All events are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise.
Tuesday December 3
From 12:00 noon to 3:00 PM, Carol Mandigo will be working on Galinn's jewelry store mural indoors at the History Center. Everyone's welcome to stop by!
Sunday December 8
Chuck D'Imperio will visit the History Center at 2:00 PM to talk about his latest book, Unknown Museums of Upstate New York: A Guide to 50 Treasures, published by Syracuse University Press. After his presentation, he will sign copies of this, his sixth book and the others, all in stock at the History Center shop. D'Imperio states, "What a yearlong journey this was around the state exploring the NYS Cheese Museum, the Remington Arms Museum, the National Bottle Museum, the Catskill Fly Fishing Museum, the Slate Museum, the Lucille Ball Museum, the National Fiddlers Museum,and many more - including the Kazoo Museum!" The event is free and open to the public.
Thursday December 19
Meet on Main Street this Thursday evening! GOHS is leading a drive to bring shoppers downtown on Thursday evening December 19. Many stores downtown, including the History Center, will be open from 6 to 8 PM. Several will have special promotions and sampling. Executive director Bob Brzozowski says, "Downtown Oneonta was the place to be on Thursday nights. Even if you weren't shopping, you knew you'd run into some friends. Let's re-create that energy on this last Thursday before Christmas."
Tuesday December 31
Again this year, the History Center will be a First Night venue (acts to be announced). And GOHS' Money Raffle drawing will take place at 7 PM.
Friday January 17
The Oneonta Derailing Darlings (ODD) are having a fundraiser for GOHS! The local roller derby team will donate the admission gate for its "Bloody Blizzard Roller Derby" bout, presented by the Hill City Rollers roller derby league. The bout will take place at Interskate 88, 5185 State Route 23. Doors open at 6:30 PM and the action begins at 7:30. Admission is $8.00 ($5.00 for seniors, students, and minors). The money raised will go toward purchase of a tablet computer for portable use at the History Center and at off-site activities. GOHS will have an info table at Interskate 88 on that evening. Join the fun and help raise money for GOHS!
Sunday January 19
At 3:00 PM, retired SUNY Oneonta mathematics professor Taylor Hollist will present his fascinating research on Eva Coo. The presentation, titled "Eva Coo: Murderess", delves into the life of a woman who took out life insurance policies totaling $10,000 on her handyman, Henry Wright, and then killed him in an isolated location outside of Oneonta. The trial for this crime, which ultimately resulted in Coo's execution, was held in Cooperstown and received international coverage. This free event will talk place at the History Center and is open to the public.
Saturday February 1
Opening day for the Oneonta Advertising Cards exhibit.
Sunday February 2
Reception for the Oneonta Advertising Cards exhibit from 2 to 4 PM, with a brief presentation by Lynn Bissell.
Saturday February 8
Hearts, glitter, doilies, glue!! Come down to the History Center from 2:00 to 4:00 PM to make old-fashioned Valentine’s Day cards. Local artist Linda Smith will be on-hand to provide assistance and offer suggestions. Bring the family! This event is Free, open to the public, and for all ages! Donations accepted and appreciated.
Saturday February 22
Dominick Reisen will speak on "Slavery and Abolition in Otsego County" at the History Center at 3:00 PM. His talk deals with the development and face of slavery in the county, and how the abolition movement started here. Reisen is a founding member and former president of the Otsego County Historical Association and has served on the board of directors of the Town of Milford Historical Association and as Middlefield town historian. He is editor of Otsego County in the Civil War: Firsthand Accounts of War Experiences and is the author of several works on Middlefield, including Middlefield and the Settling of the New York Frontier. The event is free and open to the public.
GOHS Exhibit News
2014 Exhibit to Feature Advertising
The first exhibit of 2014 at the History Center will feature advertising or trade cards for Oneonta businesses. The GOHS collection contains hundreds of these cards, rich in artistry and history. Many of these cards were collected by GOHS member Lynn Bissell. The Golden Age of ad cards was the last quarter of the 19th century. Color lithography, introduced in the 1870s, made the cards collectors' items, from then up until today! The exhibit is scheduled to open on Saturday February 1 with a reception planned for Sunday February 2 from 2:00 to 4:00 PM. The working group for the exhibit is Lynn Bissell, Bob Brzozowski, Fiona Dejardin, and Mark Simonson.
Celebrating the Holidays at the History Center
The History Center is ready for the holidays! The two model train layouts; the dollhouse, decorated for the season; the Victorian village in the Dietz Street window; and Santa's chair and mail box from Bresee's Department Store have become Oneonta traditions.
This year there are two special mini-exhibits: One of vintage winter holiday postcards and another of greetings cards by Oneonta artists such as the ones that GOHS member Jim Mullen has sent to family and friends for decades. And on display again this year are more than a dozen Plasticville and Marx buildings from the early 1950s, donated by GOHS member Dottie Wooden. The post office, factory, airport, diner, and more were essential parts of the model train tableaux that families assembled near their Christmas tree.
