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Solvay-Syracuse street squabble
had truckers driving in circles

The city of Syracuse and the village of Solvay went at each other over a sore subject that would not be resolved for many years. That subject: freight trucks.

Neither the city nor the village wanted these heavy vehicles traveling any more than possible on certain streets, particularly in residential area. The solution, as far as Syracuse Mayor Rolland B. Marvin was concerned, was to have the trucks take Erie Boulevard West to the village line, which would then have trucks continuing west on Solvay's main street, Milton Avenue.

Solvay officials had other ideas, their first choice having the trucks turn left on West Genesee Street near the outskirts of the city. But in 1933 the stretch of West Genesee Street (or Genesee Turnpike, as it was often called) was mostly residential from Erie Boulevard West to the village of Solvay. So Mayor Marvin said no to that idea, though he offered a comprise which would have trucks enter Syracuse over West Genesee Street.

The truck problem involved more than noise and congestion. Heavy truck traffic inflicted damage upon the roads, and at the time municipalities had to pay for most of the repairs out of their own budgets. There was little state money available for such a purpose, no federal money to speak of, and the trucking companies preferred to avoid the issue altogether.

The dispute between Syracuse and Solvay heated up on January 15 when Mayor Marvin announced his support for the plan to send westbound trucks through Solvay and acknowledged his lack of interest in Solvay's problem. The village should solve its own problem, he said.

Solvay countered with a suggestion that would make some truckers dizzy — a zig-zag route from the end of Erie Boulevard to Avery Avenue, then right on Essex Street, then left of Charles Avenue, and finally right on West Genesee Street.

When city residents of Avery Avenue and Essex Street got wind of the idea, they protested — and Mayor Marvin listened.

Syracuse and Mayor Marvin had their way, and for the next seven years westbound trucks went through Solvay and eastbound trucks entered Syracuse via West Genesee Street. Affected, too, was the village of Camillus, because many of the trucks, rather than return to West Genesee Street at the western edge of the village, via Route 173, continued west on Milton Avenue and picked it up in the middle of Camillus.

Things quieted down until 1940 when Solvay passed a regulation forbidding freight trucks from using Milton Avenue. This time the alternate route was even more convoluted.

Many years would pass before the Interstate Highway System provided a solution.

Trains and autos: a bad mix
Trains and automobiles have always been a deadly combination, but the problem was much, much worse during the first half of the 20th century. That's because tracks and roads intersected at so many points across the country and train traffic was much heavier than it is today.

The next story is not about an automobile-train collision, but is here because railroad tracks may have been a factor in explaining how and why a car wound up in a small brook on the west side of Syracuse.

As near as I can tell, the street referred to as Marsh Road may have been considered a bit of a shortcut for people who wanted to get from Hiawatha Boulevard to Erie Boulevard West on their way to Solvay. In 1933 Hiawatha Boulevard apparently did not connect directly with Erie Boulevard, as it does now via a railroad underpass. At the time Erie Boulevard ran parallel and level with the railroad tracks. I believe Marsh Road was almost an extension of Hiawatha Boulevard, but at a sharp incline, crossing the tracks a few feet before Erie Boulevard.

This presented a problem for anyone who was not adept at shifting gears. Luckily, in the following instance, the driver and her passengers lived to talk about the experience. They are listed as residents of Solvay, though I believe that today their home would be considered either in Lakeside or even Baldwinsville.

Syracuse Journal, March 17
Narrow Escape of Solvay Family

Four persons, including two children, narrowly escaped death early this morning when the car in which they were riding plunged 30 feet down a sheer embankment into the chilly waters of Harbor Brook, near the Onondaga Pottery Company plant.

Those in the car were Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Kosecki, 104 O’Brien Road, Solvay; their son, Joseph Jr., 6, and their daughter, Mildred, 8.

The boy, whose head was driven through the window of the sedan as it hurtled into the creek, suffered a deep cut on the scalp and a laceration over an eye as well as a slight concussion of the brain. He is in Onondaga General hospital where his condition is not regarded as serious.

Other occupants of the machine escaped with minor bruises and were severely shaken. All were soaked to the skin, but are not expected to suffer any serious consequences.

Water in the brook was only slightly more than two feet deep and this fact prevented a possible drowning.

Mrs. Lottie Kosecki was at the wheel of the machine at the time of the mishap.

According to the reports of Patrolmen Joseph Liquori and Frank Dwyer, who came across the car and investigated, Mrs. Kosecki had turned out of Hiawatha Boulevard, crossed State Fair Boulevard and started up the steep incline of what is known as the Marsh Road, to turn into Erie Boulevard West.

As she approached the New York Central Railroad crossing at the top of the hill, scene of a number of fatal accidents, she slowed down her car. She lost control of the machine as she attempted to shift gears and the car began to run backward down the bumpy incline, gaining momentum until the car dropped backward into the creek.

Kosecki scrambled from the car and aided in extricating other members of the family. He hailed a passing machine, in which his son was taken to Onondaga General Hospital for treatment.

This Syracuse Journal photo illustration shows what happened to the Kosecki vehicle, which backed off the road and tumbled into a small brook below.

Sorry, the refreshment stand is closed
A plane with an uncertain history, pieced together with parts of other airships, encountered trouble over Solvay soon after a shaky takeoff from the Amboy Airport. The pilot made a nice emergency landing at the State Fairgrounds — and should have quit while he was ahead.

