This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of July 29

2022-07-29 TWIR Image-Olsen

July 27, 1872 – 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

      The axletree of Josh Hazard’s wagon broke on Thursday and let down a load of hay for him. Josh didn’t swear.
      Squire Peter Stevens is entitled to the thanks of our citizens for sending out of town an imported case of smallpox.
      Bailey and Co.’s Circus monopolized the attention and cash of our citizens on Monday evening to an alarming extent.
      A Shetland pony about three feet high, owned by Mr. Snow, is the envy and admiration of our Nyack boys and girls.
      S. Macniff, of Pearl River, has lately added to her handsomely furnished store a fine soda fountain, which is well patronized.

July 27, 1932 90 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Evening Journal

       Lieutenant-Governor Herbert H. Lehmann and the official party accompanying him left the home of Perley Morse at Suffern shortly after two o’clock this afternoon for the cornerstone laying ceremonies at Letchworth Village. The cavalcade of cars passed through crowded Spring Valley streets soon afterward, and was expected to arrive at Thiells in time for the cornerstone laying at about three o’clock.
       Lieutenant-Governor Herbert H. Lehmann, arriving 15 minutes ahead of scheduled time, inspected Letchworth Village this morning as his first stop on his tour of state institutions. After his trip through the extensive plant had been completed, he and the party which accompanied him left for the home of Perley Morse, at Suffern, for luncheon. ...
       Assemblyman Fred R. Horn, Jr., sat in the rear seat of the motorcar and talked with the state official on the way across the river about the tunnel by which Horn proposes to connect Rockland and Westchester Counties.

July 27, 1972 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

       A Batrachopus, a Grallator and an Anchisauripus apparently once strolled along what is now Route 303 in Blauvelt — about 200 million years ago — leaving their footprints fossilized in rocks.
       The three oddly named beasts are prehistoric reptiles — two dinosaurs and one an offbeat cousin — and their preserved footprints are reportedly the first of any dinosaurs to be found in New York State.
       News of the dramatic find was revealed Tuesday by two young college students, one a paleontology student at Yale. There are 14 footprints captured in the rock along the highway.
       The two students are Paul Olsen, 18, of Livingston, N.J., the fledgling paleontologist, and Robert Salvia, 17, of West Nyack, a premedical student.
       The dinosaurs were seven to eight feet long, four feet high and weighed 50 to 60 pounds, no more than a dog, said Olsen. They walked exactly like ostriches, had long necks and a very long tail equal in length to the entire neck and body together. They could travel up to 50 miles an hour, Olsen added.
       Similar footprints have already been found in New Jersey, Connecticut and Virginia.
       The find is being dug out now and should be on display in a couple of years in the New York State Museum in Albany, said Olsen.
       The exact location is not being disclosed for fear souvenir hunters will ruin the find before excavation is complete.
       Olsen, despite his age, is no newcomer to finding fossils. Together with Tony Lessa he found in 1968 the Roseland Dinosaur Quarry in Roseland, N.J., and the world’s smallest dinosaur footprints, among other things.
       Dr. Bobb Schaeffer, curator of vertebrae paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, says he knows Olsen as “a very energetic young student up at Yale who does uncover a great many items of interest.”
       Schaeffer said Olsen has done this type of work before, but that he himself has not seen this particular find yet.
       Olsen and Salvia were looking for such prints in this area and northern New Jersey over a year and a half. “The textbooks say don’t expect to even find this,” said Olsen.
       The land where the prints are located was covered a few years ago with soil but was ripped up recently apparently for industrial development, said Salvia.
       Leaving a footprint that lasts 200 million years doesn’t just happen, Olsen and Salvia noted. It requires very smooth rocks, a clean, smooth surface, a period of time with no erosion, much deposition, very quiet conditions, mud of the right consistency and more mud to cover it up, according to Olsen.
       “Two hundred million years ago, between N[e]w York City and the Ramapo Mountains, there was a large valley, 20,000 feet deep,” Olsen explained “Mud flowed into it and filled it up.”
       These dinosaurs, which fed on other reptiles, were just evolving, leaving small footprints as they walked, he said. More mud covered the prints, filled them in, and later split, giving a positive and negative impression.
       The dinosaurs whose prints were uncovered were not alone at the time. There were also crocodile-like creatures, mammal-like reptiles, flying lizards, fish, some salamander-like creatures and many insects, Olsen said
       Olsen, who found 35 new areas of fossil discoveries in New Jersey, said almost all of Rockland contains Brunswick shale, the rock in which prints were found.
       There may be more prints here than at the FBI.

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC’s mission, upcoming events or programs, visit or call (845) 634-9629.


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