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Columns

April 21, 2014

A historian's mailbag reflects, corrects recent columns

It seems like an eternity since I last reached into the historian’s “mailbag” to share some correspondence. The “bag” of today can include electronic mail, or just someone stopping to chat with me in the supermarket or places I may be speaking to groups. But I’ll reiterate what my fellow columnist Big Chuck said recently, “Keep those cards and letters coming.”

First, there are some errors to correct and clarifications to be made.

I was incorrect in December when I was explaining part of the history of Oneonta’s foreign exchange student program, saying that only the Oneonta Rotary Club today sponsors the program at Oneonta High School. Suzanne Neary from AFS-USA wrote to tell me that one AFS exchange student from Germany is currently at OHS. AFS-USA is an annual supporter of the program, in addition to Rotary. AFS sponsored the first exchange student here in 1959, and Rotary got involved later.

Town of Otsego Historian Tom Heitz pointed out to me that a column I had written last fall about the Clark Sports Center needed some clarifications. While the Clark family’s Iroquois Mansion on lower Susquehanna Avenue in Cooperstown was razed in 1983 to make way for what was then called the Alfred Corning Clark Gymnasium, it is true the original plans called for the gymnasium to be built on that site.

However, Heitz said the plans changed “when unfavorable subsoil and hydrology problems came to light. The proximity of the deer park was another consideration.” The decision was then made to build today’s Clark Sport Center on the present site across the street.

Now, some reflections from column readers.

Around Christmas time in 2013, I wrote about the annual tradition of a holiday model train layout at the Lucker residence in Bainbridge. I had wondered if the children of Ed and Jean Lucker had passed on the tradition with their families, after leaving Bainbridge.

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