Bandstands in Whitehall 1892

Bandstands have been in evidence in Whitehall for nearly 100 years. The first one was built in 1892 (history in a previous article) by public subscription. It stood on North Williams street south of the old footbridge abut opposite the present marine hardware shop of Walter Newell Jr. For the first few years weekly summer concerts held large Audiences standing on the canal bridges.

The bandstand was built especially to accommodate the newly formed (December 1891) ninth Separate Company Military Band which was the principal band in earlier years. It participated in social functions and parades in neighboring communities. Many people recall the first bandstand that disappeared when the canal was moved eastward into Wood creek. The second bandstand stood in Riverside Park, erected on scaffolding that rose from the canal grass land to the east wall of the old canal. The date could be the 20’s to the 50’s. Memories of it are vague. Many recall there was a bandstand with a roof there and that as children they played on it. Before its appearance on special occasions in the park bands played on the deck of a boat anchored south of the middle bridge.

Early pictures of Riverside Park after this construction in 1914 through the efforts of village officials and the Civic League do not show a bandstand. Any pictures that might be copied or further recollections of its existence would be appreciated. I’ve been told that this second bandstand was condemned in the 1950’s and the third stand, a simple square slab surrounded by white board fencing, was made. For many years the Granville band, sponsored by the chamber of commerce played, on it the Fourth of July. This stand is being replaced by a replica of the stand of 1892, pictures of which are on display in the post office foyer.

This stand in progress is part of the project proposed by the Historical Society of Whitehall in 1979. It is a part of the early action portion of Whitehall’s Urban Cultural Park proposal. Land and water conservation funds are available for park improvement only. Therefore Whitehall’s grant proposal included picnic facilities and park benches for Skenesborough Museum Park and more park benches for Riverside Park. The fact that the stand is to be a replica of an 1892 bandstand to be in keeping with the Victorian buildings of the Main Street Historic district made it most desirable and caused the awarding of the grant.

Because the bandstand is the most visible part of the park improvement, the building of it had to come first, according to New York State Park and Recreation. Any federal grant is never more than 50 per cent matching which means that any amount of money awarded must be matched locally by cash or volunteer services. Proof of these expenditures must be made to the government before any government money can be received. Previous conjectures in The Whitehall Times are that the bandstand might cost between $14,000 and $20,000. Planned expenditures will be much lower. The Whitehall Urban Cultural Park Advisory committee has until December, 1983, to complete use of the grant money.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – July 22, 1982

First Year of Concerts in the Bandstand 1892

The second band concert was enjoyed by the audience which turned out in great numbers so great that North Williams street was crowded. Both bridges were filled and
hundreds stood opposite the stand on Canal Street. So many were next to the bandstand that their weight made the sidewalk sink considerably.
The street commissioner, who repaired it the next day, said it was a wonder the walk did not go down under the pressure.

The only mar upon the evening was the conduct of the boys and young children who engaged in all sorts of sports instead of listening to the music. The noise was so
great one time that Professor Howe had to stop the music.

The oft heard pleas came through the columns of the newspaper — the police ought to take particular pains to be on hand during the concerts, the parents ought to take this opportunity to teach their children courtesy and consideration for others.

The concerts continued to bring out large numbers who enjoyed the programs. Soloists added to the enjoyment of the occasions. A.A. Butterfield of Boston, who was in town on business, gave a piccolo number. M.L. McIntyre on the clarinet and George Noyes on the xylophone rendered solos frequently. John Clark was receiving many compliments on his cornet playing. Messrs. Pond and Skeels gave attractive features.

The Military band and orchestra drew talented people to the community to work and play. C.E. Pond of Addison, Vt., was a first class cornet player. He came to
Whitehall to enter the business of steam laundryman in the Parke building, Clinton Avenue. Herman Fitts of Saratoga was an excellent tuba player; he brought his family and opened a cigar making business.

Prof. Leon Chany from Minneapolis made his home in Whitehall. He was a fine piano tuner and accomplished musician. He gave instructions in the violin, piccolo, flute, guitar and banjo. M.L. McIntyre was a tonsorial artist and clarinetist. He settled into a renovated barber shop with a “very pretty barber pole” he began with three chairs and three men.

Besides the weekly concerts here, these musical organization members, or groups of members, played in other towns and gave benefits. One benefit helped the Fair Haven Fire Department after a disastrous fire. One was a complimentary concert to the teachers of the Institute and another for the library fund. They traveled to Mechanicville for the Knights’ Daughters, to Fort Edward on the opening of the new Hotel Hudson, to Glens
Falls in the aid of a widow.

Many of the smaller groups of musicians were accompanied by outstanding vocal soloists. Such names as Mrs. R.C. Cook, Jessie Broughton, Franke Wilson, C.H.
Broughton and H.E. Sullivan are listed.

During this period of Whitehall history, the latter part of the 1800’s, music “had charms” seemingly for young and old as participant and audience.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – October 9, 1980

Ninth Separate Company Military Band – 1891-92

In the winter of 1891-92 the Ninth Separate Company of Whitehall organized among its members a military band. The 20 pieces consisted of five cornets, two clarinets, three tenors, three altos, one saxophone, one baritone, one tuba, snare drum, bass drum and cymbals.

Professor W.W. Howe of the high school was the director and N.L. Mclntyle the leader. Twenty-one members of the company composed this new organization whose instruments were from Charles Missenharter’s.

