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It's witchcraft, wicked witchcraft
Onondaga County’s first witchcraft trial came to a close January 31 with the conviction of Mrs. Fannie Pazullo, 42, of 324 First Street, Solvay, on a charge of grand larceny, second degree. Assistant District Attorney Donald Mawhinney said Mrs. Pazullo was paid $250 by Joseph Ferrico to drive spirits out of the body of his mother, Mrs. John Chiovitti.

Said Mawhinney: “This black magic and spirit banishing business has been practiced on a large scale among superstitious and illiterate foreigners. It is unbelievable in this enlightened age, but true.”

Mrs. Pazullo testified she had been working under the directions of a man who possessed occult powers, but declared she did not know his name or where he lived. She said that she had paid him some of the money and had obtained the silk-wound horseshoes and charms which she had sold for him.

Mawhinney said that the identity of the mysterious maker of “ganga” (charms to drive out evil spirits) and banisher of “fattura” (evil spells) has not been learned, but it is believed that he has headquarters in Auburn.

The investigation conducted by the district attorney’s office and Chief of Police Harry Hunt of Solvay disclosed several cases of the fattura swindle in Solvay, Mawhinney said. One man was “gyped” out of $2,400 and an automobile that he had won at a fair.

Democrats 2, Republicans 1
Solvay voters went to the polls Marh 18 in what was referred to as an off-year election; that is, only three trustee positions were being decided. Edward Chamberlain, Democrat, defeated Earl Morris in the First Ward, 477-448; in the Second Ward, Republican incumbent Zeff Pieri defeated Barney Armani, 423-222; in the Third Ward Edwin Hall, Democrat, ousted Charles Render, Republican, 371-333.

Murder on Montrose
James Bixby, attendant at a service station at West Genesee Street and Montrose Avenue, is fatally shot April 18 during a hold-up.
Population up to 7,693
While the census was still being taken in Syracuse, census supervisor J. Harold Klosheim announced on April 24 that Solvay's 1930 population was 7,693, a gain of 341 over the 1920 population of 7,352.
Explosion averted
Risking their lives to prevent an explosion of 10,000 gallons of benzine near the blazing mono-chloro plant of the Semet-Solvay Company, members of the Solvay Fire Department on July 3 conquered a fire that for a time threatened enormous damage.
The dates say it all
The annual festival celebrating the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, was held August 14-15 at Woods Road Park. The Syracuse Italian Citizens’ Band presented a four-hour concert on opening night, followed by a fireworks display.

Raids in Solvay attracted rowdy crowds
Capt. Charles W. Kress and a squad of drug agents raided the Ben-Tom Hotel at the corner of Willis and Milton Avenues, Solvay on March 25. Thomas Cosgrove, the bartender, was arrested and taken to headquarters.

Captain Kress and his men seized 75 barrels of beer. The beer from New Jersey arrived at Amboy two night ago in a shipment billed as “cast iron pipe” consigned to “P. M. Fowler & Son, Amboy, New York.” As far as can be learned, there is no firm by that name.

Federal agents were posted and trailed trucks into which the “cast iron pipe” was loaded last night. This led agents to 104 William Street, Solvay, where the load was stored in a garage. The agents seized it all, dumped it into the sewer and destroyed the barrels. The beer was worth about $3,000.

On April 16, prohibition enforcement agents raided the cafe at 111 Bridge Street, Solvay, after they claimed to have bought liquor there. A barrel of beer in the cellar was seized along with a quart bottle of colored distilled spirits.

TODAY SHE MIGHT be called a craft brewer, but this was 1930, so on July 25 Mrs. Elizabeth Piotrowski became the first Syracuse-area woman charged with operating a wildcat brewery when she was arrested by Capt. Charles W. Kress after a raid on her establishment at 118 Woods Road, Solvay. Kress said it was a malt and hops outfits and turned out a good grade of beer. Twelve barrels of the finished product were seized, along with several hundred gallons of mash, malt, bottles, cappers and other apparatus.

