Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mystery Photo: Hastings Woman’s Club

Here is a new kind of puzzle for you. These ladies, members of the Hastings Woman’s Club’s Beautification Committee, are posing for a photographer at the Astor Hotel in New York on March 8th, 1966. They are all very pleased because they have just received two prizes in the Federated Garden Clubs’ Civic Beautification Contest. One prize was for their efforts to improve the appearance of the area around the Youth Center. The second was for their work on Station Plaza, American Legion Plaza, and Tompkins Island.

Their names and accomplishments were written up in the local paper a few days later. Unfortunately this is the format of the names:

Mrs. Austin Wagner, Mrs. Elliott Herman, Mrs. Mario Geminiani, Mrs. Harold Reynolds, Mrs. Lewis Willing, Mrs. Cloy Meiske, Mrs. Raymond Garman, Mrs. Joseph Albaum, Mrs. Robert Rusch, Mrs. James Berston, Mrs. Roy Berry, Mrs. Earle Adams, Mrs. Clyde Payne, Mrs. Charles Conklin, Miss Ethel McWade, and Mrs. Frank McCarthy.

So -- apart from Ethel McWade, Mary Berston, and Mrs. Elliott Herman, better known to us as Kitty Nakagawa -- what are their first names? Which of the sixteen named are in the photograph? And which is which? And, by the way, where is Tompkins Island?
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  1. Nice hats!
    I wonder if Tompkins Island could have been the traffic island bordered by Farragut and Warburton. It was oppsite the end of Fraser Place and has a monument to the Battle of Edgars Lane. It is no longer an island now that Warburton doesn't go through on one side of it anymore. I really am not sure though if this was Tompkins Island. Bill Ewen

  2. Bill is absolutely right! Several of A.C. Langmuir's photographs of this spot from the 1930s are labeled "Tompkins Square." It must have been named after William Ward Tompkins, one of the original directors of the Hastings Savings & Loan, and president of the village from 1895 to 1897. Tompkins lived adjacent to this bit of land, in the house on Warburton Avenue between St. Matthew's Roman Catholic Church property and the junction with Broadway.

  3. Susan Laird Magner is the first who could help us out with identifications. She tells us that Doris (Mrs. Robert) Rusch is in the back row, third from the left. Thanks, Susan!

  4. The lady in the front row on the right end.. her name is Lucile Meiske (my grandma)

    Carole Higley