1891, 131 years ago

Butterfield to Union

Daniel Butterfield, born and raised in Utica, is elected president of the Union College Alumni Association at a meeting of members in New York.

He unveils a plan to invite “eloquent and distinguished” speakers to address students and faculty in the college chapel at Schenectady. The first to speak in the “Butterfield Lecture Series” will be William McKinley, newly elected Governor of Ohio. (Butterfield predicted McKinley would go far in politics, and he was right, because in 1896 he was elected the 25th president of the United States.)

Butterfield was born on October 31, 1831 in a house in Lafayette Street – just west of Busy Corner – the son of John Butterfield and Malinda Harriet Baher. He attended local schools and graduated from Union College in 1849. During the Civil War, Butterfield, then 30, won the Medal of Honor at the Battle of Gaines Mill in Virginia in July 1862.

He is best known today for co-composing — with his 22-year-old bugler, Pvt. Oliver Norton – “Tap”. It is the call of the military bugle which signals “the extinction of the fires” and sounds like a farewell to the dead soldiers. Butterfield died in 1901 at the age of 69 and is buried in West Point Cemetery.

1922, 100 years ago


Utica’s 15 movie theaters have a seating capacity of 13,185. The Park Theater leads with 1,700 seats. The Gaiety is next with 1,486. Other theaters and seating capacity: Avon 1,400; Colonial 1,350; Deluxe 1,150; Majestic 1,028; Alhambra 800; Orpheus 740; Racecourse 700; Highland 500; Family 490; Rialto 490; Corn Hill 462; Lyric 457 and Hibernian 450.

1947, 75 years ago

Skiba Rooms

Walter Skiba Post 20, Polish Legion of American Veterans (PLAV), is opening new rooms on the second floor of a building on the southwest corner of Bleecker and Nichols streets in East Utica. The co-chairs of the opening ceremonies are Stanley Bogdan and Stanley Kraseski. The post is named after the first veteran of the Polish-Slavic community of Utica to be killed during World War II.

1972, 50 years ago

Hospital car park

St. Elizabeth’s Hospital is opening its new $1.2 million, three-level, 500-car parking lot to be built behind the hospital.

Frank Robilotta is elected president of the Utica Zoological Society. William Bashant and Henry Morehouse are vice-presidents and Betsy Dugan is secretary.

Charles Casler, of Litchfield, is honored as a 50-year member of Dairylea, Inc., at a district meeting in Sauquoit. He was treasurer of the Sauquoit Local.

1997, 25 years ago

veterans remember

Utica, Rome, Sherrill and area towns and villages honor veterans of all wars with parades, concerts and other ceremonies.

E. Porter Felt dies at age 67. He was president-elect of the Oneida County Bar Association at the time of his death. He was president of the Clinton School Board, president of the Utica Area Chamber of Commerce, founding board member of the SUNY Foundation, president of the New York Center Presbyterian House, and active in Utica Symphony Orchestra, Fort Schuyler. Club and Zoological Society of Utica.

Three Mohawk Valley Community College faculty and professional staff receive SUNY Chancellor’s Achievement Award. They are: Professor Penny Trojan of the Physical and Recreational Department; Professor Dennis Lee of the Department of Social Sciences and Criminal Justice and Thomas Maneen, Academic Assistant in the Department of Graphic Communication.

2012, 10 years ago

Kick off the red kettle

The Salvation Army of Utica launches its annual Red Kettle fundraising campaign at Holland Farms Bakery and Deli in Yorkville. Co-owner Marolyn Wilson is the campaign’s honorary chair. Lou Parrotta, chairman of the advisory board, says there will be 17 Red Kettle stands at various locations in the area and 45 kettles on counters at area stores and businesses. Money raised supports the food pantry, daily soup kitchen, Christmas dinners, and Salvation Army children’s and adult programs.

Oriskany Central School varsity football players volunteer with the Oneida County Intergenerational Cleanup Program to help residents prepare their grounds for winter. Ryan Lockwood, Cody Murphy, Nick Cooper, Anthony Pickard, Austin Smith, Trevor O’Bryan, Adam Juarez, Alex Liddy and Grant Mealy are busy at Dolores Copperwheat’s residence.

Chris Wilsey and Raymond H. Tucker of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers are among the many professional volunteers who work in the magnificent stone building in Bagg’s Square that Maria Williams Proctor – widow of Thomas R. Proctor – had built to mark the site where the Bagg’s Hotel once stood. This is part of the Genesis Keep the Mohawk Valley Beautiful program.

Quiz game

We’ve had six presidents of the United States who were 5-foot-7 or shorter. How many can you name? (The answer will appear here next week.)

This Week in History is researched and written by Frank Tomaino. Email him at [email protected]