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Index
All in the Family
 
Tony Kane's last voyage
Tony Kane could have been a character in "Boardwalk Empire."
 
Christmas tragedy
In December, 1929, Leo Major and six other teenagers crammed into a car to buy holiday decorations in Skaneateles for their school. Minutes later tragedy struck.
 
God Struck Out
In 1913, Mickey Major and 17 others were arrested. Their crime? Playing baseball on Sunday.
 
Adventurous job
Andrew Carrigan discovered that being a motorman on the electric railroad had its hazards.
 
Central New York
 
High School Prank
Leads to Death

An annual Auburn High School night of fun and games came to a tragic end in 1915 when the mayor's son crashed his father's car into a tree and killed a friend.
 
It could have been
much worse

It's a miracle only one Marcellus student was killed at the Kirkville train crossing.
 
Tragedy at Putnam's Crossing
Two lives were lost as the result of a spectacular, but perhaps inevitable train-car collision in Jordan, NY, in 1917.
 
Fatal mistake
That's what Joseph Carlucci made when he married his brother's 15-year-old stepdaughter.
 
Coneys and salt potatoes
Our taste buds keep calling us back to comfort food heaven.
 
Have teasels, will travel
Skaneateles farmers once grew weeds on purpose.
 
The French Fort
This re-created piece of history was a childhood fantasyland.
 
Ride an elephant
It's something you no longer can do at the Syracuse zoo.
 
Rattlesnake Gulch
There really is such a place in Central New York.
 
Exasperating landlords
The McCarthy brothers waged frustrating legal battles with Solvay and the city of Syracuse over condemned properties.
 
Welcome to America
Life wasn't easy for many Italian immigrants in the 19th century, but one Syracuse family endured in a fashion that would make an entertaining mini-series.
Sportlight on Solvay
 
Let's flip for it
In 1916, there was a tie in the vote for Solvay village president (as the mayor was called in those days). After considerable discussion of ways to settle the election, it was decided to flip a coin.
 
No escape from work
When old Solvay was the subject of a newspaper story, the treatment the village received was usually unkind. However, in 1918, an anonymous reporter for the Syracuse Herald had Solvay pegged perfectly.
 
The big bang
The 1918 explosion at the Semet-Solvay plant in Split Rock killed at least 50 men. It was one of the worst disasters in local history.
 
Murder on Montrose
Solvay's most compelling story of 1930 was the murder of James Bixby, who woeked as an attendant at a gasoline station at the intersection of West Genesee Street and Montrose Avenue.
 
The original Blob
A dike on the Solvay Process waste beds broke in 1943, and sludge flowed over State Fair Boulevard, ruining Thanksgiving for hundreds of people.
 
Shoot-Out Near St. Cecilia's
In 1910, Black Hand extortionists targeted a young Italian immigrant in Solvay, and the result was a gunfight that nearly wounded a priest hearing confession at St. Cecilia's Church.
 
Casey was everywhere!
Solvay Police Chief Michael Casey was so diligent and hands-on that he seemed to be on the scene no matter when and where a crime was committed. But the man's heart could take only so much. [NEW]
 
More Solvay stories
 
Solvay as a side dish
Boys will be boys
The year was only 10 days and an hour old when one of the 1933's strangest stories unfolded in Syracuse. Smack dab in the middle was a member of one of a prominent Solvay family.
 
From bad to worse
Solvay native Fernando "Freddie" Tagliaferri and his Detroit, Michigan, sweetheart, Elizabeth Martin, had a tumultuous relationship which came to an end that was both tragic and ironic.
 
Tragic blunder
One of the little-known World War 2 disasters was the sinking of a troop ship in the English Channel. Among the 800 victims was Pvt. Vincent Paci from Solvay.
 
Bowling's her game
In 1929 a 9-year-old Solvay girl amazed grown-ups with her ability to knock down pins.
 
He talked a good game
Self-styled "master thief" Arthur Barry made local news in 1929 when his escape from Auburn prison included an emerency stop in Solvay.
Outside interests
 
They're Baaaaaack!
A Kevin Costner-Woody Harrelson Netflix movie, "The Highwaymen," looks at the deaths of Bonne Parker and Clyde Barrow from a different perspective. Here's what we found when we researched the infamous outlaws.
 
The American Princess and her pampered little boy
When multi-millionaire William Bateman Leeds died in 1908, he could not have imagined what kind of lives his money would buy for his widow and their son, William B. Leeds Jr.
 
Before Trump, there was W.E.D. Stokes
Millionaire William Earl Dodge Stokes Sr. had two trophy wives, two ugly divorces, and hundreds of lawsuits. He also built what at the time was considered the fanciest hotel in New York City.
 
Empress of the Galopagos
Eloise Wehrborn de Wagner-Bousquet left Europe in 1932 and settled on an island in the Galapagos, where she tried to set herself up as an empress.Her "reign" was brief, and what happened to her remains a bit of a mystery to this day.
 
Weird man, weird murder
To call Edward Albert Ridley an eccentric is a vast understatement; it was fitting that circumstances surrounding his murder were among the strangest in New York City history.
 
On Safari in Missouri
A man named Denver M. Wright bought two rather docile lions and set the loose on an island as the prey in a ridiculous "safari" he organized in Missouri in 1933.
 
Zion City's Wacky Wizard
Wilbur Glenn Voliva was an evangelist who for several years ruled an Illinois town with the power of a dictator. He also was convinced the world was flat.
 
Those marrying Mdivanis
They passed themselves off as princes, and had little trouble marrying and fleecing rich American women. Along the way, one of the Mdivani brothers married heiress Barbara Hutton.
 
If only he'd skipped Albany
Prohbition-era hitman Leonard Scarnici's downfall began when he was falsely accused of a bank robbery near Albany, NY. When the comedy of errors ended, several thugs were behind bars.
 
Widow dazzled jurors
Jessie Costello, accused of poisoning her husband wrapped an all-male jury around her finger during a much-ballyhooed Massachusetts trial in 1933.
 
Only one avoided tragedy
In the early days of professional baseball there were two infielders with the same name, and while both Sam Cranes were involved in separate scandals, what happened to each man afterward was quite different, as one of them became a highly respected New York City sportswriter.
 
Quit the comparisons
Important as Fleet Walker may have been in the history of black players in professional baseball, he was no Jackie Robinson. If he were, then there would not have been a Jackie Robinson.
     
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