Proposal to move Berwick Fountain to the Lough... and death of ‘Boss’ Croker'

What happened in the news 100 years ago today? Richard Forrest of Cork City Library reports
Proposal to move Berwick Fountain to the Lough... and death of ‘Boss’ Croker'

The Berwick Fountain at Grand Parade, Cork. Picture: Denis Minihane.

THE death of Richard ‘Boss’ Croker was announced in the Echo 100 years ago today, on Saturday, May 6, 1922, and his remarkable life story was told.

He arrived in New York from Clonakilty in 1846, aged three, and was, in time, apprenticed to the machine trade.

But he found time to follow the ponies and, after many a meet at the Saratoga track, was compelled to walk home to New York having lost his last cent.

Richard ‘Boss’ Croker 1843-1922
Richard ‘Boss’ Croker 1843-1922

A shrewd networker, Croker first joined Tammany Hall in the old red building on 14th Street as a ward politician before rising to ‘boss’. Tammany was considered the ‘real’ government of New York city and state, though its methods were not recommended as a model for aspiring politicians. This consisted of ‘lining up’ Democrat votes by means of dispensing charity in hard times.

True, legislators were sometimes said to be in its pockets, but ‘Boss’ Croker, to his credit, toned down most of the abuses.

His personal fortune in his heyday was variously estimated at $1m- $5m and his passion for fast horses remained undimmed.

On his wife’s death, he wed the daughter of a Cherokee chieftain whom his son ungenerously described as “a white cabaret dancer”. Big-hearted, if a little abrupt, Croker helped many Irish poor on their way to prosperity and as linkman between the old and the new generations in America he is unparalleled.

He united those with memories of ’47 and the ‘just-arrived’ neophytes to create the solid Irish representative bloc of today.

Rearranging Cork

Now that Cork is being rebuilt after the fire, it has been mooted that Washington Street should meet Patrick Street directly across the Parade, and not at an angle by way of Woodford Bourne. An excellent idea. As is any that proposes lopping off awkward corners.

I have a few additional suggestions I hope may be hearkened to by the Corporation. The Berwick Fountain, for instance, impedes traffic in every direction and could, with advantage, be transferred to The Lough.

The GPO interrupts a straight run from Patrick Street to the South Mall and might be moved to the new bridges area.

Incidentally, this arrangement would enable a certain section of our citizens to enjoy the river breeze,

The Bridewell could be moved across the river so that young, innocent Irish policemen would not have their training interrupted by the seductive distractions of Coal Quay dialectics.

How about the erection of a time gun on Shandon to be fired at 2pm on Sundays so the people may regulate their clocks and watches?

With these suggestions, I am sure the citizenry will agree the Corporation will at last be in possession of a plan to render Cork a model in design for this badly-arranged planet.

Blaze at Barracks

The few pedestrians out this morning between 3-4am were surprised to see a big glare of fire in the direction of the Military Barracks. Investigation showed the timber huts were ablaze.

The Military Fire Brigade set to and kept the conflagration contained. A telephone message was sent to the Corporation Fire Brigade at Sullivan’s Quay to send a man to give extra pressure of water. Two huts were destroyed.

Free Feed of Drink

The Exhibition Bar on Lancaster Quay owned by Eddie Rearden was broken into last night and £6 or £7 was stolen along with a quantity of cigarettes. The burglars also helped themselves to some stout before leaving.

Charleville Robbery

Last Wednesday night, an old man named John Moynihan staying at a lodging house in Charleville was robbed of £7.

When he was three miles from the town the next morning, he missed the money. Returning back, he informed Captain Michael Geary, IRA. who quickly got his police to work.

Within a brief time, the arrest was effected of a man named Purcell who was making his way to Limerick. Nothing was found on him and he denied all knowledge of the robbery.

Undaunted, the Republican Police redoubled their search and found the money under a gate in the vicinity of the arrest. Purcell was removed to Buttevant IRA Barracks.

Busy Jetties

Cork’s quays present an exceptionally busy appearance just now. In addition to ordinary shipping, five large vessels (four at the South Jetties and one at the North) have all brought in large cargoes and have an average gross tonnage of 5,000.

The Melmorehead from St. John’s, Newfoundland berthed on May 1 with a cargo of timber. The same day saw the arrival of the Eastern Tempest from New York via Dublin with a cargo for Messrs. Dowdall.

The 4th of the month brought in the Balsam from Philadelphia, also with cargo for Dowdall’s, and the Baron Polwarth from Portland with wheat for Messrs. Green.

A fifth vessel arrived yesterday, the Yoseric from Adelaide, with a gross of 4,912 and containing wheat for Messrs. Furlong.

It is quite some time since so many large vessels have been seen at the quays in the one week.

It is to be hoped that future port development will make it a familiar sight.

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