Syracuse Journal, July 20
Their plane failing to lift in an attempted take off after a forced landing on the State Fairgrounds last night, Joseph Kenney, 208 South Wilbur Avenue, pilot, and a companion known only as Ed, escaped serious injuries when the ship crashed into a refreshment stand and turned over on its back.

Kenney was attempting to fly the ship back to the municipal airport from the oval inside the racetrack at the Fairgrounds when the mishap occurred. He suffered a small cut on his forehead when he was thrown against the windshield. His companion escaped without a scratch.

Engine failure had forced Kenney to land in the racetrack oval. According to airport officials, the motor was skipping badly when Kennedy took off from the municipal field a few minutes earlier, but the pilot headed out toward Solvay.

Over the village of Solvay, Kenney told field officials, the motor stopped completely and he landed dead stick on the Fairgrounds. With the aid of his companion, Kenney cleaned the gasoline jets, started the motor and attempted a takeoff.

The plane would not lift, and just as Kenney decided to throttle back, the ship veered sharply and crashed into the refreshment stand.

The left wings of the biplane were completely wrecked, as was the propeller. Kenney and his companion unbuckled their safety belts and fell to the ground from the overturned cockpits.

The plane was known as Spare Parts and was built by George “Tex” Perin from parts of several airplanes. Perin sold it to Kenney early this year.

Kenney, who has a private pilot’s license, has been flying for some time. He formerly flew an old Curtiss JN-4, commonly known as a Jenny.

A collision of trains was fairly common at the time. The following occurred in Solvay at Bridge Street, which may have been crossed by more railroad tracks than any other street in the county, thanks to the nearby presence of the Solvay Process Company. One of the men mentioned in the story is identified as William Olgathy, whose last name may be spelled correctly, though I could find no other reference to anyone by that last name. My hunch was his name might actually have been Olgeaty, a familiar Solvay last name, but I could find no William Olgeaty listed anywhere.

Syracuse Journal, October 6
Small Accident, Big Traffic Jam

Two engineers narrowly escaped death Thursday afternoon when their shifting engines were wrecked in a collision at Bridge Street crossing, Solvay, near the west end of the Solvay Process Company yards. (See photo, below.)

Traffic over the thoroughfare was halted for six hours before wrecking crews could remove the two locomotives. The heavy steel machines were wedged together to tightly that they provided a real problem. the engines belong to the Solvay Process Company’s railroad.

William Olgathy was as the throttle of Engine 151. Engine 35 was piloted by P H. Davis. Neither engineer was injured. Olgathy’s fireman was out of the cab at the time of the collision and also escaped unhurt.

Only the face the engine was proceeding slowly prevented it from overturning and rolling down the embankment which borders the track, Davis declared after the mishap.

One side of 151 was crushed, the impact ripping away the piston and part of the underpinning. Engine 35 dropped partially off the track, its cowcatcher burying itself deep in the dirt.

Olgathy had come out of the company’s roundhouse only a few minutes before the crash. He headed west down a spur track and brought his engine to a stop at the switch which joins the sidetrack and the main line. The fireman hopped out of the cab to throw the switch.

At that moment Davis headed his engine down the main line. He was leaning out of the right window of his cab and engine 151, to his left, was completely out of sight. It was not until after the crash that he knew what he had struck.

Traffic over Bridge Street was re-routed for six hours before the wrecked locomotives were moved.

On October 9, Frederick J. Strotman of 323 Cedar Street, Syracuse, was fatally injured when struck by a Delaware, Lackawanna & Western train on tracks near the Solvay Process. He was a New York Central Railroad section hand. Strotman and other members of a crew were getting out of the way of an eastbound New York Central passenger train, when a westbound Lackawanna passenger train approached on the adjacent set of tracks.

It was the second deadly accident for DL&W within 24 hours. A day earlier Bert Klock, 66, of 509 Seymour Street, a veteran freight conductor, was killed after he slipped while climbing to the roof of a boxcar and fell between two cars at Wyoming and West Fayette streets in Syracuse.

January 4: The beer war of '33
Prohibition continued and Syracuse Police Chief Martin L. Cadin concentrated on what he described as "a beer war." Arrested as members of “the Solvay gang” were John Hogan, 37, of 102 Kane Road; Dennis McCarthy, 25, and Francis McCarthy, 23, brothers, of 102 Caroline Avenue, Solvay; Anthony Petta, 34, of 1202 Willis Avenues; Michael DeSteffan, 26, of 133 Kappesser Street; Thomas Kowal, 27, of 116 Pulaski Street; Patrick Foley, 22, of 310 Erie Street, and John Holihan, 28, of 314 Cayuga Street.
March 11: Four escape early morning fire
Awakened by smoke fumes about 1 a.m., Mrs. Peter DeAlbert, 501 Cogswell Avenue, Solvay, sent her daughter, Miss Inez De Albert, to run two blocks to sound the alarm. Solvay firemen made short work of the fire, which started in the basement. Damage is estimated at less than $1,000. Mr. and Mrs. Joseph De Albert, son and daughter-in-law of the house owners, also were driven to the street in their night clothing by the blaze.
March 21: Charles R. Hall re-elected mayor
Mayor Charles R. Hall, Democrat, was re-elected mayor, receiving 1,764 votes to 1,240 for his Republican opponent, Zafferina Pieri.
Police Justice Ambrose Ginnelly was re-elected over John D. Kelly, Republican, 1,752 to 1,188. George Grabowski, the only Republican elected, was chosen trustee over Edward Jutton, 521 to 328. The two other Democratic candidates for trustee, Morris Fennelly and George Rarick, won handily over James S. Jerome and Frank J. Kinder.
April 8: Santos Mozo wins radio contest
Santos Mozo of Solvay, an 11-year-old violin pupil of Owen Forrest, wins a radio talent contest with his performance of "Estrellita," by Mexican composer Manuel Ponce.

