Let's flip for it
In 1916, there was a tie in the vote for Solvay village president (as the mayor was called in those days). After considerable discussion of ways to settle the election, it was decided to flip a coin.

 

Tony Kane's last voyage
The marriage of Viola "Lola" Major and Tony Kane could have been a story in a New York State version of "Boardwalk Empire."
 
Christmas tragedy
Sixteen-year-old Leo Major was behind the wheel, driving fellow students on a shopping trip for Christmas decorations for the high school, when he was involved in a 1929 automobile accident that rocked the village of Skaneateles.
 

Busted for baseball
Mickey Major, then a resident of Auburn, was among 18 men arrested in one of the city's most talked-out police cases of 1913. The crime? Playing baseball on a Sunday. As things turned out, the whole affair was much ado about nothing, and an indication the Sunday blue laws would soon be a thing of the past.
 

Have teasels, will travel
One of the many surprises for me in researching my family was discovering I was related to the McLaughlins of Skaneateles, NY, whose unusual business had them setting up offices in Europe.

 
It was no bedroom farce
When Dominic Chiovitto caught his wife cheating on him in Solvay in 1906, it was the first chapter in a long, often heart-breaking melodrama.
 

The big bang

The 1918 explosion at the Semet-Solvay plant in Split Rock killed at least 50 men. It was one of the worst disasters in local history.
 

The original Blob

A dike on the Solvay Process waste beds broke in 1943, and sludge flowed over State Fair Boulevard, ruining Thanksgiving for hundreds of people.
 

Shades of the Old West
In 1892, the Solvay Process Company paymaster and his driver were in a horse-drawn carriage, headed for the Split Rock quarry to pay the workers when they were held up at gunpoint by two brothers who were compared with Jesse and Frank James.
 
No escape from work
When old Solvay was the subject of a newspaper story, the treatment the village received was usually unkind. However, in 1918, an anonymous reporter for the Syracuse Herald had Solvay pegged perfectly.
 

My lunch with Gypsy

I didn't know much about Gypsy Rose Lee before I had lunch with her at a Cleveland restaurant, but that didn't prevent us from having a good time. In fact, my ignorance might have been a blessing in disguise.
 
Destination Earth
It's time we acknowledged that Charles Darwin was wrong. People on Earth are descendants of very strange, indecisive creatures who were permanently banished from a faraway planet.
 
He loved litigation
Millionaire William Earl Dodge Stokes Sr. had two trophy wives, two ugly divorces, and hundreds of lawsuits.

Perks of the job
Not often could I be described as the perfect brother, but in the fall of 1962 it came to pass when my sister, Mary Major, visited me in Ohio and I was able to introduce her to two of her favorite television stars.
 

The First Spin Doctor
He was Ethan Allen, who created my favorite board game. Turned out he regarded some of us who played his game were a bunch of nuts.
 

'Cannonball' Crane
Outfielder-turned-pitcher Ed Crane liked to enter contests where he hoped to prove he could throw a baseball further than anyone else. He became a hero in New York City, before he drank himself to death.
 

Quit the comparisons

Important as Fleet Walker may have been in the history of black players in professional baseball, he was no Jackie Robinson. If he were, then there would not have been a Jackie Robinson.
 
Did Capone Send Them?
One of the craziest afternoons in Central New York history was Saturday, June 6, 1931, when four would-be gangsters, driving from Chicago to New York City, made a stupid mistake that led to a wild chase from Fairmount Four Corners to the woods of Wolf Hollow, where they were captured by a large posse, while interested onlookers blocked area roads.