Lois Herrick’s Love Of Oneonta, Postcards
Fill Swart-Wilcox House Presentation Today
ONEONTA – “If Lois was here, she’d be able to tell us,” retired SUNY Oneonta professor and emphemera enthusiast John Carney remarked several times this afternoon during his discussion of local postcards during “Postcards from a Friend: A Tribute to Lois Herrick,” this afternoon at the Swart-Wilcox House.
Close to 50 wellwishers packed the downstairs of Oneonta’s oldest surviving home, causing her son, Kevin Herrick, the auctioneer, to remark, “It’s a great tribute to my mother.” Mrs. Herrick, a Philadelphia native who moved to Oneonta in 1960 and taught at Morris for 32 years, passed away April 22.
Helen Rees, a leader of the Friends of the Swart-Wilcox House, recalled Mrs. Herrick’s affection for her adopted community: Her license plate – “ONEONTA” – said it all.
Postcards, some from Carney’s collection and some from Mrs. Herrick’s, that elicited the most commentary included:
• Broad Street, eliminated during the Urban Renewal of the 1960s, which connected the D&H station (now Stella Luna) with Main Street, and catered to the proclivities of railroad workers in town for the night. Because of the “diversions” there, Kevin Herrick reported, when he was growing up his mother cautioned him to stay away.
• The men’s ward at Fox Hospital. “It’s an unusual postcard,” said Carney, as it showed the building’s interior and nurses in their highly starched uniforms. “If it’s unusual, it probably was from Lois,” he said.
• “The Well,” the open central staircase at the former Oneonta High School on Academy Street. Rees recalled that when she first taught there, another first-year teacher, when an OHS senior, had thrown a fire-cracker down the well and been expelled with only a few weeks to go. Still, he was brought back, probably because he knew in advance what mischief current students might get into.
• Early fire apparati caused Kevin Herrick to remark that the community was first served by the privately underwritten D.F. Wilber Hose Company. Carney reported that, even after the city formed in 1908 and took on firefighting as a public duty, there were major downtown fires in 1908, 1910, 1912 and 1914.