Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Deansboro Band

In May, 1927, a group of enthusiastic and enterprising musicians met in the Deansboro Garage for the purpose of organizing what they called the Deansboro Community Band. This energetic group, consisting of young men from all over the Town of Marshall, treated the residents of Deansboro to a concert every Tuesday. Harry Goodson remembers that these concerts, for the most part, were performed on the back of a flatbed truck in front of the general store and were called Open Air concerts. Soft drinks, hot dogs, and ice cream were sold; and Art Sanders' grandmother popped a lot of popcorn which Art sold for a nickel a bag. On a good night, he made as much as $5.00!People either stood around, listened and applauded; or sat in their cars and honked their horns with appreciation after each number

Concerts were also held on the front lawns of many homeowners. Eleanor Dawes met her husband Bob at an open air concert in front of the Dean Homestead. He was from Clinton, so you see the band had a wide audience. They also held concerts in the Maccabee Hall, in Oriskany Falls, in the village park in Clinton, for the Paris Hill Fair and the Vernon Fair, and Waterville. The band also furnished music on past Memorial Days.

Of course, this was not the first band out of Deansboro: there is evidence there was a band as early as 1898, but nothing much can be found out about this. The later band had at least two directors: Harry M. Williams of Utica; and John Albrecht, formerly with the famous Sousa band, also of Utica. In addition, there were bylaws and officers: president, R.E. Thayer; vice president, Peter Klotzbach; secretary, O.E. Buckingham; treasurer Walter Steinmann; manager I. Weaver; librarian Raymond Thayer. At its inception, the band had 21 members, rising to 30 over the years. The picture below shows the band, but the date is unknown. Since it went from 1927 until 1941 (the last instance I could find of the Deansboro Band), most likely the personnel changed from year to year. Donald Bennett was a frequent soloist.

The concert usually consisted of a mix of classical music and favorites of the time. An example of the music offered by the Deansboro band was detailed in a Utica Daily Press article from 1931. The program included the following selections: "Cruiser Omaha (a march) by King; Stilly Night by Huff; "Empyream" by Hayes; "Sunset Limited" by Holmes; "Over the Stars" by King; "Golden Book  Medley" by Kroyman; "Under the Double Eagle" by Wagner; "I'm Happy When You're Happy"; "Officer of the Day"; and "America," which concluded every concert.

The Deansboro Band also sponsored field days. The first was in 1929, which drew more than 2000 people to the hamlet. There was a parade in the morning with floats, decorated bicycles and decorated cars, a ball game in the afternoon, and a dance at Maccabee Hall in the evening. Subsequent field days were just as popular, including more attractions such as a time race, a hill climb, horseshoe tournaments, and a boxing match but always ending with dancing. To express their appreciation to the many neighboring villages which supported the field days, the band performed concerts in those villages which were well received, the band being referred to as "wide awake," "a pleasure to listen to," "delightful," and with "excellent musicianship."

UPDATE: As a famous broadcaster used to say, "This is the rest of the story."  Dorothy McConnell has provided me with the following transcript of her interview with Art Sanders regarding the Deansboro Band:

"With the ending of World War I, many communities began organizing special monthly parades of returning soldiers with floats and marching  bands. Later, by saving the parades, floats, and marching for big holidays, the band developed the idea of a semi-permanent concert, usually on a Friday or Saturday evening. In the early 1920s Deansboro's musicians gathered on the steps of Pete Klotzbach's meat market and Ben's Smith barber shop to play a few rousing marches on Friday evenings - heavy on the drums. Soon, cars full of parents and children started parking along the roads;  and at the end of each piece, there would be applause and the honking of horns.

I think Don Williams made the first wooden platform in sections, and the saw horses to support it. The location was moved across the road, to the small grassy area just outside the big iron fence around the Hovey place on the corner (the Dean Homestead), in front of the big chestnut tree. Flood lights were provided with power from the Deansboro Hotel. Don later made a larger folding band stand with wheels so it could be moved, and it was stored in the horse sheds behind the Methodist Church." (Note: a 1936 article in the Utica Observer-Dispatch mentions that "members  of the band will occupy a portable platform aboard a motor truck."  Could Mr. Williams have made that as well?)

"For many years, Deansboro owned Friday evening and these band concerts brought together lots of people. It was a two-hour event, with the presentation of returning soldiers, news of sick or injured neighbors, something introductions of instrumental soloists or singers, and ads for local business who underwrote the expenses of the concerts. Earlier, hand held megaphones were used until someone donated an electric amplifier. Talented band leaders probably enjoyed the challenge of working with musicians who enjoyed playing together but had no time for rehearsals."

Perhaps this band was the precursor to the organized 1927 band?

Dorothy adds: The committee for the 1931 band concert was: General Committee: Peter Klotzbach, Ralph Moore, Roy McMullen, and Clark Shaver. Parade Committee: Clarence Bunt, Charles Pierce and Art Pughe. Hill Climb (for cars!): Del Pamiter, Gardner Hart, Hardie Sanders. Baseball: Jay Davis, C.F. Ingersoll.

Many thanks to Bill Kennard for the Deansboro Band memorabilia and memories!

