Alfred Dolge Production

Cast of ‘The Chapters of Alfred Dolge’ 2017

Cast of “The Chapters of Alfred Dolge” street play, pictured left to right. First row: Sue Miller (narrator), Joan Lein (Bessie Lamberson), Teresa Doxtator (Greta Brumbach), Shirley Schuyler (Agnes Barney), Pamela Spofford (Susanne Spofford, Diane Roberts (Hatti Helmer), Alice Fake (Bessie Bellinger), Gerard Snyder (Howard Spencer). Second row: Betty Pohleven (Elizabeth Geise), Paul Puznowski (Alfred Dolge), Mary Puznowski (Anna Dolge). Back row: Chris Miller (Julius Breckwoldt), Brian Roberts (Philip Helmer), Carlton Spofford (Carlton Spofford), Dain Faville (Frank Faville), John Hoffman (John Hoffman), Luke Doxtator (Alosis Brumbach). Several of the cast played their ancestors, and also name sakes.
Cast of “The Chapters of Alfred Dolge” street play, pictured left to right. First row: Sue Miller (narrator), Joan Lein (Bessie Lamberson), Teresa Doxtator (Greta Brumbach), Shirley Schuyler (Agnes Barney), Pamela Spofford (Susanne Spofford, Diane Roberts (Hatti Helmer), Alice Fake (Bessie Bellinger), Gerard Snyder (Howard Spencer). Second row: Betty Pohleven (Elizabeth Geise), Paul Puznowski (Alfred Dolge), Mary Puznowski (Anna Dolge). Back row: Chris Miller (Julius Breckwoldt), Brian Roberts (Philip Helmer), Carlton Spofford (Carlton Spofford), Dain Faville (Frank Faville), John Hoffman (John Hoffman), Luke Doxtator (Alosis Brumbach). Several of the cast played their ancestors, and also name sakes.

Alfred Dolge Returned in June 2017

Unfortunately, the weather in 2016 required the final production of this play to be post-poned until 2017. Previously, we had presented, the first chapter “The Early Years.” The second chapter was “Honor to the Industrialist.” The third chapter was “Recreation and Education.” The fourth chapter was “New Beginnings: Railroad, Partnership, Marriage.”

This year’s (2017) production was the fifth and final chapter, “Calamity.”

Chapter 5 Calamity in 1989

SCENE I

Going to the Parade

The scene begins with Alfred Dolge and his business associates, who have all recently moved their manufacturing operations to Dolgeville. They have just finished a business breakfast meeting and are leaving the Cottage Hotel (which was built in 1885).

By the time of this scene, the population had grown to approximately 3,500.

The first Dolge family home was located on Elm Street in the building which today houses the Dolgeville Christian Fellowship. At the time of this scene, the Dolge Mansion had not been built.

SCENE II

The Final Speech

The second scene is the speech Dolge makes on the day of his departure in 1899. He reflects on his dreams for this community and his successes including the railroad, the felt business, the insurance plan, the social security plan, the profit earnings plan, the education plan, and also the Turnverein and Academy, the kindergarten to name a few. He relates why he is leaving and comments on the future of Dolgeville.

SCENE III

Legacy

The finale of our production focuses on the legacy of Alfred Dolge. A walking or driving tour map will be available for you to visit various historic homes between 3 and 5 pm. The beginning gathering place is the Dolgeville-Manheim Historical Society building. The tour will include Dolge Ave, Faville Ave and many places between. The cast will be at these various locations to discuss the contributions that continued after Dolge left our community.

We would like to thank the cast and crew who shared the vision and have been steadfast to help this production become a success. Thank you to the residents who have been both inspiring and appreciative of the heritage of the community.

The next iteration of the living history street production of the lifetime of Alfred Dolge is planned for next year’s Violet Festival featuring Alfred Dolge, Anna Dolge and Wm Armstrong with the support cast of the residents of Dolgeville.

The group is looking for: people whose family ancestry could have interacted with Dolge, people who would like to be actors, people who like local history, people who have ideas on the characters (bankers, laundry women, peddlers, paperboys), logistics, staging, costuming, music etc., people who have period articles to use as props such as prams, tandem bicycles, wooden scooters, wood hoop and sticks, horse and buggies, people who like a challenge and to have fun. For more information please call 315-429-9530 or 315-429-9871.

