On this date: Hurricane Agnes hits Dansville Area

June 20, 1972

When, in June 1972, the remnants of Hurricane Agnes paid a surprise visit to Upstate New York, the results were comparable to the great flood of 1935. Although the Kanakadea Dam protected the city of Hornell, other Southern Tier cities and villages–Corning, Elmira, Wellsville, Canisteo, Alfred, Almond–were subjected to major flooding from rivers choked by the 10 inches of rain that fell in three days. At least one drowning victim was reported in Corning. One can only speculate how the absence of the 20-year-old Mt. Morris Dam would have compounded Livingston County damage. As it was, nervous Army Engineers felt compelled to release some of the pent-up waters, flooding croplands in low-lying areas.
In Dansville, the flooding of Mill Creek forced the evacuation of Quay Street and the Tracy trailer court (where three trailers were swept away). A bridge at Stone’s Falls was washed out, taking a house and trailer with it. At Comminsville the overflow of Canaseraga Creek caused $750,000 in damage at Foster Wheeler, as it ran across Route 36, sent a foot of water across the parking lots, flooded the basement, and deposited 6 inches of silt in the Tube Shop. Cleaning out the shop required the borrowing of several high- pressure hoses from the fire department, and the efforts of some 300 local volunteers. Not so easily fixed was the damage done to crops and nursery stock in the Flats area, damage estimated in the millions.

These first two paragraphs come from a newspaper column series titled ” Dansville Turns 200″ that ran from 1992 till 1996 in the Genesee Country Express by David Gilbert.  David is  the curator of the Dansville Area Historical Society museum.

header GCE June 29 1972

image 1 GCE June 29 1972

Foster Wheeler employees returned to their jobs this week.  Their tools these days are high rubber boots, shovels, brooms and mops.

The parking lot was flooded again Monday morning — with cars instead of water.

The massive job of cleaning up tons of sludge and debris is expected to continue throughout the week. Help there Saturday and Sunday was on voluntary basis by employees. Now full wages are being paid by the firm.

A. J. Timmes, local works manager, said full assessment of damage and loss cannot be made until about a couple of weeks. Investigation into extent of electrical damage was started Monday. One of the most costly projects is inspection of materials covered with mud.  “Every piece of tubing will have to be flushed and treated,” he said.

image 2 GCE June 29 1972

Timmes estimated damage at the cafeteria alone at between $50,000 and 160,000 and stated the entire area will have to be completely redone. He called last week’s flood “the worst in the history of the Dansville plant.”


On this date: American Legion buys old Baptist Church

April 4, 1938


Daniel Goho Post 87 of the American Legion in Dansville, New York was established on June 16, 1919 during its organizational meeting.  The constitution was written and an application for a charter was signed by 39 men.  This was the first post in Livingston County, NY.  At that time they had no place to call home as meetings and other events were held in various building around the village.  Sponsored events included high school concerts, Boys State program, Scholarships, American Legion Baseball and Boy Scouts.Baptist Church 1910

In 1938 they found a home of their own when they purchased the abandoned Baptist Church at 34 Elizabeth Street for $500 owed in village taxes.  After renovations done mostly by Legionnaires the new quarters was dedicated on July 18, 1938.

American Legion Elizabeth Street 1

On this date: Dansaire Corp. builds first (and last) airplane

Jan. 26, 1947

Dansaire Corporation, which had settled in Dansville, hoped to make Dansville the home of the first real “family-type” plane.  It was called the Dansaire Coupe.

Assembly of the airplane was completed Jan. 10, and on that day the engine was run for the first time. Since that time numerous taxi runs and several minor adjustments and alterations have been made.

Dansaire Coupe at Airport 1947

Dansaire Corporation believed their new plane—the Dansaire Coupe—had corrected many of the things inherently wrong with the small personal plane.  The loudest objections to small planes have been the cramped, small cabins and the difficulty getting in and tout of these cabins. This difficulty is experienced mostly by women and admitted by some men.  Most small personal planes preclude a man from taking his wife and child on trips because of lack of seating space. And tiny baggage compartments limit the amount of luggage permissible for week-end trips.

Dansaire Corporation was to put on the market a personal plane which had corrected all these inconveniences and therefore must appeal to the whole family.  It would offer (1) a large roomy seat up-front, wide enough for three grown people; (2) a door, larger than most car doors (45 Inches high and 50 inches wide), to permit getting into and out of the cabin with ease, and (3) a baggage compartment large enough to meet the needs of a family or the needs of a golfing threesome, golfbags and all!

As reported in the Dansville Breeze on Jan 23, 1947 Mr. White, president said plans are being made at the present time to exhibit the Dansaire Coupe at the New York Aviation Show to be held in New York City the first week in February.  Publicity released in connection with this show will spread the name of Dansaire and Dansville from coast to coast, Mr White added.

Dansaire NY Aviation Show 2-47

Following CAA licensing of the plane for experimental flights, the red and creme plane made several trial flights.  A Bell Aircraft Corporation test pilot was at the controls.  The plane was disassembled  and shipped to the National Air Show in New York City and was then trucked to New York City by W. B. Griswold.