On September 9, a jeering crowd of more than 100 Solvay men gathered around, threatening violence, while a squad of Federal prohibition enforcement agents raided the cafe of Joseph Valerino, 2219 Milton Avenue, Solvay, and seized 150 gallons of wine, three barrels of beer, together with quantities of alleged whiskey and gin.

On September 27, Prohibition enforcement agents wrecked a birthday party going full blast at a cafe at 2257 Milton Avenue, Solvay. About 20 men were gathered around a small bar.As usual during a raid in Solvay, a crowd gathered outside. After seizing six and a half gallons of whiskey, the agents went upstairs, where the party was being staged. There a huge birthday cake sat on the center table. A man who gave the name of Michael Kotas was arrested on a prohibition violation charge.

A WILDCAT BREWERY at 2019 Milton Avenue, Solvay, was raided by federal prohibition agents on September 30 and Joseph Gorsky was arrested, charged with sale, manufacture and possession of illegal beverages. Five and one-half barrels of beer, 100 gallons of mash and quantities of whiskey and gin were confiscated.

During this raid and also at 2111 Milton Avenue, the agents were continually jeered and booed by a crowd of several hundred men who gathered when news of the raid spread around the neighborhood. Between 2,000 and 3,000 bottles of home brew were seized at the latter place and a man giving the name of John Foley arrested, charged with violating the prohibition law.

On October 25 state police and Chief Enforcement Agent Duncan Craig and his prohibition agents co-operated yesterday in confiscating a load of choice champagne on the Camillus hill and the capture of a wildcat brewery in Lakeland. The load of champagne was worth roughly $7,000 and the brewery around $10,000

Chief Enforcement Agent Duncan Craig and a squad of Federal agents raided a bar at 2219 Milton Avenue on November 12. A mob quickly formed and threatened the agents. Cooler heads prevailed and all finally left the place. Searching the premises the agents reported finding 10-1/2 barrels of beer, five quarts of gin and seven pints of whiskey. A man who gave the name of Louis Duda, bartender, was ordered held for the Grand Jury.

On December 6, Duncan Craig led his men on five raids in the Syracuse area. Largest haul of the evening was at a private house at 2725 Milton Avenue, Solvay,. Here they arrested a man giving the name of Fred Salvetti and seized 100 gallons of wine, 50 gallons of cider, seven gallons of gin, 84 pint bottles of home brew beer and 20 gallons of alcohol.

 

He kept the Solvay jail occupied
Syracuse American, October 26

The copper with 2,500 arrests to his credit is still on the job and going strong.

He is Humphrey J. Sullivan, Policeman Number 1, in the village of Solvay.

No one, however, is going to recognize Humphrey J. Sullivan of Solvay by that name. If he is called “Malacky” Sullivan, every denizen of Solvay or whereabouts will immediately know who is meant.

For 22 years “Malacky” Sullivan has trod a beat in Solvay, making his rounds, checking in at his regular intervals and making his quota of “pinches.” The other day he sat down to figure up his total of arrests.

Tabulation of his records for the 20 years from 1909 to 1929, by actual count, shows that Patrolman Sullivan has placed 2,363 offenders in the hoosegow during the two decades. Since then he has made enough arrests to bring his total well over 2,500.

It was on November 22, 1908 that Sullivan became a member of the Solvay police force. Of all the men on the beats, he is the oldest in point of service.

When he joined the force it comprised three other men. Their task was herculean. Solvay, at that time, was no bed of roses for any man, especially a police officer.

The village had mushroomed into existence with so much speed that it was like one of the old western mining towns. There were shootings galore, knifings aplenty and fights at every corner.

It was a tough town and a tough man was needed for the patrolman’s job. Malacky and his three companions qualified in that role.

Of all the arrests he has made, ranging from drunks to gunmen, Sullivan says the most memorable was that in which he engaged in a battle of bullets.

He heard the sounds of a commotion from one of the cafes then lining Solvay’s streets. As he ran up to the scene he saw a man emerging from the front door, a smoking revolver in his hands.

Sullivan gave chase. He shouted an order to stop which the culprit refused to heed.

