Focus on History: Going ‘over street’ to Fort Plain


“Your article on the Luxuray brought back old memories,” wrote Charles Gehring, who lived in Nelliston as a child.

Luxuray manufactured women’s underwear, mainly panties, from 1931 to 1999 in a factory on Willett Street in Fort Plain. Luxuray sold its own line of panties, had a factory store in Fort Plain and supplied retailers like Macy’s and J.C. Penney’s. 

Local people tend to call the business “the Luxuray,” just as they call the food processing factory “the Beech-Nut.”

Gehring said, “My mother worked [at Luxuray] … from 1934 to 1962. She sewed gussets in women’s underwear for 35 cents an hour.”

According to the Cambridge Dictionary. a gusset is “a second layer of cloth that is sewn into a piece of clothing to make it larger, stronger, or more comfortable.”

Harry Reeder, manager of Luxuray in the 1970s and 1980s, noted the longevity of many employees and said, “We like to think of ourselves as a good place to work.”

Gehring continued, “My father worked at the Beech-Nut [in Canajoharie] in Strained Foods. One of his jobs was to turn the boilers on, which meant he had to be in very early. So, he was always home when I returned from Nelliston grade school.

“Around 4:30 we would go ‘over street’ (you always used this expression when going from Nelliston to Fort Plain) to pick up my mother. He always parked right in front of Bruschetti’s Eternal City bar, which was across the street from the entrance to the Luxuray.

“He always had just enough time for one beer. Sometimes he would set me up on the bar. Thanks for stimulating some fond memories.”

The Eternal City Bar or restaurant was operated for many years by Romolo and Josephine Bruschetti, both natives of Italy who married in Fort Plain in 1915. Eternal City at 54 Willett St. was licensed to sell beer in 1934 after the repeal of Prohibition. Romolo died in 1967 and Josephine in 1986.

Gehring was born in his grandmother’s house in Fort Plain. His family moved to Nelliston after World War II.

His career has been spent working at the state Education Department in Albany translating Old Dutch documents from the New Netherland Colony which existed in the 1600s. In 1994 Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands conferred a knighthood on Gehring, who is director of the New Netherland Research Center.

A toddler or a child being put on a tavern bar, as Charly was, is a familiar story to me and maybe to you. 

My sister Arlene was born in 1935 and brought much joy to the extended Cudmore family, including our grandfather Harry and our then bachelor uncle Percy Cudmore.

In the 1930s, my grandfather, a widower whose wife had died in 1934, lived at Boggie’s Fourth Ward Hotel on East Main Street in Amsterdam.

I’m told my Uncle Percy used to take my sister Arlene to Boggie’s to visit his father and sat Arlene on the tavern bar when she was a toddler.

John and Eva Boggie ran the restaurant and hotel for many years. Kirk Douglas’ father, Harry Demsky, also lived at Boggie’s after separating from his wife. 

The Boggies were English and Italian, and the restaurant featured pizza.

In later years, John Chirico ran Boggie’s. The hotel was torn down for Bill’s Beverages, but that building later burned.

Alberta Zierak Fondacaro’s mother sometimes had to put young Alberta not on the bar but on the pool table at Kiddo’s, the family tavern on Amsterdam’s Reid Street.

Her mother would say to the customers, “Don’t touch her, she’s sleeping.”

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, Opinion

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