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In the news: 1940

Solvay firemen save boy
trapped in waste

Syracuse Herald-Journal, September 5
While thousands of residents of Syracuse and its suburbs watched huge clouds of black smoke billowing over the city and drifting southward early last night from a smudge in the benzol wastelands of the Solvay Process Company in State Fair Boulevard, three Solvay firemen were fighting for their lives in a nearby quagmire that trapped them as they were trying to save an East Side boy from the treacherous waste.

Those imperiled were:

• Fire Chief Edward Kurtz of the Solvay Fire Department, trapped while saving the boy and who refused aid from fellow firemen until the youth was safe.

• Leo Corbett, 17, of 414 Columbus Avenue, the endangered youth, to whose aid the firemen ran at the risk of their lives into the dangerous wasteland. Discharged from St. Joseph’s Hospital today after overnight care for shock.

• Fireman John Olgeaty of 205 King Avenue, Solvay, given first aid at the Solvay plant after being pulled to safety out of the morass by fellow firemen.

• Fireman Louis Francher, 409 Cogswell Avenue, also pulled to safety during the rescue of the boy.

YOUNG CORBETT had fallen and was facing suffocation by slowly sinking into the sticky waste before his desperate cries for help were heard by firemen. Today Corbettt told the Herald-Journal of Chief Kurtz’s valor in the desperate situation:

“I thought help would never come, but when it did,” he said, “Chief Kurtz was the first to reach me. He ran out over that dangerous ground with a rope and started to sink himself when he got to me.

“He was trying to pull me out of the stuff enough so that he could tie the rope under my arms, but the harder he pulled, the farther down he sank. The other two firemen who ran out behind him started sinking the same way.

“Then the other firemen got a fire ladder out to us and they stood on it and tugged and pulled to get me out. They told me later that it took a half hour to pull me out, but they did it slowly to keep from hurting me. I’m certainly grateful to them and I think they are a fine bunch of men.

“When some of them tried to help Chief Kurtz while we were in there, he told them, ‘Never mind me. Get the boy out!’ and he was up to his waist in the awful stuff then.”

CORBETT SAID he started to run across the treacherous surface of the benzol waste to get a better view of the fire and got far out on the quagmire before he realized that it was like a bed of quicksand. As the sticky substance adhered to his shoes, he lost his balance, fell and started to sink.

“Even my arms were caught in the stuff,” he said, “but somehow I wasn’t scared. The firemen weren’t far away and they heard me all right after I told my friend, Harold richmond, not to come out after me.”

Young Richmond, who lives at 820 East Willow Street, narrowly escaped a similar plight by walking around the danger area in the wasteland.

All of young Corbett’s body except his head and shoulders had sunk below the surface of the quagmire before firemen spotted him in the glare of big searchlights they turned upon the morass after hearing his cries.

Deputies Harold Griebno and Clarence Walker procured additional ropes with which the firemen were saved after Chief Kurtz ran to the boy’s side and tied a rope under his arms so that he could be pulled out of the sticky mass tugging at his body.

THE FIRE CHIEF lost his boots and trousers before fellow firemen yanked him out of the trap. Other firemen who became mired escaped themselves but only by leaving their boots behind. In all, 11 pairs of firemen’s boots were lost, along with the fire ladder, four raincoats, ropes, and a 20-foot length of hose used in the rescue work.

Young Corbett was so imbedded in the mass that when he emerged on the end of the rope, he was unable to move. At St. Joseph’s Hospital the substance was removed from his body only by use of kerosene as a solvent. He remained under observation at the hospital overnight; his condition was described today as favorable.

Fireman Olgeaty was cleaned of the substance sticking to his clothing and body at the Solvay plant, as were Chief Kurtz and other firemen. Several fire ladders were crusted with the substance today. The waste bed is estimated to be at least 30 feet deep with a crusted surface that looks like solid ground.

The wasteland fire burned from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and attracted hundreds of motorists, who envisioned another dangerous fire in “Oil City,” the oil storage tank area threatened a few weeks ago.