Syracuse Journal, April 27
Four one-act plays to be staged
Casts for four one-act plays to be staged by the Solvay High School Dramatic Club, under the direction of Miss Helen DeLamater and Miss Beatrice Bibbens Friday night will consist of the following:

“Heaven Will Protect the Working Girl”: Eleanor Charles, Edith Darrow, Genevieve Florczyk and Grace McLaughlin.

“A Mother’s Influence”: Avery Darrow, Eleanor Brown, John Conway, Frederick Crumley, William Fiesinger, Nadine Van Patten and Dorothy Yagers.

“In the Spring a Young Man’s Fancy”: Helen Bland, Wendell Craver, Irene Florack, Beatrice Herrick, Margaret Rowley, Helen Snigg and Olga Tracz.

Those in the fourth play are Angelo Belucci, Asher Black, Eleanor Lancaster, Bartlett Long, John O’Leary, John Snigg and Doris Stanton.

Technical details of the production are under the direction of Edward Fiesinger, Irene Francher, Arnold Friedli, Walter Hardisty, Marion Hall, Ruth Herrick, Leon Hildenbrand, John Holstein, Beatrice Joy, Hilda Kane. Tessie Kinsella, William Kasso, Reba Stanton, Betty Tindall and Frank Valetta.

Syracuse Journal, May 23
Varied program for parents' night
A parents’ visiting night will be held by the students of Solvay High School on Friday at the school. The special feature will be a display tracing the history of Solvay and its industries, churches and schools, and accomplishments of prominent people. The display will be set up in the school library.

“A Virginia Romance,” a two-act musical comedy, will be presented by the glee club, under the direction of Agnes Zurbrick and Beatrice Bibbens.

Following the play will be an exhibition of work done by the pupils, including a fashion show consisting of gowns made by the girls, which will be displayed on living models, and work from the machine shop, electricity and woodworking exhibits to be shown in the gymnasium.

A concert by the school band, directed by Harry Tasker, will be given during the review of the exhibits.

July 5: Mail box bomber is 14-year-old boy
Postal and Solvay officials investigated an explosion which demolished a mailbox at Boyd Avenue and Second Street. Solvay police have taken in custody a 14-year-old boy from whom they secured a confession that he had placed a powerful explosive in the box. It was not learned whether there was any mail in the box.

July 28: House destroyed, family safe
Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Smelkoff of Pleasant Beach, and their 16-year-old son, Michael, escaped a fast-moving fire that destroyed their house. The fire gained headway so rapidly that Solvay volunteers were unable to save any part of the building. However, they succeeded in preventing spreading of the flames to adjoining structures.
A defective chimney connecting with a kitchen stove caused the fire. Family members were unable to save any of their valuables or furniture.
August 9: Hey, it's the annual Solvay Process fire!
No year was complege without one of these: a blaze from oil and benzol on the water of a pond in the Solvay Process Company waste lands on State Fair Boulevard. The mixture burned furiously for about 90 minutes and the village of Solvay and its environs were darkened by huge clouds of black smoke belched out of the fire.

Prospect Hose Company of Solvay was called to the scene and extinguished the blaze within minutes, but not until after hundreds of automobiles had arrived and created a serious traffic tie-up. Smoke from the boil fire actually blotted out the sun in Solvay and vicinity and the entire village became dark an hour before sunset.

September 16: Would-be robbers picked the wrong victims
Syracuse Journal

Accosted by a brace of thugs who demanded their money while walking on West Fayette Street, near Oswego Street late Friday night, two pedestrians gave their attackers a terrific beating and drove them off before arrival of police.

George Jackson of 407 Montrose Avenue and James Hoof of 305 Montrose Avenue, Solvay, told police they were walking up West Fayette Street when two men stepped out from behind a building in a secluded spot on the street and demanded their money.

Both kept one hand in their coat pockets, they said, and this led them to believe the pair was armed. However, Jackson and Hoof refused to give them money and the thugs started a fight.

The tables turned, however, as Jackson and Hoof handed their attackers a beating they will remember for some time. They had their attackers down on the pavement when several other pedestrians heard the commotion and ran to the scene of the battle.

The thugs, realizing they were liable to be arrested, scrambled to their feet and ran, disappearing in the darkness.

October 6: Call them the Carnack Crime Stoppers
Syracuse Journal

Captured by Solvay police, two men alleged to have broken into a Syracuse gasoline station were arrested early Friday, a few minutes before the theft of which they are accused was discovered.

The men, William Walsh, 25, of 505 Wilkinson Street, and Stephen Wasilewski, 26, of 111 Wall Street, are now booked at Syracuse police headquarters on charges of third degree burglary.

