Top Songs of 1964; #9

beatles-love-me-doThe Beatles were back on the top of the record charts again in 1964. This time it was their song “Love Me Do.” This song featured John Lennon on the harmonica.  The song was originally one that Paul had a few years before but was finally put together with John and recorded in September 1962.

The song was to be at the top of the charts for only one week each on the Cash Box chart (May 17 – 24) and the Billboard Hot 100 chart ( (May 24 – 30)..

The Beatles have an Official website that also includes a link to download songs from iTunes. (Beatles songs can not be downloaded from Amazon.)

Old News – May Festival at Brockport

More news from the past. This time a festival at Brockport Normal school, now SUNY Brockport.


Thursday, May 14, 1914



The Color Day Special on Friday, the 15th, has the right of way. This is the running order for this week. Every one is enthusiastically doing his best to make this one of the great days in the history of the school. The local weather man, Mr. Beaman, is being besieged with requests to grant us fair skies and warm breezes for that day; thus far he has been very noncommittal. He wishes us to remember the beautiful day he gave us on May first and assures us that Brockport Normal has not a monopoly of all the good weather. However the committee knows by experience that he has a tender heart and so feels confident that Friday will be all that heart could wish for in the way of weather. At any rate, rain or shine, it is always pleasant at the Normal, and in case of rain the celebration will be held in the gymnasium.

The program for the May Festival that will he held on the campus at two o’clock is printed below. The gymnasium is being decorated, under the supervision of Miss Marsden, with the school colors in preparation for the Color Day dance at 8:30. Dossenbach’s orchestra of ten pieces will furnish music for the dance.

The committee especially calls attention to the wonderful exhibition of baseball that will be given immediately after the close of the May Festival and before the regular ball game begins. For this special exhibition the committee, at great expense, has been able to secure the services of the most remarkable battery in the game today. Pitted against them will be found three of the world’s most marvelous wielders of the club. Some day you will be able to tell your grandchildren that you saw this most marvelous and mystifying exhibition.

The program of the Day follows:


  1. Decorating the May Queen’s Throne
  2. Chorus—”Cornish May Song” – Music by the School Orchestra.
    Crowning the May Queen
  3. Maypole Dance
  4. Morris Dancers
  5. Flower Drill
  6. Pantomime—”King Alfred and the Cakes”
    Alfred, King of England — — Henry Moon
    Earl Ethelred — — Spencer Gooding
    A. Minstrel — — Frederick Stout
    Goodwife — — — Margaret Ryan
  7. May Walk and English Ribbon Dance
  8. Chorus—”School Song

The Annual Training School exhibit from three o’clock until five.

At four o’clock — Baseball Game.

The Annual Color Day Dance in the Gymnasium at half past eight, the music will be furnished by Dossenbach’s Orchestra.

After the dance cars leave for Rochester City Line and for the West at one o’clock.

Talk on American Songs

Michael Lasser

Michael Lasser

This Tuesday evening  (May 13) at 7 p.m. in the Greece Town Hall is a talk by Michael Lasser on “America’s Songs: The Great American Songbook Michael is a lecturer, writer, broadcaster, critic, and teacher.  A graduate of Dartmouth College, he is the former theater critic for The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle and CITY Newspaper, host of WXXI’s Fascinatin’ Rhythm and for 30 years has spoken at museums and universities around the country. Michael’s talk includes the songs that he discusses.

Between 1900 and 1950, an unequaled number of great songwriters from Irving Berlin and George Gershwin to Cole Porter and Richard Rodgers produced an also unequaled body of song that has come to be known as the Great American Songbook. Most of the songs were collaborations between composers and lyricists. Collaboration, it turns out, isn’t much different from a marriage. Like every marriage it comes complete with stories to tell. The stories are sometimes funny, sometimes unsettling, but universally they give us some insight into something that fascinates almost everybody: the making of a successful popular song.

Autographed copies of Michael’s books, American Songs. Volume I & II will be available for sale at the conclusion of the program. Volume I is $33.00, Volume II is $30.00 or both for $56.00.

The public is welcome. Reservations are not necessary. Greece Historical Society members are free. A $2.00 donation is appreciated from others.

Top Songs of 1964; #8

The next song to hit the top of the record charts was “My Guy” by Mary Wells. The song was written by Smokey Robinson and it would become Mary’s biggest hit. The short intro borrows the theme from the old song”Canadian Sunset.

Mary Wells was one of the first big stars for Motown Records. After “My Guy” she recorded an album of duets with Marvin Gaye that was a hit. But arguments with Motown had Mary leaving the record company in 1965. After that Mary’s career fizzled. She would died in 1992 of cancer at age 49.

My Guy” was the number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for the weeks of May 10 – 23. It was the top song on the Cash Box chart for only the week of May 24 – 30.

Download Mary Wells’ songs (for a small fee) from Amazon.

