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July 2017 Vol. III Issue 8
“We are all about Home Sweet Home”
Sangertown Square Memories
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Contents July 2017 THE COVER STORY Sangertown Square Mall Page 4 37 YEARS OF MEMORIES
Center Stage at the Stanley 18 Al T Page 19
GU Coupon Pages 24 & 25 Featured Businesses Ellis Family Chiropractic Page 17 Adirondack Olive Oil Page 31 The Cruise Wizards Page 32 A Dogs Day Out - Page 39
In My Travels Around GU Page 34 Nora Devaney Carville
There was a Time When... Page 38 Up On the Hill: Robert Fraser Page 40
Web: www.GUmagazine.com email: cs@GUmagazine.com Phone: 315-316-7277 Facebook: www.facebook.com/greaterutica July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
WWW.GUMAGAZINE.COM Picture Courtesy of Sangertown Square
SANGERTOWN SQUARE MALL
37 of Memories YEARS
by Brad Velardi
In the case of a lot of families, members move in all different directions about the country and only get together a few times per year. But in such families as mine, we never left the area in which we were born and raised, and I feel lucky to have always had members of my immediate household live just a few minutes away. While every hometown changes with a new generation, we always have certain things that help us relate to one another and create discussion. One of the places in our area whose existence has spanned across the lives of my brothers and I, as well as my parents, is Sangertown Square. It has always been one of those places that seems to create a great amount of dialogue between us as we all have so many stories and memories of the time we spent there. Being the youngest of the crew, I probably get the most enjoyment out of our conversations because I am always learning something new. I get to hear about stores I have never seen, the reaction from the people of the area as they anticipated the mallâ€™s construction and what its presence meant to people in my family. We decided that doing a piece about some of our fondest memories may be relatable to people of all ages. There are so many Greater Uticans who have enjoyed their
4 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
Above: the summer of 1981, a time before an additional three screens were added across the hall and there were six. - Picture courtesy of Sangertown Square.
days and nights of shopping at Sangertown and we are hoping to bring that nostalgic value to the pages of this magazine. I personally sat down with my dad, (who is turning sixty this year); and both my brothers; Nick, (who is turning thirty-eight this year) and Aaron (who is turning thirty-two this year) to get their perspectives. Of course, I (twenty-eight years-old) will share my own as well and highlight some that have been brought up by
our fans on Facebook. We look forward to hearing more from you over the course of the month! Sangertown Square welcomed shoppers for the first time in July of 1980, but my dad says his first memory of the mall predates its actual opening: “I can remember passing the construction site from time to time and it was getting larger every day. I asked myself, ‘How much bigger can it get?’ It seemed as though it was taking forever to finish, but maybe it was just the anticipation that made it feel that way. The cinemas opened before the actual mall, so I went there to visit, but not to see a movie. I watched the mall being built for so long and could no longer take the suspense without seeing what it looked like inside. I guess you could call me a 1st generation Mall Rat being only 16 years-old when Riverside Mall opened, but the first time I stepped foot in Sangertown, I was a young father. I may not have hung around malls as I did in my younger years, but I still had a great appreciation for them. I entered from what would become the Bradlees wing, and when I turned the corner, the cinemas were in sight. It was the first time I had ever seen six theaters under one roof; I thought to myself ‘It would be impossible not to find at least one movie you want to see!’ I was in awe as I looked down the corridor at this massive new mall and continued to wander down the hall past the cinema, hoping not to get caught by anyone. It was a little dark but light enough to see where I was going. I came upon this giant statue; I can remember the moment being very surreal…I had never seen anything like that inside a building before. As I looked above the eateries in the soon-to-be food court, I saw what resembled the second floor of buildings; sort of like offices on the second floor of downtown buildings. I felt like I was in the middle of a little town
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that was still under construction. Eventually, I got caught and security threw me out! “ As the year progressed, more and more tenants were being announced and the excitement of the area’s people grew. The mall had its grand opening on July 21st, 1980 with a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at its first functioning anchor store, Sears and Roebuck (which hired roughly 340 people) at 9:30am. It was a special day that included appearances from Winnie the Pooh and Tigger as well as Ken Morrow, defenseman for the gold medal-winning 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. Barbara Moss, one of the mall’s women’s clothing stores held three fashion shows throughout the day at 1, 4 and 7pm in the JC Penney wing of the mall. At the Cafe Square stage, local acoustic duo, Holmes and Mancini performed from 6:30 to 9:30pm. On display throughout the day was an experimental electric car built by Sears called the
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XDH-1. The grand opening party continued for more than a week with musical performances over the next several days including one from the Utica Symphony Orchestra. There were contests, giveaways and even a baseball clinic held by the Utica Blue Jays. Then came the opening of Hess’s Department Store on Wednesday August 6th, featuring an appearance by star hockey player, Bryan Trottier of the New York Islanders who met and greeted the new shoppers. Also joining the festivities at Hess’s were Darth Vader, Raggedy Anne and the Quasar Robot. Later in the week, children got to meet Spiderman and there was a performance by the Yankee Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps. JC Penney opened shortly after on November 5th, followed by Bradlees about a year later in September of 1981. The Utica Transit Authority created a bus schedule specifically for Sangertown, picking up
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passengers from the Busy Corner (Bleecker and Genesee Streets) throughout the day. With Sangertown came a number of “firsts” as the area had never seen a mall with four anchor stores or an indoor roller skating rink. When the mall was completed, the Greater Utica area gained access to some of the biggest retail stores in the country for the very first time. Sangertown also provided the area’s first food court, which was a perfect meeting place and the home of many shoppers’ favorites; one in particular worth mentioning would be Margarita’s. If you decided to put an entire day aside to shop, the food court probably represented the half way point of the day (lunch), and the last place you stopped before heading home. Spending the entire day at the mall is certainly not out of the ordinary. Sangertown was our second shopping complex that was completely indoors, which meant there was not a drop of rain or flake of snow to stop us from enjoyment. A “sidewalk sale” was never canceled due to inclement weather, in fact, you may be more enticed to stop in the mall on a rainy day. For most people, their favorite night to visit was Friday with the family; that can definitely be said for my father. “My favorite memories of the mall are being there with my family. We would go there pretty much every Friday as a treat to buy something and then have dinner at the food court. To me, it
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a kid, there was nothing like seeing the latest and greatest gadget come through the door. One of these great moments was created in the mid-1980s by a purchase at Sangertown that precedes my birth, but my brother Nick explained to me how exciting it was.
was a way of celebrating the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. What is interesting is many times we would end up right back at the mall again on Saturday and eat at our favorite local restaurants on the way home.â€? My dad has always been a guy full of surprises and you never knew what he was going to come home with. Although this personality trait drove my mother crazy at times, when you were
July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
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In a moment of impulsive buying (the only kind of buying my father did), my dad marched into Wordon’s (local electronics store) and bought a four-head VCR and a 26-inch TV. Being that its 2017, it will probably take every ounce of control you have not to burst into laughter while reading this, but a VCR and 26-inch TV were a big deal at that time. That night, my parents and Nick watched Star Wars on what seemed like a screen at the movie theater. Speaking of the movie theater, I think I speak for everyone when I say that some of the greatest times spent at Sangertown were at the cinemas. Being able to escape the madness of a busy day at the mall and head into a movie was such a thrilling feature. Sangertown’s “Cinema 6” was the first six-plex theater complex in Central New York and when it first opened, it was the only one in New York State west of Albany. Each of the six theaters seated approximately three-hundred people. The cinema was opened on July 4th, 1980, which as my dad mentioned, was during mall construction and the parking lot had yet to be finished. To make up for the inconvenience, the cinema gave free passes to its customers for future showings and
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brand new and the hottest thing for a young kid to be interested in. I just turned 10 years-old and my mother, my little four-year-old brother and I went to go see it. Now back then, movies used to sell out all the time, so we watched as our viewing options diminished right before our eyes. I remember begging my mom for a dollar so I could play four games at $.25 apiece. As she held my little brother, she gave me a look that was all too familiar; the kind that makes a ten-year-old stay quiet if they know what’s good for them. Needless to say, I was as calm and cool as could be once we were both on the
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same page. Unfortunately, my mom’s frustrations were only beginning, because once we finally scored some tickets, the soda/candy/ popcorn begging began. Being that there was an age difference of six years between my brother and I, it was very seldom we were on the same page in terms of our wants and desires, but on that day, we were like Batman & Robin on a mission to break whatever patience and will power my mom had left. As we walked down the hall of the Cinema you could hear the surrounding movies rumbling; this was another great thing about the movies back then; you weren’t spoiled by the home entertainment technology we have today. There was no 4k video and surround sound was too expensive for most people. Back then, the biggest & baddest TV I had watched was a 26-inch color TV encased in a wooden counsel with a swivel bottom. And like I said; that was THE BEST TV! So, the opportunity to watch the Turtles (who at this point I had only read about in comics) kick butt on what seemed to me like a 4,000-foot screen was absolutely all I could ask for!.....Except candy, popcorn, a dollar for the arcade, a slice of pizza, a pretzel with cheese, and a new toy of course.“ Another purchase we have all made at the mall one-hundred times over has to be our music. Whether it was a record, 8-track, cassette, CD or iTunes card, Sangertown was always a place where you can find the latest album by your favorite artist. I have lost touch a bit on how things work now, but new albums used to be released every Tuesday when me and my brothers were growing up, and on that day, you would head to Camelot, The Wall or wherever they were sold.
