S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com HISTORY Continuation Page 1 keywords = adirondack mountain north woods rail road Marion River Carry Raquette Blue Fulton Chain Utowanna Eagle lake museum National Railway Historical Association Chrysler SS Jaguar Mercedes Degnon BEDT Brooklyn Eastern District Terminal Muttontown Fellowship aviation Long Island Dudgeon car auto steam Ultrasonic Industry ordnance Iroquois Rockaway Indian Native American Cullulloo Telawanna Shipwreck Kelly Marble Hill World War II WWII

Updated:   19 Jun 2020; 16:35  ET
[Page created 24 Dec 2004; converted 18 Aug 2011
    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]

URL:  http://sbiii.com/history1.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/history1.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I have been scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

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S. Berliner, III's


Continuation Page 1

Page Index

Long Island (and related) Material (formerly on the main History page) moved to Long Island page 31 Oct 00 and to an even-newer Long Island Continuation Page 1 08 Nov 00:

On the main Long Island page:

Long Island (and related) Links (formerly on this page).
Long Island Studies Institute (formerly on this page).
Cullulloo Telawanna (last of the Rockaway Indians - formerly on this page).
Walt Whitman.

On the Long Island Continuation Page 0 (material moved 17 Mar 04):<>

Long Island (and related) Links
Long Island's Original Inhabitants (Native Americans/Indians).
    (Moved from the main LI page on 17 Mar 2004)
Culluloo Telawana (last of the Rockaway Indians).
    (Moved from the main LI page on 17 Mar 2004)
Inisfada - St. Ignatius Retreat House.
    (Moved from LI continuation page 1 on 17 Mar 2004)   rev (26 Oct 2019)
Gould Gatehouse.
Bella Vista Auto Enthusiasts Hangout.
Glen Head.
Nassau Brick Works.

On the Long Island Continuation Page 1:

1906 Hyde Map of Long Island
Long Island's Original East End.
Rock Hall.
Lord's Woods.
Inisfada - St. Ignacius Retreat House.
Inisfada - St. Ignatius Retreat House.
    (Moved from this page to LI continuation page 0 on 17 Mar 2004)   rev (26 Oct 2019)
Long Island Questions.

On the Long Island Continuation Page 2:

Suydam Homestead (Suydam House and Barn Museum).
Oyster Bay - village, town, ship.
Sea Cliff

General Historical Material (still on the main History page):

Native American Land Claims.
Old Glory - the derivation of the American Flag.
Manhattan in the Bronx?
Rivers (Hudson) vs. Estuaries (East, North, Harlem)
Ration Stamps, Books, and Coupons.

On this History Continuation Page 1:

Historical Miscellany (moved from main page 24 Dec 2004).
De Gaulle at Dorval
Universal Funeral Chapel and Hornthal's 1900s Hearse De Luxe   rev.gif (30 Jan 2017)
1940s-50s Radio   new.gif (27 Jul 2013) and rev.gif (30 Jan 2017)
World War II Historical Photographs.   new (23 Mar 2017)

On the History of Technology Page:

{unindexed - only links appear there at present} except for:
BellTelephone Laboraries (Manhattan) and Mercury (h\Hg) (27 Mar 2012).
The Metropolitan Waterworks, Chestnut Hill High-Service Pumping Station, Boston. new (30 Jan 2017)

[See the disclaimer on the previous page and AUTHORITY on my Home Page.]   added (04 Sep 2012)


Spurred by Black History Month, I've added a few details relating to black Americans, Long Island, and Unitarianism on my Unitarian page.

See also the Unitarian Universalist and the UU Partner Church Program in Erdély (Transylvania) pages for some Unitarian and Universalist history; there is a large and historically-significant Unitarian presence there and we try to maintain close contact with our brothers and sisters in Erdély.  An expanded history of Unitarianism, especially of its founding in Transylvania, will appear there momentarily.

A pair of Long Island Motor Parkway afficionadoes, Sue and Rob Friedman, turned up with a great site about the Bronx's old Freedomland.

