All events are free and open to the public unless noted otherwise.
Friday May 17
In another Fabulous Friday event, we'll be making ice cream with an old-fashioned, hand-cranked ice cream maker at the History Center, again from 5:00 to 8:00 PM. This was a very popular event when we did it two years ago - and the ice cream was delicious!
Sunday May 19
GOHS is having a fashion show of vintage wedding gowns on Sunday afternoon From 2:00 to 5:00 PM at the B Side Ballroom & Supper Club in Clinton Plaza. Admission is $10 for GOHS members and $12.50 for non-members, and includes appetizers from the kitchen of owner Wayne Carrington and his team. There will be a cash bar. Tickets are available at the History Center, from GOHS Board members and staff, or at the door. The event is the inspiration of Linda Hovey, who says "Take a step back in time and enjoy a collection of some 30-plus vintage wedding gowns that will be modeled both live and on mannequins. See how the wedding gowns have evolved from the 1870's to the 1980's. Savor the fabrics and styles of the vintage gowns from the Victorian-Edwardian era, through the 20's, 30's, 40's, the fabulous 50's, hippie 60's, into the 70's and 80's. Beautiful fabrics from silks and satins, English net and Tambour lace, to Chantilly lace and elegant Peau de soie with re-embroidered Alencon lace. Vintage accessories and headpieces complete the wedding ensemble." Also involved in the event are Loraine Tyler, GOHS programs chair Corinne Smith, and Vicki Howard, who will speak briefly on her research into wedding customs. For more information, call 432-0960.
GOHS Exhibit News
The Oneonta Union Agricultural Society held the first Oneonta Fair in 1873. For decades during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Oneonta Fair was the second largest in the state. After the 1926 Fair, the land was developed for housing and is now the Belmont Circle neighborhood. The exhibit at the History Center features Fair posters, postcards, photos, programs, and souvenirs, as well as a diorama of the fairgrounds from the GOHS collection and on loan from individuals and the New York State Historical Association.
The exhibit, which opened on May 4 and is scheduled to run through July 27. coincides with the publication of The Oneonta Fair, by local author, artist, and railroad historian Jim Loudon. Loudon's previous books include Leatherstocking Rails, The Oneonta Roundhouse, and Electric Lake, published by Square Circle Press and available for sale for $17.95 at the History Center.
Oneonta Concert Association Anniversary Display - The History Center hosts a window display and mini-exhibit for OCA as it celebrates its 85th anniversary. The exhibit and display were installed by students at the Cooperstown Graduate Program.
Items Sought for Summer & Fall Exhibit
The Greater Oneonta Historical Society is seeking community input regarding an upcoming exhibit at the History Center.
The Homer Folks Hospital exhibit in Summer and early Fall will include an overview of tuberculosis treatment nationwide and archival materials about the local hospital from the GOHS collection. President Janet Potter invites former Homer Folks patients and employees and their families to consider loaning GOHS such items as correspondence, photographs, diaries, or other remembrances, as well as memorabilia, like the handicrafts that patients made as their occupational therapy.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com 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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