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my. I met him in school and he was a year ahead of me. We had the same music interests and generally the same taste. He was often able to get the new music on Monday night when the mall closed so he had the “low down” on all the latest stuff. There was no YouTube, Facebook or even Myspace. There were only magazines and radio shows to inform you of release dates and upcoming projects an artist
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may have been working on.” Which brings to light another cool feature of the mall; either you, or someone you knew, worked there. In fact, Nick met his wife in 1999 as he walked out of Camelot one day. She was working at a stand just outside the store where he would purposely buy a beverage just for the opportunity to talk with her. He finally got the courage to ask her on a date one day and the two have been together now for sixteen years! Just about every member of my family held a job at Sangertown at some point, but it seemed to truly mean a lot to my brother Aaron, who had a couple of different jobs there as a kid. “I worked at Auntie Anne’s at a very impressionable time in my life. I met people that I will consider friends forever. I took away a lot of experiences and memories that I will never forget; I learned a lot. When I think about it, my life would be much different without the mall actually.” As I spoke to Aaron, I was suddenly brought back to my
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my head, I had an imaginary checking account and I fantasized about buying all the things I wanted; whether they were the new Jordan sneakers or whatever toy was hot at the time. When you grow up the way we did, you wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. You didn’t get everything you asked for, you didn’t have all the material things, but you had a lot of love for each other; and on those days where you actually did go home with something from KB Toys, or got a new pair of sneakers, you appreciated it so much. As I became a teenager, trips to the mall were much different. I was no longer with my parents, but instead, a flock of kids my own age going from store to store. To put it simply: we had a blast! My lifelong friend CJ and I would roam the four wings of Sangertown every Friday night when we were in junior high. We already knew by Monday what we were going to wear to impress the older girls, who seemed unreachable for us; probably because we had no shot with them, but a kid can dream, can’t he? Anyway, many of those Friday nights ended at the cinema, and if you really had a good night, there were a couple phone numbers in your pocket! I used to love walking by Auntie Anne’s when my brother worked there because even though we only saw him for a minute is passing, he somehow always made us laugh. There is a certain feeling you get in the mall that takes you back to a simpler time. Whether it’s the smell of pretzels baking, families
angst as we waited for the stores to open. One thing that was a must, was throwing a penny or two in the fountain and making a wish. Many times I looked deeply into that water and contemplated whether I should dive in and grab as many coins as I could and make a run for it. Luckily, I decided against it and minded my own business because as Nick referenced in his cinema/arcade story, my mom was not the type to let such behavior slide. We didn’t have much at the time, but there was something special about seeing all those different stores under one roof. In
16 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
walking and laughing together or displays in the store windows. Sometimes I can still hear the fountain flowing with water in the distance and smile when I think of the times I spent there with my family. We would like to give a special thank you to Sangertown Square for giving us access to their incredible archive of GU photos from the past. “We are all about Home Sweet Home”
Back to feelin n i g n i g a g r a e r t a Greate with ELLIS FAMILY Utica WWW.GUMAGAZINE.COM
Regardless what profession you choose in the world of medicine, it is important that your inspiration comes from the right place. Above all, helping the people who depend on your expertise takes priority over all other factors and you must believe strongly in what you practice. In many cases, it is a firsthand, life-altering experience that leads one to pursue a career in the medical field. An event that changed their entire perspective for the better, giving them the drive and motivation to provide that same enlightenment to others. It is all about making a difference and providing hope for some who may believe there is none. Adam and Valerie Ellis, two high school sweethearts from Whitesboro, were made believers in chiropractic when each of them personally felt the power of alternative medicine. As an athlete all his life, Adam was the type of guy who would wait until the end of the season to get an injury treated, fearing he would miss valuable time on the field. When he sustained a shoulder injury in high school, he reluctantly followed his step-dad’s recommendation to visit a chiropractor. In no time, Adam was back in uniform. While playing college baseball, he found himself hurt again and when he visited a chiropractor for the second time, the results were even better. After walking out of his doctor’s office that day, there was no other career choice in his eyes and eight months later, he enrolled in chiropractic school at Logan University in St. Louis, Missouri. As for Valerie, her original wish was to be a pediatrician, receiving her bachelor’s degree from SUNY-Albany as a pre-med student. She was unsure as to what college to enroll at next, so Adam suggested she give chiropractic a try and she too, attended Logan University. She did not know much about the profession at this point; thinking that chiropractors only dealt with neck and back ailments, but as the first semester progressed, Valerie gained a true appreciation for chiropractic when she became more educated on its philosophic background. She started seeing a chiropractor herself for the first time, and immediately noticed an improvement in her quality of life. When Adam and Valerie finished school, they started working for a highly-respected practice, located in Illinois; one that served a high volume of patients every week. They then moved to New York City where Val worked for one of the top practices in the country, and Adam worked in Manhattan, treating professional athletes and other notable patients. When Val became pregnant with their first child, the couple realized that their rigorous daily commute was not suitable for a healthy family life. They made the difficult decision to leave their coveted jobs and moved back home to open their own practice in New Hartford in 2003. Ellis Family Chiropractic is celebrating its fourteenth year this August, but Adam and Valerie continue to push themselves and expand their credentials. Just recently, Val became one of a small number of doctors in America to earn her certification in Chiropractic Pediatrics from the international Chiropractic Pediatrics Association. She is able to treat pregnant women as well as all children from their earliest stage of life. Val was driven to complete the program after seeing with her own eyes the impact of chiropractic pediatrics. When Val was pregnant with her and Adam’s first-born, Allison, she was experiencing some complications. When Allison was an infant, she was showing early signs of having sensory issues and possible autism. After searching for months for specialists around the country that could advise her on how to use chiropractic to offset these symptoms, Val found a pediatric chiropractic specialist in Atlanta that helped her develop a daily program for Allison. For four and a half years, Val and Allison performed three therapy sessions each day, and by the time Allison reached junior high, the sensory issues were gone. She is now an honors student at Whitesboro (entering senior high school next year), plays the violin and is a green belt in Tae Kwon Do. What more inspiration could Val ask for to chase her pediatric dream? After ten long years of hard work, Adam finally had his first book published in June of this year. “Empowering Your Health Naturally: A Guide to Healing from the Inside Out” is a project that Adam has been working on that explains thoroughly the philosophy behind chiropractic and other alternative medicines such as acupuncture and massage. In the book, Adam discusses the potential benefits of these treatments as well as home rehabilitative techniques to improve posture, and ways to improve nutrition by using natural supplements. Adam says that the “body heals from the inside out” and chiropractic helps the body do that via the nervous system. By adjusting the spine, you put your nervous system in its best position to function; allowing your body to use its natural ability to heal itself. Anyone who is interested in the book can pick it up at the Ellis office located at 155 Genesee Street in New Hartford or order it at Amazon.com. Adam and Val’s enthusiasm for chiropractic comes from a real, emotional place; as it should. They are in the field for the right reasons and you can feel it from the moment you walk in and are greeted at the front desk by their excellent staff. For more information on Ellis Family Chiropractic, call (315)-732-3007. G U
