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Newsroom was a mainstay for decades in Albion

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 25 February 2017 at 8:37 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 9

This image shows the interior of the Dowd Newsroom located at 13 East Bank Street in Albion, circa 1907. The business was once owned by Charles Dowd and operated with assistance from his brother George during the early portion of the 20th century (see volume 2, issue 24). Before opening this business, Charles was employed as a railroad laborer and worked on various canal projects during the 1890s until he broke his leg in 1897.

Although this was a newsroom and tobacco store, we can see that tobacco was the prominent piece of merchandise. The walls are littered with promotional materials and advertising posters for some of the most popular tobacco companies at the time; Billy Boy, Union Leader, Jolly Tar, Sure Shot, Bagpipe, High Card, and Little Minister. On the floor to the right we see a crate marked “Smoke U.S. Marine Plug Cut.” Two ads for newspapers are seen, one visible in the back is advertising the “large high class pictorial magazine” the Illustrated Sunday Magazine available weekly for free with the Buffalo Times.

The photograph is marked as 1909, but we can see a poster on the back wall placed over other advertising pieces that reads “Orleans County Fair – Albion, NY – Sept. 18, 19, 20, 21 – 1907.” Assuming Mr. Dowd did not forget to take this poster down for two years, we can easily date the image. Located just in view behind the U.S. Marine tobacco crate is a snow shovel, so there is a possibility that the image was taken during the earlier portion of 1907.

Charles Dowd is standing behind the counter, approximately 46 years old at the time, with his derby placed on the glass case. To his right are Albion Police Justice Henry C. Tucker, Louis Spauling, and local carpenter, Ozro Bates; the latter has placed his hat on the adjacent glass case.

On November 8, 1941 Dowd suffered a massive heart attack while listening to the Notre Dame – Navy football game. A passionate Fighting Irish fan, the 76-year-old’s heart could not handle the excitement of the 20-13 victory over the “Middies.” After his death, his brother-in-law Charles Kellogg took over the business before it was sold to Newell Maxon of Medina. The business was then sold to Carl Fischer and relocated to N. Main Street where Fischer’s Newsroom operated under his ownership until his own death in 1963.

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