Poorhouse Cemetery

poorhouse-1On July 25, 1984 a bulldozer working on terracing land in Highland Park unearthed some bones.  The operator immediately stopped working and the coroner was called. He determined that they were very old bones and that there were many burials. That first day they uncovered ten adults and two children.

A team of archaeologists headed by the Rochester Museum and Science was enlisted to remove the graves. Their team included some amateurs and college students that would work over the next few months at digging out the remains. They used small brushes, trowels and Q-tips to carefully remove each bone of the skeleton. Over 1000 photographs of the work in progress were also taken.

Someone phoned me in September to tell me about the site and when I got there I was able to stand near the graves. You could see the outline of decayed wood that had been the coffin around the skeleton. I got talking with a gentleman that was from RMSC and he explained by taking off a layer of soil they could see where graves were located because the replaced dirt was mixed. He also said that had found remains of fence posts that had at one time surrounded the cemetery.

The next day after my visit the story of the cemetery was published in the local newspaper. I went back to the site a couple of days later and the area was completely fenced off so no one could get as close as I was a few days earlier.

Research by the Monroe Historian and others indicated that the cemetery was one that was used by the Monroe County Poorhouse that was first located next to the cemetery in 1826. A penitentiary was also added to the site in 1854. No records of the burials were ever located.

Altogether 305 skeletons were removed. Only those graves that needed to be removed for the work being done on the park were removed. Estimates from 500 to 900 more are still buried there in the park based on a size of 125 by 175 feet for the whole cemetery.

Some of the burials were in neat rows and others were askew. Some graves were only under a foot of soil and others were down eight feet. One grave had 4 burials, on top of each other. Those were probably 4 people that all died the same day. None of the burials had shoes. Few graves had any possessions. Only a few buttons, a 1850 German coin and a crucifix were recovered.

It appears that the cemetery was used up to 1863 when burials from the Poorhouse began being recorded in the records of Mt. Hope Cemetery and as buried there.

poorhouse-boulderA preliminary study was done at RMSC and some of the bones were found to contain arthritis, rickets and signs of malnutrition. One middle-aged man had both legs removed. In the 1800s the pPorhouse and penitentiary were located in the Town of Brighton (but now part of Rochester). There are  early vital record for Brighton that include death at the Poorhouse  for 1847 – 1850 (see this web page). Those records don’t indicate where the people were buried but it seems very likely that most were buried in this cemetery. One of the deaths is Adoniram Perkins who died on 4 June 1848 from the amputation of his legs. Is he the burial that was found without legs? We will never know for sure.

Newspaper accounts of 1984 say that the remains would be buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery within the year. Instead, I found out that the remains were sent to the University of Buffalo medical center where much more extensive testing was done. There they remained for ten years when the remains were returned to Rochester and buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.

A boulder was later placed in Highland Park to the memory of those buried in the cemetery. Again, it would make you think that all the burials have been removed but that is not the case. The bolder is located south of Highland Ave. and north of the Vietnam Veteran Memorial. For the next couple of weeks, during the Lilac Festival you can find the boulder behind the Nick Tahou’s food truck.

Click on any picture to enlarge

Click on any picture to enlarge

Old News – Fairport Schools


Fairport, NY

Wednesday, May 6, 1914


rainbow-bros-1914The schools were closed Friday and teachers were in Brockport attending a meeting of the Monroe County Teachers’ association, as guests of Brockport Normal school. The teachers of Orleans county were guests of the Monroe County teachers at that time and place. Those from the two counties made a gathering of 1200 teachers and members of the board of education.

Miss Alto Ellis, a graduate of Oswego Normal, now teaching in Pulaski, has been engaged to fill the vacancy in the seventh and eighth grades on the North side, and Miss Mary S. Aldrich, a graduate of Geneseo Normal, now teaching in Innwood, L. I., for the third and fourth grades, North side.

The prize speaking contest will be held Friday, May 29. More definite announcements will be made later.

New tennis courts on the campus are under construction. This will make a valued addition to the play grounds.

Arbor day exercises will be held Friday morning and the annual field day for the High school will be held on the school grounds in the afternoon. The seniors are planning to plant a maple tree.

Fairport base ball team defeated the Geneva High School at a game played on the local grounds last Saturday afternoon with a score of 6 to 1. The game was well played by both sides and the Geneva boys left in Fairport a reputation of clean manhood and sportsmanlike conduct. It is this kind of a team with which we like to play..

Our baseball team this year promises to have a very successful season. We feel that it is an asset to the school and to the village to have such a team. The management appreciate support given by the towns people and ask that most loyal support may be given them during the remainder of the season, in the interest of clean athletics in the High school.

Top Songs of 1964; #7

After months of The Beatles controlling the top of the record charts in 1964, someone was to break their streak. It wasn’t a rock song. It was “Hello, Dolly!” by Louis Armstrong and the All Stars. The play “Hello, Dolly” opened on January 16, 1964 in New york City. The month before the play opened, Louis Armstrong did his recording to the theme song to help promote the play.