Last night’s fire, however, was more than two miles away from the tank area and burning in the large expanse of waste poured onto the land alongside State Fair Boulevard near the Halcomb Steel Company plant.

Also ....

Snap, crackle and POP!
On January 18, Four members of a Solvay family were getting ready for breakfast at 230 Charles Avenue when their coal range exploded and scattered contents of the stove throughout the first floor. At home were Mrs. Stephen Selski, her two small children, and her father, Frank Wojcik. The family had recently moved into the house and had capped the water front of the coal range, unaware of the danger when they built their first fire in the stove this morning. Luckily, no one was in the kitchen when the explosion occurred.

Cheap electricity becomes even cheaper
It was announced February 4 that electric light rates in Solvay were the third lowest of villages and cities in New York State in the 7,500-15,000 population range that operate their own lighting plants, according to a report by the Federal Power Commission. The only two New York communities with lower rates are Ilion and Salamanca. Nationally Solvay ranks 27th in a survey of 107 villages and cities.

[In September Mayor John J. Degan would announce another reduction in Solvay's electric rates. This would be the third reduction in three years. Degan would estimate the saving in monthly bills would range from 25 cents to $24, depending on the amount of current used.]

Happy birthday, Pass & Seymour
Solvay-based Pass & Seymour, Inc., manufacturers of electrical supplies, celebrated its 50th anniversary on February 4 with a company dinner-dance attended by more than 625 employees. James Pass and A. P. Seymour went into partnership in 1890 to produce porcelain and electric insulators. Previously Pass was general superintendent of Onondaga Pottery Company, originator of Syracuse China.

You call this an election?
It was a quiet, relaxed election day for Solvay Republicans because the Democratic party failed to nominate candidates for trustees in the three village districts. Winning GOP candidates were Adrian Grobsmith, first ward trustee; Louis Valletta, second ward trustee, and Edward O'Brien, third ward trustee.

A total of 1,721 votes were cast on March 19. This was regarded as an unusually large turnout, considering that every vote went to the Republicans. There weren't any write-in votes. Republicans called this a strong vote of confidence in the village administration. Grobsmith received 752 votes, Valletta 493 and O'Brien 476.

(By contrast, in Camillus, where there was only one trustee candidate on the ballot, Charles P. O'Hara sought re-election on the Union party and received every vote cast — all 19 of them. In Fabius, trustee William J. Clark also was unanimously re-elected, receiving six votes. There were similar results throughout Onondaga County where many candidates ran unopposed.)

No trucks allowed
On April 3, the Solvay Village Board moved to halt use of Milton Avenue as a truck route. This presented a dilemma for Syracuse officials who preferred that trucks use Solvay's main street rather than Route 5 (West Genesee Street, which in those days was referred to as West Genesee Turnpike). Solvay officials felt they were being subjected to unfair expense for upkeep of the pavement on Milton Avenue, which is not a state highway; thus the village received no state highway money.

Four days later, Syracuse Mayor Rolland B. Marvin suggested a new route that will bypass Milton Avenue, but be almost three miles longer between the village of Camillus and Syracuse. This new route would have trucks use part of Bridge Street, Matthews Avenue and Belle Isle Road. This proposal does not go over well with Belle Isle residents or with truck drivers.

Truckers began using the new route from Syracuse to points west on March 10, avoiding Milton Avenue where Solvay police were stationed to enforce the new ordinance that bans traffic from Milton Avenue when the gross weight of the vehicle plus the load exceeds 10,000 pounds.

Immediately there were complaints from truckers and from people who lived along the new route. They said trucks were causing damage to the surface of Belle Isle Road. One large truck-trailer got caught in a rut midway and overturned, scattering its load of cedar fence posts.

Representatives of Associated Trucking Industry, Inc., carried their fight against the new route to New York State Supreme Court to show cause why an ordinance barring heavy-duty trucks from Milton Avenue should not be rescinded.