Arraigned in police court later, the pair pleaded not guilty and were ordered held in $500 each until Saturday.

Early Friday morning Patrolman Patrick Walsh discovered the Standard Oil gasoline station, 104 South Geddes Street, had been entered by thieves who smashed the front door. He immediately notified Burt Strain, manager of the station.

Strain hurried to the station and told Walsh the thieves had carried out a cigaret and a candy vending machine.

A few minutes earlier, unknown to Syracuse officials, Patrolmen John Murphy and John Brown of the Solvay police had spotted a suspicious car in Milton Avenue within the village limits.

Driving by in their prowl car, the two officers noticed two machines in the rear of the strange car and decided to follow it. They followed the machine into a swamp at the end of Milton Avenue and surprised Walsh and Wasilewski as the two allegedly began to wreck the vending machines in the seclusion of the swamp.

The two men were taken to Solvay police headquarters and the officers called Syracuse police to see if they had any knowledge of a vending machine theft. It was at that moment Walsh called headquarters to list Strain’s inventory of the loot taken from the gasoline station.

Detective James Byrne was dispatched to Solvay. He brought the two men and the vending machines back to the city. Strain identified the wrecked machines as those taken from his station and the burglary charges were then lodged against the pair.

November 17: "Fortune Hunter" comes to Solvay
“The Fortune Hunter,” a drama in four acts, is presented in the high school adutorium. Main characters are played by Rose Baratta, Betty Graham, John Conway, Nat Duncan and Lewis Scaia. Others in the cast are Ida Aurelli, Henrietta Berry, Tony Bigliardi, Roger Case, Anna Cizenski, Frederick Crumley, Samuel Emlich, Ruth Herrick, James Hoaf, Lester Kent, Wendell Morris, Karl Peck, Helen Romano, Irene Rositer, Phyllis Schiess, John Snigg, Doris Stanton, Joe Steves, Frank Valetta, Nadine Van Patten, Charles Winchell, Robert Young and Helen Zogby. Miss Frances Beatrice Bibbens of the faculty directed. The play was repeated the next night.
November 23: Teacher and librarian write play
“Book Friend,” a play written by Solvay High School English teacher Miss Helen Delamater and Miss Anne Mulroy, school librarian, is staged at a meeting of the Solvay Parent-Teacher Association in the school auditorium. The cast includes Ida Aurelli, Fred Bex, Arthur Bieganowski, Margaret Duda, Michael Duda, Marco Dziecuch, Dalton Hardy, Eleanor Joy, Willard Lake, Pauline Lemp, Jack Luchsinger, Columbia Mariani, Wendell Morris, Caroline Nicit, Sigrid Persson, Irene Ribaldozzi, Taras Senkiw, Louis Scaia, William Schiess, Cecelia Statkewicz, Nadine Van Patten, Albert Yezzi, Barbara Yoeman and Clara Zakewski. Sets were created by art teacher Miss Helen Noble and members of the school Art Club.

December 6: Welcome to the Copacabearcat
The Solvay High School gymnasium is decorated and furnished to represent a night club with the guests seated at small tables arranged around the sides of the room. Girls of the high school will act as waitresses and H. E. Hadley, physical education instructor of Solvay schools, will act as master of ceremonies, for an evening of dancing and entertainment. The event is sponsored by the Solvay Parent-Teachers Association.

December 21: It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas
Glee clubs of Solvay Intermediate School sing at the annual community tree celebration in front of the school. A trumpet trio from the Solvay High School band performs, and community singing is led by H. E. Hadley, Solvay High School coach and physical education instructor.

Services planned for drowning victims
Syracuse Journal, February 28

With the recovery of the body of George Lawrence, 37, of 406 Center Street, Solvay, the third victim of the drowning Sunday afternoon when an automobile broke through the ice in Oneida off Cleveland, joint funeral services are being planned for Lawrence and his brother-in-law, Allen T. Crozier, 52, of 509 Second Street, Solvay.

Single services for Lawrence and Crozier will take place at their respective homes Wednesday afternoon, and double services will be conducted at 2:30 p.m. in Asbury M. E. Church.

Funeral services for Louis A. Eckert, 43, of 227 North Lowell Avenue, companion of Lawrence and Crozier on their ill-fated fishing expedition, will take place Wednesday at 8:45 a.m. at the undertaking rooms of C. C. Carroll & Company, and at 9 a.m. in the Church of the Assumption.

Lawrence’s body was found by Harold Best of Cleveland, who leaped to safety when his automobile broke through the ice shortly before noon Sunday. Best was fishing through the ice several yards east of where the sedan containing the three victims plunged through. State police and fishermen helped Best pull the body of Lawrence to the surface.

The automobile in which Lawrence, Crozier and Eckert went to their deaths was pulled out of the water for the second time yesterday. It was pulled to the surface Sunday when the bodies of Crozier and Eckert were rescued from it, but then fell back into the water where it remained until yesterday morning.

Meanwhile, Captain Stephen McGrath of Troop D, station police, will urge the State Legislature to pass a bill making it a violation of motor laws to drive a car on a frozen body of water anywhere in the state.

Harry Warren Jordan, 63, a former chemical engineer for the Solvay Process Company, died March 14. A graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he played a major part in development of chemicals used during the World War, namely in the manufacture of picric acid and TNT.

