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October 13, 2012

Improvements, new ventures in Oneonta in 1912

A bigger school, street improvements, new businesses and organizations, and a future president’s visit were among events making news in 1912 in Oneonta.


Where the Oak Square Apartments now stand on River Street, was once a school that was incredibly overcrowded in 1912, the River Street School. A two-room annex was added to that school in the early months of the year, costing $6,500.

“Modern ideas in the erection of such buildings have been carried out in every detail,” reported The Oneonta Star on May 2, “and the students have sanitary, well ventilated and well lighted class rooms.” The rooms would soon be ready for use by first- and fourth-graders. Each room was built for a capacity of 49 students.


In the early 21st century, Water Street in Oneonta has seen some improvements in appearance, such as nicer sidewalks, banners and store façade upgrades.

In 1912, Water Street connected Chestnut Street Extension and Broad Street. According to the Star, “The Oneonta Water company are making preparations to place a hydrant on Water street in the rear of Main street. This protection in case of a fire in that section will be of value to the fire department in getting water quickly, as it does away with the necessity of laying a long line of hose from Main street.”

Additionally, an arc light had been ordered to be placed on the street, “because at the present the rear of the stores … are in total darkness and a fine place for a thief or an incendiary to work without detection or to make his escape after being detected.

“The street will be improved and graded by the board of public works and the conditions in general will be much bettered.”


What was called “The Union of Oneonta for Work Among the Foreigners” was formed in September 1912.

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