Each day seemed to bring a new problem. On April 13 part of State Fair Boulebard was flooded. In some spots water was four feet deep. Syracuse Patrolman Leo Kraft found himself chest-deep in water when he rescued two 17-year-old girls who were stranded in an automobile. Kraft carried both girls to safety. They were Mary Burns of 200 Caroline Avenus, Solvay, and Frances Terzic of 109 Cherry Road, Westvale.

Their companions, who fended for themselves, were Albert Meaker of 405 Terry Road, owner and driver of the car; James Male of 112 Meadow Road, and Robert Beach of Camillus. Earlier an Auburn man was trapped for more than two hours in the same location.

The first violator of Solvay’s ordinance prohibiting heavy truck traffic on Milton Avenue was picked up on May 15 by Solvay Patrolman Peter Dadey Carl Seba, 24, of Chicago, employe of the Spector Service Trucking Company, Inc., of Chicago, was fined $10 by Police Justice Daniel F. Matthews, who suspended payment of half the fine. Seba was a relief driver on a tractor trailer carrying 10 tons of seafood from Boston to Chicago when he made the mistake of driving through Solvay. Douglas Valiquette, regular driver, was resting at the time.

People

Excelling in a different sport than his older brother, Stan Kishman, Syracuse University boxing star, John Kishman, Solvay boy, carried off the championship in the January 7 swimming contest at the YMCA.

John finished first in a field of 31, swimming 209 lengths — or 4,180 yards. [Putting it another way, that's 2-3/8 miles.]

Second place went to John Tector with 172 lengths, and third to Leonard Roe with 146 lengths in the distance competition.

Gold, silver and bronze medals were awarded. The meet was sponsored by the Aquatic Club of the YMCA,

Carolyn Nicit of 507 Second St., Solvay, and Don Chitel, Syracuse's leading amateur skater, were pictured January 18 in the Syracuse Herald-Journal practicing at the Coliseum. They were possible entries in a 10-day speed skating derby at the Fairgrounds. Apparently they did not compete in what was a team event. Chitel was invited to participate, but would have had to give up his amateur status.

Nicit was a versatile athlete, and was pictured again a few months later as she prepared for the softball season, pitching for a team known as the Leonards. While the team went on to win the Ray Mount Girls' Softball League championship, they did so without Nicit as their primary pitcher.

During World War Two Carolyn Nicit served with a Spar unit in the identification division of the U. S. Coast Guard.

Theresa Dattellas was elected queen of the annual January graduating class ball January 22 at Solvay High School. Russell Caldwell, as king, will escort Miss Dattellas. Betty Sholette and John Klein will act as crown bearers. The coronation ceremony will be one of the highlights of the ball.

Miss Helen Zebrowski of 512 Woods Road, Solvay, was chosen winner March 30 of the John Boles letter writing contest sponsored by the RKO Strand Theater in Syracuse.

Boles was an actor who enjoyed great success in the 1930s. He was featured in the 1931 classic, "Frankenstein" and starred in many other films, including "Back Street" with Irene Dunne and "The Littles Rebel" with Shirley Temple.

The letter-writing contest was conducted in connection with a six-day personal appearance he was making in Syracuse. As winner, Miss Zebrowski was the dinner guest of Boles at Hotel Syracuse.

John C. Tindall, funeral director associated with C. C. Carroll & Company, will never again use an empty casket as a hiding place for money.

He reported to Acting Detective Elmon Hymes April 13 that a slim thief entered the funeral rooms at 1211 Milton Avenue from the basement by disconnecting a furnace pipe and climbing up through a register in the floor.

The thief found $5.40 in cash and a $12 check in the empty casket, where Tindall had hidden them, according to police reports.

John C. Tindall, a familiar name to Solvay rsesidents, was the son-in-law of Charles C. Carroll, who started the funeral home at the corner of Milton Avenue and West End Drive. After Carroll's death in 1946, Tindall took over the funeral home and moved it to its present location on West Genesee Street.

Guns of the James Brothers resounded again May 20, but this time the victims of their shooting were clay pigeons at the Syracuse Gun Club. Louis James and his brother, Arthur, are Solvay residents and law-abiding trapshooters.