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July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
CENTER STAGE AT THE
With Jerry Kraus
The Carbone Auto Group Presents: Ricky Z’s Tribute to Billy Joel Saturday, July 8th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm at The Stanley Theatre, Utica
Get ready to ‘Loosen up before you lace ‘em up!’ Boilermaker runners, families, volunteers and the entire community will have a special event again this year on Saturday night July 8th from 6p-8p, the night before the big race. This event is growing, now in its fourth year! The Stanley Theater in Utica will host a concert that the whole community can come out to enjoy during Boilermaker weekend. This is our second year in a row bringing you Ricky Z’s All-Star Band, featuring Central New York’s own piano man, Rick Zuccaro! The Carbone Auto Group presents: Ricky Z’s Tribute to Billy Joel, featuring an all-star lineup of Central New York musicians. This is becoming an annual Boilermaker weekend event to look forward to. It’s an opportunity to showcase the talent of our area, provide a night of outstanding music for the community and those visiting from out of town and also help raise funds for The Stanley Theater in Utica. ‘We’re very proud to be the major sponsor of this event again this year’ said Alex Carbone of The Carbone Auto Group. ‘Rick is not just one of our top employees, he’s a very talented piano player, singer and live performer. We’re very excited about helping to bring the music of Billy Joel to the Stanley Theater on Boilermaker Saturday while doing our part to help raise funds for The Stanley as well.’ ‘We’ve had such successful events with Classified our first two years and last year with Ricky Z’s Billy Joel Tribute band at The Stanley, we knew our runners and guests would love the opportunity to do it again, and we’re lucky to have this dynamite Billy Joel tribute band back again this year!’, said Tim Reed, President of The Boilermaker. ‘Everybody loves Billy Joel’s music and these guys play it flawlessly!’ The concert will run from 6pm until 8pm, which gives runners plenty of time to enjoy the show and rest-up before Sunday morning’s race. Ricky Z will also present several Yamaha digital pianos to local schools during intermission, something he has done with sixteen local schools to date. ‘This is great entertainment for the entire family and we’re excited to be able to open the doors to our beautiful historic Stanley Theater to everyone including Boilermaker visitors from out of town. With this awesome band, it will be a great night of Billy Joel’s music and more, something for everyone plus a few surprises!’ said Jerry Kraus, the Stanley’s Executive Director. Tickets for this Boilermaker Concert are on sale with prices ranging from $15 - $40. Children 12 and under are FREE. There are discounts for Boilermaker participants and volunteers, active military and Stanley members. Tickets are available at The Stanley Box Office, by calling (315) 724-4000 or through The Stanley.org. A cash bar will also be available, featuring soft drinks and Saranac beers. Get more information at TheStanley.org. Stanley Theater Donates $500 in Concert Proceeds to Mohawk Valley Health System Cancer Center The Stanley Theater donated $500 in proceeds from an Orleans concert to the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) Cancer Center. The concert, held on Friday, May 19, featured Orleans with special guest, The Todd Hobin Band. “With all of our self-produced concerts and events here at The Stanley, we try and give a little something back to our community,” said Jerry Kraus, executive director at The Stanley Theater. “This time around, we decided to help the Cancer Program at MVHS because of the fine work being done and the need to continually provide services. Everyone here, it seems, has a personal connection to dealing with family members and friends fighting cancer and we just wanted to recognize the program and show our support with a donation.” “I would like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to Jerry Kraus and The Stanley community for their generosity in making this donation to the Cancer Center at Mohawk Valley Health System,” said Nancy Butcher, executive director of Cancer Services at MVHS. “Fighting cancer is a team effort and we appreciate their support in the fight against cancer. This gift will make a significant difference for our patients and their families.” Photo Attached: An Orleans concert held at The Stanley Theater raised $500 for the Mohawk Valley Health System (MVHS) Cancer Center. From left to right: John Hall, Orleans member; Nancy Butcher, executive director of Cancer Services at MVHS; Lance Hoppen, Orleans member; and Jerry Kraus, executive director of The Stanley Theater.
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AL T. There are a lot of fortunate people in the world, myself included, who can say they have a “big brother”. As someone who grew up with two big brothers, I can attest to the significance of such a figure in a young person’s life. They are tougher than the superheroes we watch on television and they are cooler than our favorite musicians. When you have the right kind of brother(s), it’s like having a celebrity living under the same roof as you. Sure, they torture you every chance they get and make it no secret they are the dominant force of the relationship, but everything seems safer when they are around. But what exactly makes one a TRUE big brother? First and foremost, they must be loyal. It is a big brother’s job to put others before himself and do everything he can to benefit his family. You have to settle with the fact you are going to be bailing someone out of a jam at some point, even if you do not necessarily agree with their decision making. A big brother never turns his back on anyone he loves and always sets the best example he can; as he knows there are eyes on him constantly. To be a great big brother, you must be very reliable. When the bottom drops out, you have to be the one, unflappable presence that ensures those who depend on you that you will never let them down. Alfred “Al T.” Taurisano of Utica was the oldest of four boys and was a godlike figure to his three younger brothers: Mike, Terry and Phil. But Al T. was a “big brother” to a whole lot more than just three people; there are countless folks (and animals) across the area and even the country who were beneficiaries of his kindness and generosity. He also happened to be an exceptional athlete, manager and sponsor who was involved with local sports for over sixty years. Through his side business, Al T’s Tackle Twill Lettering, he also designed and sewed high-quality uniform lettering for teams in just about every sport. It was a Friday morning in early June when I met with Al’s three brothers to discuss the life of a man I never knew but heard so many things about. My only knowledge of Al was in reference to his athletic success and tackle twill business, but I soon learned what Al T. was really all about. He was a guardian to his brothers and mother from the time he was a young man and one of those people who made the Greater Utica community better. The discussion between Mike,
ABLE D N E P E D S Y A W AL rdi by Brad Vela
Terry, Phil and myself was one of emotion and positive reflection as we hoped to pay proper tribute to a man who meant so much to so many. Al T. had a pitcher’s arm, an artist’s hand and a heart of gold. On May 30th, 1936, Alfred M. Taurisano was born to Alfred R. and Philomena C. (Daniels) Taurisano of Utica. Al Sr. was a wellknown drummer as a young man but made a living as a commercial artist and owner/operator of Alfred Neon Sign Co. If there was a neon sign in Downtown Utica during those days, it was more than likely handmade by Al Sr. himself. Philomena was a hall monitor at Proctor High School who Al and his brothers referred to as simply, “the boss”. From the time Al was a student at Albany Street Elementary School, his greatest love was playing sports. He spent a considerable amount of time on the basketball court, but thanks to his beloved Yankees, baseball was his favorite game. “I wasn’t born yet but from what I understand, you could find him practicing behind Proctor High School 25 out of 24 hours in a day.” said Phil. Al’s passion for sports was contagious and naturally spread to each of his three brothers. They spent much of their time at East Utica Park, the various ball fields near their home or at Buckley Pool on Culver Ave. “We spent our whole lives in the neighborhood back then.” Mike said. “I don’t think I ever seen the other side of Mohawk Street until I was on the police force.” The Taurisano house on Webster Avenue (between Eagle and South Streets) in East Utica was the gathering place for kids in the neighborhood. In the backyard was a patch of blacktop that was roughly one-fifth of a regulation basketball court where the kids would play day in and day out. As the day unfolded, Philomena would bring out her homemade tomato pie and serve it to the kids. Al Sr. was always working away in the garage and every now and then the basketball would come through the window and destroy some of his creations. Luckily for the boys, Al Sr. was a fun-loving man who never shied away from a day of hard work. Although he was a man of great talent, Al Sr. often worked long hours for small sums of money to keep the business going.
