ONEONTA – Hidden behind a row of overgrown trees on River Street is a literary legacy.
As S.S. Van Dine, Willard Huntington Wright (1888-1939), wrote 12 novels starring dandy detective Philo Vance – and Bob Brzozowski, Greater Oneonta Historical Society executive director, believes that they were written here.
“We know his novel ‘The Man of Promise’ (196) was partially written in the cupola of 31 River Street,” said Brzozowski. “It’s set in Greenwood, which is based on Oneonta. H.L. Mencken called it ‘the Great American Novel’. We believe he wrote some of the Vance novels here as well.”
The heritage will remain, but the house, neglected for year, is about to succumb to the ravages of time.
The Salvation Army, whose local operation is growing, bought the property in March, first to build a parking lot, then expanding its building.
“We need more room,” said Maj. Sharon Harford, the veteran commander who is retiring at the end of May. “We want to expand our food pantry, and the city is looking to us to create a warming station for the homeless when the temperature drops.”
LIBRARY TALK – 3 p.m. Dr. P. Jay Fleisher presents “Cooperstown Scenery-in Geologic Time.” Free, Sponsored by the Friends of the Village Library of Cooperstown. Village Library, 22 Main St., Cooperstown.
Tom Heitz, local historian and volunteer at the Greater Oneonta Historical Society shows off some of the scores of historical advertisements on display at GOHS’s newest exhibit Oneonta Commercial Advertising: From the 1850’s to the New Millennium. The exhibit pulled from a collection of nearly 700 ads from the archives of the Oneonta Herald and other local papers from The Fenimore Art Museum microfilm collection. “We all sat down and went through them to pick out what we thought were the best ones.” said Heitz. The exhibit is presented in chronological order so trends in advertising can be seen through the decades. A reception will be held 2-4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2 at GOHS. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
Wayne Wright, the Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s, shows off a two-lens stereoscopic camera that is featured in three panels from the “Oneonta Photographers, 1850-1900” he staged for GOHS during the fall now being installed in the City Hall lobby. The show features work from William Mereness, Perry Young and Howard N. Smith, who took some of the earliest images of Oneonta. At right, Wright shows Mayor Gary Herzig a stereoscope of the D&H rail yards. Stereoscopes, photographs, cameras and other ephemera will be on display through the end of March. (Ian Austin/AllOTSEGO.com)
FOOD FOR THOUGHT – 12:30 p.m. Lecture “Seen and Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham” with Kevin Gray, Manager of Arts Education & photographer. Cost, $30/non-member. Study Center, Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
CONCERT – 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Return to swing music with the Small Town Big Band. Bring lawn chairs, blankets & a picnic and enjoy. Free, open to the public. South Lawn, Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Rd., Cooperstown, NY. Call 607-547-5098 or visit hydehall.org/event/small-town-big-band-in-concert/
BENEFIT DINNER – 5 – 7 p.m. Enjoy fish fry dinner with coleslaw, french fries, cake, refreshments for $10. Proceeds benefit the Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s Building Fund Challenge. Oneonta Vets Club, 279 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0960 or visit www.OneontaHistory.org
CONCERT – 3 p.m. Oneonta Community Concert Band presents a World Tour in Music featuring the “Star Spangled Banner,” “King Cotton March,” “Marche des Parachutists Belges,” “Amparito Roca,” more. Wilber Park, Oneonta. Call 607-437-0152.
GRADUATION – 1:30 p.m. CCS Seniors receive their diplomas. The Fenimore Art Museum, Cooperstown. Call 607-547-8181 or visit www.cooperstowncs.org
WALKING TOUR – 7 p.m. Bob Brzozowski & Jim Hawver lead tour of former Armory, built in 1905, on the State & National Registers of Historic Places. Asa Allison Jr Municipal Building, 4 Academy St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
TEA TASTING – 4 – 7 p.m. Nini Ordoubadi, founder of Tay Tea, presents her hand-blended artisanal teas. Enjoy a variety of iced teas and tea cocktails perfect for summer enjoyment. The Green Toad Bookstore, 198 Main St., Oneonta. Call 607-433-8898 or visit www.facebook.com/TheGreenToadBookstore/
AUCTION – 5:30 p.m. Annual event with live & wall auction featuring Phish tickets, art, jewelry, vacation, antiques, more. Free child care available. Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, 12 Ford Ave., Oneonta. Call 607-432-3491 or visit www.facebook.com/UUSOneonta/
HISTORY SHOW – 10 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. Visit the Postcard and Ephemera Show featuring a display of vintage postcards, sheet music, posters, documents, trading cards, more. Elm Park Methodist Church, 401 Chestnut St., Oneonta. Call 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org
ONEONTA – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, this afternoon joined Greater Oneonta Historical Society officers in announcing a $250,000 state grant to largely complete the renovations of the second and third floors of the Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St.
The history center, Seward said, “is a showcase for the city’s past and a key component of the downtown revitalization taking place in Oneonta.”
In thanking the senator, GOHS President Corinne Bresee Smith expressed her organization’s gratitude, calling him “a native son of Oneonta (who) knows the value of our past and is invested in the vitality of our future.”