Johnstown museum remembers days gone by
A sign that could flash a number hung inside the Glove Theatre in downtown Gloversville 50 years ago, next to the clock that advertised WENT radio.
Bob Landrio of Johnstown wrote: “I was told doctors attending a movie would be issued a number and if they had an emergency call the number would illuminate to go to the office.”
Landrio said there frequently was a long line of patrons waiting to get into the theater, “and you learned quickly where and where not to sit. Staying out of firing range of the balcony was a priority, especially with a date!”
Landrio and his wife, Deb, have created the Town Line Museum on Route 29, which remembers the 1950s and ’60s with memorabilia ranging from jukeboxes and arcade games to Pez dispensers. They have turned a building on their property into a replica of a 1962-era gas station, ice cream parlor, barber shop, grocery store and more. They have built the museum over 13 years.
They have a bumper car from Sherman’s Amusement Park in Caroga Lake. The booths in the ice cream parlor once were at Tegeo’s Hot Dogs in Gloversville. The ice cream bar came from Wemple & Edick’s in Sammonsville.
The museum is currently open by appointment only at 762-5853. The Landrios have published a guidebook for the museum, with many pictures, that can be purchased for $12s.
After minor league baseball ended in Amsterdam in the 1950s, town resident Frederick J. Mitchell recalled there was a period when two Amsterdam teams participated in the Schenectady Twilight League, playing home games at what was still Mohawk Mills Park.
There were about eight teams in the Twilight League, which Mitchell recollected existed from 1959 to 1967. One Amsterdam squad was called the Rugmakers, the same name used by the former New York Yankees minor league operation in Amsterdam.
Mitchell said the Rugmakers were mainly college and high school students, in general younger than members of the other Amsterdam team, the Textiles, many of whom had played minor league ball in the area. The Textiles were sponsored by the carpet mill union, the Textile Workers Union of America.
Mitchell wrote: “Both teams enjoyed very good fan support and the attendance in Amsterdam exceeded that of any club from Schenectady. A rivalry developed here, needless to say, but never a bitter one. In fact, most fans supported both entities.”
Mitchell said that at least during one year, two all-star games were played in the Twilight League, one at Schenectady’s Central Park and the other in Amsterdam.
Mitchell said: “At that late game I recall watching a walk off home run sail over the left field screen. It was hit by Billy Connors, who later became a Yankee pitching coach.”
Mitchell added he is grateful to the current collegiate baseball team, the Amsterdam Mohawks, who now play at the refurbished former Mohawk Mills Park.
“Believe me, this is an answer to a prayer,” he said.
The ballpark was renamed Shuttleworth Park to honor the late Herbert Shuttleworth II, the carpet mill executive who at one time headed the Rugmakers in the Canadian-American League and who continued the Mohawk Carpet company practice of financially supporting the ballpark.
In the Twilight League era, Mitchell recalled food and soft drinks were available but not beer. Mitchell said beer was not sold there during the Shuttleworth years, even when the team was the Yankees farm team.
Mitchell said: “The Yankees (who played twice in Amsterdam in the 1940s) were not at all happy with that, so I’ve been told.”
Bob Cudmore is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Reach him at 346-6657 or firstname.lastname@example.org.