WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THE LIGHTS WENT OUT?
It was July 3, 2014, and we were returning from picking-up our daughter and her husband from the Utica Amtrak Station. As we passed Waterville, the skies darkened and the wind started blowing. We could see that it was very stormy in the direction of Poolville. A few minutes later, we received a phone call warning us of severe destruction. Because of downed wires, we were forced to drive to our home by first going back toward Waterville. When we arrived, we found trees down and serious damage throughout Poolville. The U.S. Weather Bureau called it a wind sheer and later a tornado.
No part of Poolville was spared from wind damage. Camp Fiver had many campers stranded without power, which meant no water and no food refrigeration. Deana Jenkins had a large maple fall, grazing her house and the one next door that was formerly owned by Barry Campbell’s father. The Poolville Country Store had damage, and they were forced to cancel service. Jim Wyman lost a few large trees. Barry Campbell and Joel Partridge lost many trees. One home on Earlville Road was declared a total loss. The Poolville Cemetery lost several trees and there was damage to headstones. Jim Wyman and Brandon Briggs cleaned the downed trees.
Miraculously, nobody was injured!
This was the second recorded tornadoe to blow through Poolville. In 1926, a storm ripped through Poolville knocking down trees and damaging the Poolville Hotel (across Earlville Road from the Poolville Country Store) rendering it a complete loss. It was demolished shortly thereafter.
The NY State Police, Madison County Sheriff’s Department, Earlville Volunteer Fire Departmnt, Madison County Highway Department, NYSEG, Time Warner Cable, and other agencies acted quickly and corrected the problems. Many residents refer to the storm by its moniker, the 2014 Fourth of July storm. Neighbors came out and helped one another. The spring at the north end of town (in the umbrellas park) became many people’s primary water suppily. Clearly, the community pulled together.
Send us your thoughts about the storm. How did you manage? Were there local heroes? Do you have photos?
THE POOLVILLE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT was founded in the 1940s. Prior to that time, Poolville was served primarily by the Earlville Volunteer Fire Department, of which many Poolville residents were members. The first firehouse was on the site where the Eugene and Betty McGregor’s white garage is currently located; that is, the third structure north and east of the center interchange. The McGregors sold that house in 2014. That building was originally a schoolhouse, and then the firehouse. In the 1970s, the firehouse moved to the southern half of the Community Center.
Unlike other fire departments, PVFD did not receive any government money and was completely supported by Village residents. To raise money, members held BBQ chicken sales, community yard sales, and an annual auction of donated items. All were exceptionally well attended. There were, of course, many people who donated cash gifts to the PVFD.
In about 1950, the members bought a 1929 Sanford Fire Truck from a town in Pennsylvania. Long-time residents say it was a beauty – a classical looking fire truck that the community kept polished and in good working order. Do any readers have a photo of that truck?
Early members of the PVFD were Francis “Campy” Campbell, who was the President (The title of chief was not used for many years); Jim Pounds who built the first tanker in the 1950s; Dan Ogden; Eugene MxGregor; Al Caroshia; Cecil Minor; Vernon “Pat” Partridge; Ernie Penoyer, Sr.; Roy Adams; Howard Plank; Therin “Skip” Dunham; Hoawrd Tackaberry; and Eugene Excell. Over time, almost every male resident and many women were members of the PVFD.
Numerous State ordinances enacted in the early 2000s created regulations that were impossible for our small fire department, and the PVFD merger with Earlville and closed its doors. The loss of the PVFD also meant that the fund-raising activities were no longer held. Those activities provided a means for people to meet one another and work for the common good. When the PVFD ceased to exist, much of Poolville’s sense of community was lost. It is now encumbent upon the Community Center to fill that void, and they are succeeding admirably.
When the PVFD closed, members sold their fire truck. Curiously, the town of Poolville, Texas, bought it. See: http://www.poolvillepost.com/Poolville-VFD.html
POOLVIILE LAKE, also known as Poolville Pond (pond is a better homonym than lake), is located at the end of Mill Street. About fifteen years ago, Tom and Heather Tucker bought the property on the village side of the lake and opened Camp Fiver, a camp for underprivileged youngsters from NYC, Chenango County, and Madison County. For decades, Hamilton Village residents used Poolville Lake for swimming. Scores of residents report having learned to swim at Poolville Lake.