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October 1, 2012

October a busy month for construction and demolition in 1982

The Daily Star

---- — October 1982 turned out to be a busy month for those in the building supply, construction and demolition businesses in our region. Fire played a role in some of those projects. Unsightliness led to the demise of another building.

Statue of Liberty has

local connection

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Next time you visit the Statue of Liberty in New York, take a look at some of the bluestone paving around the grand structure, and you’ll see a bit of the Tri-Towns before you.

It was reported Thursday, Oct. 7, that 3,100 square feet of bluestone taken from the hills of Masonville and Sidney, from the Heldeberg Bluestone & Marble Inc. quarries, were ready to be shipped to New York.

Paul F. Giebitz, general manager, said the bluestone, of two different colors, was fabricated and shipped to the statue site for repair work which had already begun, in anticipation of the 60th anniversary of the monument in 1984. The stone was shipped by truck to Brooklyn and brought to Liberty Island on a barge.

Fire damages Oneonta

athletic club

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Fire had damaged the Sixth Ward Athletic Club on West Broadway in Oneonta on July 10 after one or more persons attempted to burglarize the restaurant and bar. It was reported  Monday, Oct. 18, that the bar would re-open that week with newly paneled walls, drop ceiling, new back bar and redone main bar.

Although hired professionals were doing the electric, plumbing and some carpentry, club members had volunteered to work on a variety of other jobs to re-open the building.

The restaurant and bar had opened a few years earlier after the club had raised money by buying the former River Street School and selling it in 1976 at a profit to a local developer. The school was razed, and the Oak Square Apartments now stand on the site.

Re-opening the West Broadway bar and restaurant meant plenty to the community, as proceeds from both provided benefits for youth soccer and football, scouting, maintenance of the tavern and the Sixth Ward Booster Club softball field, among other community projects.

Schoharie County

factory destroyed

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Fire destroyed the National Stove Works factory in Bramanville, Schoharie County, on Thursday, Oct. 21. Owners of the business, Herb Johnson and Sherrie Larkin, blamed the blaze on a faulty ventilation fan.

A major employer of the Cobleskill area, national Stove Works with its 70 employees, was operating at a peak of its season, manufacturing coal and wood burning stoves.

The factory and all contents were destroyed, with more than $500,000 in estimated damages. By Saturday, Oct. 30, it was reported that the company was set to return to partial production by late the next week. About 20 employees had helped with cleanup and partial reconstruction.

“We’re proud of the guys working like mad,” Mrs. Larkin said. The company eventually rebuilt on a different site, 129 Goodfellow Lane, in the Town of Cobleskill. Today the company manufactures Thermo-Control Wood Heating Systems.

‘Spite House’ set

for demolition

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A less-than-stellar landmark was about to be razed in Sidney, according to The Daily Star of Thursday, Oct. 28. A two-story house, then found at 9 Clinton St. was described by its new landlord Robert Young as “a dirty brown firetrap with see through walls.” For years, it had been known as the “Spite House.”

Sometime before 1920, the owner of a house on the corner, what is now 11 Clinton St., decided to plant a bean vine at the back end of the fence that separated some existing houses.

As time passed, the vine wound its way up the fence and over on to the other side. A neighbor decided that the beans on his side of the fence were his to pick, which he did.

The vine’s owner spotted the man picking the beans and rushed out in a fit of anger, accusing the neighbor of stealing his beans.

The vine owner then decided to build a house on the land separating the two, all the way out to the sidewalk, so that the bean-picking neighbor couldn’t pick more beans, but also not be able to see down the street.

For that reason, the building eventually became known as the “Spite House.” The parcel of land, only 20 ft., 6 in. wide was too narrow to accommodate another building

This weekend:

Interesting news items from our local life and times in October 1937.

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