If you want to know more about the man, the wonder of Google books, which presents us with his “Annals,” also presents us with a brief biographical sketch.
The last great store in Schenectady to carry just about everything was Wallace Armer Hardware, which gracefully closed its doors about 20 years ago. But Armer was clearly descended from a long tradition of general stores in canal towns that carried a little bit of everything. In the case of James Walker’s store on State Street in 1862, that everything ranged from groceries to agricultural implements, house furnishing goods to wood and willow ware, rope, twine and cordage, coal oil and lamps, bird cages, fishing tackle, brushes, and who knows what else.
The Albany Journal printed an article in August, 1884 titled “The Railroad Fireman’s Dream”:
“A remarkable accident occurred to Mr. Douglass M. Irish, a resident of No. 49 Colonie-street, about 10:30 o’clock Wednesday night. He is employed as a fireman on the Central Railroad, and as he sat asleep by an open window he dreamed that he heard a shrill whistle of danger from a locomotive, which was blowing for a signal to cross the upper bridge. Instantly, without awakening, he leaped forward through the window, dreaming that it was his own engine, and that he was to reverse its motion. He landed about 10 feet below upon the sidewalk, at the very edge of an embankment 10 feet high. Several persons who resided down stairs were sitting upon the piazza near by and saw the man fall. When they reached him he was unable to rise. He sustained serious injuries both to his knee-pan and internally.”
Just a note for those who don’t know — a railroad fireman makes fires, he doesn’t put them out. The “upper bridge” is the Livingston Avenue Bridge, which features prominently in local history and my psyche. And the thought that there could be anything that would be described as a “piazza” on Colonie Street is a little mind-bending.