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Columns

March 1, 2014

Local news, opinion often mixed in 1889 newspapers

Modern-day newspapers make it very clear where local news is found, as well as opinion, separated by their own pages in weekly or daily editions, including The Daily Star.

For The Oneonta Daily News in March 1889, there was no clear division at times between news and opinion, as both were hand set in type and placed in a section titled “Local Department.”

For example, mixed in with numerous short news items on March 2, 1889, was this entry.

“— Our citizens should feel ashamed of themselves, to see the firemen pull their very life out of them, and they walk quietly along on the sidewalk, and even laugh at them. By the time they got to the fire Thursday night, a mile away, they were so completely exhausted that they were not fit for duty on a fire. Remember, gentlemen, if it were your property how quick you would catch hold of the rope and say, come boys, we will help you. It is about time we had horses to haul the machine. The town is expanding every year, and something must be done in this direction.”

From March 7, “ — Binghamton is making rapid strides toward greatness. We see that dog fighting is talked of amusement now-a-days, in that wicked town.”

On March 14, “ — We wish to unite with our Oneonta contemporaries in urging a bridge to be built on Main street over the railroad track. We have often been greatly annoyed, and several times barely escaped an accident at that place. Morris Chronicle.”

The Morris newspaper referred to the lack of what is today’s Main Street viaduct. In 1889, there was only an at-grade crossing, and because the D&H Railway was so busy with railroad traffic passing through the village, the wait to get across the tracks was typically lengthy. A viaduct was finally built across the tracks in 1904.

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