1949 at 304 West Broadway? Or that it had become Chet’s (Dlugozima) Soda Spot by 1953?

And that Faucett’s Furniture Repair at 312 West Broadway in 1949 was gone four years later, to be filled up with new furniture and called Ward and Winchell’s warehouse?

Another surprise, at least to me, was that there was a funeral home on West Broadway — Boland’s Funeral Home at 506. I do, however, seem to remember the Co-operative GLF Services farther west on the 500 block, I think by the railroad tracks. (Does anyone know what GLF stood for back then? I looked it up on the internet and it says it has something to do with, well, the internet.)

Speaking of modern technology, I have a number of e-mails I’d like to share with you. Let’s begin with the one from Enid Yager Wahl, who remembers in particular Bill Myers’ Restaurant.

“He had a wonderful cook and baker. I think it was his wife. It was next to the corner building of West Broadway and West Second Street.”

Enid was married in 1953 and she and her husband both worked for her dad at Yager’s Plumbing and Heating, “Who, by the way,” she wrote, “had just moved from Second Street to North First Street – they have been across from Mimi’s for 40 years!”

The Wahl’s lived on West First Street across from Sieron’s grocery store, when the Sieron’s daughter, Jean (now Mrs. Bill Niver), was just a little girl.

“She used to come over and help with my babies,” Enid recalled.

“When I got pregnant for our first son, I quit working and told Bill Myers it was my last day to eat meals there and told him he was going to miss me, he said,‘Not as much as you’ll miss me!’”

She said she used to walk her baby in his stroller across the bridge when it was under repair in 1957 and sometimes stop to visit with Bob Tretch who had a gas station on East Broadway.

Bob was a good friend of her husband as was Earl Bartlett who worked for Bob. She also mentioned one of her own best friends, Nancy Greco White, who used to live in the house next to the CYO on West First Street.

I thank Enid so much for sharing her memories. Incidentally, Tony Gorea, our esteemed, retired Fire Chief, also remembers how good Bill’s Restaurant was.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397