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“My father had to fight for every dollar he made.” said Terry. “Sometimes he didn’t even get paid because he was too embarrassed to go and collect the money.” When it came to one of the boys’ sporting events, Al Sr. never missed a game. If there was a day game, he would work nights. If there was a night game, he would work during the day. “I had a football game once out in Watertown.” Phil recalls. “My dad had to park two blocks away from the stadium and walk because the sign on the back of his truck was too big to fit under a bridge.” From his dad’s example, Al learned the significance of working hard and being loyal to your family. By the time Al was in his early teens, coaches and players from across the city knew he was a special athlete. While playing in the CYO basketball league for St. Agnes Church, Al set a team record for points in a game when he scored forty-four. As a pitcher, he had great command of his blistering fastball and threw a no-hitter against Whitesboro in 1951 at age fifteen for the Proctor Below: Far right Al T. Jayvees. He struck out eleven batters in the process. During that game, Al walked the only two men that reached base and just two pitches left the infield. He had struck out as many as eighteen in a single game against Wetmore School. His success was no coincidence: “The thing is, a lot of times the guys who are better, they’re better because they practice harder. He was out all winter long playing basketball and baseball.” said Mike. “Whatever he did, he did to perfection.” Phil chimed. The following year in 1952, Al and the Proctor Panthers varsity baseball team went undefeated. Al’s dominance leaked into his legion baseball career as a member of the Ft. Schuyler American Legion team, throwing another no-hitter against Sherrill Post that same year. By the time he graduated in 1954, Al lost just one game in four years as his ninety-mile-per-hour fastball sent batter after batter back to the dugout with great frustration. In each of Al’s three years on the varsity team, the Raiders won the City Championship. In all his years at Albany Street School and Proctor, Al did not miss a single day of school. Following high school, Al received an offer to play Division I ball for the freshman team at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. While Al excelled academically at Seton Hall, his college baseball career was short-lived as he sustained an injury to his throwing arm. After two years, he decided to leave school in 1957 and live back home with his family. When he returned, Al began what would become a legendary career in MUNY League baseball and softball. While playing in the baseball league, Al continued to be a standout pitcher for such teams as Raspante’s Bakery and Skiba Post. In 1958, Al joined the United States Army where he played baseball for the Fort Bragg 3rd Army Division team. Although he was known for being a great pitcher, Al was also very good in the batter’s box. While in the army, he sustained a second injury to his arm that forced him to throw the ball underhand, but he was such a good hitter, the team
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Above: Pictured second from the left in the second row Al T. still played him in the outfield. After completing his two years of military service, Al once again returned to Utica and began his career with the United States Post Office. It was a bit of a difficult time for the Taurisano family both emotionally and financially as Al Sr. and Philomena decided to separate. When I spoke with Al’s brothers about this experience, the conversation became very emotional as they recalled all that Al had done for them to make the process easier. According to Mike, Terry and Phil, Al would sneak money into their mother’s checking account without her knowing, just in case she ever needed it. He could have had a much easier life financially, but instead decided to share what extra dollars he had with his family. “My brother (Al) bought me my first car with my mother. He took care of me.” said Phil as he held back his tears. “If I played baseball, I always had the best glove, anything. When I got married he was there.” “(Al) was unbelievable.” said Terry, who was also choked up when speaking about this topic. “The way I see it is: he sacrificed things to keep the family together.” he continued. “He always made sure my mother had a nice car and nice clothes even if he had to go without.” said Mike. Al Sr. still played a huge role in the boys’ lives and attended every athletic contest his sons had. Although it was rare for parents to separate during that time, the boys felt as though they still had a better life than most as they were blessed with two great parents and a dependable older brother. Each of the boys were talented at their own respective sports, largely due to the fact that Al inspired them, but also because he practiced with them. Whether it was hitting ground balls, pop flies or throwing passes with the football, Al helped make them better athletes. Mike would go on to be very good in football and the
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Above: Pictured second from the left in the front row Al T. same went for Terry in track & field and Phil in baseball. As for his own playing career, Al’s history of injuries would no longer allow him to play baseball and so he began trying his hand in MUNY League Slow-pitch Softball. As great of a baseball player as he was, Al enjoyed his greatest amount of success as a player, manager and sponsor of numerous softball teams. Throughout the 1960s, Al played for such teams as Roundhouse Garage and Chicago Pneumatic, but his prime years began as a manager of the Parkway Drugs team in the early 1970s. Al helped mold the Druggists into a powerhouse and the team won three consecutive City Championships from 1973-1975 and a New York State Championship in 1977. During his time as a manager, Al stumbled upon a great talent he never knew he possessed. When his players would rip their uniforms or damage them during games, he would take them home and repair them on his mother’s sewing machine. She would often tease him playfully about his newfound skill, but Al became quite exceptional at his craft. He started a side business, Al T’s Tackle Twill Lettering, and began creating and designing uniforms, hoodies, hats and other apparel for local sports teams at all levels. Al was the creator of many professional uniforms for teams such as the Mohawk Valley Stars, Albany River Rats, Utica Devils and even did work for the New Jersey Devils for a couple years. During that time he developed a close friendship with former Devils and USA Olympic hockey coach Herb Brooks, who visited the Taurisano house every time he was in Utica. Al received service requests from people across the country including CNN’s Larry King and various professional athletes. In the late 1970s, he took over the sponsorship duties of the team, renaming them “Al T’s”, and continued to dominate the MUNY League for a decade straight. “Al T’s” were City Champions nine times total; winning the crown from 1978-1980 and from 1982-1987. The team’s reign became so frustrating for opposing clubs, that officials of the league attempted to force “Al T’s” out of the local tournaments in 1985 because they were “just too good” according to one newspaper article. Al’s innovation and artistic ability in the art of tackle twill shined through with his team as they were always regarded as the best dressed group in the area. The uniform designs were inspired by teams in the major leagues; sporting the players’ last names on the back. In the 1990s, Al put together a “35 & over” team that went on to win two New York State Championships in 1994 and 1996. Over the course of his career, Al’s teams won over 1,500 games and more than 100 tournaments. During one stretch, they had won thirty-one consecutive playoff games and Al was instrumental in bringing the first New York State Amateur Softball Association Tournament to the Utica area. In 1991, Al was the first slow pitch softball manager to ever be inducted into the New York State Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. To our community, Al T. was much more than just a great ball
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player, manager and tackle twill artist, he was a guy who never turned anyone away when they were in need. “Al was the kind of guy that would read about a kid who was sick in the newspaper and he’d make them a sweatshirt and give them a check for $50.” Says Phil. “I’m talking hundreds of kids across the United States.” He continued. “In 1995, my wife had a stroke and was in the hospital for two years. Every single night he was by her side when I had to work.” “He would sleep on the floor of the hospital when he had to.” Said Mike. “Thirteen months straight he never missed a day.” “(Al) was a very religious man. He went to church every single day and when my wife got cancer he gave me the prayer of St. Jude and he gave her the medal.” said Terry. “She had ovarian cancer and they told me she wasn’t coming off the table so I prayed.” He continued. “They don’t know how she made it through. Al said, ‘I told ya…it was St. Jude.” And the same went for animals, especially dogs. Al had three of his own that he would bring everywhere with him during the day; you could always find them in his truck. If he went into a restaurant to eat, he would leave the air conditioning on and bring them an extra order of bacon when he left. On his mail route, Al would often come across stray animals, bring them to the vet to get treated, then drop them off at the Humane Society. He always had a pocket full of treats for each house on his route that had an animal. The people in the neighborhoods he worked loved him and would show their appreciation around Christmas time, but nothing meant more to him than when a poor man gave him an apple as that was all he could afford. In thirty years of service with the post office, Al missed just one day of work. When it came to supporting local youth sports, there are few
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28 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
people that can say they have sponsored and supported as many teams as Al T. Kids would wear their hand-stitched uniforms with pride on the field and in school; something I saw with my own eyes growing up. In the event where a team or an individual child could not afford a bat or pair of cleats, Al was known to pay for them with money out of his own pocket. Al never had kids of his own, but it is hard to deny he was one of the “fathers of youth baseball” in the Greater Utica area. Providing care and support His brothers have boxesdirect upon boxes of “thank you” letters fromservices kids as proofGreater of the great things Al did. He sponsored teams in both youth Utica area for individuals with men and adult leagues including: MUNY League softball, basketball, senior league hockey, Little League, Babe substance Ruth baseball, junior American and abuse issues. League, girls basketball, bowling and bocce. Al’s support of those teams earned him the East Utica Optimist Club’s “Man of the Year” award. One of his former players, Bob Roth, said of Al: “It was an honor and a privilege●toOutpatient play for him. He was by far and away best sponsor I Tre Treatment ● the Adolescent have ever played for and he was as good of a softball sponsor as there ever● was in this area. ” Family and Grief Support Groups ● Professi direct Al care and support services the it was a lot for the ProvidingWhen was diagnosed with across leukemia, Greater Utica area with that mental health ●toVeterans Program ●held Medication Assisted T family absorb as for he individuals was the glue the Taurisanos together and substance abuse issues. for many years. But even when his health was at its worst, Al main● his DWI Program Dual Diagnosis tained strength in front of ● hisIntegrated family. Treatment ● Adolescent Treatment ● Outpatient “All while he was sick, he never once●complained.” Mike said. ● Familysaid, and Grief Support ● Professional Track ● . Right down to “Never ‘I don’t feel Groups good’, ‘Why did I get sick?’ ● Veterans Program ● Medication Assisted Treatment ● the last minute. ” He Siriano, continued. “He was talkingDirector baseball almost the Nicole CASAC, oftoOutpat ● DWI Program ● Integrated Dual Diagnosis Treatment ● minute he died.” Nicole Siriano, CASAC, Director of Outpatient Services
But what else would you expect from Al T.? The man who would drop everything on his agenda to be at the game of a little league team he sponsored; the same guy who threw his brother onehundred-and-fifty passes a night in the backyard. His illness, while its effects were devastating to his brothers, gave them the opportunity to pay him back for all of the great things he did for them over the years. Mike, Terry and Phil were by his side every day; bringing him meals, taking him to the doctor and sitting at the side of his bed in his finals days. Al left them with some of his most prized possessions when he died on Easter Sunday of 2013: they each got one of his cherished Chevy Corvettes. He also left behind a trophy collection that exceeded five-hundred that the brothers gave to various charities and youth organizations. At his funeral, former players, teammates and others who were touched emotionally by Al T. paid their respects. “I said to some of the guys, ‘Wouldn’t it be nice if we got some guys from the ball team to hold up their bats over the casket instead of a sword.” Said Terry. “You didn’t even have to ask them, they volunteered to do it once we mentioned the idea.” In a moving moment, as they carried Al T’s Yankee-blue casket out of St. Agnes Church, some of his closest friends held their bats high above. Each of Al’s brothers still struggle with the loss of his life today, but he left nothing but good memories behind. “Softball is this area would not be the same if it weren’t for what he did. What he did for the community; there were so many teams and kids he sponsored. They all wanted to play for Al T, they would wear their hats and jerseys to school, people wanted to buy them even when they didn’t play on the team. He may have never gotten married or found the right person, but he always wanted to make sure my
mother was taken care of. He was like a father to me.” – Phil Taurisano “Al was his own person; his heart was bigger than himself. Whether it was an animal or a person, Al was never purposely mean to anyone. He was just so generous. He was an artist. He was such a nice guy it’s unbelievable; it takes everything I have not to cry.” – Terry Taurisano
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July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
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Tour our display anytime and explore our large selection of monuments, vases, benches, mausoleums, portraits, and pet markers. We also offer cemetery lettering services, restorations, cleaning, maintenance, and veteran marker attachments. Call for a free home consultation at need or pre-need. Multiple marker design options available. Markers are produced in our Clinton facility by local workers.
