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Cudmore: Life in 1946 in Amsterdam

Cudmore: Life in 1946 in Amsterdam

With World War II over for five months in January 1946, the Mohican Market at 117 East Main St. in Amsterdam proudly advertised, “Yes! We have plenty of meat.”

Lean hamburger cost 28 cents a pound. Bologna was 21 cents a pound. ;Corned beef was 32 cents a pound.

There once were Mohican Markets in many of the bustling downtowns of the Northeast. There were Mohican Markets in Massachusetts, Connecticut and in Troy, Syracuse, Niagara Falls, Binghamton and elsewhere in New York.

The Mohican in Amsterdam advertised a chocolate layer cake could be yours for 50 cents in 1946. Mince pies were 35 cents each and two lobsters cost $1.25.

W. Sweet Ice Company supplied ice to keep the fish fresh and for other purposes at the Mohican. In the summer, Sweet stopped three times a day to keep the homemade ricotta cheese from melting.

Also in 1946, Holzheimer & Shaul at Church and East Main streets advertised nylon sweaters for $3.98: “It’s a sweater sensation, this nylon classic. Just feel its butter-soft, cashmere-like texture! Washes and dries in a jiffy, won’t shrink, won’t shed.”

The Gloversville-based Schine theater chain was promoting movies at its downtown Amsterdam facilities. Lon Chaney starred in “House of Dracula,” plus “Shady Lady” with Charles Coburn was on the double feature at the Regent on Market Street. Gene Tierney was in “Leave Her to Heaven” at the Rialto on Market Street, and the Strand, later called the Mohawk, on East Main featured a double bill — “Hubba! Hubba!” with Eddie Cantor and “Ragged Angels” starring Joel McRea, the story of “dirty-faced kids with music in their souls.”

Out in Scotch Church in the town of Florida in January 1946, Harley Bohlke led devotions at the young people’s group and study of the four Gospels was scheduled for the next week. Rev. John Wright and his wife, Bessie, served lunch at church that day. Rev. Wright was my great uncle and previously had been pastor of Scotia Baptist Church.

Five sons of Louis Townsend, Sr. and his wife, Sarah Beyer Townsend, of Tribes Hill served in the U.S. Army in World War II. In February 1946, after all of them plus a man who had married one of the Townsend daughters came back safely from the war, a reunion was held at the home of their sister Jeanette Newbold in Tribes Hill.

The newspaper reported, “It is pointed out that six members from one family survived several important phases of World War II in all parts of the world, three of the sons making a complete trip around the world.”

In April 1946 the Amsterdam Fish and Game League held its mostly annual Sportsmen’s Show at the Theodore Roosevelt Junior High on Guy Park Avenue during Easter vacation. The show that year featured state lumberjack championship events.

In a program ad, Bigler’s Tavern, then across from the junior high, urged sportsmen to make Bigler’s their “headquarters … before and after the show.”

Saturday, Nov. 16, 1946 was a day for rejoicing on Amsterdam’s South Side as a testimonial dinner was held to honor some 400 returning servicemen and women.

“It’s remarkable to think that there were that many who served from the South Side alone,” said John Bianchi of Amsterdam, one of the honorees. Bianchi said that other parts of the city also sent hundreds to fight in World War II.

The South Side event was held at the State Armory, which today is a boutique hotel called Amsterdam Castle. At the 1946 event, there was a turkey dinner and dancing to the music of Butch Robertshaw’s orchestra.

Bob Cudmore is a freelance columnist. Opinions expressed in his column are his own and not necessarily the newspaper’s. Anyone with a suggestion for a Focus on History topic may contact him at 346-6657 or [email protected]

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