Mad Hatter

I’ve always worn many hats, figuratively, but seldom wear a hat, literally.

Among my several interests, most are related to cataloging things. For example, I have scanned the yearbook senior photos from several high schools in and around Jamestown. I have lists of seniors, but am limited by those whose photos are in the yearbook. Others are members of the classes, but did not get their pictures taken.

That project includes over 63,000 seniors, which would be extensive enough for any sane person. Not for me. I’m also linking the seniors to their marriages and including birth, marriage, and death information for the seniors and their spouses. That adds another 7,000 entries to the database. I’m still gathering information, and have to computerize a lot of it.

Because I have varied interests (read: short attention span), I work on other projects concurrently. As a result, I get some work done on all of my projects, but never seem to finish anything. One exception: I recently “finished” an inventory of Jamestown’s buildings, past and present. It made me feel good to hand the DVD over to the Fenton, with 15,000 photos or map views of some 10,000 addresses. The DVD includes steamboats, trolleys, and trains. The information will be made available to researchers who visit our Hall House Research Center at 73 Forest Avenue. So, that project is complete, for now. Additional photos will be included as they are uncovered.

In last month’s blog, Norman Carlson studied the Buffalo Grill (Dexterville Tavern). Since that went to press, we now have a copy of the 1940 menu. It’s in the DVD inventory. You could have enjoyed a hamburger for a dime! Most sandwiches were ten-to-fifteen cents; the most expensive meal was the porterhouse steak, at 75 cents. The other side of the menu offered spirits for as low as fifteen cents; the most expensive drink was forty cents.
Am I done yet? Nope. I have a Facebook page called “Chautauqua County Views” on which I share one address per day, along with resident information from eight city directories. My site also includes albums of villages around the county, Chautauqua Institution, and Chautauqua Lake. All are welcome to visit the site and look through the many albums. It should be noted that I use many sources: the Jamestown Assessor’s photos, Google Earth photos, photos from the internet, photos from the Fenton and Chautauqua County History Centers, photos from individuals, etc. If you have old photos to share, I’m always happy to get them.

The Fenton has been working on cataloging old photos. Huh?? That’s right up my alley. Norman Carlson and volunteer John Collins worked diligently to catalog about 55 boxes of photos. I agreed to finish it up (about 8 more boxes). It gives me the chance to complete a project, without having done all of the hard work. The Fenton relies on volunteers such as John. If you have a special interest or just want to be of help, we’d love to have you. Volunteers handle office duties, file items, clean out rooms, straighten shelves, etc.

I believe OUR Fenton is a valuable source of information and history. The fact is, we’re not loaded with money, and our volunteers keep us in business.

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