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Food & Drink
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Before the days of huge supermarkets, cities across the nation were filled with niche stores that specialized in a particular product. While the presence of larger grocery stores may be a more convenient option for shoppers at times, a niche store is able to focus on an individual product and offer it at the highest quality. The Killino family of Marcy, owners of Adirondack Olive Oil Company in Sangertown Square, have helped introduce the Greater Utica area to a high quality, healthier alternative to an array of products that we are used to purchasing from mass producing companies. The Killino’s offer a wide range of items, but two words can be used to describe their entire inventory: all natural. When Mike and Gina Killino, taste tested the product for the first time at Veronica Foods in California, they and their daughter-in-law Ginelle realized they had found something special. The quality of olive oils and balsamic vinegars they were tasting were unlike anything they had previously consumed, which coming from an Italian family, was saying something. As they became more educated on the product, they discovered that the pure taste they were experiencing was that of pure oils and vinegars with no additives. They felt there was a real demand in our area for a store that offered various flavored cooking oils that change the way our local people prepare their meals. Unless you have visited Adirondack Olive Oil Company yourself, you would not believe the diversity of their inventory. Of course, the premium extra virgin olive oils are a staple of the store and they carry an impressive amount of flavors including; Butter, Garlic, Tuscan Herb, Chipotle, White Truffle, Roasted Almond, Milanese Gremolata, Mandarin, Blood Orange, Cayenne Chili, Rosemary and so many more. Each of the balsamic vinegars are imported from Modena, Italy and are offered in such flavors as: Pomegranate-Quince, Sicilian Lemon, Tahitian Vanilla, Blueberry, Dark Chocolate, Raspberry, Tangerine, Organic Red Wine and a lot more. Each of the balsamic vinegars are barrel aged for twelve years with the exception of their traditional balsamic line, which is aged for eighteen years. Some items you may not expect to be carried at the shop are selections of pastas, sauces, jams, sea salts and gluten free products. They even have sections dedicated to organic beauty products and essential oils. Adirondack Olive Oil offers gift baskets with multiple combinations of goods sold in the store that are perfect for a recipient who loves to cook. Some other great gift ideas include: trays, bowls, boards and coasters that will provide the classy presentation to house guests that every host desires. Customers can also choose from a selection of pottery and ceramic products that make for nice decorations around the kitchen. There are limitless benefits when using the products at Adirondack Olive Oil Company. Not only does it result in better tasting food, but by avoiding artificial flavorings and harmful ingredients that are found in a lot of foods, consumers are being more health-conscious. Everything sold in the store is produced in small batches and monitored closely to ensure they are unadulterated. Ginelle says one of biggest inspirations behind opening the business, was that the oils, vinegars and other edibles sold in the store are perfect for people who are dieting. We all know how difficult it can be to try and lose weight while finding something we enjoy eating. When it comes to shopping at Adirondack Olive Oil Company, there is no such thing as buyer’s remorse. Customers are allowed to taste a sample of each oil and vinegar of their interest so everyone goes home happy. The Killinos are looking to make their customers more educated on the product and will be holding classes and events in the store that will make things even more fun and exciting. Some other locations where you can find Adirondack Olive Oil Company’s product line are the Whitesboro, Oneida County and Madison County Farmers Markets. Do not be intimidated to visit the store; everything is fairly priced and the staff is eager to answer any of your questions. You can visit their web site at AdirondackOliveOil.com, call at (315)732-1828 or see the store located in the JC Penney wing of Sangertown Square.
July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
Nothing but smooth sailing In Greater Utica with
The Cruise Wizards
Imagine…..you have booked the vacation of your dreams on that tropical island you always wanted to visit, or you are going to board that beautiful cruise you envisioned during your days working at a desk. And then, as you arrive on the island, you find that the hotel is uncomfortably small or the cruise ship isn’t quite what you saw in your fantasies. Too many people find themselves disappointed by the results of their special trip when they book it themselves, when all they had to do was leave it to the professionals. They were worried about the added charges of hiring a travel agent, when in reality, they could have taken advantage of their services without spending one extra cent. But when it comes to hiring a travel agent, you do not want to hire just anyone, it is important to call someone with experience. This is where The Cruise Wizards in Whitesboro come into the spotlight with an extensive history and a true enjoyment for the profession. Owners Brenda Gray and Debbie Lawendowski started off working together for a different agency before branching off on their own fifteen years ago. Brenda, an Accredited Cruise Counselor, joined a friend’s travel business back in 1994 and has been in the industry ever since. Debbie, a Cruise Consultant, retired from her first career, earned her Associates Degree in Travel & Tourism from HCCC and has been working in the field for nineteen years. Between the two, Brenda and Debbie have personally boarded over one-hundred-and-ten ships and have a great knowledge base when it comes to cruise lines. By performing inspections on each of these ships and enrolling in several training classes and seminars throughout the year, The Cruise Wizards are able to give comprehensive assessments of every trip they sell. They are able to provide some of the most competitive rates in the business being that they are one of the top producers for cruise lines such as: Norwegian, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Carnival and Holland America. Brenda and Debbie have received several awards from many of these companies for their exemplary service. Because their name is “The Cruise Wizards”, people sometimes get the impression they only book cruises; but that is not the case. Brenda and Debbie also offer packages for trips to Disney, Las Vegas, Europe, Alaska as well as resorts in the Caribbean. In circumstances where customers know they want to take a vacation, or if they are planning their honeymoon and are not sure where to go, Brenda and Debbie will qualify them. When you explain to them what your budget is, the type of place you are trying to visit and the nature of the trip, they can put together multiple quotes for you to plan the best getaway based on those criteria. Another advantage to the customer when going through The Cruise Wizards is that they always know how and when to get the best deal possible. At different times during the year, there are special promotions put on by resorts and cruise lines that Brenda and Debbie can keep you updated on. At any given time, when you visit their web site, the newest and most lucrative deal is listed. Also on the web site, visitors will find updated information on some of the many cruises and other vacation packages The Cruise Wizards offer, and you can even request a quote. There is a testimonials page filled with customers who let you know how easy it is to work with Brenda and Debbie. When planning our personal adventure, we are hoping to build special moments we will remember forever; we are looking to escape the stress of everyday life and leave the world behind, even if it’s only for a week. The last thing we want to do is deal with hotel accommodations, choose places to eat, or spend hours on the phone with someone you cannot personally meet and confide in. Let The Cruise Wizards deal with the tedious aspects of the planning process as your level of enjoyment will be the highest it can possibly be and you will save a whole lot of money. To contact Brenda and Debbie call (315)-768-1700, visit their website at TheCruiseWizards.com or visit their office at 214 Oriskany Boulevard in Whitesboro. You can also check out the Cruise Wizards on Facebook at facebook.com/TheCruiseWizards
32 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
In My Travels Around
Above: From Left to Right, Fountain Elms, Munson-Williams Proctor Arts Institute and the home of Mr. & Mrs. T. R. Proctor. - Picture Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
In 1923, Nora Devaney was brought to Utica by Maria Williams Proctor to work as a housemaid/meal server/pet bird caretaker in the T. R. Proctor mansion on Genesee Street. Maria Proctor hired a number of young Irish ladies from County Mayo, Ireland to be so employed. Nora’s older sister, Mary, came first and shortly thereafter Nora immigrated (with another sister Ann) to America, Utica and employment with Maria Proctor. They would receive room and board with a small stipend. Nora was appreciative of Maria teaching her knowledge of maintaining a home and about the finer things in life. The story of this unusual relationship was brought to light in a casual conversation about the Proctors. Elizabeth (Beth) Carville-Evans mentioned that her grandmother worked for Mrs. Proctor. Beth was extremely fond of this grandmother and in her youth spent many happy days at the Carville “farm” on Coop Hill. During the many visits to the Carville farm, Beth enjoyed her grandmother’s (Nora) spirit and the fun she had taking her grandchildren to the swimming hole. They kept horses, pigs and goats primarily for the fun of all the grandchildren. Nora came to America at age 19 from a very poor life in Ireland and was always grateful for what she had in her own married life with Tommy Carville. He loved the Mohawk Valley as it reminded him of the green hills of Ireland. Beth said, “The farm was a paradise for all the grandchildren.” Slowly, Beth began to recall the stories she had been told by her grandmother. Beth’s father, Nora’s son Fred Carville, joined the discussion and began adding to the fascinating tale of poor Irish young ladies coming to America and having the opportunity to live in a beautiful mansion in Utica, New York. Nora was responsible for the table setting - at the Proctor
Nora Devaney Carville
County Mayo, Ireland to Genesee Street Mansion by Joe Bottini Oneida County Historian
Mansion - that was precisely established by Maria. On holidays, following the death of her husband in 1920, Maria instructed Nora to set a place for her husband and her deceased child. Beth said her grandmother Nora described how Maria would talk to both of them during dinner. “Maria Proctor was a most generous benefactor,” Fred said. He recalled eating holiday meals using fine china, a gift from Maria to his mother Nora. “Of course, at the time I had no idea of their significance, but later learned of Mrs. Proctor’s generosity to her help,” Fred shared. He then proceeded to telling us the elegance of the dishes by describing their design and colors. Another interesting tale shared by Fred and Beth was the infamous meetings Maria Proctor had with all the employees. At this one particular meeting, Ann Devaney, (Nora’s sister) let it be known that one of the young, female employees was married. Of course, marriage was a breach of employment rules. The single ladies were permitted to date, but once they got married, their employment ceased. Mrs. Proctor excused all the ladies from the meeting except Nora. “How Mrs. Proctor knew that it was Nora who was married is in question,” Beth said. The private meeting between Nora and Mrs. Proctor was awkward, but congenial. Beth, with the aid of her dad Fred, tells it with great amusement. Mrs. Proctor: Is it you Nora? Nora: Yes. Mrs. Proctor: Did you marry Tommy? Nora: Yes. Mrs. Proctor: Do you have a ring? Nora: Yes. Mrs. Proctor: Where is it? Nora: In my room.
