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Tag Archives: Chester Gillette

Pedestrian Post with Pictures

Steven and I decided to take a little stroll after dinner, so I brought along my Tablet to take a few pictures.  It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll.  After stopping to chat with  neighbor, I saw some flowers I wanted to snap.

This is an apartment building that used to be a school.

Hmm… I guess that one did not come out very clearly, but I liked the purple flowers.

Maybe I’ll go back after dark and try to get a picture of these lit up.

Steven noticed some solar lights and wondered if ours still work.  We did not put them out this year.  It’s kind of a rebuilding year for our lawn; we have not done much with it except get the nice young man who lives across the street to mow it for us.

Steven thinks this would make a delightful movie/opera house.

Eventually we turned down Main Street, and I suggested I take a picture of this building, which we have long admired.  The “for sale” sign that I had noticed there previously was gone.  I wondered if somebody had bought it or if they were just doing the trick of taking the sign down for a while so when they put it back up folks will think it is a new listing.

I love the color; the picture does not fully do it justice.

Continuing down the street, we saw a building that had seen better days, but there was one lovely flower in front of it, so I took its picture.  Soon we were approaching the Historic Four Corners, which regular readers may recall is a favorite spot of mine.

I wrote a blog post about this cemetery once, a long time ago.

This is the Herkimer Reformed Church.   I love the old gravestones.  Next I wanted a shot of the Suiter House, home of the Herkimer County Historical Society.

It’s even more interesting inside.

The house was built by Dr. A. Walter Suiter, who played a pivotal role in the trials of Chester Gillette and Roxalana Druse, two famous historical murderers of the area.  Steven played Dr. Suiter in the play Roxy, presented by the Historical Society at Ilion Little Theatre in 2015 (I played Roxy.  Perhaps you read a few of my blog posts about it).

Across the street is the Herkimer County Courthouse, where Chester Gillette and Roxalana Druse were tried for their respective murders.

Still a magnificent-looking building.

Of course I had to take a picture of the 1834 Jail, which housed both Gillette and Druse.

Who put that tree in the way!

Steven suggested I take a picture of him on the steps.

“Try to look like Dr. Suiter,” I suggested.

“In my party shorts with my Mr. Incredible t-shirt,” he said, as if he thought that was a problem.  He just smiled handsomely instead.

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore are thou…” Oh, wait. Wrong play.

Continuing down Main Street, I took a picture of Christ Episcopal Church.

Another handsome, historical building.

We cut though the little park next to Basloe Library (another of my favorite places), and I got a picture of some nice flowers.

I did not read the NOTICE on the building. I hope it did not say not to take pictures of the flowers.

After that, I thought I had taken enough pictures, so we continued our walk back home.  Now I see I am over 550 words and I have successfully avoided having another Wrist to Forehead Sunday post.  I say, not a bad ending to the weekend.

 

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More About the Jail

When we last left our heroine (you know that’s me, right?), she was about to begin her blog post in the third person point of view.  But I changed my mind.

Sorry about that little bit of nonsense. I was about to write more about our visit to Herkimer’s 1834 Jail on Monday.  Steven and I were in the second group to go up the stairs with our guide, Jim Greiner.  As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, the Jail is famous as the place where Chester Gillette stayed while on trial for the murder of Grace Brown in 1906.  There was to be a talk on a newly revised book about the case by author Craig Brandon at the Court House across the street at seven that night.

Our first stop was the cell Gillette stayed in during his trial.  It is actually kind of a suite, two cell off a third, larger cell.  Photocopies of old magazine photos adorn the walls, because Gillette had decorated the cell with magazine clippings.

From there, we saw the men’s side of regular cells, with a shower at one end, then the women’s cells, with a claw-foot tub.  One woman was offended by the sexism of this, because the shower clearly offered more privacy than the tub.

Somebody asked about where Roxalana Druse was housed.  Druse was hanged behind the jail in 1887.  I mentioned yesterday that Greiner wrote a book about her.  He told us she was housed on the third floor, where offenders who were considered less dangerous were kept.  The third floor was, sadly, not part of the tour.  He told the story of how a fire broke out while she was there.  Druse refused to evacuate but formed part of the bucket brigade putting out the fire.  When Friends of Herkimer Jail took over the building, one member bravely went up to the attic and found where some burnt timbers remained.

We greatly enjoyed our tour.  I love living in a village that has such a rich local history as well as people who work to preserve and share it.

 

Only Through the Door of the Jail

It is well known (by people who know me) that I am a big fan of Herkimer’s 1834 Jail.  When Steven noticed tours would be available this past Monday, I was delighted.  I was even more delighted when we realized that Steven would also be available to participate.  The tours were in conjunction with a talk by Craig Brandon taking place across the street in the Herkimer County Courthouse.

Brandon wrote Murder in the Adirondacks, about the murder of Grace Brown by Chester Gillette in Moose Lake.  Gillette was housed in the jail and tried in the courthouse.  Brandon recently revised the book, adding new photos and information. I’m hoping Steven buys me a copy for my birthday.

Some people, when they have seen an historic site or other attraction, are done. I, on the other hand, am not that way, especially when it is something you can’t go to just any old time.  The 1834 Jail is in that category.  The Jail is an easy walk from our house, on Herkimer’s Historic Four Corners where Main Street meets Church Street.  We thought we had left in plenty of time, but people were already gathering in front of the jail when we arrived.  The door was open, so we went in.  We could hear voices upstairs.

Other people soon followed us in.  One lady noticed a place to sign in, but there was no pen.

“You can borrow my pen,” I said.  It was actually one of Steven’s pens.  He buys these cheap ballpoint pens to take to work, in case he hands one to a customer and doesn’t get it back.  That was a good thing, since I didn’t get it back.  Almost everybody wanted to sign in.

“Oh, look, there are the gallows they strung me up on,”  I said, pointing into the next room.  It was the replica of the Galloping Gallows, which were used to hang Roxalana Druse, who killed her husband in Warren County.  Herkimer B.O.C.E.S. built the replica for Herkimer County Historical Society when they presented the play Roxy at Ilion Little Theatre last September.  I played Roxy.  (In case anybody did not see the play and was concerned, they did not show me being strung up.  The audience was shown the gallows, but the actual execution took place offstage.)

Soon the group who had enjoyed the first tour came downstairs with their tour guide, Jim Greiner, who wrote Last Woman Hanged: Roxalana Druse.  Jim is a dynamic speaker and very knowledgeable about the jail and Herkimer County history.  Steven and I attended a talk he gave about his book, and I have taken a tour of the jail with him.  He greeted us new arrivals  as “Chester Gillette fans.”

“And Roxalana Druse fans,” I said, although truth be known I am a Gillette/Brown aficionado as well.

I must end my blog post here, at the beginning of our tour.  I have a rehearsal tonight for Much Ado About Nothing, and I’m not quite ready for it.  I hope to see you all on Lame Post Friday.