De Gaulle at Dorval

I was a direct witness to history one day ca. 24 July in 1967 at Dorval Airport outside Montréal, Québec, when General Charles de Gaulle was unceremoniously thrown out of Canada for inciting Québec separatism with his (in)famous cry of, "Vive le Québec libre!" (Long live free Québec!).  I was waiting for my plane to NY's JFK Airport, standing alone between a glass curtain wall and a very large support pillar, facing outward with my back against the pillar and totally unaware of anything going on behind me, when suddenly all activity on the tarmac below ceased, an Air France plane pulled up, and a convoy of police vehicles and armored cars swept into view with lights flashing and sirens screaming, bracketing a pair (as I recall) of black, ultra-low Citroen DS-21 cars which pulled up in front of the Air France plane.  The door of the front car was opened by armed guards and they pulled out and unfolded the incredibly-tall figure of de Gaulle, himself, who resisted all the way, and quite-literally frog-marched him up the airstairs and into the plane.  Quite intrigued by this spectacle, I waited until the plane was out of sight and emerged from my sheltered spot to inquire what that was all about.  I found the terminal completely deserted (most unnerving!) and was almost immediately nabbed by security who wanted to know how I came to be in the terminal which had (supposedly) been completely evacuated; it took quite a bit of explaining and threatening to bring in the U. S. consul before I was allowed to go on my way.  It was quite an embarrassing situation for the authorities and some folks probably got reprimanded or even sacked for it.

Universal Funeral Chapel (of New York City) and Hornthal's 1900s Hearse De Luxe - I didn't know where to stick this, automotive, Long Island, history, RR (Trolley), etc., had put some of it on Hornthal's 1900s Hearse De Luxe
on Automotive Page 3, but started adding far too much historical material and so moved much of it here.  It relates a story of my father, who, with his father, was one of New York City's leading funeral directors.  When he was a kid, just after WWI, he rode one of those huge motor hearses that were used back then out to a Long Island cemetery and back for some reason or another.  It was Winter and wet and freezing.  On the way home to Manhattan, they took the outside of the inbound outer (north) lower level of the then-new Queensborough bridge, where trolley cars ran then.  On arriving at the Manhattan (west) end, the high, narrow front tires of the hearse stayed in the trolley tracks and wouldn't steer.  The trolley barn under the bridge abutment was coming up fast and they had to steer to the right to stay on the roadway and the slick, icy rails had the hearse in an uncontrollable slide.  Unable to either stop or steer, they slid majestically into the trolley barn, past astonished workers, until the dry rails inside gave enough traction to stop.  My, did they scare the bejasus out of the workers!  In those days, they used a "service chapel", a rented facility that supplied space and all mortuary services and amentities, even hearses and cars and drivers; the place was the Universal Funeral Chapel*, then owned by Sam Hornthal.  Dad and two other directors later joined in partnership with Hornthal and Dad then bought them out.  Since Dad died in 1970, I've had his desk paperweight, a 2½" x 4" x ⅞" chunk of glass with a photo of a hearse (much like that one but with balloon tires) under the glass; it took a bit of doing but here is a scan of the paperweight:   new.gif (17 Aug 2011)

Hornthal hearse
(31 May 2004 image by and © 2004 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image - click on photo for larger image]

The legend on the paperweight reads:



[Gramercy!  Will you look at that telephone number - 2094 Gramercy?
That's from when you had to call "Central" and ask for the number!]

Sometime ca. 1993, I visited one of those cemeteries and who should I run into but that very driver, by then exceedingly elderly, and he still remembered that story all too well!

Wayne Koch, Metro North Equipment Engineer, sent along this old photo from his vast collection; it shows a 3rd Avenue car leaving Manhattan, whether from the car barn under the bridge abutment at the left or from 58th Street behind the camera, heading east toward Long Island City (and so signed):

(cropped from photo courtesy of W Koch - all rights reserved)
[click on thumbnailed photo for larger image]

That is the south-west end of the bridge and a mirror image of the site noted in the preceding yarn.  You know, I don't think that car is going anywhere at the moment; the doors are open and that sure LOOKS like the motorman sitting on the curb!