Lou James had 48 out of 50, Glenn Lindsey was second with 44, and Art James third, with 43. None of the other competitors hit more than 37.

It was announced that First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt would visit the Syracuse area on September 10. During her visit she would have lunch at the Solvay High School with a meal of salad and sandwiches prepared by students in the home economics department.

Mrs. Roosevelt did make the trip, but not until October. I saw no explanation of the delay, but all's well that ends well, and here is how the Associated Press reported Mrs. Roosevelt's visit to Onondaga County:

New York Sun, October 10
SYRACUSE, NY (AP) — Mrs. Franklin D. Roosevelt flew here by seaplane from Poughkeepsie today, made a swift automobile tour of local National Youth Administration projects, and two hours later took off for Cooperstown.

A thirty-piece band of Indians of the Onondaga Reservation serenaded her as she arrived at the partially completed reservation youth center, and she bore off gifts of baskets and a beaded bag.

At the NYA pottery project shop in suburban Solvay she was given a set of dishes especially made for her.

When the seaplane taxied up to the yacht basin on Onondaga Lake a cheering crowd that included hundreds of Liverpool school children milled at the landing stage.

The First Lady, clad in a long blue coat and wearing a turban, stepped out smiling and waving, and said the flight from the Hudson River had been wonderful.

She was taken on the flight by the pilot, Capt. Robert Fogg of the Civil Aeronautic Authority.

Thomas Box, 16, of 707 Myrtle Street, Solvay, and three teenaged Mattydale friends spent two hours on September 22 clinging to an overturned sailboat — in that basin of chemical waste known as Onondaga Lake.

Box and Ray Brunet, Robert Whipple and Fred Held took a ride in the sailboat belonging to Frederick Box, father of Thomas. Things went well until two of the boy’s friends started wrestling, throwing the sailboat off balance. Seconds later all four boys were clinging for dear life to the overturned craft.

Two hours later they were rescued by James Woolson of Pennelville, who was taking one of those rare Onondaga Lake cruises with his wife, daughter and four guests. Woolson took the boys aboard and delivered them to the Liverpool yacht basin, also towing the overturned sailboat.

Solvay-based priest volunteers
Syracuse Herald-Journal, September 28

First priest in the Syracuse diocese to volunteer, the Rev. Joseph B. Delahunt, assistant pastor of Saint Cecilia’s Church, Solvay, has offered his services as chaplain of the 108th Infantry, it was learned today.

Confirming the report he had volunteered, Father Delahunt said he is awaiting his commission as a first lieutenant, which will serve as confirmation of his acceptance.

Chaplains are usually accorded the rank of first lieutenant and Father Delahunt, if accepted, will go to Fort McClellan in Anniston, Alabama, with local units of the regiment after they are mobilized for Frederal service October 15.

The priest, who is but 31, volunteered through Bishop John O’Hara of New York City, former president of Notre Dame University, with the approval of the Most Rev. Walter A. Foery, bishop of Syracuse.

While Father Delahunt will remain a priest of the diocese during his absence, he will be under jurisdiction of Bishop O’Hara during his service.

A son of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Delahunt of Clinton, Father Delahunt is a graduate of Clinton High School and Hamilton College, receiving his diploma from the latter in 1930.

He later attended North American College at Rome, Italy, where he studied theology and philosophy, graduating in 1934, at which time he was ordained into the priesthood.

Returning to the United States in June of 1934, Father Delahunt was assigned to St. John the Baptist Church at Rome, New York, serving as an assistant there until that September, when he was assigned to St. Cecilia’s Church in Solvay.

Missing from his home for five days, Richard Rice, 15, of Amboy, was found October 12 by his mother. She spotted her son walking along a Solvay street, pushing his bicycle. He told his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arnold Rice, that he had bicycled to Rochester and Niagara Falls. His disappearance had been reported to police only a few hours before his return home.

On October 19 Syracuse provided a for the Royal Canadian Air Force when James Bethka, 24, former Solvay High School athlete, enlisted today in Trenton, Ontario. He will serve as an instructor. A pilot for a year, Bethka has a record of 225 solo hours of flying.