The patrolman fired a shot in the air. Rather than causing the gunman to stop, it led him to whip a gun from his pocket and fire at Sullivan. The gun duel raged up and down Milton Avenue with the patrolman hot in pursuit until a second officer intervened and made capture possible.

There are now 13 patrolmen and the task of the officers is less arduous. But Malacky has come to love the work. There is nothing he would like better than raise his total of arrests to 5,000.

Humphrey J. Sullivan died in 1933.

 

 

Solvay man helps thwart robbers
Syracuse Journal, December 11

After 24 hours of fruitless questioning and investigation, police today found themselves without a clue to the identity of the two daring daylight bandits whose attempt to snatch the $9,000 payroll of the Onondaga Hotel was frustrated after they had shot Miss Melita B. Ives, 118 Hutchinson Street, a cashier and paymaster, Wednesday afternoon.

Officials of nearby cities and state police were recruited today in the search for the two thugs who were swallowed up in the downtown shopping throngs when they fled from Bank Alley into South Salina Street through stores which have entrances on both thoroughfares.

Certain, however, that the men who made the bold attempt were familiar with the hotel routine, Detectives John Corcoran and Frank Brazell were checking on the whereabouts of several suspicious characters this morning.

The bandits were thwarted in their spectacular attempt through the prompt action of Miss Ives and Ralph Timmins, 302 Hall Avenue, Solvay, hotel receiving clerk, who acted as escort for the cashier yesterday afternoon.

Miss Ives, in struggling with one of the bandits, who was armed, deflected a shot which might have seriously wounded Timmins. The pellet grazed her shoulder and she escaped with a minor wound.

Disregarding the proximity of several policemen, the bandits almost succeeded in making their getaway with the hotel payroll.

Only the stout grip maintained on the large wooden box in which the money was carried by Timmins and the spirit of battle demonstrated by the youthful clerk and by Miss Ives prevented the thugs from successfully completing the largest robbery in years.

While descending the rear stairs of the hotel leading to the service entrance and the steward’s department in the basement, Timmins felt a sharp tug on the box he was carrying. He had paid scant attention to the two youths he had seen loitering on the landing at the Bank Alley level.

Timmins turned around to find two men clutching at the treasured box. One of them had a revolver pointed full at him. Miss Ives was two steps above him.

Disregarding the weapon, Timmins pulled on the box with all his strength. His fingers were painfully squeezed in the handle, but he managed to tear the box free as he crouched instinctively and staggered down the stairs.

At the same time, Miss Ives leaped between Timmins and the gunman. As the thug pressed his finger on the trigger, she shoved him. The bullet meant for Timmins struck her shoulder as she attempted to dodge. The bullet flattened itself against the steel railing of the narrow staircase.

Timmins raced down the stairs, encumbered by the bulky box filled with pay envelopes. At the foot of the stairs, in the hotel basement, he pushed it through the window of the time clerk’s cage. As he slammed it on the ledge of the window, he shouted to J. Floyd Peck, time clerk: “Lock this up! Don’t let anyone take it!”

Peck slammed the windows of the cage and locked the doors as Timmins raced back up the stairs to the aid of Miss Ives, who had fallen under the impact of the bullet wound.

 

Meanwhile, the two would-be robbers fled the scene.

Timmins, 22, a former athlete at Solvay High School, had been employed at the hotel for three years. He told reporters that while he gazed down the length of a revolver barrel his only thought was thwarting the robbery.

“Plenty of bouquets for Miss Ives,” he said. “I owe my life to her. When that crook stuck his gun out he kept it pointed at my heart. It was only six inches away from me. He couldn’t miss. If Miss Ives hadn’t shoved him away just as he fired, I probably wouldn’t be here.”

Originally Miss Ives was carrying the box, which weighed about 40 pounds. Timmins said he happened to be in the office when she started downstairs. She asked him to accompany her, so he took the bulky wooden case from her and they started down the stairs together. He said most of his attention was focused on the narrow stairs in order to keep from falling.

