In getting around Oneonta in 1888, there were pretty much two seasons for the streets — summer and “mud” season. To add to the misery of “mud” season that year, the bridge over the Susquehanna River on lower Main Street was taken out of use for a short time, replaced by a new one.
The Oneonta Daily News, a short-lived publication in the village, used its editorial power to start the process of ending “mud” season once and for all.
The News asked on Thursday, Nov. 1, “What’s the matter with establishing a stone yard, and let the tramps and those arrested for offenses punishable by short imprisonment put in the time breaking stone for our streets? Instead of drawing in dry mud we could, if we had the crushed stone, make dry hard streets instead of the mud and slush.”
To stir up debate on better streets, the News reported on Monday, Nov. 5, “We have in our office on exhibition a sample of Slag brick paving stone, manufactured at Toronto, Canada, which weigh about seventeen pounds each, and will take about 38 to a square yard, delivered at $200 per ton, (or less) and which will pave a square yard for about 29 cents.” The News publicly invited citizens and the village board of trustees to inspect the brick.
Heavy rain on Thursday, Nov. 8, made the mud problem worse, so the News on Friday reported that many came by the office to look at the brick sample.
“The citizens are beginning to seriously consider the subject, and they commence to see the necessity of something being done.” The News added, “We would suggest that a petition be circulated, to give the board of trustees power to act.”
The News added a bit of sarcasm into the matter, as a news item on Tuesday, Nov. 20, joked, “Messrs. Jacob Farrington and Geo. Potter will run a boat from the Hathaway House, through the Broad street channel connecting with the Main street channel, thence to the Susquehanna house. The trip will be made at 10 o’clock this forenoon. Application for passage must be made before that hour.”