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Fascinating True Stories from the Flip Side of History

Millionaire for a Day

Back in 1911, Wilkes-Barre, PA resident John Jay “Butch” McDevitt won the Democratic Primary for county treasurer. The only problem was that the Democratic Committee didn’t want McDevitt on the ballot. Find out how the party got rid of him and how he capitalized on this for the rest of his life.

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The Trick-or-Treat Dentist

A couple of months ago my wife and I went for a walk up our road. Along the way, we stopped at our neighbor Harriet’s house.  Harriet and her late husband purchased that house in the 1940’s and at nearly 103 years of age, she is still able to live on her own. Harriet’s daughter just happened to be in town and mentioned to us that the previous owner of our house, William “Bill” Shyne, had recently passed away.  Naturally curious, I turned to the Internet to find out more.

And just like there is more than one Steve Silverman in this world, it turns out that there is also more than one William Shyne. It is one of those William Shynes – in this case dentist William Vincent Shyne – who is the subject of today’s story.

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Silent Susan

On October 6, 1946, not far from the former site of the Palisades Amusement Park, on US Route 9W of New Jersey’s Palisades Park, a young woman passing through town made the fateful decision to hitch a ride. Fateful because she made the mistake of thumbing a police car… Continue Reading

Thief Becomes Clerk at Drugstore

It was reported that three men robbed Heights Pharmacy on February 22, 1923.  The store was located at St Nicholas Avenue and 145th Street in New York City. Two of the men kept clerk David Neuberger busy while the third snagged druggist Dr. Abraham N. Horowitz as he emerged from the basement of the store after getting some drugs to fill prescriptions. Continue Reading

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The Ice Cream Wars

There is nothing better than tasty, ice-cold ice cream on a hot summer day. Since the early part of the twentieth century, ice cream trucks have roamed the streets of our cities bringing these delectable treats right to your door. What few people know is that behind the scenes, there has been an intense and sometimes violent turf war going on between ice cream vendors. Drivers have been beaten and robbed, trucks smashed, burned, and bombed, and death threats have been made.

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Yonkers Anti-Shorts Law

Perfect story for the first days of summer: it’s about a ban that the city of Yonkers put in place back in 1935 to prevent women from wearing shorts and halter tops. Even more timely: at one point they proposed building a giant fence around Tibbetts Brook Park to keep the offending people from NYC out.

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