THE GREAT CHAPTERS OF DOLGEVILLE
CHAPTER 1 (2012)
THE EARLY YEARS WITH ALFRED DOLGE IN
BROCKETT’S BRIDGE
SCENE 1
Pre-parade

Please imagine, if you will, that today is a similar type of day in June of 1879 when what we now know as the Village of Dolgeville was called Brockett’s Bridge with a population that had grown from 300 in 1874 to approximately 750. On that actual day there was a parade and dedication held here to recognize the organization of the newly formed local volunteer fire department. We can be sure with a reasonable degree of certainty that also on that day Alfred Dolge, renowned forefather to the Village of Dolgeville, was present with his family and local citizens to enjoy the festivities and to discuss various social and economic issues of the little settlement. The names of some of those citizens should be familiar, such as Faville, Helterline, Lamberson, Spofford, Gibson, Winton, Green, Helmer and Brockett, to name some.

Dolge first arrived in Brockett’s Bridge as a twenty five year old man on April 11, 1874 when, at the suggestion of the General John P. Spofford, who owned a farm in this community. Dolge explored the area from New York City to purchase lumber for his felt manufacturing and piano parts business. It is clear that on that first visit Dolge experienced the sensation of once again being in his birth place Saxony, Germany. With the availability of old tannery buildings located by the East Canada Creek, he had found a wonderful place to further his felt-making and piano parts business and, as he was once quoted, to develop this beautiful spot. Within ten days from his first visit, Dolge had purchased the tannery site and business began with the goal of not only providing superior products but, as it soon became known, to provide opportunity to improve the condition of the working man.

Dolge and his wife, Anna, with their five year old son Rudolf, moved to Brockett’s Bridge shortly after his business operations began to become productive. A son Wilhelm was born here in 1876. The first Dolge home was located on Elm Street in the same building where the present day Dolgeville Christian Fellowship is situated.

Alfred Dolge, his wife Anna, their ten year old son Rudolf and their three year old son Wilhelm are on their way to the parade on that day in June, 1879 after they have just left their Elm Street home and stopped on the corner of Main Street and Elm Street before walking up North Main on their way greet the local citizens of the time.

SCENE 2

The business meeting

The next part of our production today regarding Alfred Dolge focuses on a town hall type of outdoor meeting which, from all historical accounts, it is reasonably concluded probably did occur during the early Dolge era in Brockett’s Bridge – and very well on that June, 1879 celebration date that was similar to our present day Violet Festival. This scene starts as Alfred Dolge is walking toward the Gibson home from the fire department building across the street where he has just spoken in honor of the new fire department and the new pumper for which he has generously donated.

SCENE 3

The picnic

The last part of our production today regarding Alfred Dolge focuses on a type of get together which, from all historical accounts, it is reasonably concluded probably did occur during the early Dolge era in Brockett’s Bridge. The acting is presented as closely as possible to what the historical accounts appear to indicate was the early interaction between the settled local residents and the German immigrants, or newcomers, as they came to be known. Let us listen to these people as they drink cider and slowly start to come together.

The end.

THE GREAT CHAPTERS OF DOLGEVILLE
THE ALFRED DOLGE YEARS
CHAPTER 2 (2013)
HONOR TO INOVATOR AND INDUSTRIALIST
SCENE 1
Pre-parade

Last year we saw the first year in the series of productions that will highlight the history of Dolgeville. Beginning with the “The Early Years with Alfred Dolge in Brockett’s Bridge”, during the 2012 Violet Festival we highlighted a day in June in the year 1879, when Alfred Dolge participated in a local parade and dedication celebration.VF009

This year, we want to characterize a similar day in June for the year 1882, when Dolge had been a resident for approximately eight years. In that year Chester Alan Arthur was President, having assumed that office from the Vice Presidency following the death of President James Garfield from blood poisoning after having been shot by an assassin. The railroad industry is booming and industrialization is rebounding after a mild depression.

At the time, Dolge was 31 years old and with his wife, Anna, had two sons, 13 year old Rudolf and 6 year old Wilhelm. Dolge and his family were present with local citizens to enjoy the festivities and to discuss the growth and potential of the little settlement. The names of some of those citizens should be familiar, such as Faville, Helterline, Lamberson, Spofford, Gibson, Winton, Green, Helmer and Brockett, to name some. While the newcomers included Hoffmman, Franz, Doerrer, Doxstater, Dreusike, Duesler, Fredericks, Grau, Krell, Homrighaus, Houser, Karla, Kirchofer, Klist, Kluge, Knapp, Kopp, Kuelnle, Naizby, Schmidt, Shultz, Schwartz, and Zipp. Experienced tradesmen and their families have been moving in to work at the new felt plant.