Louis Armstrong had a long career as both a trumpet player and vocalist. His first recording was in 1923 with the Creole Jazz Band. “Hello, Dolly!” was the biggest hit of his career. Armstrong won a Grammy Award for the song and it was also the Grammy song of the year. Louis would take his final bow in 1971 at aged 69.

Hello, Dolly!” would only be on the top of the Billboard Hot 100 record chart for the week of May 3 – 9. Then it would be on the top of the Cash Box record chart for just the week May 10 – 16, 1964.

Download Louis Armstrong songs (for a small fee) from

Spring Flooding

Spring is late this year. Usually in March and early April comes flooding around Monroe County. Both Black and Oatka Creeks on the west side of Monroe County regularly go over their banks. On the east side of Monroe County is Irondequoit Creek which every few years floods the area around Panorama Plaza in Penfield, That is where Allen’s Creek flows into Irondequoit Creek. Plus the plaza sits at the bottom of a valley.

flood-1965At one time the Genesee River would overflow the banks into downtown Rochester. The picture on the right shows one of the worse floods ever recorded; that of 1865 (click for a larger view). There is small dam on the river that is south of Court Street in downtown. Still, the river would overflow every few years into downtown causing varying amounts of damage. That was to finally end in 1952 when the Mt. Morris dam in Letchworth Park (Wyoming Co.) was completed in 1952. That would add control to the amount of water that comes down the river toward Rochester. In June 1972, Hurricane Agnes took a turn inland and hit the Pennsylvania – New York border hard. There was so much rain in a short period that water came to within about 10 feet of the top of Mount Morris Dam. The Dam did its job and flooding was minimal in Rochester.

For more flooding pictures, go to the picture pages of the Monroe Co. GenWeb and put “flood” in the search box.

Vandalism in Batavia Cemetery

Photo by WGRZ-TV

Photo by WGRZ-TV

Twenty five tombstones were toppled over the weekend of April 5-6 in the Elmwood Cemetery on Harvester Ave. in Batavia, NY. Then it happened again over last weekend with 29 more tombstones being damaged. Superintendent of the cemetery, Steven Davis, had just finished repairing the tombstones damaged the first time.  Mr. Davis has been the superintendent for over 20 years and hasn’t had vandalism cases this close together.

Police regularly make trips through the cemetery at night and have added more patrols since the first incident. Currently the police do not have any suspects.

The cemetery board is considering either putting lights in the cemetery or adding video cameras to stave off future cases of vandalism.

Old News – Penfield


Fairport, NY

Thursday, April 30, 1914


This week Saturday evening, May the 2nd, will occur the regular meeting of the Penfield Grange. The evening will be in charge of Mrs. C. B. Rogers, Rev. James Moss will give an address on “Our Obligations.”

Click for a larger view of this ad

Click for a larger view of this ad

On Friday evening of this week, the annual meeting of the Monroe County Teachers’ Association will be held at the State Normal school at Brockport. The teachers of Orleans county are to be guests of the Monroe Association on that day. There will be no session in the local schools.

The Mothers’ Circle of the grove district, will hold its meeting next week Tuesday afternoon at the home of Mrs. Henry Kubitz.

At the last meeting of the W. C. T. U., Miss Reba Nichols and Mrs. Leutweiler were chosen as delegates to the county spring institute to be held at Spencerport, May 27th and 28th.

Mrs George Vogt is in charge of sending of a barrel of literature for seamen to which anyone wishing to do so, may contribute. The organization of a Bad of Mercy was also discussed.

George Payne and children are ill of the measles.

The Pirates of Penzance, a comic opera in two sets, will be given by the Webster Musical and Dramatic Club, Friday evening, May the 8th, at 8:15, in the town hall, for the benefit of the Vincent class of the M. E. church. The following is the cast of characters: Richard, a pirate chief, C. R. Averill; Samuel, his lieutenant, P. J. Smith; Frederick, a pirate apprentice, E. J. Weeks; Major General Stanley of the British Army, J. R. Hawley; Edward, a sergeant of police, Robert Connal; General Stanley’s daughters, Miss Hilfilker, Miss Stilwell, Miss Dressen, Miss Hoffman, Miss Newell; Ruth, a piratical “Maid of all Work”, Miss Olive Gaston. These are assisted by a chorus of pirates and policeman of twenty voices. This opera was given two nights in Webster and was given two nights in Webster and was greatly appreciated.

At the social of the Baptist Juniors, the following officers were elected: President, Duncan Grant; treasurer. Hervey Park; secretary, Arthur Dumras; chairman of the membership committee, Irene Vanderzell; chairman of the lookout committee, Russell Rapp; flower committee, Miriam Park.