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Columns

August 20, 2012

Oneonta Municipal Airport experiences expansion in August 1987

(Continued)

A low-budget horror movie film crew was in Cherry Valley in the closing days of that month. The setting was what was then a decayed 1800s mansion just south of the village. It was the old Campbell mansion, also known as Oakwood. There was speculation it was haunted. It had been renovated in the mid-1850s to look like a Scottish castle.

This was the first full-length production for October Films, based in New Jersey. The film company was aiming for a nationwide release in the mainstream theater circuit.

A Web search found nothing about this production, however another film, called "Cherry Valley" was reviewed on efilmcritic.com in 2007, made in Cherry Valley and on the same premise of a haunted house. The reviewer hoped a distributor might take a chance on it, but called it an "amateur" effort.

more tree farmers in 1987

Apparently people were growing tired of artificial Christmas trees in 1987, as there was an increase in the number of tree farmers in our region, providing attractive Douglas fir or blue spruce trees to buyers in both our area and in bigger cities such as Albany and New York.

Arthur Siegel, who had a seasonal home on East Brook in the town of Walton, was among a growing number of tree farmers who were using New York's former fields to grow 2.5 million trees in a $625 million business. Siegel was featured in a Daily Star article Aug. 29, 1987.

Siegel bought his property in 1971 and steadily populated his hillside fields with seedlings. It takes about 10 years to grow a prime, pruned Norway or blue spruce, of which he planted the most. Siegel was set to sell about 100 trees that year.

"There's a lot of new people in it," said Jim Rice, Delaware County Cooperative Extension agent. "A lot of absentee landowners are using this to pay their taxes and fire insurance. My father put me through college with Christmas trees."

This weekend, a memorable Schenevus fair in 1912.

City Historian Mark Simonson's column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or e-mail him at simmark@stny.rr.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/marksimonson.

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Mark Simonson

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