On this day in Yonker’s history…


Lawrence Ferlinghetti

By Mary Hoar, President Emeritus of the Yonkers Historical Society, recipient of the 2004 Key to History and President of the Untermyer Performing Arts Council

Monday February 21st
February 21, 1928: Local officials assured Yonkers drivers that there would be no increase in gas prices in our city. Yonkers drivers paid 20 cents a gallon; Standard Oil had just raised prices in New York City from 18 to 19 cents a gallon.

February 21, 1945: Young Men’s Chamber of Commerce President John E. Flynn presents details of the citywide School of Civic Service the organization planned to lead. Thirty sessions would be held at City Hall on Thursday evening; City officials spoke about the functions of city departments to give attendees a closer look at how Yonkers is governed.

Tuesday February 22nd
February 22, 1931: Mayor John Fogarty received Baroness Helene Nostitz von Hindenberg, niece of German President Paul von Hindenberg, at Yonkers City Hall. Two years later she was one of 87 authors who signed an oath of allegiance to Adolf Hitler.

February 22, 2021: Yonkers-born American poet, painter, social activist, Lawrence Ferlinghetti has passed away. Born on Caroline Avenue, the publisher and owner of San Francisco’s renowned City Lights Bookstore was San Francisco’s first Poet Laureate.

Wednesday February 23rd
February 23, 1945: After months of bureaucratic delay, state Supreme Court Justice Gerald Nolan ruled that former Mayor Benjamin Barnes lawfully murdered Abraham Rosenblum and Dr. William Crocker as trustee of the Yonkers School Board without seeking “advice and approval from the common council.” He said that since Yonkers has fewer than 400,000 residents, the state education act governs the action. Former school trustee Theodore Kiendl anticipated the event to bring before a higher court.

February 23, 1946: A letter arrives in Yonkers from Rheta Glueck, a former Yonkers newspaper editor of Bayley Avenue, Red Cross worker in Germany. Her greatest concern was the fraternization of American troops with German women, largely because morale among the occupying forces was so low that the Red Cross provided as much activity and entertainment as possible. She concluded her letter with hopes that Yonkers would “overdo” the Yonkers Red Cross Fund campaign.

Thursday February 24th
February 24, 1933: Women of the Yonkers chapter of the Mooseheart Legion hold a George Washington slumber party.

February 24, 1947 The Regional Plan Association for the tri-state area, forecasting that approximately 20,000 privately owned aircraft would be operating in the area, proposed two new airports to serve Yonkers residents. An airport would be located in the city of Greenburgh as no suitable land is available in Yonkers. A second, smaller field would be in Yonkers on county-owned property at a location such as the Sprain Brook Golf Course.

Friday February 25th
February 25, 1925: After raiding a saloon and restaurant, federal interdiction agents Charles Bench and Michael Sassi arrested seven men on charges of “possession of intoxicating alcohol.” A mob of 50 people gathered on Washington Street attempted to release one of the detainees and throw evidence to the ground, forcing agents to draw their guns to cause the crowd to back down. Arrested for “interfering with a federal agent,” two women fought agents like “wildcats,” attempting to smash liquor jugs at the agents while clawing and biting their faces and hands.

February 25, 1935: The trial of the Newark men caught with alcohol in their truck at Roosevelt High School was suddenly adjourned. The men’s attorney, Maurice Chachkes, had admitted the liquids were alcohol to speed up the process. After hearing testimony from arresting officer Frank Jordon, Chachkes retracted his admission. The liquor had to be returned to our city laboratories for analysis.

Saturday February 26th
February 26, 1937: Assistant Corporate Attorney Harold Garrity, who represented Yonkers’ interests in pursuing the Yonkers Anti-Shorts Ordinance, the blue law that drew international attention to our city, announced that Yonkers had issued a formal notice of the preliminary date for the argument for the case filed against Yonkers on behalf of two New York Daily News reporters, Rose O’Gorman and William Matthias, to check the validity of the ordinance. Yonkers’ anti-shorts ordinance was scheduled to go before the Court of Appeals on April 15.

February 26, 1940: The Westchester Grand Jury, headed by Westchester DA Walter Ferris, begins an investigation into the operations management of the Loehr Administration in Yonkers and examines the findings of the Department of Audit and Control which have uncovered illegalities and irregularities. Of the twenty-three grand jurors, three were from Yonkers: broker Ludwig Funke, architect Milton McGuire; and H. Armor Smith, director of the Hudson River Museum. Smith was on the city payroll as director of the Yonkers Museum.

Sunday February 27th
February 27, 1945: To celebrate their “outstanding service to our country through the patriotic and inspirational use of music in support of national efforts,” Benny Goodman, the “King of Swing,” presented the students with Quotes from the Music War Council of America Musicians at four Yonkers schools! The recognized schools were Gorton High School, High School of Commerce, Hawthorne Junior High School and Franklin Junior High School. Along with the certificates, each school’s music teacher received an autographed photograph of Mr. Goodman. These school bands played at war bond drives, scrap paper drives, scrap metal drives, ceremonies honoring men leaving for duty, and other patriotic ceremonies. Goodman spoke about the importance of music in everyday life, how it can have a “spiritually uplifting influence”. He went on to say that he hopes Yonkers residents will realize “what it means to have good school music organizations like these student bands.”

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For information about the Yonkers Historical Society, Sherwood House and upcoming events, please visit our website at www.yonkershistoricalsociety.org or call 914-961-8940.


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