For many years he was manager of the department of special manufactures of the Semet-Solvay Company, handling these products in the laboratory experimental stage and later in their tonnage production. He left the Solvay company in 1921, and became associated with the Aetna Life Insurance Company in charge of annuities.

Patrick Harrigan, 117 Charles Avenue, died March 18. He was a former Solvay village trustee.
William F. Hanley, 135 Caroline Avenue, died April 28. He was an engineer for the village of Solvay for 25 years.

Syracuse Journal, June 26
Funeral services for Mrs. Mary A. Spencer, mother-in-law of Assistant District Attorney William H. Bowers, who died late Saturday night, will take place at the home, 2401 Milton Avenue, Solvay, Wednesday at 9 a.m. and a half-hour later in St. Cecilia’s Church. Burial will be in St. Agnes Cemetery.

A native of Solvay, Mrs. Spencer was the mother of Thomas Spencer, baritone concert singer, who was injured fatally in an automobile accident near Camillus on March 31, 1926. She was a member of Branch 31, LCBA, and was a communicant of St. Cecilia’s Church.

Surviving are her husband, Harry T. Spencer; three daughters, Mrs. W. H. Bowers, and the Misses Honoria and Ellen Spencer; a sister, Miss Anna Bennett of Fairmount, and three grandchildren, Richard J., Patricia and W. H. Bowers Jr.

Syracuse Journal, July 3
Stricken with a heart attack while driving with his family near Long Branch Sunday afternoon, Anthony Grabowski, 44, of 316 Darrow Avenue, a member of the Solvay police department for 14 years, died a few minutes later while being taken to St. Joseph’s Hospital.

Coroner William R. Winne gave heart disease as cause of death. The attack occurred as he was driving at the north end of Onondaga Lake. State troopers sped him to the hospital in a police car. A son, Walter Grabowski, was in Skaneateles, catching for the Solvay Tigers in a baseball game, when his father was stricken.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Lucy Grabowski; three daughters, Misses Agnes, Irene and Charlotte Grabowski; s son, Walter; two brothers, George Grabowski of Solvay and Frank Grabowski of the United State Army, and two sisters, Mrs. Josephine Sabatka of Liverpool and Mrs. Anna Samuels of Solvay.

Carmelo Antoniolli, 59, of 107 Freeman Avenue, was fatally injured July 5 in a 35-foot headlong plunge from the top of a haymow in a barn on the Donald T. Ball farm, five miles from Cazenovia on the Chittenango-Cazenovia road.
Mrs. Agnes C. Marshfield, 403 King Avenue, Solvay, diee July 6. She was the wife of William Marshfield, Geddes town clerk.

Syracuse Journal, November 20
Services for Humphrey J. Sullivan, a member of the Solvay police force for 25 years took place Monday morning at the home, 907 Woods Road, Solvay, and in St. Cecilia’s Church. Sullivan died Friday night. Members of the Solvay police department who were bearers were Thomas Brock, J. J. Hildenbrand, Blase Valletta, Edward Kurtz, Matthew Scanlon and John Brown. Burial was in St. Agnes Cemetery.

Baseball: Solvay High dethroned
Solvay High School, defending Onondaga County League champions, rolled through its regular season and won the league's western division.

Players mentioned in various newspaper stories were first baseman W. Fiesinger, second basemen Bome and Lombard, shortstop Mascette, third baseman (and captain) Johnny Brostek, outfielders Wheeler, Gettman, Szczech and Joe Brostek, catcher Salvetti and pitcher Joe Kinsella.

However, the season did not end well in the league's championship game which pitted Solvay against eastern division winner North Syracuse. Solvay was beaten, 8-2.

Solvay Firemen pulled two big upsets
The Solvay Firemen fielded a baseball team coached by Slim Colvin and managed by Ray Parker. In this case "manager" refers to the person who arranged the games and provided information to newspapers.

Opponents included town teams from Onondaga County and beyond, though the highlight of the season was a June 11 game at Woods Road Field against the Syracuse Colored Dunbars.

The Solvay Firemen won 7-6. According to the Syracuse Journal, it was the Dunbars’ first loss in three seasons.

On July 4, the Fireman handed the Polish-American Citizens team its first loss of the year, 6-5.

The Polish-American Citizens team is not to be confused with the Solvay Polish Club (below). Several Polish organizations in Central New York fielded athletic teams, though their rosters often included players who, if they were Polish, it was on their mother's side.

Solvay's Polish Club baseball team
rudely dropped from new league

Syracuse was without a professional baseball team for the fourth straight year. Stepping in to provide at least a weekend replacement for local baseball fans, the Syracuse Journal-American organized a semi-pro baseball league.

When the league was formally organized, on April 16, with former major league pitcher George Wiltse installed as president, the eight member teams included the Solvay Polish Club, which was big news in the village. (The other teams included two from the city, Marksons and Byrne-Seiberling, plus the Oswego Polish-Americans, Chappie Johnson's All-Stars (an all-Negro team), and clubs from Camden, North Syracuse and Liverpool.

A day later, teams from Fulton and Auburn were added. However, Auburn soon dropped out, leaving the league with nine teams, one of which would have to go.

The league had an interesting method of determining the odd team out. Team managers, including John Pieklik of the Solvay Polish Club, voted for the team they believed was most valuable to the league's success. The team selected was Chappie Johnson's All-Stars, which, interestingly, had no home field.

