HISTORY IS COOL: 100 years ago

Aug. 31, 1923

Motorboat death

At a hearing before Justice Thomas Leahy of Lake Placid on Thursday, Aug. 30, a charge of second-degree manslaughter was brought against Thomas Wood, 50, of Lake Placid, in the case of the death of Miss Virginia Johnson, 14, resulting from a motorboat accident on Lake Placid last Sunday afternoon.

Miss Johnson — daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. H. Johnson of Greenwich, Connecticut — died late Monday night, Aug. 27, at the Lake Placid General Hospital, as a result of the motorboat collision.

According to witnesses, the motorboat Skimmering, owned by Waddill Catchings of New York City, was speeding north around the north end of Moose Island with a party of Mr. Catching’s friends staying at his camp. Thomas Wood, the caretaker of the camp, was at the wheel.

It appears that Mr. Wood had hailed, or was talking with someone in a passing boat. His craft in the meantime had swerved from its course. Noticing this and fearing the rocks near the shore of the island, he quickly pulled his boat back into its course, not seeing the canoe with its three occupants straight ahead. The canoe’s occupants tried to signal Wood, apparently without success, and the motorboat crashed into the canoe square amidships, cutting it in half.

Miss Johnson, sitting in the bottom of the canoe, received the full shock of the impact. The bones of both thighs were fractured and one thigh so completely crushed that amputation was found necessary.

The other canoe occupants were Norma Crandall, 12, and Richard Dashnaw, 16. After the crash, the Dashnaw boy immediately swam to Miss Johnson and kept her afloat until assistance arrived. The Crandall girl is a good swimmer and, being only slightly injured, swam ashore. Miss Johnson was brought to the village and transported to the hospital by an ambulance.

Surgeons were unsuccessful in saving Miss Johnson’s life by amputating the right leg at the hip. Her body was shipped Tuesday by undertaker C. R. Wilkins of Lake Placid.

New theater

Building activities were renewed on Monday when ground was broken for the new fireproof theater.

The promoters of the Adirondack Theater Corporation are Noel Feldstein, Raymond C. Prime, Henry Uihlein II, F. S. Leonard and William P. Ryan, all Lake Placid businessmen who are interested in the growth and development of this ever popular resort.

The excavating is being done under the direction of Dura W. Jenney. The surplus earth is being used on the new park property acquired by the village at last spring’s election. This filling at the Mirror Lake park will add much to the attractiveness of the shores and provide a possibility of public tennis courts, bathing area and rest grounds for summer visitors.

The theater is to have a seating capacity of about 1,000 people. It will be of fireproof construction with the most modern methods of heating and ventilating. Two stores will occupy the ground floor, while suites of offices and apartments are planned for the second and third stories. It is planned to have this new playhouse ready for 1924.

New church

The corner stone of the new Adirondack Community Church will be laid with appropriate ceremonies Sunday afternoon, Sept. 2, at 3 o’clock standard time.

The box enclosed in the stone will contain the usual list of members, officials, etc. A historical sketch is being prepared by Dr. Charles R. Erdman. This will be read at the service and enclosed in the box.

There will also be preserved in this stone a list of all who have made any gift to the new church building. Dr. Erdman, Dr. Parkhurst and Dr. Master will take part in the services of the corner stone laying.

Browse past issues of the Lake Placid News from 1914 to 2008 online at nyshistoricnewspapers.org.

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