A History of Oneonta from its earliest settlement to the
present time by Dudley M. Campbell. Oneonta, NY G. W.
Fairchild & Co. 1906
Transcribed & Contributed by Sandy Goodspeed
Chapter X. ONEONTA SIXTY YEARS AGO AND NOW.
In 1845 there were four streets, a number of alleys and cul-de-sacs.
Main, Chestnut, Maple and River were the principle streets. Grove
street extended from Main to Academy and thence the way led to a
barnyard near Franklin street, and High extended about half way to
West street. On High street there were several dwellings, and on
Church there were two.
From a point where Otsego street now is, on Main street, to the
end of the trolley line, there were only four dwellings, while to the
north and south of Main street within this section five farms are
now occupied by streets and residences.
On Maple street there were three dwelling houses, while on
either side of this street are now parallel and cross streets, with but
few vacant lots.
Taking as an example the most busy portion of Main street at
that time, beginning at Broad, on the south side there was the old
Ford stone store, a wagon shop, a cooper shop, an old weather-
beaten blacksmith shop, sided with rough boards running up and
down in primitive barn style, then south there were two one-story
business buildings, one residence, then the Huntington stone store,
so many years occupied by the MENDEL Brothers, and still owned
by them; next the FRITTS stone building between the last named
and the present viaduct.
There was not even a well-graveled sidewalk, in many places a
board or slab being thrown down to guide the foot-passenger over
a mud hole.
Commencing at a point nearly opposite Dietz street there was a
narrow and winding way-and many there were that walked therein-
down under the hill that led to the distillery near Broad street.
On Chestnut street there were four pretentious residences,
while most of the houses were mere rookeries. From Academy
street to West there were six dwelling houses on both sides of the
street, with no outlying streets. Since that time many farms have
been cut up into streets and building lots, where well-kept dwellings
and well-flagged sidewalks could be measured by miles in every
Well-paved streets have taken the place of the muddy roadbeds
in the principal business portion of the village; the streets are
by electricity, and telephone and telegraph communication has been
established in every portion of the town, as well as the outside world.
Trolley cars traverse the main streets and the trolley line makes
Cooperstown, Richfield Springs and the Mohawk valley easily
accessible. The Ulster & Delaware railroad connects with Kingston
and New York city, while the Delaware & Hudson railroad makes
Binghamton and Carbondale to the south, and Albany and
Schenectady to the east within a few hours' travel. An extension of
the trolley line is also projected to the Hudson river at Catskill.
The main impetus to the growth of the village was given by the
establishment of the railroad machine shops here, which are being
enlarged every year, requiring an increased force of employes and
a vast outlay of money.
The Oneonta Milling company was established here in 1896 by
the PRUYN Milling and Power Company. The present company
employs a large force of help, working night and day. The capacity
of the plant is one hundred thousand bushels of grain or one hundred
cars, and five hundred and fifty cars sacked mill feeds. This
company's output is shipped to all parts of the United States. The
large grain elevators and warehouses of MORRIS Brothers and of
FORD & ROWE are also busy centers in this line of trade.
The coldstorage warehouse of SWIFT & Co., of Chicago, is an
important addition to the business of the village.
The Wilber National Bank, whose first president was Hon. David
WILBER, and the First National Bank, whose first president was
Hon. John COPE, have a large clientage, including many neighboring
villages and a wide extent of surrounding country.
The wholesale and retail stores in all line of trade are liberally
patronized by large sections of the adjacent country.
There are eight well-built church edifices and a Christian Science
The water supply of Oneonta is from a large mountain reservoir
about three miles north of the village. The sources of this reservoir
are numerous large springs which furnish an abundant supply of
pure water, which is carried through all the streets for ordinary
household purposes, and which supplies a thoroughly drilled and
well-equipped fire department with the means to cope with any fires
that may occur.
The Fox Memorial Hospital, which was presented to the village
through the generosity of Colonel Reuben L. FOX of New York city,
was opened for public service in 1900. It is a fine structure and of
wide-spread usefulness, not only to this immediate vicinity but to all
the surrounding country. The liberality of the people has added
largely to the efficiency of the institution.
Through the munificence of the state, an armory has been
established here which has recently been opened for the occupancy
of our local state militia. This company as called into active service
during the Spanish-American war and during this period was
stationed at Honolulu, being then under the command of Captain
Ursil A. FERGUSON, and the regiment was led by Lieutenant
Colonel Walter SCOTT.
A flourishing Young Men's Christian Association occupies a
commodious structure of its own on Broad street; the property of
the association being estimated at $20,000. It has a membership of
about 500, a well-equipped reading room with rare conveniences for
the supply of such books as may be desired by members.
Thirty lawyers and about the same number of doctors look after
the business interests and health of the community and outlaying
A glove factory, a shirt factory, numerous cigar factories, a silk
mill, building firms and founderies furnish employment to a large
number of people. The MOODY & GOULD Company is also an
important business center. Five large hotels and a number of smaller
ones furnish entertainment to the traveling public.
Centrally located in the most picturesque portion of the
Susquehanna valley, with its extensive business interests, as it was
said in former times of Rome, it can be truly said that now all roads
in Otsego and Delaware counties lead to Oneonta.