Left to right rear: Walter Bennett, Unknown, Charles Pierce, Dr. Lynn McConnell, Unknown, Donald Bennett, Warren Nelson, Jay Davis, Douglas Weaver, DeForest Ingersoll.
Left to right front: Unknown, Charles Seals, Unknown, Art Pughe, Bill Grannis. Carl Anyan, Unknown, Bill Niles, Unknown, Harry Williams, Director

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Deansboro Library

Early on, a 500-book Library was housed in the Deansboro High School on West Hill Road, now the home of the Ruias. It was called the John C. Dean Library. The school, and the library, burned in 1931.

In 1932, the Waterville Public Library formed branch libraries in Deansboro and Stockwell. The rules, established by the State Department of Education, stated that "each community (should) form a small local committee, choosing one member to act as 'librarian' in a...private home. No payment of rent is allowed, book shelves and cases must be donated, and there is no salary." The library in Deansboro was located in Daisy Pughe's living room on Main Street.  Eleanor Dawes remembers going there to borrow books. One of the Waterville school teachers, Marion Shaver Dixon, used to bring books from the Waterville Library to the Deansboro Library.

In 1949, Eloise and Floyd Harrington (later, following the death of Mr. Harrington, Eloise Beerhalter) of the Dean Homestead offered the use of the annex of their home, which was the office of a former owner, William Hovey, who kept his records there. Eleanor Dawes was one of the first librarians, followed by Marion Pughe, Laura Eisenhut, and  Jeanette Kennard.  Lynda Harrington Williams was the first paid librarian in 1961. Ellen MacLeod took over in 1962, working summers and school vacations, with Ann MacLeod as her substitute.

In 1965, the Mid-York Library service, which was chartered in 1960, urged Waterville to join the service. Strong pressure was put on the Waterville Library Board, and it was decided to become a member. Deansboro needed to expand, however, and the Water Board offered the use of the second floor of their building (the post office was on the first floor, which used to house the Barton Hose Company). Many volunteers helped to paint, paper and get the upstairs room ready for opening. The Cub Scouts were organized to help.  An oak table from Hattie Patterson was loaned as a study table, and six chairs came from the Waterville school. Art Sanders cut off the legs of a round table to make a table for the children. Small chairs were obtained, a rocking chair was given and drapes from Maccabee Hall were donated.  Mid-York Library offered books for loan, and all was ready for a reception to celebrate the opening in July, 1965. That year also saw a 20% increase in circulation.

Ann MacLeod took over full time in 1966. In 1976 she moved to Clinton, and Joanne Bolan became librarian until she went to work full time. Ann came back in 1977 and worked until 1980.
The Library was moved when the former Deansboro Grade School (later WCS kindergarten) was sold to the Town of Marshall for $1.00 in the fall of 1975, and the building became the Town Hall. In 1980, Florence Oser from Knoxboro succeeded Ann MacLeod,  assisted by Janet Dangler. Florence retired in 1988, and was succeeded in 1989 by Fern Biederman, assisted by Chris Johnson. Fern also retired, and in 1992, Bonnie Lewis, assisted by Sharon Bennett, became the library director. Bonnie also had as an assistant Pat Shay, who succeeded her in 1997.

In 1996, the Town Hall, including the library, underwent extensive renovations, and library was closed from August to November. New shelving was put up, new windows and carpeting were installed, and an expanded children's room was implemented.  An open house was held in January, 1997.

Jacque Roys was librarian briefly in 2006; then Pat Shay took over with Anna Falin as her assistant.  When Pat moved, Margie Wilson, from the Waterville Public Library, and Anna were fixtures there. We can't forget Mary Ann Ford and Nancy Cali, who were always there: volunteers extraordinaire. There was a busy Friends of the Library group who instigated the Election Day Book Sale, with raffle baskets to benefit the library. The Book Sale and raffle go on, with a bake sale added.

In 2009, the Waterville Library Trustees held a public meeting at the Marshall Town Hall to discuss the future of the Deansboro branch and bring to the public's attention the problem that circulation in Deansboro was way down. They gave Deansboro a year to bring it up; that didn't happen, and in August, 2010, the Trustees voted to close the branch.

However, a group of dedicated volunteers, realizing that a library is an integral part of any community, resolved to keep the library going, so the library was not closed at all during that time. The Library is called the Deansboro Library and Reading Center, and is staffed entirely by volunteers. They are, from 2010 to present:
Sharon Bennett        Ann Koester                                   The library hours are:
Fern Biederman       Gloria Lollman                               Monday-6-8
Gail Blau                  Anna Rae Martin                           Tuesday-2-4
Joanne Bolan            Cassandra Martin                          Wednesday-1-3
Janet Dangler            Alice Yoxall                                 Thursday-9:30-11:30
Lori Dunn                                                                        Friday-9:30-11:30 & 2-4
Rose Evans
Anna Falin
Dave Georgius
Betty Hughes
Ann MacLeod, librarian in 1973, at the drop box of the Deansboro Library

From fifth and sixth grade classroom...
...to a library (1996)

 Every year the library holds and Book Fair at Barns and Noble, and a percentage of that day's sales goes to the Deansboro Library and Reading Center, after a certain amount is reached.  That enables the library to furnish books upon request. Many times there is a best-seller on the shelves in Deansboro that may be on hold at other libraries. Customer service is available at all libraries, but is unique in Deansboro.