HOMETOWN HISTORY: April 29, 2021


April 29, 2021

Compiled by Tom Heitz/SHARON STUART, with resources
courtesy of The Fenimore Art Museum Research Library

110 Years Ago

Since spring is here interest revives in the national game, and at Gildersleeve’s and other centers of baseball interest there is talk in plenty of what’s doing and speculation as to what later will be done. A worthwhile team in Oneonta in 1911 is assured. At Elm Park considerable improvements to the grounds have already been made. Though the diamond itself has always been pretty good, the outfield has been rough and uneven – a condition which it is now proposed to remedy. The field has accordingly been ploughed, and later will be leveled and rolled, making a park surpassed by few in the state for ball purposes. There is need too of a new and larger grandstand, but it is not likely to be built this year. “Bobby” Vaughn, whom everybody in Oneonta recalls as a Stamford boy and the manager of its club two years ago, is doing good stick work this season with Montreal. Vaughn is under contract to the New York Americans, but is farmed out to Montreal. His
many friends expect to see him “breaking in” with the big leagues.

April 1911

90 Years Ago

Amidst the blaring of a band, overhead lights and a large crowd, the Merry-makers’ Circus gave its first performance Friday in the gymnasium of Hartwick College. There were clowns, funny men, rubes, tumblers, acrobats, and a score of other performers, who thrilled the crowd with their feats and won hardy plaudits. That night the administration building of the college was turned into a House of Wonders. As one entered the doors leading into the foyer, all traces of the classical learning had disappeared and in its stead were various side shows. There were dancing midgets, a two-headed calf, marionettes, hot dogs, popcorn and lemonade stands. Even fortune tellers were to be found. Barkers stood in the corridors selling the attractions to the crowd. After a tour of the midway, the crowd filed into the Big Top where the performance began. The closing act featured sixteen Hartwick co-eds dressed in green berets and clown suits.

April 1931

70 Years Ago

Speaking at a meeting of the Oneonta Community Peace Council at Oneonta’s First Presbyterian Church, Mrs. Merwyn Fenner of Afton called for a worldwide constitutional convention of delegates elected by the peoples of the various nations instead of designates chosen by current governmental regimes. Mrs. Fenner pointed out that we are gradually losing control of our domestic affairs and said that we are faced with these alternatives – dictation by the executive over domestic policies, or action by the people under their reserved powers in the Constitution to take charge of foreign affairs which so vitally affect domestic matters. The fundamental flaw in the United Nations, she said, is that it is based on the sovereignty of its member nations and so becomes “just another area of power politics.” Mrs. Fenner advocates no particular type of constitution, or provision, but believes that a constitution hammered out by elected delegates of the world’s peoples, who were chosen after running in their various nations on platforms which enabled the peoples to choose the principles to be incorporated, would be satisfactory. Such a constitution, she said, would become effective by ratification by the vote of the peoples, and when ratified by an agreed upon majority. Groups seeking legislation for the calling of such a convention are at work in six states in the U.S. and in 42 other countries.

April 1951

50 Years Ago

According to a survey of residents in Otsego and Herkimer counties there is unanimity in believing that healthy welfare recipients ought to work and that “dope pushers” ought to receive mandatory stiff jail terms when convicted. A majority of those surveyed also want to stop recipients of New York State scholarship funds from using the money to attend out-of-state schools. A large majority also favored establishing narcotics addiction treatment and rehabilitation programs, especially for young people. Survey participants were nearly evenly divided on the question of whether a woman seeking an abortion should be required to obtain consent from her husband before proceeding. Twice as many surveyed favored capital punishment as those who opposed it, but about 16 percent of those surveyed were undecided.

April 1971

40 Years Ago

A study prepared by Triad Associates of Albany concludes that Oneonta cannot support a large shopping mall on the downtown urban renewal parcel. “We don’t feel there is enough business to support a 200,000-square-foot mall,” Glenn C. Seale of Triad Associates said. “But, if you improved what you have downtown, you could do better,” he added. Triad Associates based their findings on a survey of 500 Christmas shoppers last year. “We asked people where they live, where they shop, and what they buy,” Seale said. The survey found that downtown businesses lose $27.8 million annually to local and regional shopping malls. According to Seale, Pyramid Mall alone costs the city of Oneonta $9 million a year. “The retail space that would have filled that hole downtown is sitting in the Pyramid Mall,” Seale said.

April 1981

30 Years Ago

Our county is committed to social justice Otsego County legislator Kevin Hodne told a gathering of Young Democrats at SUCO on Monday night. Hodne, along with city alderman Kathryn King and William Schebaum, chairman of the Otsego County Democratic Committee spoke at the meeting. Hodne, citing 1980 statistics, said that slightly more than 9,000 county residents were living under the poverty line and speculated that the number “had grown significantly over the last decade.” Hodne attributes the poverty problem to Otsego County’s lack of an industrial base and to a down turn in the dairy industry.

April 1991

20 Years Ago

Cellist Minako Yoshiwa and pianist Mai Kimura, both SUCO students, will perform at a recital in the William Cole Recital Hall at the college on Sunday evening. Ms. Yoshiwa will perform Beethoven’s Sonata No. 3, Opus 69, and Ms. Kimura will perform Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes. “It’s the kind of work you would expect to hear in Carnegie Hall,” said Janet Nepkie, a professor of music at SUCO.

April 2001

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