The spellbinding news story of the early 20th century occurred April 15, 1912 in the harsh Atlantic Ocean at 2:20 a.m. and the horrifying news soon circled the globe. The massive British ship Titanic, the pride of the White Star line, after sailing on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England, in the frigid Labrador current, had struck an iceberg and sank about two and a half hours later, 350 miles south of Newfoundland. Sailing roughly midway between Sable Island and Cape Race, the popular “unsinkable” theory was shattered.
The lavish liner was four city blocks long and carried around 2,200 first-class passengers and immigrants and also many ship employees. The disaster was so profound that now, 100 years later, “Titanic” has become a household word for disaster of the highest magnitude. An estimated 1,517 people lost their lives.
A captain of industry, Colonel John Jacob Astor IV was on his way home to New York from Egypt with his new bride, the former Miss Madeleine Force. He bravely stepped aside to let a lady board a lifeboat and while his wife survived, he later went down with the ship along with millionaire Benjamin Guggenheim. Alfred Gwynne Vanderbilt, 34, had cancelled his passage on the Titanic and than he later died on the ship Lusitania when it sank three years later.
The liner struck the iceberg at 11:45 p.m. To shield the passengers from panic, the band, led by Forest Hartley, 36, played “Nearer, my God to Thee,” in the first-class lounge. Later, survivors in life boats watched in horror as Hartley and his fellow band members were swept overboard into the ocean.
The ship Carpathia, under the command of Captain Arthur Rostron, received the SOS distress signal from 58 miles away and reached the scene at dawn. People were picked up from lifeboats and plucked out of the icy Atlantic, many in life-vests, where they had drifted over night in the bitter cold on the open water amid icebergs and these survivors arrived three days later in New York harbor. Only 866 people survived to tell of their harrowing adventure.
Titanic fame even reached Warrensburgh. The name of Miss Bertha Lavery was printed in the New York newspapers in the list of survivors and it was stated that she was a musician. As a result Miss Bertha Lavery of Warrensburgh, who was also a musician, but not on the Titanic, began receiving letters from many of her friends in various parts of the country congratulating her upon her escape and asking for details of her experience.
Michael Navratil, 92, the last male survivor died Jan. 30, 2001. Millvina Dean, 97, the last female survivor died May 31, 2009.
The Hydrographic Authority in London said at the time that the wreck could never be reached. This was not true. Divers rediscovered history’s most famous shipwreck 73 years later in 1985 on the sea bed in 13,000 feet of water, broken in two parts with its bow facing north and its mighty stacks pointing upward. Around 6,000 artifacts were recovered. An auction, offering more than 180 pieces of this memorabilia is expected to open April 19, 2012 in Concord, NH.
New boat on Lake George
The Lake George Steamboat Co. made a contract in April 1912 with Alexander McDonald of Staten Island, New York for the construction of a gasoline motor-propelled passenger launch for service on Lake George.
The boat will be 70 feet long and fitted with cabins. It will b e constructed of white oak and yellow pine and the cabins are to be fitted with mahogany. The boat will have a speed of up to 15 miles per hour and should be ready for service by July 1, 1912. The cost of the launch will be about $15,000.
Road to increase land values
State Commissioner of Highways S. Gordon Reel, has decided to add three and a half miles to the county highway system in Warren County for immediate construction and has appropriated funds for the state to stand its share of the expense. An appropriation of $12,678.58 will be the share to be paid by the county and the towns of Warrensburgh and Thurman toward construction.
The road will extend from Warrensburgh along the southern bank of the Schroon River southwesterly to Thurman Station on the Hudson River. The road will give the section about Pine and Bold Mountains and No. 9 Brook a direct improved highway of concrete bituminous construction to Warrensburgh where it will connect with the great New York to Montreal highway — state Rte. 9 — and will increase land values for property owners along the line.
Lightning destroys cottage
During the thunder storm, the night of April 15, 1912, Eldridge Pratt’s cottage on Trout Lake Road, about 3 miles from Bolton Landing, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. The loss is estimated at $3,000 and only partly covered by insurance. The storm was brief but very severe.
Quick thinking saved her life
With her dress ablaze, ignited by a spark from her kitchen stove, Mrs. Almira Potter, 81, at her home on South St., Warrensburgh, tore part of the garment from her person and with remarkable coolness, seized a shawl and smothered the flames before they could burn her. Her only injury was to her hand, which was burned slightly.
River driver suffers illness
Ashley T. Kellogg of Glens Falls, superintendent of the Hudson River log drive, while with his gang of men in camp on the river between Warrensburgh and The Glen, became seriously ill with blood poisoning and was taken to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment. The trouble started with an outbreak of eczema on his face.
Brothers build new store
Haskell Brothers, the enterprising proprietors of Warrensburgh’s popular uptown grocery store, are remodeling the interior of their store building in the Wills Block on Hudson St., preparatory to the addition of an extensive line of dry goods, shoes, paints and varnishes.
Frank and George Haskell came here from Chestertown in 1903 and opened a grocery store in their present location. They kept pace with the times and their business enjoyed a steady growth. They have been characterized by a scrupulousness and honesty of purpose and their latest venture is but one of the successive stages of their growth. (Note: The Wills Block is the home of Irene Hall, the stone building just north of the former Griffin House Restaurant.)
Sweet and sour notes
Ernest Whipple had one of his arms badly lacerated in one of the machines in the local paper mill and was taken to Glens Falls Hospital for treatment.
Free victrola concerts are given at J.A. Woodward’s furniture store twice a week, Monday and Saturday nights.
The infant son of Rex Stone has been named Charles Walton Stone. (Note: ”Buck” Stone was in later years chief of the Warrensburg Fire Co.)
W.G. Hayes is finishing his new house on Newton St. which he began last fall.
Seeking to reduce their weight, the women of Staver’s Mills, two miles below the village of Luzerne, have organized the Surplus Fat Club, which will go on thrice-a-week hikes during the summer.
Readers are welcome to contact Adirondack Journal correspondent Jean Hadden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 623-2210