A Bit of Rye History:
Police Blotter of Yesteryear Continued
News of fun, curious, and even outlandish local happenings seems to have been published more often in the good old days, especially in summertime when people were “letting off steam.”
By Paul Hicks
News of fun, curious, and even outlandish local happenings seems to have been published more often in the good old days, especially in summertime when people were “letting off steam.” Or, perhaps, it was just that the newspaper reporters and editors were looking for lighter stories to entertain their readers. Unfortunately, the current domestic and world news is as heavy as it comes, so enjoy this brief return to yesteryear.
Brooklyn Eagle-March 31, 1886
The steamship Capitol City ran on the rocks at Rye Beach in a dense fog. The captain had the boats lowered, and the passengers, numbering twelve, and the crew reached land safely. The steamship is now lying in twelve feet of water.
New York Times-July 1, 1886
The 15-ton passenger and freight steamboat Ruggles, bound from Derby, Connecticut to New York struck the same rocky part of the Sound near Rye Beach yesterday where the steamer Capitol City went down last March. The accident is ascribed to a variation of the compass.
New York Tribune-July 16, 1902
A score or more of the summer residents of Rye have contributed to a fund of $3,500 for the purchase of a new steam fire engine. Among those who gave $100 each are John E. and William H. Parsons, Simeon Ford, C.A. Gould, J. Mayhew Wainwright…and others. The new engine will arrive on Thursday, and the firemen will proceed at once to celebrate the occasion.
New York Tribune-October 25, 1903
Many Westchester County residents who attended the annual steeplechase of the Westchester Hunt Club, held at the country residence of Hobart Park, at Rye-on-the-Sound, saw Jimmie Cooley, the young polo player, go down and have a narrow escape in a maiden race for polo ponies yesterday afternoon. Another serious accident was narrowly averted when a runaway horse dashed through the crowd of automobiles and talley-hos and tore down the hill, barely grazing a dozen vehicles…
Brooklyn Eagle-July 11, 1909
It has become known that the cottagers at Rye-on-the-Sound are going to make a fight over the merry-go-round and other ear-splitting music and will endeavor to put the lid on. Petitions are being submitted to the Westchester District Attorney…to stop noises the residents say disturb sleep and the quietness of the neighborhood.
New York Tribune-May 12, 1912
The ferry for automobiles across Long Island Sound between Rye Beach and Sea Cliff begins its summer schedule today.
New York Tribune-April 21, 1913
Rye Beach Inn, which had been a stopping place for more politicians and celebrities than any other inn on the north shore of Long Island Sound, was destroyed yesterday by fire. It had been run by “Honest” John Kelly of Manhattan for a number of years. Surrounding it are many cottages and bungalows, and if the wind had not been blowing a gale from the west and away from the cottages, the colony might have been wiped out.
New York Tribune-May 21, 1913
Tommy Byrnes told his fellow Rye Village trustees that motorists driving past Rye Beach often eyed the feminine bathing suits, and a serious accident might occur there some day. Village Board President Theodore Fremd said he would appoint Tommy a committee of one to curb the bathing suits or do whatever might be necessary. Tommy said there was too much work for one man inspecting bathing suits at Rye Beach. Then Mr. Fremd appointed Si Buckley to the committee. Si did not make any objection.
New York Tribune-August 11, 1913
John H. Meyer, life guard at Oakland Beach in the Town Park at Rye on Long Island Sound, saved his thirty-fourth person from drowning this season.
New York Tribune-July 17, 1919
The citizens of Rye, NY are considerably worked up over the would-be humorists who want to find a new name for it, now that prohibition is more or less an accomplished fact. During recent weeks, Village President, Theodore Fremd, has received numerous letters suggesting names for the village, the outside world evidently believing that it was so named because of what the residents drank. One of the writers suggested that the village adopt “Ryeola” as a name that would not offend the Anti-Saloon League.
New York Tribune-August 30, 1920
The headlines read: “Rye Beach Will Adopt Standard Bathing Suit; V-Shaped Backs, Bare Legs, One-Piece Clingers, and Baby-Blue Socks Ordered Off Strand by Shocked Board of Town Commissioners.” The article gave the shocking details about each transgression and quoted a local judge’s admonition to sixty-two people who were arrested at the beach for “wandering around with insufficient covering…The idea of the old-fashioned full-length stockings brought tears to their pretty eyes….there is not complete agreement among the commissioners, but all agree that the clinging, 0ne-piece suit has to go.”
As many news articles of yesteryear show, Rye and Long Island Sound were so closely related in the public awareness that the village was frequently called Rye-on-the-Sound. If that name were revived, even informally, it might make us better appreciate our special relationship with “This Fine Piece of Water,” as Tom Andersen titled his book.