The managers then voted again, selecting the most valuable team from the seven remaining . . . then six . . . five . . . four . . . etc. The Solvay Polish Club was viewed as the least valuable and was sent packing with the promise that they would be the next team added to the league. That promise would be broken weeks later when the North Syracuse team was dropped from the league and replaced by a team from Auburn, whose manager hadn't bothered to attend the league's important organizational meeting in April.

ANOTHER reason the Polish Club was uninvited to join the league was its lack of a baseball facility enclosed by a fence and a grandstand.

President Wiltse set the admission price for league games at a quarter. When league play began on May, members of the Solvay Polish Club must have had a good laugh. Two of the better teams, Marksons (representing a Syracuse furniture store) and Byrne-Seiberling (representing a tire company) opened their season on a North Syracuse baseball field that was not enclosed by a fence and lacked a grandstand. There weren't enough police on hand to control the crowd, which lined up along the first and third baselines, risking serious injury from foul balls. Byrne Seiberling won the game and Marksons protested, to no avail.

Then, on May 9, the Solvay Polish Club played the "most valuable" Chappie's All-Stars played in a non-league contest— and beat them, 8-7, after trailing, 6-0, early in the game. Admittedly, the Polish Club did not fare as well in other games against member of the semi-pro league, though it won almost all its games against other regional baseball teams.

AS WAS the usual case at the time, players often were identified in newspaper stories by only their last names. Polish Club players included three pitchers — Kotash, Kozack and Falkowski— and other players named Progowski, Murphy, March, Kazel, Kellogg, Berlinski, Grabowski, Mokaw, Cook, Bamerick and Kobuszewski.

The Polish Club started work on improving their facility on Bridge Street by putting a 10-foot wooden fence on all four sides, with a 60-foot canvas blocking the view from the bridge on the east side of the field. A grandstand with a 2,000 seating capacity was to be built from first to third base, and bleachers, running from the end of the grandstand to the outfield, would seat 1,500 more.

Chappie's All-Stars were organized and managed by George "Chappie" Johnson, who had been a catcher for many years in the Negro Leagues. His team was considered the most entertaining in the Journal-American league, though it clearly was not the best, finishing in fourth place. The league had a split season, with teams playing each other twice in both the first half and the second half. Chappie's won 14 games, lost 14. The Marksons team, after its controversial opening day loss, won 22 of 28 games overall.

But the problem with split seasons is the possibility that the team with the best overall record will not qualify for the playoff between the winner of the first half and the winner of the second half. And so it went with Marksons, which finished one game behind Byrne-Seiberlings in the first half of the season, and tied Oswego in the second half. Oswego beat Marksons in a special playoff, then won the best-of-seven championship series against Byrne-Seiberlings.

INTERESTINGLY, there was an all-star game after the series. Ordinarily the championship team would play all-stars from the other seven teams. But in this case the all-stars played Chappie's team, making me suspect it was done this way to avoid having the all-stars field an integrated team.

There was, however, one white team that had a Negro player. Pitcher Jess Winters, released by Chappie's All-Stars, then signed with the Futon team. In his first game with Fulton he faced his old teammates — and was shelled.

A year later the Syracuse Chiefs were born and played in the International League, then a Class AA minor league organization.

However, Solvay was well represented in the Syracuse Semi-Pro Baseball League by second baseman Johnny Zulberti, who emerged as one of the league's brightest stars

Syracuse American, August 20
By BOB KENEFICK, Sports Editor
In a Frank Merriwell finish, the Marksons, managed by Jimmy Walsh, old Athletic outfielder, defeated Bobby Davis’ scrappy Auburn team at Falcon Field yesterday afternoon, 7-6, before 2,000 spectators.

It required a rally which netted three runs in the ninth inning to down the Prison City band. And it was a mighty clout to right center by Johnny Zulberti, young Solvay second sacker, which went for two bases with the sacks clogged that scored two of the three runs and sewed up the game and kept the Marksons on top in the Journal-American League.

Markson Juniors ended on a sour note
Some of the teams in the Journal-American Semi-Pro Baseball League had youth teams. One of the outstanding players for the Marksons Juniors was also a member of the Solvay High School team.

Syracuse Journal, May 16
Bob Kenefick column:

The Markson Juniors possess some excellent pitchers. A week ago Sunday Joe Brostek, star pitcher of Solvay High School, pitched a no-hit, no-run game against the Byrne-Seiberling Juniors at North Syracuse. Joe fanned 19 hitters in a seven-inning game.

Last Sunday Bill Hurley, a West End youngster, also pitched a no-hit, no-run game for the Markson Juniors against the Rose Coal Company nine. He fanned 17 in a seven-inning game. That is something for Robert Ripley, two no-hit, no-run games by a team in two successive games. First time we ever heard of such a thing. Those kids Brostek and Hurley will bear watching.

Syracuse Journal, July 20
Markson Plays Utica Champions
That there will be a hot baseball game at the Long Branch ball park at 3 o’clock Friday afternoon seems likely as the Markson Philcos, champions of the American Legion League of Syracuse, collide with the Helmuths, champions of the Utica district in the American Legion League

The winner will advance for a game next week against the champion of Section 5, which includes teams in an around Schenectady, Albany and Troy.