* - Sam Hornthal was an entrepreneur who ran Universal between the wars as a "Service Chapel", renting the use of the facility to independent funeral directors such as my grand-father and father.  As I noted, Hornthal also ran a fleet of hearses and limos which he "conveniently" rented out, with chauffeurs, to the directors.  As fashionable business and residences moved uptown, he moved to a big building on the northeast corner of 52nd Street and (597) Lexington Avenue, with a snazzy new dial telephone number, PLaza 5300 (later PLaza 3-5300 - still in use).  In 1944, Hornthal joined forces with three licensed funeral directors, John N. Gennerich, William Walters, and my dad, to incorporate Universal.  After a few years, Dad took the place over as sole proprietor and then, ca. 1949, sold out to a syndicate when I was absolutely uninterested in the business.   rev (19 Aug 2019)

So, who can positively identify the vehicle - a Cadillac?

According to the Coachbuilt site, where you'll find an extensive history of Hornthal, it's probably a White 140" professional car chassis and Hornthal was at 327 E. 53d St., only a block and a half east of 597 Lex. (03 Aug 2012).   rev (21 Mar 2020)

Universal was "home" to many notables (people just died to get in there); among them were General Douglas MacArthur, former NY Gov. Herbert Lehman, and Babe Ruth.  Fearing that souvenir hunters would strip Universal bare, it was my mother (foreign-born and uninterested in baseball as she was) who strongly suggested to my father that the public waking be moved to Yankee Stadium.  As a personal aside here, Dad was able to get us tickets up front left on the center aisle for the funeral mass in St. Patrick's Cathedral on 18 Aug 1948 and I vividly remember being overawed when Johnny Mize, a towering giant (not Giant by then) strode down to the front.

[odd - Mize's offical height was "only" 6' 2" and his weight 215 pounds.  Could I be misremembering and it was someone of even greater physical stature?]

Household moving is called "Removals" in England and my dad, although quite a wag, balked at displaying on his desk a Lesney "Matchbox" moving truck labelled REMOVALS!  While he might have called himself a "wealthy Southern planter" amongst friends, he was not terribly impressed with a slogan I cooked up for him:


Immediately north of 597 was a "Hamburger Choo Choo" (or some such) where they sent the food around the counter on a Lionel train and made scrambled eggs in a conical mound/mountain; Dad ate lunch there a lot.  597 Lex was long since torn down and replaced by a huge skyscraper;  Univeral still exists (on paper) as part of Frank E. Campbell - the Funeral Church.

597 is long gone, replaced by towering 599 Lex ca. 1986-88.   added (19 Aug 2019) Dr. James (Jim/"Dr. Mo") Moshinskie of Baylor University (and of OakCrest Funeral Home in Waco, Texas) has a fantastic collection of funeral/director/home/hearse-related pictures on Flickr; some relate to UFC, especially these two:

Universal Funeral Chapel, New York City, 1960 interior photographs
(photo and text courtesy of J. Moshinskie - all rights reserved)

(photo and text courtesy of J. Moshinskie - all rights reserved)
Exterior of Universal Funeral Chapel, New York City, 1962 Funeral for Admiral Conolly
[See the street number on the marquee (137?); that had to be the 52nd St. side entrance.] (03 Aug 2012)

While we're at it, just who might Admiral Conolly have been?  Well, how about Admiral Richard Lansing Conolly (26 Apr 1892 - 01 Mar 1962), who served with distinction during World War I and World War II.  His last assignment was as President of the Naval War College at Newport, Rhode Island, between 1950 and 1953.  Conolly retired with the rank of admiral in November 1953, and was then the president of Long Island University until 1962.  On 01 Mar 1962, Admiral Conolly and his wife were passengers aboard American Airlines Flight 1 which crashed into Jamaica Bay soon after take-off from Idlewild Airport, New York City, killing all 95 passengers and crew.  He is buried at Arlington National Cemetery and the Spruance-class destroyer USS Conolly (DD-979) was named for him.   added (30 Jan 2017)

Here's a license plate tag similar to the one Dad always had on his cars (his was more elaborate and had a screw hole near the bottom) and a Universal ashtray I don't recall ever seeing (it may have been a promotional item as a service chapel):

Plate Tag and Universal Ashtray
(I haven't a clue from whence this photo came.)

and here are two views of the UFC plaque affixed to Campbell's Madison Avenue parlor:

UFCPlaque2 UFCPlaque1
Universal Plaque at Campbell's
(SB,III photos ca. 2011 - all rights reserved)

As a ruke, I try to walk a straight edge but, on occasion, some assistance is welcome.  My ex recently passed away and imagine my suropsise and delight to have our daughters turn up this old Universal advertising gimmick in her effects:   new (19 Jun 2020)

Universal Funeral Chapel Ruler
(SB,III photos ca. 2011 - all rights reserved)

I have so many rulers and straight edges that I never missed this one, which I haven't seen in 40 years; it has to be well over 50 years old.