George White, also announced that the public was being invited to a showing and demonstration of the new Dansaire Coupe, at Dansville Municipal Airport Sunday, March 23, 1947.

On this date: Tractor trailer crashes into Maxwell House Coffee Shop

January 18, 1961

Genesee County Express
January 19, 1961

Signs at the top of Wayland Hill warning truck drivers to shift to lower” gear before descending apparently are not the solution to the run-away truck problem.

For the second time in less than six months death and destruction rode a truck down Wayland Hill into Dansville shortly before noon.  Whereas fate had stayed death’s hand on the previous trip, this time it was allowed at least one victim. Killed in the spectacular crash which demolished two Main St buildings was Kenneth R. Sutphin, 23, of Rising Sun, Md. driver of the tractor trailer carrying a 20-ton load of galvanized steel sheets.

Maxwell House Coffee Shop Jan 18 1961

Eye Witness Accounts of Crash

BY LEE SCHUSTER (Clement Leo Schuster)

“I was only a few inches from that truck. Thank the Lord I’m still here. I had my hand on the front door of the restaurant and was starting out when I saw the truck coming.

I guess I must have jumped back into that little coat room by the door as the truck came smashing through.  “I don’t remember anything else until it was all over. The cab and trailer shot right by me—only inches away—taking the doorway with it. Flying glass, I guess, gave me this small cut on the cheek and my glasses have a small chip. It was miraculous that it missed me. How do you explain a thing like this “First thing I thought of was Doris Conway who had gone out just ahead of me. I understand she saw the truck coming, grabbed her children and ran toward the bank I guess she is pretty upset—so am I, it came so close.”


“I was having coffee in the restaurant and all of a sudden there was an explosion — at least it sounded like one. I thought an airplane had crashed into the building. I didn’t see the cab at all, when I looked up, just the trailer. “I looked down and Irving Anderson of Swains was on the floor. I picked him up and then went over to see if anyone was under the trailer. Gas was running out but there was no one there. I later learned Anderson had a broken ankle. He said it probably was broken when the explosion—that’s the only way to describe it—knocked him off his stool.

“There was complete confusion in the restaurant. I heard Doris Conway screaming in the back of the building. She had gone out the front door with her children only moments before the crash and must have walked around back. I called her husband, Bob, and he came right down. She was really shook up — that truck must have just missed her and the kids. Everything was confusion. It was terrible.”


“That’s the third one I’ve witnessed and I don’t want to see any more. Another 15 seconds and I’d have been clobbered myself. I had just delivered the mail in the Grant store and was on my way to the Dansville Auto Parts store when I saw this truck come shooting down the street dragging this car (Reilly’s) right alongside it. It just seemed that the car was dragging it toward the curb. There was an awful explosion as it struck the coffee shop. I didn’t think that poor driver could ever get out of that alive. It was awful. Why doesn’t the state do something?”


“I was lucky. My car was parked just a couple doors down the street from the restaurant and I had just pulled away from the parking meter when people started running up Main St. I heard a crash, I ran back and the truck had smashed through the two stores. I got out just in time.”

Hospital Lists Richard Reilly As ‘Critical’

Reilly trapped in car at Maxwell House Coffee Shop Jan 18 1961Most seriously injured of the four living victims is Richard Reilly, 46, of 8 Hessier Ct. whose condition is listed as “critical” by Dansville Memorial Hospital authorities. Reilly was driver of one of the four vehicles smashed in the crash. Reilly’s injuries are listed as fractured ribs and collarbone and a possible punctured lung. His car was demolished. Witnesses said the truck apparently out of control, sped into the village with horn  blaring, passing the Main and Clara Barton Sts. intersection without mishap.

Before reaching the Ossian St. intersection, however, the tractor trailer clipped a truck driven by Anthony Marks of McCurdy Rd. The driver then swerved left in attempt to avoid the Reilly car, which was making a left turn into Ossian St. After that collision the truck smashed into a parked car owned by Dr. Angelo M. Carlucci of Sonyea.

The truck, dragging the Reilly vehicle along with it, careened about 300 feet down Main, jumped the curb, plowed into the front of the Maxwell House Coffee Shop and through a wall into the Dansville Auto Parts store where a heavy upright beam halted its structive progress.

Before jumping the curb near the restaurant, the truck rammed and demolished another parked car owned by Walter Sorg of 7 Clay St. Reilly’s vehicle caught on the corner of the restaurant as the truck crashed into the Maxwell House Coffee Shop followed by the Dansville Auto Parts.

 Dansville Breeze
Jan. 24, 1961

We Need Action It is high time the collective voice of a frightened and terrorized Dansville be heard in Albany or in some city where lies the responsibility for eliminating the curse of runaway trucks on Wayland Hill. The death toll from runaway trucks now stands at five. Why the number is not 55 only God knows.