Dolge and his family on their way to the parade on that day in June 1882, after leaving their Elm Street home. They stop on the corner of Elm Street and Main Street to admire the new factory, on their way to greet other family members and local citizens of the time.

SCENE 2

The business meeting

The next part of our production regarding Alfred Dolge focuses on the dedication ceremony, believed to have occurred in 1882, for the new factory building, the truss bridge and the Edison dynamo here on the East Canada Creek, to generate the electricity for his new limestone factory. The factory is being dedicated today and we meet the foremen work in the new factory.

SCENE 3

The picnic

The last part of our production regarding Alfred Dolge focuses on a type of get together which, from all historical accounts, it is reasonably concluded probably did occur during the early Dolge era in Brockett’s Bridge. The acting is presented as closely as possible to what the historical accounts appear to indicate was the early interaction between the socially conscious local residents and the lady German immigrants, many of whom were seamstresses employed by Dolge. We will hear these people celebrate the success of the petition that changed the village forever. During the winter of 1881, the citizens unanimously petitioned to change the name of the community from Brockett’s Bridge, to Dolgeville.

The end.

A more detailed account of the things that have been described in the dialogue presented here this morning can be found in a superb 1980 publication titled “Dolge” by Eleanor Franz who was born in Dolgeville where, at one time, she served as an English teacher and Librarian in the local school. This publication can be purchased at the Dolgeville-Manheim Historical Society for which Eleanor Franz was a prime mover in establishing. The Historical Society is located at the corner of South Main and Slawson Streets.

 

THE GREAT CHAPTERS OF ALFRED DOLGE
CHAPTER 3 (2014)
Education and Recreation in 1889
SCENE 1 – Pre-parade [moving north from the Cottage Inn to the bridge]

Please imagine, if you will, a day in June of 1889 when the Village of Dolgeville was first recognized as a village, after having unanimously petitioned by the citizens in 1879, but will not be incorporated until 1889. When Dolge first arrived the settlement was called Brockett’s Bridge with a population that had grown from 300 in 1874, to approximately 2000 at this time. On that actual day there was a parade and dedication held here to recognize the new village and to celebrate that held the Turnverein Festival.

Dolge first arrived in Brockett’s Bridge as a twenty five year old man on April 11, 1874 when, at the suggestion of the General John P. Spofford, who owned a farm in this community. Dolge explored the area from New York City to purchase lumber for his felt manufacturing and piano parts business. It is clear that on that first visit Dolge experienced the sensation of once again being in his birth place Saxony, Germany. With the availability of old tannery buildings located by the East Canada Creek, he had found a wonderful place to further his felt-making and piano parts business and, as he was once quoted, to develop this beautiful spot. Within ten days from his first visit, Dolge had purchased the tannery site and business began with the goal of not only providing superior products but, as it soon became known, to provide opportunity to improve the condition of the working man.

Dolge and his wife, Anna, with their five year old son Rudolf, moved to Brockett’s Bridge shortly after his business operations began to become productive. The first Dolge home was located on Elm Street in the same building where the present day Dolgeville Christian Fellowship is situated.

The production begins with Alfred Dolge on June 1889 after having completed a business breakfast with business associates who are planning to move their manufacturing operations to Dolgeville. They are just leaving the Cottage Hotel, which was built in 1885.

SCENE 2 – The School Board Meeting
[to be held in the Christian Fellowship at 3 Elm St.]

The next part of our production regarding Alfred Dolge focuses on the school board meeting which, from all historical accounts, it is reasonably concluded did occur. The Dolgeville School Board meeting with members, Rockwell, Webb, Spofford, Brockett, Gifford, Maxwell The School Society members, Wheeler Knapp, Dr. AG Barney, Howard Spencer, Henry Faville, Frank Faville, Peter Dunkel, Theodore Sanford, and Alfred Dolge at the time of the dedication of the union free school, erected in 1887. The School Society was initiated by the members of the Turnverein for the sole purpose of agitating the improvement the village school. (The Turnverein is an association for the furtherance of physical and mental exercises, took the matter in hand and discussed at the meetings the necessity of a new school house, as well as the desirability of a higher grade in school. previously the children only went to 6th grade.) The Turnverein was a society composed mostly of German –born citizens, who could not work alone effectively on such an important objective. In hopes of getting the American-born citizens interested in the worthy movement, August 3, 1886 the school society was organized. Dolge realized that the school would never be built without the resident’s support.

SCENE 3 – The Turnverein Festival
[to be held in the Christian Fellowship at 3 Elm St.]