July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
Mrs. Proctor: Why aren’t you wearing it? Go get it and wear it. Mrs. Proctor: What is Tommy doing? I need another chauffeur. Have him talk to my chauffeur. The head chauffeur was an Englishman and Tommy, being a stout Irishman who had previously experienced the conflict during the Irish uprising, found it difficult to accept the offer. Beth said, by way of explanation, Tommy was not going to work for an “Englishman” if it is all the same. Fred explained his dad’s reluctance to work with an Englishman for the year was 1925, just a short 9 years after the Irish uprising against the British. Nora and Tommy went on to have 11 children - Fred is the 8th child. Tommy was employed by the Utica City School District retiring as head custodian from Utica Free Academy. The Oneida County History Center was a huge help in providing the opportunity to go through Maria Proctor’s manuscripts at the Genesee Street facility. Beth was told there was a diary that Mrs. Proctor kept and it was said to be among the 33 boxes of private papers preserved at the History Center. The director of the center Brian Howard, its Community Outreach Coordinator Rebecca McLain, and all the volunteers who diligently work at the center without remuneration of any kind, certainly deserve great appreciation from the Utica community. The search began with the kind help of volunteers Carol Wallace and Janice Reilly. We poured through box after box of papers, neatly kept in folders with each box and folder labeled with a general topic. From the many receipts found, it became obvious Maria Proctor made many purchases in New York City (Tiffany’s) and Washington, D.C. When we got to box number 7, our efforts were rewarded.
In folder number 105 was a sympathy note written to Maria Proctor expressing condolences for the death of Reddy. I showed it to Beth who immediately exclaimed, “That is my grandmother’s handwriting.” This was verified when we turned the note over to page two upon which was plainly written. “I remain very truly yours,
Mrs. Thomas Carville.” The one question I had was, “Who is Reddy?” I know Thomas and Maria Proctor had one child who died in infancy so I thought
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Reddy might have been the child’s nickname. Beth cleared up the mystery when she related that one of her grandmother Nora’s duties was to take care of Reddy, the Proctor family pet bird. Fred, Nora’s son, thought the name Reddy came from Thomas R. Proctor’s middle name, Redfield. Following Nora’s marriage to Tommy Carville, she ceased working at the Proctor mansion. The note was written a year after she left employment with Maria Proctor (1926) which indicates the closeness of their relationship beyond employer and employee. The emotion of the moment was overwhelming for Beth. Ninety-one years had passed from the time of Nora’s writing (to Maria Proctor) and finding it among Maria’s preserved papers. It is my opinion, the joy and fond remembrances this experience brought Beth and her father Fred was worth the work someone did to preserve the documents and neatly piling them on a shelf in the manuscript room of the Oneida County History Center. I listened (with amusement) to Beth tell of an incident involving Reddy. Apparently, the bird escaped its cage when Nora was cleaning it one day. Not able to coax the bird back into its cage, Nora began chasing it around the room finally catching it by the tail. After getting Reddy back into its cage, Nora was left with a handful of feathers. Not wanting Maria Proctor to find out of the incident, she threw the feathers in the bottom of the cage. This was not the end of this bird saga. Apparently Maria Proctor discovered the feathers and thought the bird might be molting so instructed Nora to give the bird some of its molting medicine. Nora, of course, knew differently, but carried out the instructions anyway in order to cover for her slight misdeed. Reddy survived quite nicely for another year before his death that prompted the above mentioned condolence note. Maria Proctor was as a second mother to the Devaney ladies.
Nora’s sister Mary (Maria’s cook) went back to Ireland to marry her boyfriend. Maria Proctor would send Christmas presents to Mary’s children until Maria’s death in 1935. Nora’s husband Tommy died in 1993. Nora passed in 2000 at the age of 96. She was thrilled to have taken citizenship classes the same year that the great immigrant symbol, the Statue of Liberty was restored. . Nora experienced the thrill of her life when she became an American citizen. Nora Devaney Carville’s tale is just another in the long line of stories about the magnanimous nature and sweet spirit of Maria Williams Proctor. Nora’s story gives 1150 McQuade Ave us a new look into the history of Utica, NY 13501 immigration in America. Folks 315-724-5578 desired a better life, joined those here and made good the opportuCold Cuts nity by adding to the strong fabric of the American society, and in Pecorino Romano the process, moving our nation to Ricotta GU a better place. “We are all about Home Sweet Home”
Top: The Condolence Note Viewing it are: Fred Carville (standing), Seated from L-R Beth Carville-Evans, Rebecca McLain - OCHC community outreach coordinator. Bottom: Tommy & Nora with their 11 children.
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July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
THE CARBONE AUTO GROUP BREAKS GROUND FOR A NEW COLLISION & FLEET
On Thursday, June 8th, the Carbone Auto Group officially broke ground on a new Collision and Fleet Sales Center that will be constructed just north of the Don’s Ford/BMW/Subaru dealership location on Route 12 N. in Utica. The eco-friendly, 22,000 square-foot facility will contain the Fleet and Commercial Sales Division of Carbone Auto Group and a new Collision Center. The Collision Center boasts a total of 25 bays, including two state-of-the-art prep deck bays, two drive-in inspection bays, dustless prep areas as well as auto and large truck paint booths able to accommodate tractor trailers, motor homes and even buses. The center will also offer glass repair and paintless dent repair. Adjusters will be on-site to offer quick estimates as well as insurance adjustments. The Fleet and Commercial Sales department will occupy approximately 1,700 square-feet of the new building with offices and conference rooms. A new parking lot with high efficiency LED lighting for displaying the large inventory of fleet and commercial vehicles is also planned. The new building is expected to be completed by the end of December, 2017. Carbone Automotive Group, a division of Lithia Motors, Inc., presents the best in new and used vehicles, service, parts and collision repair. With dealerships located in Central NY, Troy NY and Bennington VT, Carbone offers 15 different franchises including new, and certified pre-owned BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota.