Bethka was in the United States Army Air Corps in 1944 when he was killed in a plane crash.

Boyle beats off would-be robber
Syracuse Herald-Journal, November 9

Slugged as he left the Solvay Athletic Association bowling alleys, of which he is manager, Lester Boyle, 67, of 214 Hall Avenue, Solvay, beat off his assailant in a sensational fight early Saturday morning.

Bruised and cut about the head, Boyle was treated at University Hospital and then permitted to go home. Physicians said the marks indicated he had been struck with a blunt instrument.

Reputed to have been carrying a large sum of money, Boyle left the bowling alleys, which are on the Solvay Process Company grounds, a few minutes after midnight. He had walked but a few feet when the would-be bandit confronted him.

Refusing to turn over the money at the man’s demand, Boyle struck out with his fist and blows were exchanged.

As the two fought, Boyle got the upper hand and, frustrated in his attempt at a holdup, the thug pulled away and took to his heels, disappearing in the darkness.

Boyle, bleeding from his cuts, went back to the bowling alleys and called for assistance. Solvay police were notified and information about the attempted holdup at 12:05 a.m. and a description of the thug were turned over to Syracuse authorities for broadcast to all police units.

Solvay police said Boyle described his assailant as a man about 40 years of age, five-feet-four-inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds

Deaths

Mrs. Jessie Douglas Briggs, 74, widow of the Rev. John W. Briggs, former pastor of Freeman Avenue Methodist Church, Solvay, died March 16 at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Carl Welch, 2200 South Geddes Street.

Peter Bulawa, 60, of 810 West Genesee Street, Syracuse, died March 16 when he was struck by an automobile while walking in the 400 block of Hiawatha Boulevard. Services were conducted March 20 at the home of a son, Frank Bulawa, 104 William Street, Solvay, and at Sacred Heart Church.

Syracuse Herald-Journal, March 30
As his last gesture of esteem for his wartime buddy, the late John J. Murphy of Syracuse, who carried him back to the safety of the American trenches after he was gassed on a battlefield in France during the World War, James F. Dooley, 50, of Armstrong Road, town of Camillus, will be buried beside Murphy in St. Mary’s Cemetery on Tuesday.

Dooley was a widely known bus line operator and World War hero, who succumbed to pneumonia at 2:40 a.m. today at University Hospital.

His wife, Mrs. .Nellie V. Myers Dooley, today informed Edward F. Gaynor, funeral director, of that deathbed wish of her husband, expressed to her in the hospital this week.

Effort was made immediately to procure a plot in the cemetery adjoining the grave of Mr. Murphy, who died January 15 1936 at St. Joseph’s Hospital, victim of a heart ailment. He remained a lifelong friend of Mr. Dooley upon their return from France after the World War, in which both served with the Lightning Division, the 78th of the 312th Infantry.

He accompanied Mr. Dooley back from France after the latter had been blinded temporarily by gas, as well as wounded in action, for which he later was awarded the Order of the Purple Heart. Both men were members of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Friends said they remembered today how Mr. Dooley grieved over the death of his friend in 1936, but they knew nothing of his plan to be buried alongside Mr. Murphy. Only Mrs. Dooley was informed of his wish. She was uncertain in which World War battle the honorable rescue was effected,, both men having fought at Ypres, St. Michel, the Meuse an the Argonne.

The bus line operator was stricken with pneumonia shortly after a 24-hour vigil in a heavy snowstorm last week with two bus loads of school children which became mired in snowdrifts in the Lakeland area.

His condition became critical at his home on Armstrong Road last Monday and he was taken to the hospital. Storm conditions caused delay and it took four hours to make the trip.

Mr. Dooley was a native of Buffalo, but had lived in Syracuse most of his life. In 1929 he took over the franchise on the bus line from Clinton Square to Amboy, serving the Halcomb Steel Company and the State Fair. He also had contracts to transport 150 children of the Fairmount, Belle Isle and Long Branch Schools daily.

