150 Years Ago
The total eclipse of the sun which occurs this week Saturday, will not only be a most imposing spectacle, but also one of the most important of astronomical phenomena. Among barbarian tribes it ever excited apprehension, while among cultivated nations it is recognized from the exactness with which the time of occurrence and the various appearances answer to the prediction, as affording one of the proudest triumphs of astronomy. Although such an eclipse occurs nearly every year somewhere on the earth, yet the area within it can be observed is so smallish, it happens to few persons to witness one in the course of a lifetime. Two total eclipses only have been visible in the United States since the beginning of the present century, those of 1806 and 1834.
125 Years Ago
The first annual convention of the Otsego County Fireman’s Association met in the Exchange Hall on Dietz Street, Oneonta Wednesday at 11 a.m. Some fifty delegates were present at the business meeting,
representing the fire companies and
departments of Morris, Schenevus, Cooperstown, Unadilla, Richfield Springs, Otego, Gilbertsville and Oneonta. In the evening a banquet in honor of the visiting delegates was given by the executive committee of the local fire department at the Windsor Hotel. The menu was very elaborate and the good things provided were partaken of with a gusto which was in itself the banquet’s best praise. Thursday occurred the first annual parade and tournament of the Otsego County Firemen’s Association. The parade started at about 11:40 a.m. from the foot of Broad Street.
100 Years Ago
Otsego County is now represented in the American Legion. This is the first post to be organized in Otsego County despite the fact that many other counties with smaller population and considerably less number of service men have several posts in operation. At American Legion state headquarters it is believed that additional posts will be formed in Cherry Valley, Cooperstown, Edmeston, Hartwick, Otego, Richfield Springs, Unadilla, Worcester, and many other towns as sufficient service men reside in those localities to start good posts. Only fifteen men are required to sign an application, which should be mailed to the County Chairman, George W. Augustin, of Oneonta.
80 Years Ago
Three Oneontans will be among the ten musicians who will compete for cash prizes of $15 and $10, as well as merchandise awards, in the “Old-Time Fiddlers’ Contest”
on Wednesday evening in front of the Townsend Hardware Co. where the public can gather in the street to witness the competition. Contestants will be Charles Ellis, Floyd Wheeler, and Robert O’Brien
of Oneonta; Ferris Layman of Otego; Clifford Hess of Sydney; William Kellogg of Portlandville; L.H. Wheat of Mt. Vision; Charles Couse of Sidney Center; Omar Spooner of Richmondville; and Russell Alger of Masonville. The evening’s program will open with a half-hour concert by Keeton’s band.
60 Years Ago
It was all through the assistance of Huntington Memorial Library. Chris Spingola, 15 Main Street, was one of 15 applicants who passed the examination to receive a Federal Communications license as second class radio telephone operator. Mr. Spingola pointed to literature from various schools offering courses leading up to such a license
at fees up to $1,000. He also showed courses offered leading to a high school diploma. Last year he was granted his High School Equivalency diploma after passing examinations at Oneonta High School. For both examinations, he emphasized, his sole source of study, was Huntington Library. “It’s a wonderful thing for a city this size to have such a library, and librarians who are so helpful,” he declared.
40 Years Ago
The Main Street viaduct over the D&H tracks, connecting downtown Oneonta
with the Sixth Ward, will be opened with
a ceremony August 24 at 11 a.m. The ceremony is being coordinated by James T. Catella and the Oneonta Lions Club. Catella is the city’s former Parks and Streets Superintendent and also the father of the contractor’s chief engineer on the job. He is also the city’s official liaison person with the D&H Railroad. Family connections will loom large at the ceremony. Among other guests will be Duncan Briggs, whose grandfather was President of the Oneonta Village Board which authorized the viaduct about 1900. Also, William H. Lunn, whose grandfather was Mayor of Oneonta when the original bridge was completed will be present. Speakers will include Mayor James Lettis, Sixth Ward Alderman Jean Scarzafava, and a representative of the state’s Department of Transportation. D & H. Vice President Thomas O’Brien of Albany is expected to attend. The new $2.1 million bridge, begun in 1978, was finished two months ahead of schedule.
20 Years Ago
The Pentagon updated its “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military on Friday to require mandatory training on anti-harassment for all troops, beginning with boot camp. “There is no room for harassment or threats in the military,” Defense Secretary William Cohen said in issuing the guidelines. Michelle Benecke, co-director of the Service-members’ Legal Defense Network, the leading advocacy group on the issue of gays in the military, praised Cohen’s statement but with reservations. “The real issue is whether leaders will be committed at every level to stop anti-gay harassment,” she said.