1940s-50s Radio

This may appear elsewhere but, as I can't find it, here goes (again?) (27 Jul 2013):   rev (30 Jan 2017)

I mostly grew up before television, listening to radio a lot.  We didn't even get a TV until a client gave my grandfather a big table-model RCA-Victor, which he didn't want and passed along to Dad ca. 1945.  In fact, it had to have been just before the first public atomic bomb test (the Able shot?) bcause I watched it and the picture died in a momentary surge of light overload.

My favorite show had to have been at 7:30PM on WJZ, the Lone Ranger with Brace Beamer and Tonto (Jay Silverheels) - Whoa, big fellow}, "Kimo Sabe", to which I listened under the bedcovers at first, when I was supposed to be asleep!

Then there was the Life of Reilly, which was rather stupid but had Digby O'Dell "your frien-n-ndly undertaker" (who I always mis-remembered as "Digger").

World War II Historical Photographs   new (23 Mar 2017)

Photographs from World War II are endemic to the Net; there are endless sites devoted to the history and photos of WWII.  Nevertheless, I was sent an e-mail with 23 images that are obviously official U. S. Government photos, probably War Dept. (now Dept. of Defense) and even U. S. Army, to be specific, and, as such, are in the public domain.  Most are on railroad-oriented or ordnance subjects but some are more general, so I am lumping them here and also placing them as appropriate on my Railroad page 6, Ordnance RR Guns page, Ordnance page , Science and Technology - Bridges II, and Naval and Maritime page 1.

The full set of 23, then - captions are as furnished (they appear valid) - comments which accompanied are in [bracketed italics], with my own added in <italicized chevrons>:

[All pictures are thumbnailed - click on images for larger pictures]

US Army Depressed Center Flat Car For Foreign Service

M4 Sherman Tanks on Flat Cars Ledo, Burma 1945

British Forces Capture German Midget Submarine at Kiel

British Forces Capture German Midget Submarines at Kiel

332nd Engineers Build Rail Bridge over Roer River 1945

[can not figure out the wheels under the bridge girder]
<bridge girders were rolled out from land (cantilevered) on rails>

347th Engineers Build Rail Bridge at Hanau Germany 1945

General George S. Patton Christens New Railroad Bridge, Mainz, Germany 45

11th Armored Division Captures German 240mm Rail Gun, Kulmbach Germany ‘45

USMC M4 Sherman Comes Ashore at Iwo Jima

888th Heavy Auto Ordnance Company with Jeep on Rails in Jee India

German 10 Inch Railway Gun Captured in Cherbourg France ‘44

[a lot of these rail guns were mounted on a turntable to better aim them]
<the gun turntables were portable metal firing platforms known as "Bettungslafette">

French Designed 274mm Rail Gun Used by Germans, Captured 1945

Devastation at the Munich Train Station 1945
<I was there in the '90s but it sure didn't look anything like this!>

German 88mm Flak Train Captured at End of War

Messerschmitt Bf-109 on Rail Car Frankfurt, Germany 1945

3rd Infantry Division Captures German 340mm Railroad Gun

Knocked Out German Locomotive & Train Full of Tiger Tanks

3rd Infantry Division Captures German 340mm Railroad Gun

Allied Switcher in Cherbourg France with Bren Gun Carriers 1945

Steam Locomotives and Wrecked Rolling Stock, Worms Germany 1945

M25 Tank Transporter with M4 Sherman

U.S. 7th Army Captures Trainload of German Torpedoes Dijon, France 44

Flat Car Piled With U-Boat Torpedoes at Bremen, Germany 1945

That's all, folks.

Stay tuned!

See the main History page and the History of Technology page.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


See Copyright Notice on primary home page.

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