The last part of our production regarding Alfred Dolge focuses on a type of competition which, from all historical accounts, did occur in Dolgeville. The Turnverein Hall which is located on Faville Ave where the present day Bergeron’s Tumbleforms Manufacturing is located. The second and third floor were originally one large gymnasium, but was divided into floors when the building was converted into manufacturing. For many years it was known as Daniel Green’s factory number 3. The history of the Turnverein organization began not in this country but in the history of Germany. August Christian Dolge known to all as Papa Dolge encouraged Alfred to recreate the organization for the health and fitness of his employees.

In the early 1800s in Germany, “Friends of Turnen,” created new clubs engaged in non-gymnastic activities, such as funding libraries and reading rooms, and sponsoring lectures, often of a politically liberal nature. The members joined the new volunteer firemen’s movement, and acted as a police force during the outbreaks of social unrest which characterized the revolutionary period in German. [during this time was when Christian August Dolge had been imprisoned] They even imparted a new spirit to their gymnastic program by initiating training sessions for children. Spread throughout Germany, this more diverse gymnastic movement staged larger and more elaborate gymnastic festivals, which sometimes lasted several days.

THE GREAT CHAPTERS OF ALFRED DOLGE
CHAPTER 4 (2015)
New Beginnings: Railroad, Partnership, Marriage In 1893
SCENE 1  –   Pre-parade  [Beginning at 9:30 AM at the Cottage Inn, moves north to the bridge.]

Please imagine, if you will, a day in June of 1893. On that actual day, there was a parade and dedication held here to recognize the completion of the railroad and the wedding of Dolge’s eldest son, Rudolph, to Miss Anita Heller.

 The scene begins with Alfred Dolge and his business associates, who have all recently moved their manufacturing operations to Dolgeville.  They have just finished a business breakfast meeting and are leaving the Cottage Hotel (which was built in 1885).

 Dolge first arrived in Brockett’s Bridge as a twenty five year old man on April 11, 1874, at the suggestion of the General John P. Spofford, who owned a farm in this community. Dolge explored this area to purchase lumber for his felt manufacturing and piano parts business.  It is clear, that on that first visit, Dolge experienced the sensation of once again being in his birth place of Saxony, Germany. With the availability of old tannery buildings, located by the East Canada Creek, he had found a wonderful place to further his felt-making and piano parts business and, as he was once quoted, ‘to develop this beautiful spot’.  Within ten days from his first visit, Dolge had purchased the tannery site. Business began with the goal of not only providing superior products but, as it soon became known, to provide opportunity to improve the condition of the working man.

 When Dolge first arrived in 1874, the settlement held a population of about 300, but had gown to approximately 2000 at the time of this scene.  Dolge and his wife, Anna, with their five year old son Rudolf, moved to Brockett’s Bridge shortly after his business operations became productive.  The first Dolge family home was located on Elm Street in the building which today houses the Dolgeville Christian Fellowship.  At the time of this scene, the Dolge Mansion was in the beginning stages of construction.

SCENE 2  – The Final Railroad Meeting and
The Creation of Alfred Dolge and Son, Inc.
[ Beginning at 2:00 PM at the Dolgeville Christian Fellowship at 3 Elm St.]

The second scene focuses on a business meeting to discuss the railroad, which was completed in 1892. Rudolph Dolge becomes a full partner in the business, which is renamed Alfred Dolge and Son, Inc. There are high expectations and responsibilities to face the new young partner.

 [The 1890’s are considered to be in the Gilded Age.  The term, the Gilded Age, was coined by writer Mark Twain in “The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today”, which satirized an era of serious social problems masked by a thin gold gilding. The Gilded Age was an era of rapid economic growth, especially in the north and west. American wages, especially for skilled workers, were much higher than in Europe, which attracted millions of immigrants. The increase ofindustrialization meant, despite the increasing labor force, real wages in the US grew 60% from 1860 to 1890, and continued to rise after that. However, the Gilded Age was also an era of poverty, as very poor European immigrants poured in. Railroads were the major industry, but the factory system, mining, and finance increased in importance.]

SCENE 3 – The Wedding Reception of Rudolph and Anita Dolge
[Beginning at 5:00 PM at the Auskarada Place at 78 S. Main St.]

The last scene of our production focuses the social interaction and the development of the community, as we present the wedding reception of Rudolph and Anita Dolge.

The reception will show that Dolgeville has become an affluent place to live and many of the great historic homes where built during this Gilded Age. It is a time of great music, including the new sounds of ragtime, when the ladies dressed in their finest and enjoyed their wealth.

Please dress in Victorian costume for the day. For more information or to participate please call Sally at 429-9530. Volunteers are welcome.