He remembers brushing past someone, but didn’t take a good look at them. Later, of course, he had a much better look. “I know they were young fellows,” he said, “but I cannot recall ever seeing them before and now I don’t recall what they look like.”

Miss Ives said this was the last chance bandits had to get such a rich haul because this was the last time employees would be paid in cash. A system of paying by check was already in place and scheduled to start on the next pay day. This might have been one of the reasons police theorized the robbery was either an inside job or was committed by two men who knew someone who worked at the hotel.

Miss Ives was treated by a doctor at the hotel and was told to go home and rest. Reluctantly, she did as instructed.

AFTERWARD police got nowhere with their investigation, but 13 months later, in January, 1932, a man identified as William Clark, 22, was arrested in Detroit. He confessed to a $20,000 robbery at a Syracuse hotel in 1930, which puzzled local police because as far as they knew there had been no such robbery.

More interesting was a tip Syracuse police had received that a David Peck had committed the crime. William Clark had a brother named David, and it turned out that both usually went by the last name of Peck. Clark was one of several aliases they used.

As far as I know, the Peck brothers were never tried for the robbery attempt at the Onondaga Hotel, though they might well have been the two men responsible. In June, 1932, another Peck brother, Oliver, was killed in a Michigan automobile accident. His brother, William, was in a Michigan prison, serving time for a robbery there.

As for Solvay resident Ralph Timmins, he later became a machinist at General Electric. He retired in 1972 and moved with his wife, the former Sue Hill, to Oklahoma City to be close to her brother and his family. They moved again in 1984, this time to Tucson, where they lived with their son, Bill, and his wife. Ralph Timmins moved again, in 2002, to Ormond Beach, Florida, where he died in 2005 at the age of 96.

 

Parents Burned Saving 3 Tots
As Fire Razes Home

Syracuse Journal, July 26

Dropped from second story windows of their burning home on Fay Road last night, three small children of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Mrozienski were saved from the flames which burned their parents as they fought to reach the imperiled youngsters.

Mr. and Mrs. Mrozienski suffered so badly from burns and smoke that they were taken to St. Joseph Hospital.

The fire, caused by the explosion of a kerosene stove at 10:30 p.m., razed the house which is situated in front of the Knapp Hill reservoir.

The rescued children are Gloria, 4; Rosemary, 3, and Virginia, 2, daughters of the Mrozienskis. They are being cared for by relatives.

Four youngsters who were passing by the home as the fire broke out assisted in the rescue of the children. They are Joseph Clisson of 807 Willis Avenue; Lester Haven of 202 School Street, Solvay; Francis Lyon of 609 Avery Avenue, and Christopher Nye of Herkimer Street.

They noticed the smoke pouring from the windows of the house and saw Mrs. Mrozienski break the glass of an upper story window with her fist and lean out to cry for help.

With her husband, the frantic mother had been trapped in the upstairs by the flames, the fire blocking their exit to safety down the stairs.

Mrs. Mrozienski carried one of the children in her arms and the father two, as they rushed from room to room seeking safety.

The youths climbed on the railing of the front porch and extended their arms. One by one then, the children were dropped into the uplifted hands to safety.

Her clothes in flames, Mrs. Mrozienski followed the children out of the window, climbing down until she could be grabbed by the rescuers below. They beat out the flames.

The father was the last to try for safety. He jumped onto the porch roof and then to the ground, seriously burned. Despite his injuries, he began to organize means of fighting the fire.

The Solvay fire department was summoned and two companies, under Assistant Chief James Steele, fought the blaze, but they arrived too late to save the house.

Mrs. Mrozienski was taken to the hospital first in the car of the four youths, and later the husband, who although burned severely, insisted that he remain to hep fight the blaze.

Many of the crowd of 1,000 persons who were attracted to the scene by the billowing flames which reddened the skies, assisted the firemen in their efforts to check the fire.

Fireman Colvin sustained a severe gash in his left hand as he plunged through a window. He was given first aid and then taken to a doctor.

Traffic was jammed on both sides of the road, hampering the work of the firefighters until the tangle was straightened out by deputy sheriffs.

