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Hometown History
Jan 25-2019


150 Years Ago
Excerpts from a “Letter of Remembrance” addressed to the editor from Benj. Shove, a former resident of Oneonta: “At the age of eight years I became a resident of Oneonta by the removal of my father with his family to a farm on Oneonta Creek, about two miles from the village. In that and adjacent neighborhoods the most of my boyhood was spent. Oneonta is not only endeared to me as the home of my childhood but as the place of my spiritual nativity. There, I was ‘born again’ in my fourteenth year, at the old home of Ashel Marvin on Oneonta Creek. A few weeks afterward I joined the Methodist Society, under the labors of Revs. Jared Ransom and Ira Warren, when its place of worship was the old school house on the hill by the Baptist Church. The humble little village that I first saw some thirty years ago has put on city airs, and it is stretching itself out to such dimensions, that, if it were a western town, it would also glory in the name of a city. The sound of the stage driver’s horn, as he drove into town, and halted his coach and four in front of the hotel, is lost in the scream of the locomotive as it wheels into and out of town, pausing just a little time in the swamp under the hill. The Presbyterian Church is undergoing thorough repairs, and a new Methodist Church, more commodious and beautiful, is nearly ready to take the place of the old one. All honor to Oneonta!
January 1869

125 Years Ago
The Local News: The total attendance at the Union School now exceeds 800. Regents’ examinations are being held in the Union School this week.
The Amsden estate has sold the blacksmith shop on Main Street to A.E. Carr for $3,000.
Mills & Hickok will have an auction of a carload of western horses Saturday at the Wilson House stables.
Beginning with Monday, the D. & H. shops went on eight hours’ time. While this is not very encouraging news for shop men it should be remembered that all this winter the shops have been running nine hours instead of eight as in some other years, when the times generally were better. Then, too, there is every prospect of full-time again at an early date, as there is an abundance of work to do.
January 1894

100 Years Ago
Calmly referring to “the next war” Major General Leonard Wood appealed to a joint session of the Kansas Legislature for a system of universal training for national defense. General Wood said his proposed system was similar to that of the present National Guard system – to keep the smallest number of men in uniform but to have the largest number thoroughly trained to be ready for the country’s call. “The prediction that there will be no wars is as old as time, but war is like a pestilence. It comes unawares and the most democratic method for a nation like ours is to be prepared. You cannot massage away by fine rhetoric the passion of nations whose methods and morals are entirely different from our own.”
January 1919

80 Years Ago
George A. Dyer of 34 Center Street, a former D. & H. engineer who went to work for the railroad in 1888, “the year of the big blizzard,” and retired in 1936, has three hobbies to help him pass the time pleasantly. The one that gives him the most satisfaction is the unique hobby of making lampstands and other articles out of cattle horns, a craft in which he has been interested for 45 years. He uses three-cornered files to carve pictures on the horns some of which are works of art. Another avocation is making composite pictures by pasting together pictures, or parts, from newspapers and magazines, sometimes including a few lines from a story that are appropriate for a picture from some other publication. His third hobby is writing poems and songs of which he said he has composed about 300.
January 1939

60 Year Ago

40 Years Ago
An era has drawn to a close for the Oneonta Urban Renewal Agency. Members of Newman and Doll, the agency’s consulting engineers for several years, made their final presentation to the board. With the conclusion of that presentation agency chairman Mayor James F. Lettis said the consulting firm’s responsibility to the board is ended. The agency had voted late last year to discontinue its contract with the consultants, citing late delivery of plans, poor workmanship on some projects and an inability on the part of the firm to develop adequate lines of communication. Newman and Doll representatives Frank Ambrosio and David Zurbrugg told the agency that the first portion of the work will involve the stretch from Chestnut Street to Ford Avenue where new sidewalks, new curbing, new pavement and landscaping are planned. The second portion will run from Ford Avenue to Elm Street. The project is expected to last nine months.
January 1979

20 Years Ago
Beauty pageants are a family thing in the Flannery household in Oneonta. The three Flannery siblings, Barbara-Ann, 13, Amanda 9, and James, 2, have all entered and won local beauty contests around the region. All three Flannery children are entered in a state competition on Mother’s Day weekend in Lake George, their mother said. Barbara-Ann said she started at age 12, when a friend with previous pageant experience encouraged her to enter into a competition. From there, the beauty pageant bug bit Barbara-Ann’s younger sister Amanda. “Amanda was interested and wanted to see what it was like,” Cherie, her mother said. Later, Cherie’s co-workers urged her to enter the youngest child James in a pageant for babies at the Otsego County Fair this past summer where he won the competition.
January 1999

10 Years Ago
More than a dozen years and millions of dollars spent to clean up toxic wastes in Oneonta’s Neahwa Park monitoring wells still show that contamination remains. State Department of Environmental Conservation officials say that people wading in the creek risk exposure to chemicals associated with the waste. The same waste may also be harmful to aquatic wildlife in the creek.
January 2009


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