HOMETOWN HISTORY, August 30, 2013
125 Years Ago
The managers of the Central New York Fair, which opens at Oneonta on the 19th of September and continues for four days, are extremely fortunate in securing an engagement with the great aeronauts, Prof. Oscar Hunt and Prof. J.W. Price of Illinois. They will not only give an ascension on the second and third days of the fair in their monster hot air balloon, the largest in the world, but will perform the wonderful feat of jumping to the earth with the aid of a parachute after the balloon has attained an altitude of over one mile. There is no question but this will form a splendid drawing attraction. Professors Hunt and Price are unquestionably among the greatest living aeronauts of the age, and the leap into air from the balloon at the dizzy height of one mile requires much nerve, coolness, self-possession and judgment, all of which qualities these men are liberally endowed with, as will appear when it is stated that in all their ascensions they have never yet met with a single mishap.
100 Years Ago
At a well-attended meeting of the members of the Oneonta Country Club, held last evening at the Municipal Building, a resolution was passed instructing the committee to execute a contract with J.S. Bull for the purchase of about 75 acres from his farm at Oneonta Plains, embracing all of the lands originally included in the plot as laid out for the club, with Mr. Bull to retain his house and buildings and a portion of the plateau south of the trolley tracks. K.E. Morgan, who was chosen chairman of the meeting, stated that the committee has secured signatures for $16,100 of the capital stock of the club and that the membership assured its success. After investigating all of the possible sites, the committee decided upon the Bull farm as affording the most attractive site. Mr. Bull has signed a contract for the sale of the lands at $10,000. A committee was appointed to file articles of incorporation taking the name Oneonta Country Club. H.H. Buckley stated he could see no reason why the opening could not be held on May 1 next. The trolley company has agreed to make the fare to the grounds five cents.
60 Years Ago
Oneonta has a new industry – small at present but one that is bound to grow. Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Seeley, two former teachers, both graduates of Oneonta State Teachers College a few years ago, left the teaching profession and started out on their own to establish a family ceramic service business at Livingston Manor. The Seeleys supply schools and individuals with materials and equipment for making ceramic articles. Over the past three years, the business done by the Seeleys has tripled each year and when the business outgrew their Livingston Manor quarters they began looking around the state for a new location. Mr. Seeley said they decided to come to Oneonta for two main reasons. “Oneonta is a friendly town and a good place to bring up children.”
40 Years Ago
While many Oneontans are bemoaning the meat shortage and only reluctantly acquiring a taste for meat substitutes, at least one local resident is well prepared to face the shortage. Patricia Keddell, age 17, and a senior at Oneonta High School, adopted the vegetarian diet of her host families during her stay as a Rotary Exchange student in India this past year. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Keddell of 8 Winney Hill Road, Oneonta. “I went to India to learn their customs,” she said. “I was a vegetarian almost all the year.” Miss Keddell’s year was spent in the Indian State of Gujarat where she learned to speak the local dialect. In her high school, she picked it up quickly though it was necessary at times to speak slowly. “Sign language helped,” she added.
30 Years Ago
Oneonta Mayor James F. Lettis is scheduled to formally open the new fitness trail in Wilber Park at 10 a.m. on Thursday – but only if vandals leave the facility alone in the meantime. Vandals ripped five trail signs from the ground over the weekend. Local youths who installed the fitness course this summer in a job-training program spent Monday replacing them. Lucia Colone, coordinator of the Oneonta Youth Employment Service Youth Center, said it was the third time vandals have pulled up fitness trail signs in recent weeks. Vandals rocked the signs back and forth to loosen them before pulling them out of the ground and cracking the bases of a couple of signs. The signs provide instructions on the use of equipment at the 20 fitness stations along the trail.
20 Years Ago
Wendy’s Restaurant on Oneonta’s Southside just missed beating a Wendy’s record for getting the most cars through the drive-through in one hour last Friday afternoon. Between noon and 1 p.m. 241 customers lined up at the drive-through and Wendy’s employees were busily flipping burgers until the cars stopped coming – just short of the 250-car record according to manager Sharon Anderson.
10 Years Ago
Retired Oneonta minister William Bouton and his wife, Sylvia, will be recognized next month by Opportunities for Otsego for their years of community service. OFO’s annual Community Service Award will be presented to the couple on September 18th at a dinner in their honor at the State University College at Oneonta’s Morris Conference Center. “They’re great people, and they’ve given so much to this community,” said OFO Executive Director Cheri Albrecht. “They exemplify what we all should be doing with our lives.” The Rev. Bouton retired earlier this year after 17 years as pastor of the First United Methodist Church at 66 Chestnut Street.