F OR I MMEDIATE R ELEASE
Two Historical Societies Reveal History Through Historic Images
MEDIA CONTACT Jonny Foster 888.313.2665 x167 firstname.lastname@example.org
After having gone bankrupt from a fire on his New Hampshire farm, Jedediah Sanger purchased 1,000 acres of land in Whitestown in 1788. This land, part of the Coxe Patent, came to be known as New Hartford. This new town was created when the town of Whitestown was divided in April 1827. The village of New Hartford was formed in 1870. Chadwicks, Middle Settlement, Washington Mills, and Willowvale also existed within the town. Throughout the early 19th century, industry flourished in New Hartford. The Sauquoit Creek supplied power to businesses, including tanneries, knitting mills, sawmills, and canning factories. Local farms provided adequate supplies of vegetables and meat. The installation of Seneca Turnpike boosted New Hartford’s economy as it became the main thoroughfare west from Utica. Prosperity followed, especially after Commercial Drive was developed in the 20th century. Today, New Hartford is Oneida County’s retail center.
Pub Date 6.26.17 ABOUT THE AUTHOR Formed in 1876, the Oneida County History Center has served the community as a repository for artifacts, archival material, and over 30,000 images, many of which are featured in this publication. The New Hartford Historical Society exists in the former Point School in the village. Through their collections and publications, both societies promote the rich and vibrant history of the greater Mohawk Valley.
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There was a
Bakery gave when... tours in
There was a time when the Wonder Bread Bakery gave tours in Greater Utica, and if you were anywhere near the bakery, you knew it. If you are a bread lover like me, you will be able to appreciate what I am about to say; if the visible aroma of food that swept cartoons off their feet was a reality, many of us would have been pulled out the car window to the third-floor ovens while driving by Wonder Bread. The slogan was, ”Helps build strong bodies 12 ways”, but I can only think of one way it helped me build mine and it wasn’t by getting taller. Sorry, I almost forgot, this page is supposed to be about the Wonder Bread Bakery located on the corner of Elizabeth and First streets in the east part of Utica. Wonder Bread offered regular tours of the bakery for the children in the area. In fact, many of the teachers from the local schools would take their classes on these tours. When I was in second grade, our teacher brought us on a field trip to Wonder Bread. No, we didn’t get on a bus; we walked from Mary Street School (on the corner of Milgate and Blandina Streets). When we were within about 4 blocks of Wonder Bread, I couldn’t even hear my partner (the person walking on the side of me) talking anymore, my subconscious took over and asked, “is that bread baking?” I can say with firsthand experience, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen ovens the size of Buckley Pool (at least the ovens looked that big at the time) filled with bread, and if I didn’t know any better, I would have dove in. This trip was a real learning experience too; I may not have remembered how to spell “butter” in second grade but I would have known what to do with a stick if I brought one with me on the tour. You might say I loved this tour so
38 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
By Dominick Velardi
much that it was the reason I failed second grade; but no one can prove that. The tour ended with a trip to the thrift shop, where there were: Twinkies, cupcakes (and if you were lucky, the orange ones), Suzy Qs, Snowballs (and if you were lucky, the white ones), Fruit pies (and if you we lucky, the cherry ones), Ho Ho’s and Ding Dong’s (sorry-they weren’t invented yet) among other treats and of course, lots of bread. They said the stuff there was a “day old” but darned if I could tell. Before leaving the bakery, the tour guide gave us a Wonder Bread bag filled with all kinds of stuff, like a plastic polka dotted rain cap (with Wonder Bread-colored dots) and a paper hat like the bakers wore on the tour. The best item was a miniature loaf of wonder bread (unsliced). I peeled that wrapper down and it was first time I ate bread like a banana and all while wearing a Wonder Bread baker’s hat. In closing, the tour was an awesome event that many of us will never forget; especially if we got to go twice. Darn, I forgot the butter! G
“We are all about Home Sweet Home”
A Dog’s Home Away From in Greater Utica is at
For so many of us, one of life’s great joys is the unconditional love we receive from our dog(s). Unfortunately, most people are faced with a boatload of responsibilities whether it be their job, their children or anything else that may arise during the day. Because of this, we do not get to spend as much time with our dogs as we would like to, and we worry about leaving them alone for extended periods of time. It is important that if we find someone who will help ease this burden and keep them company, they will show our dogs the same level of affection we would. James Davall of A Dog’s Day Out Doggie Day Care in Marcy began working with dogs when he was a small child, and has never been able to separate himself from them. As far back as James can remember, dogs have been a part of his everyday life. He grew up on his family’s farm and like most young kids on the farmland, it was his job to work with the small animals. Over time, James developed a strong love for dogs and eventually began working with organizations that found homes for rescued greyhounds. Helping animals became a way of life for James. Eventually, his friends trusted him so much, they would ask him to be their pet sitter when they went away for the weekend. When they saw what a great job James did and the positive affect he had on their dogs, the word spread quickly and James began building a small business from his home. In 2011, James officially took over A Dog’s Day Out in Marcy, but his services today exceed that of a dog sitter. James and his lengthy history with dogs (more than thirty years), including many rescues, makes him uniquely qualified to look after all types of canine companions. By taking advantage of his doggie day care services, your pet learns how to function with other pets and people in social situations. Instead of tying them up or leaving the them in a small confined area, James’ facility allows the dogs to mingle together in a spacious play area indoors or play outside on the brand new outdoor turf surface. James even has a kiddie pool for them to cool off in during the summer. Another great benefit of using services such as A Dog’s Day Out, is a noticeable reduction in your dog’s anxiety level. You may notice when you come home from a long day of work, your dog is a little overexcited and it takes a while to calm them down. You likely will have to take them for a walk immediately before you get a chance to settle in or cook dinner. A Dog’s Day Out eases that stress on your pet by letting them outside regularly and keeping them in contact with others throughout the day. James understands the significant role pets play in his clients lives as well as his own and he says he treats the dogs as if they were someone’s (fur) child. While on our visit, a longtime customer, Amy, came into the day care with her dog, Delta. Delta is a rescue that had some trouble adjusting to new people and other dogs, but Amy says that after bringing her to A Dog’s Day Out, there is a drastic improvement in her behavior. “We wouldn’t leave our dog with anyone but James.” says Amy. “(Delta) loves him. She gets excited and sets up in the back seat when she knows we are coming here.” she added. “We love James he has become like a member of our family. I don’t know what we would do if this place wasn’t around.” James also loves helping out pets in the local community in any way he can. When he finds out through one of his customers or another source that there is a dog in need of a home, he is always willing to help by spreading the word through his business’s social media or connecting them to a person he trusts. Not only does he work with dogs, but being an avid cyclist, James tries to give back in a small way as one of the mechanics for the Ride For Missing Children; helping make sure the other volunteers make it to the end of the ride. For more info on how to become a member of A Dog’s Day Out’s family, visit their Facebook page, call (315) 797-1143 or see the facility yourself at 9835 River Rd Ste. 6 in Marcy.