Markson Manager Joe Charles believes he has a powerful team to send against the Helmuths. Joe Brostek of Solvay, who has thrown three no-hit games this season and has won nine games in a row, will pitch for the Philcos, and Spig Wejerski willl do the catching.

The rest of the local team will be: Rocky Pirro, 1b; Ray Flaherty, 2b; Joe Karpinski, ss; Johnny Lukowski, 3b; Louis Giurusso, lf; Timmy Antonacci, cf; Ted Moriarty, rf.

The Marksons won the game, 6-2, but manager Bayard Taylor of the Helmuths protested beforehand that the Syracuse team included several players who were over 17 years of age. Later, Walter Truax, state chairman of the American Legion League sectional tournament, ruled that, indeed, the Markson junior club had players who were not eligible to compete, and he upheld the protest and forfeited the game to the Helmuths, who advanced to the next round of tournament play, though they were quickly eliminated.

Other teams
Asbury Methodist Church had a team that competed with other area church teams and also challenged any semi-pro team willing to play them. These challenges were commonplace in items submitted to Syracuse newspapers. Most of the challenges were ignored.

Players mentioned in items about the Asbury team were pitcher F. Darrow, catcher S. Darrow, and two others, Hunt and Forth.

Another Solvay team represented the Pirro Understakers.

Milton A. C. participated in a three-team playoff with the Solvay Tigers and the Solvay Polish Club, to decide the village championship, but lost to both teams. The Tigers, for reasons not explained in the Syracuse Journal, forfeited their game against the Polish Club, which then claimed the Solvay championship.

According to the Journal, the Polish Club won 26 games and lost only seven. Pitcher Frank Kotash had an 11-3 record, and struckk out 125 batters. Red Falkowski was 10-3. Shultz was undefeated in four games and Kossack won one game. Berlinski, Pogroski, Jasinski and Orzell were the leading hitters.

Basketball: Solvay High rules — again
Solvay High School's 1932-33 basketball team stumbled a couple of times, but ended the season as the Onondaga County League champions — for the fourth year in a row.

They won the Central Division, then beat Eastern Division champ Minoa in the first playoff game and followed that with a victory over Western Division champ Warners High School.

Solvay players mentioned in Syracuse Journal stories were Blair, Joe Brostek, John Brostek, John Forken (captain), Gettman, Gulbert, Olgeaty, "Slim" Salvetti, Johnny Zulberti. There may have been confusion over the Brostek brothers in the newspaper stories, which for several games had John Brostek high scorer, but at the end of the season said Joe Brostek, co-captain, not only was the Solvay high scorer for the season, but led the league as well. It's more likely that the reference to Joe Brostek was in error because he was younger than brother John and likely was a sophomore, while John was a senior.

However, when Solvay opened its 1933-34 season with a 40-24 win over Jordan High School, the Brostek who "led the attack with 17 points" almost certainly was Joe. Other members of that team were Chesneski, Ferrante, R. Flaherty, A. Bieganowski, V. Bieganowski, Semino and Wheeler.

There would be no fifth consecutive league championship for the Bearcats, who barely made the playoffs and were eliminated in the first round.

Whippet Blue Blades best in town of Geddes
The Whippet Blue Blades, formerly the Solvay Polish-Americans, remained one of Central New York's best semi-pro teams, basking in the glow of their December, 1932, win over the Sacred Hearts of Syracuse. The two teams would resume their rivalry in April with two more games, both of which would be won by Sacred Heart, 32-31 and 30-27.

But until March 31, the Whippet Blue Blades — named for a razor company — would win almost every game, including a 35-30 victory over the West Genesee Church on January 25. It was the first loss for West Genesee in 18 games.

Blue Blade players included Armani, Chesneski, Cohen, Forken, Gallante, Gettman, Hayes, Friedli, Kinnally, Salvetti, Spillett and the Chamberlin brothers.

The Blue Blades won 11 of their first 12 games during the 1932-33 season, their only loss, 38-37 in overtime, coming against the Geddes Bonds, whose players included several from Solvay High School. As usual, the newspapers mentioned only last names, and the Geddes roster included Cloonan, Cosgrove, Costello, Jerome, Kennedy, Pfieffer and Tindall.

When the two teams played again in January, the Whippet Blue Blades prevailed, 25-22, on the Solvay High School court.

Another Solvay team was Milton A. C., defeated by the Blue Blades, 28-17, in February. Gettman was high scorer for the winners, Bresadola paced Milton with 10 points. Other Milton players: Balduzzi, Bendetti, Bucci, Pasco, Armani and Galante.

The Solvay Firemen had a basketball team. They, too, played the Whippet Blue Blades, and lost, 37-21. Rosters at the time must have been flexible. When the Firemen played a team called the New York Telephone Engineers, winning, 42-21, their players included Chesneski, two members of the Friedli family and Spillet, all of who may have played some games for the Blue Blades. Other Firemen players were Beagle, Darrow, Anderson and Hunt.

Emerging as probably the area's best local semi-pro team was the Polish American Citizens Club. They were in a whole other world, proving it when the beat the Blue Blades, 71-35, on February 25.

However, the Blue Blades finished their season with 34 wins and six losses.

January 8: A family that plays together
Syracuse Journal

Seven brothers, ranging in age from 27 to 19, form one of the most interesting and, moreover, one of the best basketball combinations in Syracuse basketball circles.

