1948-the bums rush for workers


Geneva-Another in a series of battles to retain homes is on in the Sampson area on the east shore of Seneca Lake.

The latest discord comes as a result of orders to 250 families of Sampson Hospital workers, who lost their jobs July 1 with the closing of the hospital, to vacate their homes at once.

Bad enough to lose your job without warning, but to be asked also to vacate your dwelling when vacant housing is an almost unknown quantity is double-trouble to say the least, they say.

So a new flock of appeals has gone forward to the local, state and federal lawmakers to "come to the aid of their fellowmen." Meanwhile, the families are sitting tight to see what the Navy, now in possession again, will do to help them.


Whether unrest will become synonymous with this vast section of the eastern shore of Seneca Lake is a question to which the answer would appear to be "yes," residents believe.

Into history has gone the unrest that was the lot of farmers, cottagers and other land-holders who were dispossessed when World War II put the eyes of the U. S. Navy upon this 22-mile shore frontage as the right spot to train American bluejackets for duty on the far-flung world battlefronts where they found high adventure, deep dark misery, death and the glory that is victory, and for some the joy that is home-coming.

Into history, too, goes the epoch that is known on the spot as "the battle of Navy wives." This episode came on the threshold of the opening of Sampson College. The change-over from an unused naval training center to an emergency college brought to the fore the residence of wives of Sampson Hospital patients in the only housing area on the sprawling base that was temporarily almost idle. When the wives of Navy and Marine veterans were asked to vacate summarily to make way for Sampson College faculty, 60 wives rose to the battlements and when the smoke had cleared they were in possession of their homes. Gradually the government learned that the "little woman" can fight alone for her home and shelter for her children with a vigor and force of which every Washington, Albany and local legislator was promptly aware by direct wire, press and radio.


When Sampson Hospital was vacated by the Navy and turned over to the U. S. Veterans Administration for a Veterans Facility, quiet appeared to reign again on the eastern lakeshore. The emergency college was functioning, a bit noisily at times, but on the whole the future of the entire locale appeared settled, at least for the duration of the lives of the beholders.

Then, like a bolt from the blue, came word that "Sampson Hospital is of three being closed." It was a distinct shock to personnel and to everyone concerned and those supposedly unconcerned in this city and area.

So sharply did business drop off for the Central Greyhound bus line that its ticket office has been virtually closed, although Miss Genevieve Niedar, daughter of Geneva's Mayor Charles Nieder, is remaining on the scene to sell tickets to the few college students and faculty members who travel by bus.

The scourge of dispossession, therefore, goes on along this stretch of Seneca shoreland. Surely there is justification in the feeling that "insecurity abides here."