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Columns

May 20, 2013

General Clinton Canoe Regatta got a new home in 1972

(Continued)

A joyful letter appeared in the newspaper from Clifford Wade on April 12, telling how the campaign had “gone over the top by a substantial margin.” Subscriptions had come from not only our area, but from neighboring states and one from the American Embassy in Bangkok.

“We realize that this is only one phase in the overall plan to create a year-round Park and recreation area for the enjoyment of all,” Wade wrote, “But it has shown we can do it. I am sure that as we plan and move ahead with this project, our other phases will be as successfully completed as this one. I have no doubt that we will make mistakes in the future as we have in the past on this project, but what could have been our biggest mistake, that of not trying, we can never be accused of.”

The Regatta committee got busy in readying the new park for the 10th annual General Clinton Canoe Regatta on Memorial Day weekend.

The Tri-Town News reported in mid-May, “Trees have been planted along the highway, the structures have been erected, and parking areas are being marked off. Visitors … will find a large, well-groomed area hosting a wide variety of attractions.

The regatta had become much more than spectators watching canoeists crossing the finish line. It turned into three days of activities, including an antique flea market and bottle show, antique auto show, and an arts and crafts sale. Games and concessions were set up to benefit area organizations, and there was a large midway for rides and amusements.

Large crowds gathered each of the three days, and one other feature during it all included the unveiling of the General Clinton Park Honor Roll, for those who made the park possible.

This weekend: A bad dose of publicity for Richfield Springs turned into a positive one in 1888.

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 simmark@stny.rr.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/marksimonson.

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