The children were taken to the home of Francis Swiderski on Montrose Avenue, Solvay. He is a brother-in-law of Mrozienski.

Mrs. Mrozienski was standing in front of the stove when it exploded, she said later, the burning oil spattering over her. Heedless of the flames, she ran upstairs to her children. Mrozienski, who was in the yard at the time of the blast, ran into the house when the explosion occurred.

The blast could be heard for a radius of a mile, causing many to think an explosion had occurred at the Solvay Process Company.

Mrozienski had been ill for several weeks and had just recovered when the fire brought disaster to his home.

 

The Mrozienski family had at least two other experiences with fires. According to a 1926 story in the Syracuse American, Andrew Mrozienski was proprietor of the Terminal Hotel on West Fayette Street, Syracuse, when fire broke out there on March 21. The Mrozienskis and all 23 guests were awakened in time to leave the hotel safely. The fire was discovered by one of the guests, who ran to the street and alerted a policeman. Patrolman Edward Flood turned in an alarm and then joined two other policemen in running through the four-story building to alert the occupants. Cause of the fire was a lighted cigarette that a tenant in Room 3 had dropped on the mattress.

In 1943 Rosemary and Gloria Mrozienski (pictured above), were 15 and 17 years old, living with their aunt, Mary Kurowski, at 111 Worth Avenue, Solvay, when a fire destroyed the second floor and the attic. None of them was home at the time of the fire, which started in an oil stove on the second floor.

Miss Marjorie Burleigh, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Mason E. Burleigh, 110 Boulder Road, Solvay, was queen of the annual June Festival on June 5. Majoriies was a senior at Solvay High School.
Edward Caron, 32, of 517 Fabius Street, narrowly escaped death, but was severely burned August 8 when he plunged into a kiln of boiling lime at the Solvay Process Company plant when the cover of the large vat collapsed,
Mrs. Angie Benedetti, 50, of Jones Road, Town of Geddes, was instantly killed September 4 when she was struck by a Syracuse-bund New York Central train about 8 a.m.. Her body was found on the tracks near the Frazer & Jones plant, in Solvay, a short distance from the spot where she must have started to cross.
Mrs. Elizabeth Feeney Cross, a resident of Solvay 33 years and formerly a teacher in Boyd School there, died December 29 at her home, 831 Woods Road. An instructor at Boyd School for 16 years, Mrs. Cross discontinued her teaching in 1913 when she married William Cross.
Sally Dobiec, 16, a student in Solvay High School, died February 23 after an illness of several months.
Freddie Ferris, boxer and son of Mr. and Mrs. Gervasia Tagliaferri of Solvay, drowns July 21 in the Detroit River.
Stanley Kolakowski, 9, of 1322 Willis Avenue, plunged into the water and was drowned on August 18 and he lost his balance while fishing off Gere Lock in the canal behind the Pass & Seymour factory in Solvay,
August Leonardi, 42, of 127 Freeman Avenue, Solvay, dies in the Hospital of the Good Shepherd, Syracuse on February 17, after he is struck on the head by a falling iron bar while working at the Solvay Process Company.

Carmine Louise, 64, one of the first Italian residents in Solvay and former deputy sheriff, died February 24 in Crouse-Irving Hospital after a lingering illness.

James Male, 54, who owned an operated large stock farm on West Genesee Turnpike (now West Genesee Street) died January 1 at his home at West Genesee and Orchard Road. He had been dealing in horses and cattle in Central New York for 30 years, as was described in the headline as "Cattle King."
Kenneth McMaster, 26, of Syracuse, died July 4 at Hospital of the Good Shepherd, two days after falling 25 feet from the scaffolding of a building under construction at the Solvay Process Company. McMaster was an electrician.
Roy Micili, 35, of 316 Essex Street died July 26 of injuries suffered when he fell under the wheels of a freight car in the railroad yards of the Solvay Process Company.
Fred Ritz, 18, of 325 Seventh Street, Solvay, was instantly killed April 25 after he fell between a flat car and an electric engine at the Halcomb Steel plant on State Fair Boulevard.. His body was crushed beneath the wheels of the small locomotive. Ritz was a member of the crew of the factory train. He was riding between a flat car and the engine. The car unbuckled and spread away from the engine and Ritz fell to the track. The engine ran over him.
Albert Wood, 37, of Syracuse, was killed instantly when he fell 85 feet from the top a kiln at the Solvay Process Company.
John Zawadski, 3, of 207 Cogswell Avenue, Solvay, was fatally injured September 19 when he darted into the path of a passing automobile. Miss Pauline Flask, 302 Cogswell Avenue, driver of the machine, who reported the accident to Solvay police last night, said she did not see the small boy and he ran out from the curb.

