Folks had Facebook back in the 1920s,
but it was called "newspapers"

I discovered the following newspaper items almost by accident while looking for stories about my father.

Turns out the Syracuse Journal printed all kinds of local items at least once a week on a page devoted to the suburbs. Some of these items were real news, but most were the kinds of stuff you'd expect as a handout from a public relations person.

When it came to "news" about my father, I think the person responsible was his mother, Rose McLaughlin Major. For one thing, most of the items refer to my father as Stanley, not by his better-known nickname, Buster.

For another, in reading some of these items I sense they are less news than a mother bragging about her son. Newspaper were Facebook, 1920s style.

There's one item that seems intended to convince my father to do something that never happened; that is, he never left home to attend the University of Pennsylvania.

At times the Journal may have been desperate to fill this page. Certain families must have figured this out, which accounts for the frequency their sons and daughters are mentioned. Sometime the items are even repeated from the previous week, with the phrasing only slightly changed.

Some of these items may have backfired, especially those that let the public know when people would be out of town for certain periods of time. This is not a wise thing to do, as one of my Providence Journal co-workers discovered. He wrote a column on the arts that appeared each week in the Sunday edition. When he was about to go on vacation he made it a point to let his readers know that his column would be absent for the next two or three week.

Some of his readers may appreciated this heads-up, but the most interested parties were burglars. Finally, after the third time his home had been robbed while he was on vacation, the writer decided his vacation advisory was a bad idea.

Anyway, from the 1925 and early in 1926, here is a brief look at Solvay, New York, and some of its residents. And if my father ever told me about his days as half of a singing duo, on radio, yet ... well, it must have been when I was very young because news of The Ringing Stanleys came as a complete surprise to me.


Syracuse Journal, July 17, 1925
Solvay village authorities have closed the offensive building in Milton Avenue so well known to residents of that locality as the fish market. Numerous complaints of the odors emanating from the place have been received.

Thursday evening Judge Bowers fined Walter Trieme $5 for driving a delivery truck 32 miles an hour, 12 miles in excess of the rate allowed by the village ordinance. George Veazie was also fined $5 for speeding. Judge Bowers postponed the case of Couts vs. Webster until next Thursday evening.

The Radio Stanleys, Stanley Major and Stanley Miller, both of Solvay, have been engaged to sing at Ledgedale on Fourth Lake, next month. Both young men have pleased many of their friends with their performances from local station WFBL.


Syracuse Journal, July 24, 1925
James McCormick is motoring to Montreal with Patrick Bowman. The young men will be gone for several days.

The Radio Stanleys of Solvay sang at the Mercy Hospital of Auburn at their annual Summer Festival Tuesday evening. The local radio entertainers, Stanley Miller and Stanley Major, sang several popular numbers. Mr. Major also gave an imitation of a number of bird calls. The singers will perform at Ledgedale, on Fourth Lake, during the first week of August.

The Solvay Boyds defeated the strong Liverpool Tigers Sunday by the score of 10 to 5. Manager Steingraber’s men will attempt an iron man stunt Sunday afternoon, meeting the P. S. Colts and the Craig A. C. in a doubleheader at Kirk Park. Manager Thornton Steingraber lives at 210 Second Street, Solvay.


Syracuse Journal, August 4, 1925
Monday evening in the village hall at Solvay William H. Bowers issued another warning to reckless motor drivers and speeders traveling in the village limits. The jurist threatens severe treatment to second offenders in this and all other offenses against laws pertaining to automobiles.

“Play ball!” will ring out over the baseball diamond in Solvay’s new park for the first time Sunday afternoon when the fast traveling Solvay Guilds will meet a collection of stars representing the recently organized Solvay Athletic Club. The occasion is to mark the official opening of the new Solvay park which [Parks] Commission [Frank] Fiore has brought along so rapidly.

Members of the team that will oppose the Guilds are Michael Welch, Albert Martin, Buster Major, Leo Martin, Robert Tague, Frank McCollum, William Major, Frank Conway, Michael Barnes.

The tennis courts in the new park are founding into shape and will be ready for use in a few weeks. A feature of the reservation will be the skating rink that will be formed on the ball diamond above the village hall. Commissioner Fiore is planning to build a wall at the northern side of the diamond and start flooding the rink with the first good frost after the football season.


Syracuse Journal, August 7, 1925
Unpaved Solvay streets are rapidly being put into shape by the applications of hot tar and crushed stone. Thursday the tar and stone was applied near the Village Hall in Woods Road. Auto drivers will avoid the stretch a few days, but the months of service to follow are worth the slight inconvenience.

Solvay’s most consistent athletic aggregation, the Solvay Guilds, will meet the strong Lemoyne baseball team at Star Park Sunday afternoon to defend their title of city amateur champions. The Guilds have held the title in the amateur class since 1922. Each year the series between the two clubs has been a classic.


Syracuse Journal, August 24, 1925
Commissioner Fiore’s tennis courts are almost ready for use. The baseball diamond has been in use for two weeks. It has met general approval. Several high class games have been played there. Arrangements will be made to erect goal posts at the diamond so that the high school teams may use it for a gridiron this fall.

Street improvements in the village continued with the latest feature a request for a sewer in Orchard Road near the turnpike. Hot tar and crushed stone are being used on the streets with great success Motorists avoid the tar for the first few days after its application, but then it is a benefit for several months.

The police department has great improved matters in Milton Avenue by procuring larger signs warning against parking on the north side of that street. The village policy of prohibiting parking on one side of several streets has proved very successful.


Syracuse Journal, September 10, 1925
A registration record for Solvay educational history was made Wednesday morning when the high school opened with the enrollment of 1,675 pupils. Last year the registration totaled 1,648. In 1923 it was 1,624 and in 1922 it was 1,445.

Cedric Adams is the principal of the new high school. He succeeds Claude A. Duvall, who is now superintendent of the Solvay educational system.

Superintendent Duvall’s announcement of the return of Earl Hadley in the role of athletic director brings joy to all followers of the Solvay High colors. Mr. Hadley has turned out several championship teams at Solvay and he has been very popular with all the athletes.

A few years ago the high school football team defeated the Christian Brothers Academy by the score of 3 to 0. Mr. Hadley was coach then and also last year when the basketball team won the championship of the western half of the county.

Miss Carrie Spencer will resume charge of the girls’ physical training. Last season the Solvay High girls’ basketball team was second in the league. Miss Esther Bryers, forward, was high scorer in the league. She also holds the record for high score in a game, getting 21 baskets in a single contest last year.

The new high school is practically completed with every convenience. In a separate building are machinery, wood working, automobile repairing and electric departments and a complete dental and medical suite.