On this date: United Methodist Church dedicated

November 8, 1877

The dedication ceremony presided by Bishop Jessie T. Peck for the United Methodist Church on Chesnut Street was held on Nov. 8, 1877.  The cornerstone was laid on Aug. 29, 1876, and after a year and a half, it was completed at a cost of $18,000.  The first public worship service was held ealier that yean on September 13.

Circa 1910

On Nov, 3, 2012 Dansville United Methodist Church celebrated its 200th anniversary with a special service Saturday evening as about 100 people, including participants, joined together to commemorate the church’s milestone.

Members of the Methodist faith first settled in Dansville in 1812. The first preaching minister was Robert Parker, who moved to Sparta in 1805. Parker recognized the need to build a church building and began to raise the necessary funds.  Less than $1,000 was secured and the church was commenced. The church was erected on the public square, a short distance south of the present location of Dansville Presbyterian Church. The church’s congregation continued to grow and remained there for nearly 50 years.  In the year 1876, the old church became too small and dilapidated, and so it was decided to build a new brick church on Chestnut Avenue.

On this date: Our Home on the Hillside opens

October 1, 1858

James Caleb Jackson along with his staff open a new water cure in Dansville , NY on east hill over looking the village.   Even though previous owners never had much success in this unfinished three story facility, Jackson’s was hopefull that this would change.  Jackson had great results elsewhere to build upon prior to opening Our Home on the Hillside.  And those great results would continue on with new patients that came from hundreds of mile away to be treated here.

On this date: Genesee Valley Canal closes

September, 30 1878

The Genesee Valley Canal opened in 1840 and was officially closed on September 30, 1878

Starting in Rochester, NY, the Genesee Valley Canal extended along the valley of the Genesee from the N. bounds of Livingston Co. to Mt.Morris; thence it turns S.E. to Coshaqua Creek and up the valley of that stream of Nunda, and thence S.W. to the Genesee at Portage, where it cross the river upon a wood aqueduct supported by stone piers. The Dansville Branch Canal extends from Mt.Morris S.E. to Dansville, NY.

On this date: Kings Daughters Home opened

September 24, 1919

Kings Daughters Home in Dansville, NY was an assisted living facility for older independent adults for more than 90 years.  Over the years many of school children from Dansville Central School would sing Christmas carols from the staircase while the residents would surround them on the first floor near the tree.  Friends and family would also go trick-or-treating during Halloween.  However in the spring 2011 the King’s Daughters Home would be forced to close due to lack of money to operate sufficiently and was auctioned off on September 19th 2012.  A separate auction for contents will be held on October 8, 2012.

26 Health Street
Dansville, New York 14437

Originally built as Dansville Seminary to provide a higher education for older children, this 3 story brick building was finished in 1860 at a cost of $12,000.  In 1890, the new Owner Dr. George L. Ahlers along with Dr. Frederick R. Driesbach converted it into the Dansville Medical & Surgical Hospital, which would be the first hospital in town.


On this date: First Dansville Balloon Festival takes off

September 4, 1982

As part of the 9th Annual “Oktoberfest”, the “Greit Oktoberfest Balloon Race” sponsored by James H. Jackson Hose Co., takes off from Babcock Park and Rotary Field in Dansville, NY.  18 colorful Hot Air Balloons sponsored by local businesses listed below.

hot air balloon 2012, NYSFOB, over coop

Wentworth Motors
Dansville Chrysler-Plymouth
Dansville Dodge
Jackson Hose Co.
Channel 10 TV Rochester
Bradley TV, Cable Service
Ideal Lumber and Hardware
Jack's Place
Main Tire Exchange
U. S. Army Recruiting Service
Dansville Auto Parts
Gallery Home Furnishings
First National Bank of Wayland
West Beer Distributors, Lakeville
C & R. Food Service, Mt. Morris
Radio Station WVOR, Rochester
Matthews Buses Inc.
Vitale Bros. Contractors, Geneseo.

August 6, 1982

A thousand air-filled balloons, some carrying gift certificates for prizes, rained down on Main St. Friday, August 6th 1982 after Carroll Teitsworth of Groveland took off in his hot-air balloon from the business district in a promotion for the Dansville Business Association’s annual Sidewalk Days last week. The light was sponsored also by the Jackson Hose Co. to promote its ninth annual Oktoberfest and the first “Greit Oktoberfest Balloon Race” all during Labor Day weekend starting Sept. 3, 1982.

hot air balloon 2012, NYSFOB, over field

The balloon ascension was the first in over 50 years off Main St. when
in 1928 Edgar W. “Red” Allen (twin brother of Edward B. aka Captain Eddie Allen) of Dansville took off on a trapeze bar suspended beneath a prototype of today’s balloon’s.  http://genealogyva.tripod.com/flying/

The Rally in the Valley as it was known since 1987, gained recognition from Albany, NY, and created the New York State Festival of Balloons in 1997.  http://www.nysfob.com/

Photo’s by Michael Cornish (Bath, NY) and Chad Schuster (Dansville, NY)