In 1934 he sold the Syracuse-Amboy bus line franchise to the late Walter Zinsmeister, but retained the school bus contracts. He had lived on Armstrong Road since 1931.

Besides his wife, Mr. Dooley leaves a daughter, Mrs. Raymond Brissett, and a brother, John T. Dooley of Buffalo.

His funeral will take place from his home at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday and blessing of the body will be a half-hour later at St. Cecilia’s Church, Solvay. A mass of requiem, postpone for observance of a church feast day, will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Two Solvay youngsters, Geraldine Hines, 9, and John Dougherty, 7, drowned Christmas Day when they fell through ice and into the Oneida River at Brewerton during a visit with Geraldine’s grandparents. The girl was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Russell Hines of 705 Second Street, Solvay, and the boy made his home with the Hines family. Both victims were pupils at Boyd School.

Achille Filosi, 49, of 118-1/2 Freeman Avenue, Solvay, World War veteran and former restaurant proprietor, died April 2 in Crouse-Irving Hospital, victim of chronic heart disease and bronchial pneumonia.

Mr. Filosi served with the Supply Company of the 312th Regiment in France from May 20, 1918, to May 24, 1919. He was a charter member of Stanley B. Pennock Post 2893, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and was affiliated with the Franz Joseph Society of Solvay.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Mary Briani Filosi; a brother, Barney Filosi of Solvay; a sister, Mrs. Simone Forresti of Tyrol, Italy, and several nieces and nephews.

Military rites were conducted April 4 by members of Stanley B. Pennock Post 2893, Veterans of Foreign Wars. A final salute was given by the post firing squad and taps were sounded as the body was lowered into the grave in St. Agnes Cemetery.

Mrs. Josephine Romanowski, wife of Joseph Romanowski, and for 16 years supervisor of the women’s maintenance department of the New York Telephone Company, died June 16 at her home, 135 Alice Avenue, Solvay.

Mrs. Romanowski, also known as Mrs. Josephine Roman, was born in Syracuse March 28, 1896, but had lived most of her life in Solvay. She was a communicant of Sacred Heart Church and a member of its Rosary Society; St. Albert’s Society, PRCU, and the Oswiata Society, PNA, of Solvay.

Surviving besides her husband are three daughters, Mrs. Stanley Chorazy, Mrs. Benjamin Szczech and Miss Agnes Romanowski, and a grandson.

George Rypski, 73, a pioneer settler in Solvay and one of the organizers of Sacred Heart Church, died May 29. Born in Poland, Mr. Rypski had lived in this area for 50 years. He operated a restaurant at 200 Sackett Street, Syracuse, for many years.

Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Catherine Rypski; three sons, Louis, Peter and Joseph Rypski; four grandchildren; a brother, John Rypski, and a sister, Zophi Machaj, both of Solvay. Another son, patrolman Michael Rypski, died in December 1939.

Syracuse Herald-American, August 18
Mystery over the disappearance of 16-year-old George Tinkham, youthful artist and son of Gaylor Tinkham of South Street, Camillus, after he left home Friday morning to check his minnow traps in Nine Mile Creek, was solved yesterday noon when his father found the boy’s body in shallow water of the creek near their home.

George is believed to have tumbled into the stream and drowned without an outcry, according to Dr. H. Ernest Gak, coroner, who issued a verdict of drowning after Maurice Sotherden and William Hart, members of his staff, took the body to the county morgue.

The boy’s dog, Buster, figured in the tragedy after the boy’s disappearance. Members of the Tinkham family said the pet has patrolled the creek bank constantly and has refused to answer their calls to come into the house. He seemed to be waiting for the boy’s reappearance, they said.

The boy and his dog always were together, members of the family explained, and Friday morning they left together when George set out to collect 100 minnows from his string of traps, to fill an order for a fisherman.

George failed to return that day or that night and at first the family thought nothing of his absence, they said, believing he had gone to visit relatives in Belle Isle.

George failed to return yesterday, however, and check of the relatives gave no clue to his whereabouts.

