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May 3, 2014

Tank Day attracted thousands in Oneonta in 1919


As the Star reported on Thursday, May 1, “The line of the march to the grounds was lined with people who evidenced keen interest in the tanks and applauded their favorite organization as it passed. Flags and bunting adorned the front of stores and business places and many of the paraders carried flags, the Normal students having several large ones at the head of each designation.

“Arriving at the grounds the paraders entered at Draper street to the plateau, the throng gathering upon the slope of the bluff while the tanks, bands and the speakers passed to the lower level at the head of Walling avenue and took position in the natural amphitheatre formed by the bluff.”

During the events at the park, local citizens contributed $30,500 to the Victory Liberty Loan. The rest of the city had previously been canvassed, and while that figure wasn’t given the Star said, “the quota had been oversubscribed.”

“The day was a delightful one, and while the visit of the tanks to various other places hereabouts precluded many visitors from outside, townsfolk turned out in large numbers, and the prophecy that apathy would be shown now that the war is assumed to be over, proved incorrect, the attendance being estimated at fully 5,000, with thousands of others along Main street to witness the parade though not visiting the grounds.”

From Oneonta the tank tour moved on to Otego and Unadilla in the next few days.

On Monday: An unforgettable fire in Worcester.

Oneonta 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 email him at His website is His columns can be found at

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