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Capital Region Scrapbook: Glens Falls celebrates memories of people, events of a century

Monday, March 10, 2008
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The 1925 fire at the Rialto Theatre and Hotel attracted hundreds of spectators to downtown Glens Falls.
The 1925 fire at the Rialto Theatre and Hotel attracted hundreds of spectators to downtown Glens Falls.

The people have changed. The places have changed. The village has changed.

Glens Falls, once known as Queensbury’s largest village, celebrates its centennial as a city this year.

Celebrations will include a birthday party featuring cake and ice cream at the Queensbury Hotel on Thursday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. The Chapman Historical Museum on Glen Street will serve photographs.

The museum will open the first of two Glens Falls centennial exhibits on Thursday. “Manufacturing and Commerce” will show off businesses that contributed to the growth and economic well being of the community during the first half of the 20th century. Pictures of places, their proprietors and employees, and examples of advertising and artifacts from the era will be part of the show, which opens at 5:30 p.m.

The museum has thousands of photos in its collection. Faces from the past are a big part of the portfolio, as young high school girls smile in basketball uniforms from 1921. High school graduation photos, portraits of police officers and firefighters and scenes from the seasons also have spots in the Chapman’s computerized scrapbook.

In one, a trolley car stands surrounded by snowbanks on Glen Street after a snowstorm in February 1914. In another, a crowd gathers in front of the Paramount Theater on Ridge Street, ready to see Joan Crawford’s 1946 film “Humoresque.”

Firemen’s tournaments brought big crowds to the city. So did Vice President Richard M. Nixon’s quick visit through the city in 1953.

Sometimes, people looked happy. The folks selling fruit at Charles Hovey’s fruit store — both foreign and domestic types — seem glad to be on the job. But there were some surly faces at Coolidge and Bentley on Glen Street during the late 1800s. A pumpkin pie festival was approaching, and someone had dropped off a load of dark pumpkins. Maybe the guy didn’t leave any pie.

 
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