The youthful drowning victim had lived in Camillus all of his life, attending Belle Isle grade school, Solvay Intermediate School and Solvay High School.

Mrs. Katie Whedon, 48, of 215 Trump Street, Solvay, died August 21 in Crouse-Irving Hospital, victim of typhoid fever. This was one of three deaths resulting from a small outbreak of the dreaded disease in Central New York.

Mrs. Whedon was a native and life resident of Solvay. Besides her husband, William F. Whedon, she leave a son, William F. Whedon Jr.; her mother, Mrs. Henry Lutzy; three brothers, Henry J., Frederick D. and William R. Lutzy, and a sister, Mrs. Harold Howard, all of Solvay.

Sports

Solvay graduates will play in Sun Bowl
Something happened on the first day of the year that had never happened before — and hasn't happened since: Three former Solvay High School football players participated in a New Year's Day bowl game. Brothers Carmen and Rocky Pirro and Henry Brostek were members of the Catholic University team that had been selected to play Arizona State in the Sun Bowl, played in El Paso, Texas.

College football bowl games were far fewer before World War II than they would become afterward, when television blossomed and changed sports forever. One of the few New Year's Day games in 1940 was the Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, and the reason Solvay residents were interested is because three former Solvay High School football players were in the starting line-up for Catholic University of Washington, D.C.

The Catholic University Cardinals played high level football for several years, beating Mississippi in the 1936 Orange Bowl. On this day they held a slighty favored Arizona State team to a scoreless tie. Playing for Catholic University were Solvay graduates Henry Brostek and the Pirro brothers, Carmen and Rocky.

As an example of how different the game was in those days, Arizona State failed to complete any of its six pass attempts, while Catholic University had three completions (in 15 attempts), good for only 16 yards. The teams punted 23 times.

Rocky Pirro, who played both as a lineman and later as fullback for Catholic University, would be invited to play for the College All-Stars in the annual August game against the reigning pro football champions. Pirro also would be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Brostek played halfback for Catholic, Carmen Pirro was a tackle. In those days teams used the same players on offense and defense.

Solvay High basketball:
Solvay remained in contention in the Onondaga County Basketball League, paced by Manuel Martinez, John Pirro, Jon Lanceros and Demperio, but in the end Camillus prevailed in the league's Western Division, but lot by one point to Eastern Division front runner, East Syracuse, in the championship game.

Bowling:
Solvay High won the Onondaga County Scholastic Bowling League for the fifth straight year. Solvay's Bill Flaherty won individual honors in the championship tournament with games of 197, 231 and 206, a high total of 634. Solvay's B team finished second. East Syracuse High was third, followed by Baldwinsville, North Syracuse, Minoa, Fayetteville, Camillus, Liverpool, North Syracuse, Skaneateles, Marcellus and the Camillus B team.

Archery:
Solvay High School's team included Gladys Wall, Betty Schaefer, Florence O'Neill, Irene Sutphen, Dawn Cadwell, Olive Howell, Peg Renders and Shirley Bentley. They competed in the Municipal Recreation League, occasionally against boys' teams.

A story about Solvay's 749-526 victory over the North High School girls said that each team shot 30 arrows at a 25-inch target 50 feet away.

Hockey:
Solvay was defeated, 4-3, by East Syracuse High School in the Onondaga County League playoff final.

Baseball:
The June editions of the Herald-Journal came up missing, so I don't know how the baseball season concluded. Solvay was undefeated through May, and late in the month William Welch pitched a no-hitter as Solvay defeated Warners, 3-0. According to the Syracuse Herald-Journal, this was the first no-hitter ever recorded by a Solvay High pitcher. (See The Earl of Solvay.)

Track
Solvay won seven of the ten events on May 29 to win the second annual Syracuse High School invitation track and field meet at Griffin Field in Liverpool. Solvay High, which has ruled track in the Onondaga County League for the past five years, scored 54 points. Onondaga Valley and Cathedral were tied for second place with 12 points each.

