June 13 – Amsterdam Birthday Bits

amsterdam-fire-department-logoAnthony “Poochie” Baldine grew up on Albert Street on Amsterdam’s South Side. His dad was a longtime city employee and his mom was one of the well-known Sandy clan. He passed the Amsterdam firefighter’s exam in 1959, got hired to the force in the early sixties, worked his way up the ladder and in January of 1982, he was named chief  of the 46-man department. But just six month’s later, the new chief was fired by Mayor Mario Villa when Baldine actively and vociferously opposed the Mayor’s plan to replace retiring paid firefighters with volunteer personnel. The conflict between the two men played out regularly in the local news media and also the grills and taverns of the South Side neighborhood the two men shared. Poochie would end up retiring from the department  and a few years later, he would ironically succeed Villa as the Fifth Ward’s representative on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors in 1992. He passed away in 1999 at the age of 63.

kenworthyIIIIf you were going to be a sales representative for any product back in the Amsterdam of the first half of the twentieth century, yarn was one of your better options. It was needed for rugs, knitted fabrics and gloves, three of the products produced in mass in this town back then. Today’s third Amsterdam Birthday Celebrant not only sold yarn, his choice of partners when doing so was also an enlightened decision. John Kenworthy’s first partner in the yarn business was former US Congressman from Amsterdam, William B. Charles. He would later start his own yarn brokerage firm that also became very successful. His career took him all over the world and during his fifty years in the business he made a great living. A native of Amsterdam, he and his wife, the former Muriel Lathers raised two children in their home at 16 Grant Avenue. Mr. Kenworthy was also one of this area’s most noted outdoor enthusiasts. He was a long-time member, officer and board member of the Chatiemac Hunting & Fishing Club which used to be based in North Creek, NY and counted many of Amsterdam’s most prominent male citizens as members. Kenworthy died in 1950 at the age of 62.

If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of the current and former Amsterdam residents who will be recognized by this blog in a future post, sign up for the free Amsterdam NY Birthday Blog newsletter, which is distributed at the end of each month.  If you’d like to receive it, just make sure your name and e-mail address are included on this list. If you received the first wave of Amsterdam Birthday Blog newsletters sent during the Fall of 2015, your name is already on the list. But if you’re not sure, go ahead and sign up again because our software will eliminate any duplicate e-mail addresses.

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