Hoosick Township Historical Society

Newsletter - December 2003

Editor: Phil Leonard
Museum Curator: Charles Filkins
Louis Miller Museum (518) 686-4682

"WET" OR "DRY" IS THE ELECTION ISSUE

Forces favoring Prohibition Making Most Strenuous Effort to Put Hoosick in "Dry" Column. The "Wets" Also are Working.

November, 1917 found the community asking the voters of the Town of Hoosick to determine if alcohol should be sold in the township. The State Prohibition headquarters under the direction of S. E. Dealing was campaigning for the prohibition and the liquor dealers were fighting hard to continue selling. From the newspaper article we quote, "Meetings have been arranged for nearly all the churches of the town. The topic for all the addresses is "The Dead Body of a Drunkard" and many of the addresses have been illustrated with stereopticon slides. On Monday evening a meeting was held at the Potter Hill Methodist church, and last evening a gathering was held at the Eagle Bridge opera house. Tonight a meeting will be held at the Buskirk Methodist church, and tomorrow evening there will be a meeting and address at St. John's parish hall, Walloomsac. On Saturday evening, there will be a meeting at the Hoosac school gymnasium. On Sunday J. H. Woertendyke of Los Angeles, California, will take up the work, delivering three addresses. He will speak at the Baptist church in Hoosick at 10:30 o'clock that morning, and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon will address a meetng at the Baptist church in West Hoosick. That evening he will address a union meeting of the churches of this village at the Methodist church. On Monday evening he will wind up the campaign with an address at a public meeting to be held at the New Theatre......... While the "drys" have been advancing their ideals in a most thorough way, the "wets" have not been idle. They have gathered data to be brought before the voters as to the effects of no-license in other towns and are basing their fight on the amount of revenue derived from the liquor business. No public meetings have been held or are anticipated. License or no-license is to be fought out at the polls in the Town of Hoosick on Tuesday on a scale never before attempted here." What was the outcome?

This article announces the end of the trolley system in Hoosick Falls. For 33 years it served the people and before the popularity of the auto it was an important method of transportation. The line started in 1894 and connected the Fitchburg Railroad station with Walloomsac. In 1898 the line was extended to North Bennington and Bennington. An old directory describes the line:"The Bennington and Hoosick Valley Railway Company now operates seventeen miles of electric road commencing at the Fitchburg Railroad station in Hoosick Falls, N. Y. and extending to Bennington in the state of Vermont. The part of the line from Hoosick Falls to Walloomsac has been in operation for four years, the line from North Bennington to Bennington opened for traffic in February 1898...." From the depot, the line ran through Elm, Third and River Street; southerly on Church Street to Main Street; on Main, Classic and Abbott Streets and Parsons Avenue to High Street and along the present Route 22 to North Hoosick. The fare was 5 cents to North Hoosick and another nickel to Walloomsac. Men used the trolley to go to work at the paper mills. The track went past the original Battlefield park which was at the other side of the caretakers bridge in Walloomsac. A power house to furnish the electricity was located beside the battlefield park. Mr C. B. Story was manager. He built the house where the museum is now located. A book about the trolley is sold at the museum.

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