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


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 direction.

Well-paved streets have taken the place of the muddy roadbeds in the principal business portion of the village; the streets are lighted 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 church.

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 country.

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.

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