Solvay' s Ralph Willoughby won the 100-yard dash; Leland Mitchell won the 440-yard dash and Sullivan won the 880-yard run. Michael McGraw won the mile, Demperio the shot put, Himpler the high jump and Albrigo the pole vault. [Winning times and distances were too smudged to read.]

Football:
Here is how the Syracuse Herald-Journal previewed the season:

Syracuse Herald-Journal, September 20
Earl Hadley, coach of Solvay High School’s defending championship football team of the Onondaga County League, is sending his charges through last-minute drills in preparation for the opening of their title defense at Fayetteville a week from Friday. Solvay marched through the 1939 season undefeated, and Hadley has eight of the eleven starting giants of last season’s squad back on duty.

The Onondaga County League has been cut to eight teams this fall instead of the usual 10, Manlius and Marcellus deciding to drop out of the loop in favor of the six-man sport.*

Hadley’s main problem centers on the loss of three first stringers, a pair of linemen and a halfback. Nick Dempirio will no longer threaten wide-swinging ball carriers from the left side of the line, and the absence of Dick Bowers leaves a deep hole in the center of the line. The third graduating star was Mike Anthony, blocking back.

The absence of the trio, however, is more than offset by the return of the other eight youngsters, who played sensational football through a six-game schedule last season, topping Skaneateles, Baldwinsville, Fayetteville, North Syracuse, Liverpool and East Syracuse.

The mainstays include Bob Himpler and Julius Kulak at the tackle berths, guards Reno Continetti and Nick Gettino, and Chuck Tindall, the other end, who does such a capable job with the kicking assignments. The three returning backs include Pat O’Leary, the linebucker; George Borell, acting captain this season, as signal caller, and Ralph Willoughby, who ran wild against Baldwinsville in the crucial game of the 1939 season.

Going into the problem department finds Coach Hadley experimenting with Jimmy Sullivan and Lawrence Gettino in the vacant halfback post, the former likely to get the nod for the starting tilt; four alert boys batting for the empty wing berth, Eulozio Piro, Ralph Digilio and the Szczech brothers, John and Joe, who are following in the footsteps of their brother, Alex, who played fine football at Solvay three years ago. The problem of locating a center to replace the capable Bowers finds Hadley directing his attention on Art Smoral and Bob Renders.

The new material reporting for the first time this season, includes a crop of likely-looking prospects, those most apt to see service including Frank Himpler, a guard, and a pair of backs in Frank Brostek, who follows in his brother Hank’s shoes, and Tony Rynkiewicz.

Solvay is looking forward to another undefeated season, and followers expect their candidates to encounter little trouble marching through one of the finest seasons in the history of the school. The largest question mark looms up in the prospect of reserve material.

Solvay won their second straight Onondaga County League championship on Noveber 1, crushing North Syracuse, 32-0. It was the 14th consecutive victory for Coach Earl Hadley’s team, which allowed only seven points this season, that against Fayetteville.

The game was five minutes old when Pat O’Leary intercepted a North Syracuse pass and ran 60 yards for a touchdown. Other touchdowns were scored by Ralph Willoughby, off a lateral pass from O’Leary; Piro on a 22-yard pass from George Borell; Piro again on a lateral from Charles Tindall, who had caught a pass from Borell, and, finally, Tindall scored on another pass from Borell on a 28-yard play. Willoughby was successful on two of his extra-point attempts.

Solvay High basketball resumes:
Solvay High had a new basketball coach. Alton (Al) Talmadge replaced Earl Hadley, who had coached Solvay basketball ever since the school adopted the sport in 1920. Hadley, Solvay's physical education director, will continue to coach the football and baseball teams.

Under Talmadge, the team got off to a fast start, beating Skaneateles, Split Rock and Jordan. Outstanding players were Ralph Lanceros, Jimmy Row and the Szczech brothers, Joe and John.

For the rest of the 1940-41 season.

Most items are from stories in the Syracuse Herald-Journal
and its Sunday edition, the Herald-American.
 
For more on Solvay way back when, check ou
the Solvay-Geddes Historical Society
 
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