Remember to include the History Center when holiday shopping. There is an expanded selection of Vilmain pewter ornaments, made in the USA; new Oneonta NY mugs, specially designed by the GOHS retail committee; Chuck D'Imperio's new book, Unknown Museums of Upstate New York; and Center Street t-shirts and medallions. There are also reproductions of vintage Christmas and New Year's cards; Richard Duncan's Otsego County; John Taibi's Roads, Rivers, and Rails; and Stephen Joseph's 360 photographs - original, signed photos or the Oneonta 360 book. And along with all-natural Slickepott fudge sauce from Delhi will be John McCoy's creamed honey and maple cream and sugar from Stannard's.
GOHS Mural Project
GOHS is undertaking an arts and history project that will result in five murals along the Dietz Street walls of the Oneonta History Center. The five murals will be painted by artist Carol Mandigo over the first floor windows which were bricked in decades ago. The murals will reflect daily life of the previous occupants of the 1866 building, the oldest brick building on Main Street.
The first use of the 1866 building was as a hardware store, for decades owned by Walter Brown and partners. During the 1870s it also was the first Oneonta location of Wilber Bank. For more than thirty years it was the Laskaris restaurant, ice cream parlor, and candy store. When the restaurant moved to the corner of Main and Chestnut, the Laskaris family opened Jo-Ann Dress Shop at the location. Most recently it was the site of Galinn's Jewelry.
Carol Mandigo has a degree in Fine Arts from Stony Brook University and has been painting murals for many years. She is the co-founder with John Potocnik of the Catskill Puppet Theater Her great-grandparents owned Winney Hotel on Broad Street in Oneonta in the early 1900s. As Mandigo wrote in the grant application, "‘Windows in Time’ will be a long lasting, meaningful and highly visible public art project that will enhance Main Street and help Oneonta toward its goal of being a center for arts and culture in the area."
The murals will be completed by the Fall 2013. Executive Director Bob Brzozowski helped initiate the project. "It's part of the Society's mission to beautify Oneonta and make the Society’s building -- and Downtown -- come alive in a way that honors the history of the community." A bronze plaque near each mural will describe the corresponding era of the building's history. This program is made possible with public funds administered by the Chenango Arts Council, and is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature.
The $4000 grant to support the project is to matched by funds raised by GOHS. Brzozowski invites the families of the previous occupants of the building, all those with fond memories of 183 Main Street, and supporters of public art and history to contribute to the matching fund. Persons or organizations who wish to support the project may donate online, or by sending a donation, payable to GOHS, to PO Box 814, Oneonta, NY, 13820. The donation should indicate that it is for the Mural Project.
Oneonta in 100 Objects
The Greater Oneonta Historical Society (GOHS) invites students at SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College to participate in the development of Oneonta in One Hundred Objects, a real and virtual collection.
Student Research Opportunity for Spring 2014
Students will develop research on an individual object or a small group of objects representing Oneonta’s past, present, and / or future. Themes to consider include, but are not limited to, Oneonta’s built and natural environments, culture, politics, economics, ecology and geology, etc. The objects will be selected from the GOHS collections.
The project is open to students from all disciplines across the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences. Interdisciplinary approaches, from museum studies to women’s and gender studies to environmental studies, are especially encouraged.
Requirements: Students will enroll in Independent Study at their institutions, undertake their own semester-long research with guidance from faculty advisors that results in a final product (such as a paper or Web page), then present their projects at the Oneonta History Center at an event in May 2014. Students working with objects at the Oneonta History Center must honor GOHS protocols concerning access to the objects (including practices of handling and care and the facility’s hours). Because the projects will become part of the GOHS collections, we encourage final products that will be resources for future exhibition and research.
Note: This is not an internship. Interested students should review their institution’s requirements for Independent Study projects, including policies concerning grades, with their faculty advisors.
Getting Started: Students intending to undertake research in Spring 2014 should begin their preparations in Fall 2013. Talk with your faculty advisor. Look at our Website (www.oneontahistory.org). Visit the Oneonta History Center (at the corner of Main and Dietz) during regular hours (Tuesday 12noon-3pm and Saturday 10am-4pm). Make an appointment with the GOHS Historian.
Deadline: GOHS must receive a copy of the student’s Independent Study form (with signatures and project description) by December 1, 2013.
Contact: GOHS volunteer Sallie Han at Sallie.Han@oneonta.edu
Students, follow this link or more information About the Project.
GOHS Gift Shop
Click here to see what's available at the GOHS Gift Shop!
That Old Time Music!
The Greater Oneonta Historical Society has a new CD of player piano music, recorded at the History Center. The player piano in the GOHS collection is from Oneonta's GB Shearer Company. It was donated in memory of Margaret Crandell, and was restored by Dave and Tom Smith of Upright Mechanical Music of Bainbridge, with partial funding from the Fenner Foundation.