About the same time an orchestra was formed under the leadership of Prof. L.E. Cantz of Saratoga and Minneapolis. Among the fine soloists were N.L. McIntyre clarinet; C.E. Pond, cornet, George Noyes, drums, xylophone and traps. The orchestra had 16 pieces: first violin, second violin, viola, violocello, bass, flute, first clarinet, second clarinet, first cornet, second cornet, two French horns, trombone, xylophone, drums and piano The orchestra was connected with the military band of 20 pieces of Prof. Howe, director and N.L. McIntyre, leader

On 23 February 1892 the Ninth Separate Company Military Band gave a concert in Music Hall (over the Butcher Block) followed by a dance at the armory (Anderson Hall.)

The papers reported that the band had added much to its reputation and that people hoped arrangements could be made for a series of open air concerts during the summer months. In answer to the many suggestions, a new band stand was erected through sub-scription on Williams street south of the footbridge on the east side of Wood creek. Al-though the band stand has been written about in this column, it can bear repeating, especially since its replica is planned for Whitehall through the action of a committee of the Urban Cultural Park System through a federal grant. Whitehall was chosen one of the 14 pilot projects in the state for such a statewide park system.

The construction of the band stand was watched with much interest and approval, and admiration, was heard on every hand. The east bank of the creek was graded and terraced and made attractive. The stand was octagonal in shape. It was mounted on 21 supports so that the floor was nearly level with the street. From each corner rose turned pillars of wood supporting a low steeple roof surmounted by a wooden sphere. A neat railing extended around the base of the structure while under the eaves were attractive trimmings in scroll saw work The stand was ceiled over head, the lowest point in the ceiling being in the center from which an arc light was later suspended by Mr. Mc Laughlin. The gold band on the top of the band stand was gilded by John Blinn. He fur-nished the material and did the work. At least two weeks would have to pass before the weather would be warm enough to permit an open air concert with comfort to performers and audience.

The first band concert given by the Ninth Military Band was held on 20 May, 1892. It was a successful one in all respects except the weather. That was too cold for comfort. The program for the first concert included these numbers:
March, Battle of Magenta, Marie; overture, Murmurings of the Forest, Beuillon; patrol, Guard Mount, Rollinson; concert waltzes, Danube Waves, lvanouvici; song and dance, My Darling, Laurendau; medley, Dudes of 1883, Myrellire; national air, Yankee Doodle Air, Rollinson.

The second band concert was given on 27 May. It was interfered with by weather. It rained during the afternoon and was damp and drizzly at 8 o’clock in the evening, but despite the dreary outlook the band gave its program as advertised. It was so cold and damp; however, they did not lose any unnecessary time. The program of the first concert was repeated with two additional numbers:
Schottische, Golden Hours; Rollinson; Medley, The Humors of Donnybrook,
Prendeville.

On the following Monday the band was to appear in parade for Memorial Day but the stormy weather prevented. The third concert was a success but was accompanied with some discomfort by the youths’ disorderliness, which will be described later.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – October 2, 1980

Ninth Separate Company Military Band – 1891

In December of 1891 another band, a brass one, was organized in Whitehall and called the Citizens Band. The conductor was Professor W.W. Howe of Whitehall Union School and the leader, M.L. McIntyre.

A month later the Citizens Band became known as the Ninth Separate Company Military Band. Its 17 young members enlisted in the National Guard and were subject to the rules governing the members of the Burleigh Corps.

The band purchased $250 worth of new instruments and $75 worth of new music. Its first public complimentary appearance was at a grand benefit concert 2 February 1892 in Armory Hall located in Anderson Hall. The members made a splendid appearance with their scarlet grenadier coats, navy blue pantaloons with black stripes, and shiny new instruments. Despite a blinding snow storm, 300 people turned out to hear nine pieces of popular music. Professor Howe had been presented with an ebony baton with silver trimmings which he wielded for the first time on this occasion.

The band declared its purpose not to be a mercenary organization but to entertain the public, when the weather permitted, with free open air concerts at regular intervals. But to help them in their heavy outlay they asked for a heavy patronage for a concert and ball 23 February. The concert was given in Music Hall and the ball in Armory Hall with 100 couples dancing until 3 a.m. A net profit of $80 was realized.

In March this band gave a concert in Fair Haven’s Knight’s Hall to aid the Fair Haven band who had lost all their instruments and music in a fire.

So pleased were the citizens and businessmen of Whitehall with this band that a decision was made to provide them with a band stand. Several sites were considered; on the east side between the Times office and the Adams building (Eatery) on the east side of Wood creek nearly opposite the Chronicle building (at that time in the I.O.O.F. Hall.

The final decision was between the foot bridge and Adams photography building in front of the Chronicle building, the east bank of the creek was graded and terraced. The building was thus described: octagonal in structure, mounted on supports so the floor was nearly level with the street; from each corner raised turned pillars of wood supporting a low steeple roof surmounted by a wooden sphere. Neat railings extended around the base of the structure while under the eaves were attractive trimmings in scroll saw work. The stand was ceiled overhead, the lowest point in the ceiling being the center from which an arc light was suspended.

Israel L. Rush circulated the subscription paper and so popular was the project that $120 was raised in one day. H. G. Burleigh was the largest subscriber with $25.

The first concert of the season in the new band stand was given on a Friday evening in May. It rained heavily in the afternoon but the band assembled in the evening dressed in heavy overcoats. A crowd of 200 soon assembled. The following Monday a large group of 1500 people were grouped on the foot bridge, on Williams street, and on the middle bridge. Thus began the summer open air concerts that the Ninth Separate Company Military Band had promised, in the new bandstand.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – April 12, 1973

Whitehall Cornet Band

Whitehall Cornet Band, with A. C. Hopson leading it, was reorganized. New members were being added and new instruments secured, as old ones were worn out or had disappeared as they were private property.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Independent – July 4, 1984 – (Title Unknown)