March was a busy month in 1900 in Palmyra with the purchase of new cars by O.J. Garlock and W.W. Williamson.
Both had ordered and received what was called a “Locomobile.” Each car cost $760. In the day this price seemed high, but for these two it was probably a drop in the bucket.
Five years passed and it was necessary to offer public transportation, so the trolley from Syracuse to Rochester began construction. It would take about one year to complete 100 miles of track, and by the summer of 1906 the first passengers took a ride. The trolley finally closed in 1931 after a good run of 25 years. This group was from the Garlock Packing Co.
During the first years of the new millennium, the trolley tracks were finally removed from the Main Street of Palmyra. It took over two years for the removal, which held up traffic and canceled our Canaltown Days. It seems dismantling takes longer than construction, at least in this case.
Just before the trolley opened in July 1906, in March of that same year another dreadful fire hit Palmyra’s Main Street. This time it was on the east end past Fayette Street — Clemons Block. The block was quickly rebuilt. There was one loss of life from an upstairs apartment. The downstairs businesses included Palmyra Printing Co., Wayne County Journal, a pool hall and a veterinarian’s’ office. The damage was considerable — over $8,000 — but nothing like the old Palmyra hotel across Fayette Street, which would happen in 1934 with damage over $100,000.
Because of this Clemons block fire, the Wayne County Journal was sold to F. W. Griffith, creating the Palmyra Courier Journal. Palmyra Printing Co. was no longer in business. As typical in Palmyra, the repairs were fixed and new businesses filled the downstairs storefronts.
In the second week of March, Palmyra Manufacturing Co., the flour mill, was incorporated March 5, 1827. On March 6, 1978, the longest strike in Garlock history took place. This strike lasted far too long, and the result was not great for the employees. The money lost was never recovered and the jobs were no more secure. On March 7, 1878, Henry Ward Beecher spoke at Village Hall in the old opera house.
That’s our look back for this week, and as we look ahead the museums are open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays. Tracy Murphy will speak at our monthly program on the Fox sisters and the Hydesville site. The program is from 7 to 9 p.m. March 16 at the Alling Coverlet Museum, 122 William St., Palmyra. All are welcome, and this is a no charge event.
Call 315-597-6981 for information. Come on down and volunteer or come for tours.