Tune in to the new Adirondack Attic radio feature on North Country Public Radio during the 8 o'clock hour local news program. This new series premiered this morning with an interview by Andy Flynn of Adirondack Museum curator Laura Rice as they discussed an 1870s sketchbook.
We applaud this new venture, as we do any focus on local history, and wish Andy and NCPR success.
On Tuesday, July 2, 1968, a fire and explosion at the Malone Novelty Company caused the injury of its owner, Harold Regis and the complete destruction of that business and the nearby St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church.
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Other businesses and residences caught alight as a result of this massive fire, but those were quickly extinguished and the damage was limited to the Malone Novelty Company and St. Joe's. Fire Departments from throughout Franklin County responded with mutual aid and volunteers, National Guard members and members of the county highway department joined the firefighters to direct traffic, control the crowd and generally aid the firefighting operation. The Malone Telegram reported that up to 12 firefighters suffered minor injuries from smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion during the battle to put down the conflagration. Other churches in Malone immediately pledged their support for the St. Joseph's congregation and offered space for church activities in their buildings, and a team of volunteers and clergy entered the burning church to remove several important items.
According to Frederick Seaver (Historical Sketches of Franklin County, New York, 1918), Malone acquired its first fire engine in 1832. "It was operated by a crank on each side, and not more than eight men could work on it at a time. It was back-breaking business when one kept at it long. The water had to be dumped into the box from buckets, and the stream which the pump delivered was small and feeble." (p. 432). Malone has had both volunteer and paid fire departments, and at one point during the 1880s, had multiple hose companies who vied to be the first to appear at a fire, held dances, and competed in firemen's tournaments. In 1890, an electric fire alarm system was instituted and a paid fire service was created with a staffed engine house.
St. Joseph's Church had known calamity prior to the 1968 fire that destroyed its building. Father John McNulty bought the lot at the corner of Main and Rockland Streets in Malone in 1836 and built the first St. Joseph's Church building in 1837. The building was enlarged ca. 1850 but then torn down in 1862 and a new building erected on the same site. In 1870 this new church building caught fire and burned to the ground. A new structure was begun and after one year, with the exterior nearly finished, "a high wind tore off the roof and tumbled two of the walls into ruins." (Seaver, p.484) The building slowly rebuilt, but was not completed enough to be dedicated until 1882. The first settled rector of St. Joseph's, Father Bernard McCabe, died in a fire at the rectory in 1857 that did not significantly damage the rest of the house.
The 1902 articles in the Watertown newspaper featuring the Civil War experience of Malone businessman Thomas Hinds were published in a small book, now available online through Google Books. Although Hinds enlisted in Pennsylvania where he was resident at the time, the narrative is still an interesting one.
This stove in the collection of the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society is currently on display in the House of History museum (school room exhibit):
The stove was made by the Thomas Hinds Foundry in Malone. Thomas Hinds appears (6th from right in back row) in this photo of the Malone Foundry Co. (reorganized in 1883 as the Malone Foundry and Machine Co.).
Prior to 1883, Hinds founded his own business, the Thomas Hinds and Co. foundry, on Catherine Street in Malone. This ad appears in the 1883 Malone, Chateaugay and Fort Covington Directory:
It appears, from this notice in the Dec. 23, 1892 Franklin Gazette, that the business was short-lived:
The business was revived, however, by 1902, with Thomas' son John as President of the company. According to the 1935 obituary of Katherine Barry Hinds (wife of Thomas), Thos Hinds was at one time Mayor of the Village Malone, a Civil War veteran, and died in 1908. Born in Ireland in 1845 and emigrating to the United States in 1851, Hinds first came to Malone as a part of the Fenian army attempting to invade and capture Canada.
From the collection of the Franklin County Historical and Museum Society:
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Although it is not labeled, this log appears to be of an alumni association of Franklin Academy in Malone, NY. The graduation year, name, spouse name, dues from 1921-1934 and an address of the members of the alumni association are noted.
Did you spy a previous congressman in this list of locals?
Clarence Kilburn represented the North Country as a member of the U.S. Congress from 1940-1965. He and his wife, Anne Crooks Kilburn, lived at 59 Milwaukee Street, next door to the current House of History museum. Anne Crooks Kilburn was first cousin to Elizabeth Crooks Kirk, the last resident of the House of History before it became a museum.