August 24: Tigers edge Fireman
The Solvay Tigers baseball team beat the Solvay Firemen, 2-1, in what was the biggest game in the village that summer. First baseman ?? Valerino scored the winning run by stealing home in the seventh inning. Dale Barnum, usually a catcher, was the winning pitcher that day.

There was no mention where the game was played, which was interesting because on July 8 the village board voted to prohibit the Solvay volunteer firemen’s baseball team from playing their games on the diamond in Woods Road.

Owners of property adjoining the field circulated a petition, stating noise resulting from their games, caused annoyance and disturbance to Solvay residents. This action left the firefighters nine without a home diamond.

November 9: Big game ends in tie
The undefeated Milton A. C. football team and the Solvay Tigers played to a 6-6 tie at the Tigers’ field, located in the rear of the Pass & Seymour plant. The game was supposed to decided the village championship. A re-match was scheduled for November 30, but apparently never played. The starting line-ups:
MILTON A. C.. SOLVAY TIGERS
LE: Bonata LE: DeLucia
LT: Orbino LT: DeSteffano
LG: Mago LG: Groves
C: Gensa C: Yezzi
RG: Tarolli RG: Palladino
RT: Schelper RT: Leo
RE: Molta RE: Pannetti
QB: Galante (Capt.) QB: LaManna
LH: Armani LH: Lavigno
RH: Stash RH: Honkey
FB: Worback FB: C. Louise (Capt.)

Otherwise, nothing to brag about
It was not a banner year for Solvay High. The boy's basketball team limped in behind Baldwinsville and Camillus in the Western Division of the Onondaga County Basketball League. The division title went to Camillus; the overall league title went to Eastern Division champ Minoa. (Solvay beat Minoa in a non-league contest on January 28.)

The baseball team also had a so-so season. Skaneateles won the Western Division of the Onondaga County League and then beat Eastern Division winner Manlius in the league’s championship game. It was the second baseball championship in a row for Skaneateles; in 1931 they’d make it three straight behind pitcher Whitey Wilshere, winning pitcher in three consecutive championship games.

Solvay High’s football team finished in second place in its division of the Onondaga County League behind undefeated Baldwinsville. In its final game Solvay beat its then arch-rival Camillus, 12-6, on touchdowns by Joe Brostek and Chuck Getman.

Elsewhere in the village, there were some Tigers, Aces, Arrows and Maroons.

Today such nicknames suggest motorcycle and street gangs, but young men who wore these labels in Solvay in 1930 were athletes, though they, too, were territorial and confrontational. Luckily, they settled their differences on a basketball court, baseball diamond or a football field. Other athletes could be found playing for Milton A.C., Community A.C., Parker A.C., Solvay Polish Club, Solvay Cubs, the Geddes basketball team, Hunters Club, St. Cecilia, and the Tyrolettes, a girls' basketball team.

Finally, on April 15, At the spring meeting of the Mohawk Valley Cricket League, the St. George Cricket Club of Syracuse was officially elected to membership. Through the courtesy of Solvay village, the club will have as its home grounds the Solvay Village Park. League matches will include the Mohawk Mills Club of Amsterdam, the Dorp Club and General Electric Club of Schenectady, as well as matches with Oswego and Auburn clubs.

Most items are from stories in the Syracuse Herald-Journal
and its Sunday edition, the Herald-American.
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