A look back: City Timeline 1600 – 1899

citydesk_icnBy no means complete, this timeline serves to give a general overview of major events in the city’s history, from previously posted items here on The City Desk. Please note that contradictions to this list may crop up in the future, as history is a rather tricky thing, indeed.
— Ed.

16?? –  Oldest known village ordinance enacted, making “dealing with goods of a gypsie nature” illegal. Punishment is “stabbing centrely amidst the fleshie organs.” [REF]

1780 – Origin of the Christmas tradition of the Three Hoboes. Each year, indigents dressed as Little Paul, Manuel the Turk, and John Portuguese wander the city decked in brown, green, and violet robes, begging candy treats and small amounts of money from holiday shoppers and Christmastime lookie-loos. [REF]

1781 – A copy of the recently penned Bill of Rights is posted on the tree that would become known as “Independence Elm.” [REF]

1829 – A land purchase marks the official transition from village to city. The original Bill of Sale (along with the original copies of the first City Charter) was lost in a Feb. 2008 fire at Old City Hall. [REF 1, 2]

1831 – First City Charter written. [REF]

1842 –  The city’s oldest library,The Mechanics Association Private Membership Library, is established. [REF]

1843 – The city’s first legal execution is carried out. [REF]

1843 – Concupiscence “Cups” Quarter unofficially founded. [REF]

1850 – The First City Flag is designed. It would be altered four times over the years for various reasons, including a passing resemblance to the Confederate battle flag. [REF]

1856 – The human population surpasses the cattle population. [REF]

1858 – “Nunce’s Ark” is crafted by Italian immigrant Nuncio Carpenello. The 26-foot long, eight-foot wide boat would be used to covertly transport runaway slaves up the Ostahanoc River. [REF]

1865 – Presidential Heights, (later renamed President Heights), a.k.a. “the Runaway Neighborhood” is established. [REF]

1868 – City council president, mining tycoon, and man-about-town Jacob Rutledge begins paving Sycamore Street with wooden planks. [REF]

1871 – The Whale Oil Pipeline is completed, five years and 20 million dollars after being commissioned by the city fathers. [REF]

1874 – The first of many city mayors moves into the Teal Estate. The mayoral mansion would be home to all who  held the post, until 1978. [REF]

1877 – Mayor Mordecai M. Miller resigns, supposedly to avoid an embarrassing recall. [REF]

1878 – The Great East Side Fire is caused by flames from a errant sewer grate that happened to spring up near that year’s International Wheat Symposium at the old County Fair Grounds (now part of Mabel Tripp Gardens). Fifteen barns of display wheat were consumed before the fire could be brought under control. [REF]

1878-1888 – Old City Hall is constructed. [REF]

1879 – Notorious gangster Rory Sheehan, the “King of Roxboro”, is born in Dublin, Ireland. [REF]

1880 – The Cranford Baths Leisure and Regeneration Center, (informally known as the Cranford Baths), brainchild of successful entrepreneur Buckley Cranford, opened with great fanfare on July 3. [REF]

1883 – The Myrna Heichman Memorial Chapel is set afloat on the Ostahanoc. The famous floating church was designed by architect Lackson Dowling, on commission by widower J. Peter Heichman. [REF]

1886 – The last slice of Grover Cleveland’s wedding cake is frozen in the archives of the Museum of Historical Confections. It would thaw and spoil during an April 2007 electrical outage. [REF]

1887 – Former city mayors Mordecai M. Miller and M. Seymour Haley die in a mysterious warehouse fire at the 17th St. Pier. [REF]

1888 – Industry Island, an experimental community founded by the virulently anti-Catholic Rev. Callum Fry, is founded. [REF]

1890 – John Overholt becomes the first of two mayors to shoot someone while serving in office. [REF]

1891 – The Industry Island community is disbanded. [REF]

1897 – The Typesetters’ Club is founded as a place for newspapermen to get together and drink, smoke cigars and eat badly cooked steak. [REF]

1898 – The Sons of Walloon Christmas Beer festival is founded by Voornaam Goossens, the self-proclaimed “Mayor of Belgium Town”. The December 2006 version of the festival concluded memorably with a street-level fireworks display featuring a 38-foot exploding beer stein. [REF]

1899 – Mathias Barnaby opens the North Falls dairy. In later years, the dairy would become the site of the city’s famous Cheese-Whip factory. [REF]

1899 – America’s Tallest Flowering Eucalyptus is planted at Mabel Tripp Gardens to commemorate the dawn of the new century. The original seed was a gift to the city from the Archduke of New South Wales. [REF]
- Ray Ingraham

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