HOMETOWN HISTORY: March 11, 2021


March 11, 2021

135 Years Ago

Home & Vicinity – Joe Lee, a very mild-mannered Chinaman, with his pig tail neatly coiled under his hat, was in town Tuesday with the intention of starting a laundry here. Upon looking the field over he was induced to visit Cooperstown, where they have no laundry. Joe Lee was chaperoned about town by Mr. G.W. Ingalls, who took a great fancy to the almond-eyed wanderer and bestowed upon him innumerable courtesies. Joe was a great curiosity to the small boys, who thronged about him and vainly endeavored to excite his ire by shouting “rats!” but Joe only broadened his smile at this and appeared to take it as a very good joke. He is, we believe, the first Chinaman ever in town.

March 1886

90 Years Ago

“I’m disgusted with those pessimists who tell us the world is going on the rocks and who start calamity howling as soon as young people are mentioned,” said Jim Ellingwood last week in an address at the annual farmers’ night meeting of the Oneonta Rotary Club held at the Elks’ restaurant. “Long after the material advancements of this mechanical age are forgotten the world will be deriving measures of benefit from ideas and ideals which are being developed in the present age far beyond the anticipation of but a few of those now living. The people of the world are nearer together now than they ever have been; we have just recently learned to evaluate a man for the service he is able to render his fellow men; we are more free from hampering traditions today than any people has ever been, and we are anxious to learn the truth and adopt any methods that are proven better; and we live in a day when religion has passed out the ‘one-day-a-week’ stage into every minute of our lives. These things will be benefitting to coming generations long after our mechanical advancements have been forgotten.”

March 1931

70 Years Ago

Oneonta Police Chief Robert J. Simmons said yesterday that area law enforcement agencies, including his own, are working to crack what they believe is a car-theft ring operating in and around Oneonta for more than year. Chief Simmons cites incidents occurring every three months in which late model Ford automobiles with low mileage are taken. The last such theft victimized Lynn A. Boast, a partner in Dayton’s Garage at Delhi. Boast’s 1950 Ford was taken from Fairview Street in Oneonta. In every such case the stolen cars have been locked with the keys out of the ignition. Chief Simmons speculates that the thief or thieves may have a master key, or keys, or is trained in “crossing wires.” Also the stolen cars have been taken within minutes after the cars are parked, allowing thieves several hours in many cases to abscond across the state’s borders before the thefts are reported.

March 1951

50 Years Ago

For the first time in its history, St. Mary’s School will be charging tuition fees. Tuition at the parochial school will be $230 beginning this fall according to the Rev. John Whalen, pastor of St. Mary’s Church. The tuition charge is deemed necessary because of the rising cost of education per pupil. Also, the school intends on opening a Kindergarten class for the first time this fall and will purchase additional equipment for that purpose. St Mary’s School, like many other parochial schools in the state, is anticipating passage of a bill in the state legislature which would give assistance to parents of students in non-public schools, provided those schools do not discriminate based on race and are otherwise qualified to receive aid. State aid will be given to parents by taking into account the tuition charged by the school and the income of the parents. In order to qualify, parents must enroll their students in schools which charge tuition.

 March 1971

40 Years Ago

The Clinton Plaza has changed its name to University Mall. Concept Management of Ithaca, the mall’s management contractor, announced the change and issued a brochure which cites Oneonta’s college student population and outlines reasons for the switch. The brochure states: Retailers in student-oriented communities are little affected by recessions. The college market is the only segment of our country’s shopping population where spendable income has kept pace with and out-stripped inflation. More than half of all students carry at least one credit card. Students are more likely to buy quality, non-essential items such as stereos, outdoor athletic equipment, books and clothing than any other shopping segment. Growing numbers of students hold part-time jobs, increasing their spendable income. Students are heavy spenders for food and entertainment.

March 1981

30 Years Ago

Drivers traveling north on the Lettis Highway may not notice that the yield sign on the Main Street ramp at the post office has been replaced by a stop sign. According to Oneonta Police Chief John J. Donadio, police officers will give motorists two weeks to get used to the change. During the first two weeks, violators will receive warning tickets from city police unless they are found to be repeat offenders. State police, however, said they won’t honor the city’s two-week moratorium on tickets although they admit that enforcement of the new sign is largely the responsibility of city police. “We treat all signs the same,” Lt. Stephen Farago of the state police said. “The courts are not going to take into account that it was just put up.”

March 1991

20 Years Ago

Another snow storm hit the area adding five to eight more inches to more than a foot accumulated from an intense storm that socked the Oneonta area just two days ago. A wave of school closings were reported including cancellation of classes in the Oneonta school district. The weather also resulted in cancellation of Oneonta High School’s production of “Singing in the Rain” on Friday night as the storm continued into the evening hours. School officials said the missed performance would be made up by adding a 3 p.m. matinee performance on Sunday afternoon.

March 2001

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