Nineteen selections were chosen for the CD from the GOHS piano roll collection. Classics such as "My Blue Heaven", "Chattanooga Choo Choo", and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" are included as well as obscure oldies like "The Vamp", "All American Girl", and the "Husia Usia Polka".
The CD was produced by independent music and video producer Keith Rodan. "When Keith and his wife visited the Center this summer, he fell in love with the piano and offered to make this CD for us", said GOHS executive director Bob Brzozowski.
The CD is available at the History Center or by mail, and sells for $12.00 plus tax. For more information, call 607-432-0960 or email email@example.com.
GOHS Plaque Program
GOHS has teamed with Erie Landmark Company to offer bronze and aluminum custom and specialty plaques. These include custom and standard plaques for the State and National Register of Historic Places sites. The original Walnut Street Historic District plaques are from Erie Landmark. Plaques come in various sizes, fonts and mounts, and may include photographs. Time capsules are also available.
Erie Landmark plaques are made by the Paul W. Zimmerman Foundries Company in Columbia, Pennsylvania. Information on the offerings can be found in print form at the History Center or by visiting www.ErieLandmark.com. The price is discounted on many of the plaques, if ordered through GOHS. Through this program, GOHS hopes to raise awareness of Oneonta's rich history with plaques in the Downtown Historic District and at other historic sites in the town and city.
For more information, contact Bob Brzozowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or 431-9509.
Stephen Joseph Photos
Stephen Joseph's new book of photographs, Oneonta 360, is for sale at the History Center. Published by Oneonta's own Argian Press, the book of more than 80 local photos, retails for $40.00.
The original photos from the July 2008 SUNY Oneonta exhibit "Portrait of a Town: Stephen Joseph Celebrates Oneonta"remain on sale at the History Center, with part of the proceeds to benefit GOHS. (See Words & Pictures for examples of Steve's work and a link to his web site.)
In 1892 and 1893 Harvey Baker, arguably the most important presence in the history of Oneonta, penned a series of sixty-three articles on the area's history for the Oneonta Herald. GOHS has compiled the articles into a new book, Oneonta in Olden Time & Bits of Oneonta History: An Interesting Series of Articles by Harvey Baker, Published in the Oneonta Herald During the Years 1892-1893.
Harvey Baker was a prolific writer who contributed to several Otsego County papers throughout his life. His articles for the Oneonta Herald are his account of how Oneonta evolved from aboriginal lands to frontier settlements, a bustling village, and eventually to a railroading powerhouse. Based on his research of the area's history dating back to colonial times and up to the current events of his lifetime, Baker covers topics as diverse as the American Revolution and Civil War, family histories, regional folklore, local newspapers, churches and schools, Native American legends, turnpikes and canals, and local geography and ecology. His description of the development of the railroad from Albany to Binghamton is of major interest; Baker is considered by many to have single-handedly built the Albany & Susquehanna railroad. This current publication of Baker's history, compiled by GOHS, makes it widely accessible for the first time since its initial publication more than one hundred years ago.
Born in Broome County, New York in 1818, Harvey Baker became a mechanic and millwright at an early age. He began rebuilding water wheels in saw, grist, and other mills and factories. He first visited Oneonta in February 1841, when he made his first contract to put his wheels into the local mills. In addition to his mechanical skills, Baker was a gifted public speaker and lobbyist who worked for decades to bring the railroad to Oneonta. An original stockholder of the Albany & Susquehanna railroad, he also contracted to build the rail beds, bridges, and trestles, personally supervising the work between Albany and Binghamton. He later purchased and developed land near Oneonta, selling it to the Delaware & Hudson railroad for their machine shops. In community life, Baker served as Oneonta village president and town supervisor, was a charter trustee of the Oneonta Savings Bank, and owned the Howe's Cave and Lime Company. He also owned two farms and wrote extensively on farming in the Otsego Farmer. Baker died at his home in Oneonta in 1904.
"GOHS is really thrilled about the publication of this book," said GOHS Director Bob Brzozowski. "It's been a project three years in the making, and through our collaboration with Square Circle Press, we are finally seeing it come to fruition." The book reproduces the articles exactly as they were published—typographical errors, spelling variations, and all. "We felt it was important to preserve the text as published, not only to create a primary source document for researchers and historians, but also to preserve the character of an older newspaper," Brzozowski stated.
The book is laid out chronologically according to the dates the articles were published, but the table of contents is arranged according to similar subject matters, such as railroads, family histories, schools, churches, and more. "Along with the index and illustrations that will be included, we feel this will be a valuable contribution to the scholarship of upstate New York, Otsego County, and Oneonta in particular. Plus, it's just really great reading," added Brzozowski.
Click here to read excerpts from the book, which is published by Square Circle Press and retails for $22.95. Books are available at the History Center or at www.squarecirclepress.com
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