This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of January 19

2024-01-19 TWIR Image-Uncle Bennie 2
2024-01-19 TWIR Image-Uncle Bennie 1

January 17, 1874 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

    An organ-grinder was in town on Thursday, and our citizens were kindly wishing him to the Johnsontown cave, there to torture the remains of “Jack the Giant Killer,” which are supposed to be entombed there.
    On Monday, while Mr. Chas. E. Hunter, of Nyack, was driving to Mansfield Ave. Station, the axle of his wagon broke and he was thrown to the ground, dislocating his elbow joint. The accident was painful but not dangerous.
    On the evening of the 26th of November, James Corsa, of Clarkstown, a gentleman eighty years old, was run over by a horse driven by Jefferson Jersey. The old gentleman was taken up for dead, but we are glad to say is again about almost as well as ever.

January 18, 1934 90 YEARS AGO
Pearl River News

[Images: (1) Benjamin Talbot Babbitt Hyde (a.k.a. “Uncle Benny”) with unidentified children, undated; (2) Hyde Memorial Tablet. Images courtesy of the Regional Museums–Harriman State Park.]
       Members of the staff of the regional nature museums in the Palisades Interstate Park, and others who knew the work and the fine character of the late B. T. B. (“Uncle Benny”) Hyde, are joining in a permanent tribute to his memory, in the form of a bronze tablet to be placed in a suitable location in the Harriman Section of the Palisades Interstate Park, in the Highlands of the Hudson, for which subscriptions are now being collected.
       Contributions from any interested persons will be received by Miss Ruby M. Jolliffe, Superintendent of the Camping Department of the Palisades Interstate Park, at Room 794, State Office Building, 141 Worth Street, New York City. It is hoped to raise enough to make an appropriate memorial which will be dedicated next June during the summer camping season.
       “Uncle Benny” is lovingly remembered by many who were inspired and encouraged by him in the study of nature when he was chief of this work from 1918 to 1925, at the camps of the Boy Scouts of the Greater New York Council, at Kanawauke Lakes in the Park; but his work was extended to all the others of the eighty camp grounds in the Harriman Section. He was the first to lay out nature trails about the Kanawauke camps and to establish an indoor museum there, and he stimulated the establishment of similar features at other camping lakes.
       His influence upon hundreds of young people, in turning their thoughts toward the study of plants, birds, rocks, insects and other phases of natural history, is incalculable. Many of them, who learned their first outdoor lessons in nature under his guidance, have become science teachers and nature [counselors] in the Harriman Park and other camps. Even though they did not pursue natural history as a teaching occupation, they broadened their outlook on life, by knowledge of science, in ways which have made them happier and better citizens.
       Uncle Benny spent generously of his private means in equipping park museums and camp educational facilities. Out of his original work in this field have grown many other examples of outdoor teaching, and his influence has spread throughout the United States and abroad. With the cooperation of Miss Jolliffe, and of Major W. A. Welch, General Manager of the Palisades Interstate Park, and others, his little museum and his first nature trail at Kanawauke have spread to an extent which he probably did not dream of when he began his work.
       The extension of the regional museum service, under the direction of Miss Jolliffe, to five of the camping lake areas, Kanawauke, Stahahe, the Cohasset Lakes and Twin Lakes, was an outgrowth of “Uncle Benny’s” teaching. From it, too, spread the outdoor station for the study of insects and other phases of natural history in the western border of the Park, in 1925-27, under the direction of Dr. Frank E. Lutz, curator of the Department of Entomology at the American Museum of Natural History. Then followed the establishment at Bear Mountain, of the Trailside Museum and Nature Trails conducted by the American Museum of Natural History, and directed by William H. Carr, assistant curator in the museum’s department of education. This was begun, in 1927, with a grant by the Laura Rockefeller Foundation, obtained by the American Association of Museums, and has since been extended, in equipment of buildings and other facilities, by labor provided by the New York State Temporary Emergency Relief Administration, to make the Bear Mountain nature museums the most complete of their kind in any public park in the United States. Uncle Benny would be surprised and delighted to see how his idea has grown under Mr. Carr, who was one of his boys at Kanawauke a dozen years ago. From the same relief agency has come aid which has made possible the construction of a new glacier museum of glacial boulders on the shore of Kanawauke Lake, on the site where “Uncle Benny” laid out his first nature trail and assembled his first collections of animals and plants and rocks fifteen years ago.
       While engaged in similar work for the Boy Scouts of New Mexico Uncle Benny suffered injuries in an automobile accident last summer, which caused his death, which was lamented by all who knew him. His former “boys,” some of whom are now in charge of the regional museums in the Harriman Park, some in the educational department of the American Museum of Natural History and others in colleges and schools, wished to join in tribute to his memory to be erected where his work was begun, and from which place it has spread country wide. Through Miss Jolliffe they invite anyone interested to chip in a dollar or more, to make an adequate bronze tablet, which will probably be placed on the wall of the new Kanawauke Lakes regional museum.

January 19, 197450 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

Most snowmen are pudgy, lumpy creatures put together by children. But Shirley Pugliese’s snowmen are different.
       Mrs. Pugliese is a snow sculpture [sic] who creates realistic-looking dinosaurs and cartoon characters because it’s lots more fun than housework.
       When a good snow falls Mrs. Pugliese’s front yard at 170 Saddle River Road in Monsey comes to life. Presently standing on her lawn are an eight-foot tall dinosaur, Bashful the dwarf (who is melting), and Dopey the dwarf (who has lost his head).
       “I don’t know how long it took me to do,” said Mrs. Pugliese. “It’s too much fun to measure the time. I guess it was a little more than five hours for the dinosaur.” Mrs. Pugliese said she made the monster herself, but her 9-year-old son Tony rolled the snow up, “and I couldn’t have made it without him.”
       Mrs. Pugliese has been making the snow creatures for years, and in the past has constructed such favorites as Yogi Bear and Linus. Neighborhood residents and her son’s school bus drivers have already put in their requests for future snow characters to roam Saddle River Road, but the final choice “depends on how much snow we have.”
       Mrs. Pugliese said she has gotten compliments on her creations from her neighbors and one little boy approached her asking if he could buy one.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. © 2024 by The Historical Society of Rockland County. #FBF Flashback Friday may be reprinted only with written permission from the HSRC. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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