Westcott Community

The Westcott Neighborhood of Syracuse, NY

A vibrant eastside neighborhood rich in history, culture, food and entertainment


Intoxication and Violent Crime on the Westcott Streetcar – in 1910!

October 16, 2022

Samuel Gruber

Neighbor News

Step back in time. We recently came across this article from the Post Standard, from Tuesday morning, August 16, 1910. it’s a great snapshot into an era. a close reading give us a glimpse into a streetcar, immigrant-Anglo relations, gentlemanly propriety, and where there was pharmacy and a physician nearby when a streetcar conductor was knocked unconscious by rowdy passengers near Westcott and Hawthorne.

Vito di Sario (or di Sarlo?) who was apprehended as one of the assailants, and charged with public intoxication, lived at 417 Roosevelt Avenue, just at Jerome (the street numbers have since changed). He is not listed in the 1911 city Directory, but a laborer named Peter Silver is listed at that address. Two Italian laborers, Louis Delario and Frank Pascarella are listed as living on the same block.

The Post Standard, Syracuse, N.Y. Tuesday Morning, August 16, 1910


Conductor’ Roberts Assaulted by Italian Passenger Aboard Car


Men and Women Thrown Into Panic by Row at Westcott and Hawthorne Streets—One Man

Arrested—Roberts’ Story.

Charles Roberta of No. 413 North Clinton street, a Syracuse Rapid Transit conductor, was knocked unconscious with a switch Iron, wielded by an Italian, at Westcott and Hawthorne streets at 8.50 o’clock last-evening.

The Italian was one of three with whom Roberts had trouble on his trip with a Westcott car. They were noisy and profane, Robert claims, and he went to the front of the car and got the switch iron

from his motorman, Joseph P. Bullock of No. 2509 Lodi street. On his way to the rear of the car one of the Italians grabbed the iron and in the mix-up that followed struck Roberts over the head.

The conductor went down, unconscious. The car was filled with men, women and children. Women screamed, children cried and the passengers were thrown into a panic. The Italians attempted to escape. Bullock ran from the front of the car and grabbed one man, who said he was Vito Di Sarlo of No. 417 Roosevelt avenue. He was taken to Police Headquarters and charged with public intoxication.

Bullock and men passengers picked Roberts up. Blood was running down over his shoulders from a two-inch cut back of the ear. The men wanted him to go into the Westcott Pharmacy at Dell and Westcott streets, but he balked when he saw a woman in the store and realized

his condition. The men then took him to the office of Dr. J. B. Todd at No. 742 South Beech street where the wound was dressed. Bullock ran his car to the Common Center, where he started his next Dudley trip with another conductor. Roberts is a north barn “extra” man.

“The three men got on at South State street,” said Roberts. “Two went in the front way and sat in front, and another sat near the back door. They were noisy and swore, and once I stopped the car and called the motorman back. Then they quieted. In Westcott street I stopped the car, offered them their money back and told them to get off or keep quiet. I went to the front end of the car and they all followed me. I picked up the switch iron and told them to behave or I would

give it to them. When I started for the back end of the car again I carried the switch iron, and as I was near the back door one of them grabbed it and hit me.”

The weapon used is a small iron bar, about twenty inches long, used by motormen in “throwing” switches