The team is known as Fatcheric Brothers; last season they won the championship of the Syracuse YMCA basketball leagues. This season the team is holding its own in the much-strengthened “Y” Commercial League, and attracts plenty of attention whenever it appears on the court. The brothers have played together as a team for the past five years.

The seven brothers are sons of Mr. and Mrs. John Fatcheric of Warners, and all the boys live on the home farm in that town. In addition there is another brother and three sisters, two of whom are regular forwards on the Warners High School girls’ basketball team.

The Fatcheric brothers have been prominent in Warners and Syracuse sports circles for the past 10 years. Four of them have played four years of high school basketball, and one of them, Sam, won all-scholastic honors in the County League, leading the league in scoring last year.

The boys on the team are Olie, 27; Frank, 25; Nick 24; Pete, 23; John, 21; am, 20, and Dan, 19. Nick, John, Sam and Dan all made enviable reputations in scholastic basketball at Warners.

Olie, the eldest, is an amateur boxer of note in addition to his court activities, and all the boys have played football and baseball. John is the leading scorer on the team this year, averaging better than 12 points per game in the 10 games played. Sam is a close second.

In the “Y” League this season the Fatcheric Brothers have won two and lost three against stiff opposition, while in outside competition the team has won five straight games.

The two Fatcheric sisters who are members of the Warner High girls’ team are Helen, 16, and Julia, 14.

Joe Charles, well-known local amateur sports promoter, has served as manager of the Fatcheric Brothers team for the past two seasons.

March 1: No match for the Whippets
The Whippet Blue Blades beat the Fatcheric Brothers, 39-26, on the Solvay High School court. Gettman led scorers with 12 points. Other players: Hayes 9, Chamberlain 2, Cohen 7, Chesneski 4, Armani 3, Friedli 2. Major was the referee.

Milton A. C. and Solvay Tigers merge
Syracuse Journal, September 8

Football rivalry between Solvay’s two strongest teams of other years, the Milton A. C. and the Solvay Tigers, came to an end with announcement today that the two factions have combined and will be represented by one strong team, the Milton-Tigers, during the coming season.

Ed DeLucia and Lee Mazzochi will have full charge of coaching, while Ernie Schelper, Joe Charles and Jimmy DeLucia will divide the managerial duties.

The coaches expect the following men to report for their initial practice Sunday at the Milton field at 10 a.m.:

Armani, L. Armani, Barber, Bendetti, Bome, Bonata, Bucci, Chemotti, Chesneski,, DeCarlo, DeStaffen, Dunster, Galante, Geimsa, Gettman, Grabowski, Hess, Hunky, Indian Owl Head, Juno, Kortright, Lamanna, Lavingnale, Mesara, Messetti, Mnick, Orbino, Paneanetti, Pulastis, Reale, Sarno, Sasnski, Seminara, Silvaggio, Stevenson, Sting, Valletta, Van Alstyne, Worbeck, Yezzi and anyone else wishing to try out for the team.

For games with the Milton-Tigers call Joe Charles at 2-1213, or write to 925 Milton Avenue.

The result was a very successful team that went undefeated and unscored upon in eight games, though the Milton-Tigers had to settle fora scoreless tie against a team from Utica.

Low-scoring Bearcat gridders falter
It was a so-so season for the Solvay High School football team, defending Onondaga County League champions. On October 11 the Bearcats lost their first game in two years, 6-0, to Skaneateles. The game's only touchdown was scored when Skaneateles blocked a Solvay punt and recovered the ball in the end zone. The week before, Solvay and Baldwinsville played to a 7-all tie.

On November 3 Solvay lost again, 14-6, to North Syracuse. Victories came at the expense of East Syracuse (7-0), Marcellus (7-0), and Manlius (13-0).

Solvay players included Barragoli, Bethka, Bex, Bieganowski, Brostek, Caspeliani, Catslin, "Little Horse" Chesneski, Ferrante, Flaherty, Louise, Joe O'Leary, John O'Leary, Paussa, Pestiliana, Pestillo, Pettit, Pirro, Plantz, Raymond, Umbegi, Wheeler

Streak ends for Solvay Aces
The Solvay Aces were an amateur team made up of former players from Solvay and Camillus high schools. They entered the 1933 season with a 19-game winning streak, having been unscored upon in 1931 and 1932.

Their winning streak ended in their opening game against a team from Syracuse called the West End Falcons, 7-0.

The Aces were coached by Jumbo Plants, who took his team to Oswego to play a team made up of soldiers based at Fort Ontario. Once more the Aces went down to defeat, again by the score of 7-0.

The Syracuse Journal listed the Aces line-up: Brostek, LE; Kinsella, LT; Fabrizio, LG; Renders, C; Mokwa, RG; Knapp, RT; Messere, RE; Hunt, QB; Martini, LH; Jost, RH; Bucci, FB. Subs: Darrow, J. Friedli, F. Friedli, Olgeaty, Wallace.

By year's end, Prohibitioin was over, and folks could look forward to their first truly Happy New Year celebration in many years. Some would have the added pleasure of swinging with Sheridan's Snappy Stompers!

Most items are from stories in the Syracuse Journal and its Sunday edition,
the Herald-American. Several were edited for length.
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