July 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE
l l i H e h t on
Robert Fraser A master of how to win
By Dominick Velardi
Our story this month begins with the marriage of Alexander Fraser to Jean Buchanan on March 8, 1842. Shortly after their union, the couple sailed from their native home in Glasgow, Scotland to New Orleans before settling in Lafayette County, Mississippi. Alexander built two log cabins to serve as their home and the couple soon had two children, who both passed away tragically. When Jean became ill in 1848, the couple decided to return home to Scotland. Back in Glasgow, they gave birth to four children: Jane, Robert, Belle (Isabelle), and William. In 1855, Jean passed away and in 1861, Alexander decided once again to leave Scotland; this time with his four children and ending their journey in Ottawa, Canada. They spent a short time in Ottawa before de-
40 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
ciding to move to New York Mills and then finally to Utica. It was in the Greater Utica area where Alexanderâ€™s son, Robert Fraser, would become a household name. Robert was the second oldest of the Fraser siblings and was born on July 31, 1849. He received his education in Glasgow before his familyâ€™s voyage to Canada when he was fifteen years-old. Shortly after their arrival in the area, Robert soon found work as a clerk for E. T. Manning & CO.; a retailer in dry goods and carpets on Franklin Square in Utica. It was at E. T. Manning that Robert would meet a fellow worker by the name of William Angus, who became his partner in 1865. Together, Robert and William raised $200 to start their business and with that investment, they purchased goods they could carry in packs over their shoulders. Below: Robert Fraser Department Store at 177-181 Genesee St. - Picture Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
During this time in our history, entrepreneurs had their work cut out for them. Utica had a population of less than 30,000 people, there were no trolleys, traveling by train was difficult, and the Civil War recently ended. In other words: traveling to stores outside the immediate area was quite the task. It was Robert and William’s idea to bring the store to their patrons by way of their back packs. The lack of transportation options available forced Robert and William to walk to their destinations and sell their products. On their first venture, Robert and William sold their goods door to door throughout the Mohawk Valley; traveling from Utica to Ilion on foot. Upon returning to Utica, the two business partners found enough success in their journey to warrant a second trip; this time, they traveled north. After putting great effort forth, Robert and William found that business was not good at all to the North. It was under a tree in Holland Patent that the two decided to return to Utica to regroup and rethink their strategy. About two weeks later, their partnership ended when William decided to sell his interests to Robert. Robert, who was now on his own, made a commitment to himself that he would “win” and not accept failure in his business. For the next five years, Robert continued to sell his products door to door throughout the area on foot. Over this time, he encountered his successes and failures, but he was determined and kept forging ahead. Through his hard labors, Robert saved enough money to open a store of his own in New York Mills in 1870. At the New York Mills store, Robert would have his father, Alexander, and his 14-year-old brother help him with the day to day operations. Six years later, Robert was looking for increased opportunity and entered a larger market in Downtown Utica. In 1876, competition in Utica was tough, but Robert’s desire to “win” was unrelenting and pushed him to opening a second store at 178 Genesee Street. That same year, Robert placed Alexander in charge of the New York Mills store, which remained opened until 1898. Over the next two years, Robert’s business continued to grow as the demand for his product from Greater Utica consumers increased. He knew that in order to achieve his
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Smoke pours out of the windows of the Robert Fraser Department Store. Picture Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
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throughout the 1880s and when the opportunity arose, in 1890, he opened the walls to the adjoining buildings at 179 and 181 Genesee Street. The four-story Robert Fraser store was one of the largest dry goods stores in this part of the state. He operated his business at this location throughout the 1890s and into the turn in the new century. At about 5:20PM, on Wednesday May 10, 1905, an employee by the name of Katherine Richie, noticed smoke making its way through the basement. In less than 5 minutes’ time, there was a blaze of fire and the smoke was pouring out of every window. Within a half hour, flames shot from the roof, and by six o’clock, it was determined that everything in the store would be a total loss. In less than two hours’ time, the Robert Fraser fire would cause more than $450,000 in damages (more than $11,000,000 in today’s dollars). The blaze affected nearby Buckingham and Moak (Piano and Art Store), Simon Mansbach (millinery), John A. Roberts Department Store (on north side), Howarth, Ballard’s Drug Store, and Dr. W. A. Rowlands Dentistry. It was not until 9:00pm that the largest fire in Utica since 1888, was under control. Although no one was seriously injured by the fire, customers and clerks were taken down by ladder and across roofs with some of them narrowly escaping. The financial blow taken by Robert Fraser’s store would have put most others out of business; considering there was $250,000 in damages with insurance coverage of only $180,000 ($70,000 under-insured difference; approximately $1,849,000 in today’s money). With determination, and a refusal to accept any ad-
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Top: As the fire grows at Robert Fraser’s on Genesee Street, so does the crowd. Right: At the back of the building, north of Elizabeth Street, fire fighters water down the back wall . Picture Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
versary as an excuse to lose, Robert Fraser licked his wounds and planned his comeback. First, he opened a temporary office at the City National Bank Building, where on Saturday May 13th, Robert paid all 169 employees their full wages for the week. On Monday May 15th, he sent his buyers out to purchase new goods for the reopening of Robert Fraser’s. In less than three weeks, Robert reopened his store in the old Madoc and Pike location at 125 Genesee Street. That same year, he announced that there would be a new Robert Fraser Store, custom-built from the ground up. In June of 1905, a land lease for 99 years was made between Robert Fraser and Edward Carton for property to be used for a new store. After this land agreement, Robert decided he would travel to the bigger cities of the United States to investigate a variety of department stores and studied their methods of serving customer needs. Robert’s goal was to find the perfect design that would fit his shoppers in the Greater Utica area.
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WWW.GUMAGAZINE.COM The new structure was to be fireproof both inside and out. The interior walls would be made of steel and covered with terracotta and the floors would be constructed with iron and concrete. Six-foot-wide iron staircases on the north and south sides of the building would be included from the basement to a garden on the rooftop. To the side of each staircase, state of the art plunger-type elevators would be constructed. The new Fraser building took up the width of five store fronts with an address of 173-181 Genesee Street. Robert wanted to be sure that when the new store opened for business, it would make the people of the area proud. He stated that the business would continue to live up to his slogan “The Busiest Dry Goods Establishment in Utica”. Robert gave the majority of the construction Above: The ruins of Buckingham Moak that included piawork to local contractors, but the new structure was denos and artwork. The two stores combined had more than $130,000 in damages, ($3,400,000 in today’s money). Picture signed by Olin W. Cutter and A. C. Turner of Boston, who were also the architects of the Oneida County Court House. Courtesy of the Oneida County History Center
Detailed information of the new Robert Fraser Department Store was released in the September 30th, 1905 issue of the Utica Herald-Dispatch; the Saturday before the Monday ground breaking. The new store would be 116,000 square feet and six stories above the basement. The building would stand 116 feet high with the two lower stories constructed of cast iron and the remaining four stories made of Gouverneur Marble.
44 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - July 2017
The new Robert Fraser Store opened on March 14th, 1907. An unspoken trademark of the Robert Fraser Store was a flag flown from the top center of the building that read “Fraser”. In 1915, Robert Fraser celebrated his 50th year in business. He proved himself to be an honest and fair businessman to the people of the community for half of a centu-
ry, and in return, the people of the area loyally gave him their business. In 1919, the company was incorporated and from then on, the store was known as Robert Fraser Incorporated to which Robert served as President and his brother William was Vice President. At 8:30am on May 16, 1920, the morning of his brother William’s birthday, Robert as usual awoke and got dressed. His sister Bell made several breakfast calls to Robert upstairs which went unanswered. Belle went upstairs to investigate and found Robert unresponsive on the bathroom floor. Belle summoned their brother William and a doctor however Robert could not be revived and was pronounced dead. On May 19th, 1920, the day of Robert’s funeral, between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00PM, practically all stores were closed within the city. The Robert Fraser Store was also closed for the day to pay tribute to its founder. The private funeral service was held at 2:30PM at the Fraser home on Genesee Street. Robert’s estate was valued at more than $1,900,000 which in today currency is more than $27,000,000. He knew his employees played a large part in his successes and he proved that by leaving $102,000 total to sixty of his most loyal staff members (approximately $1,300,000 in today’s money). At least one employee received as much as $10,000. William Fraser worked beside his brother through most of his years in business and was known as Robert’s right hand man. William was involved in most of the major decisions of the business; he worked his way from department manager, to vice president and now after Robert’s death, the President of Robert Fraser Incorporated. William’s son, Robert D. Fraser, was also brought into the business after his graduation from Hamilton College. In 1908, Robert D. would serve as Vice President to his father. In June 1931, Robert D. was named president after his father William’s death. Robert D. held that position until his untimely death at 49 years-old in 1934. On September 23rd, 1939, it was announced that Ginsburg Brothers of Glens Falls, NY and Rutland, VT purchased the name, merchandise and fixtures of Robert Fra-
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ser Incorporated. The Ginsburgs would occupy the Robert Fraser building until December 31st, 1939, and on February 1st, 1940 it would be turned over to its new owner, F. W. Woolworth. Thankfully this building still exists today as the Clark City Center, and I for one, am grateful it has been preserved and reused again. Hopefully, when you see it next, you will observe this historical building in a new light. Maybe you will be able to imagine it as “The Busiest Dry Goods Establishment in Utica” and the product of a man that wanted to “win”. Anyone that is a business owner, attempted the task, or even worked for a local company, can appreciate what it took for Robert Fraser to make his way from carrying a back pack of merchandise, to owning the biggest department store in Central New York. I know the next time I pass this building I will see it differently. Yes, I will still see my childhood Woolworth’s but the story of this building does not start or end there. Hopefully like me, it will inspire you; knowing the person who had it built came from Scotland with nothing but the will to succeed. That it will help turn off the words of others that say “it can’t be done in this area anymore”. Remember, Robert Fraser worked against all odds; he did it on foot, one step at a time, one door at a time and one sale at a time until he saved enough money to take the next step. Even though Robert died unexpectedly, his life was far from a waste; on the contrary, he fulfilled his destiny in life’s journey and became a master of how to “win”. Robert Fraser’s memorial can be found today at Forest Hill Cemetery or as I like to call it, “Up on the Hill”.
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WWW.GUMAGAZINE.COM Left: A postcard of a view of the main floor displays and showcases. Below: Another postcard of the elegant Shoe Department. Right: A postcard from a proud area resident informing the recipient about the New Fraser Department Store.
Above: In 1940, Woolworth’s took over the location of the Robert Fraser Building and remained in business there until the 1990s. Picture courtesy of the Oneida County History Center. Right: The grave site of the Fraser Family at Forest Hill Cemetery
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The July issue of Greater Utica includes Sangertown Square Memories & A great story on "Al T" Taurisano. "In My Travels Around Greater Utica...