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October 13, 2012

Improvements, new ventures in Oneonta in 1912

(Continued)

There was a meeting of the City Missionary Union on Thursday, Sept. 5, at the YMCA, then found on Broad Street. The object of this formation “is the education of and promotion of true Christian citizenship among the foreigners of Oneonta.”   

Many from Europe and the Middle East were coming to the U.S., taking jobs in the still growing Delaware & Hudson Railroad yards in the city at that time.

***

As the 1912 election approached, Oneonta was visited by the former governor of Ohio, Warren G. Harding, on Friday, Nov. 1. It was part of a major Republican rally, held at the Oneonta Theatre. A parade with torchlights preceded the rally.

Having Harding in Oneonta was special, as the Star noted, “Mr. Harding makes only two political speeches in this state, and one of them is at Oneonta.”

Harding had become well-known on the national scene, as he had re-nominated William Howard Taft, the 27th president, who was defeated by Woodrow Wilson. Harding later became the 29th president of the United States.

*** 

The night before this rally was Halloween, and called “Chalk Night” in Oneonta, something called common only to our city.

“This special holiday has been originated by the youngsters of this city, in belief that on the day preceding All Saints day they can have the privilege of marking anybody or anything with chalk without the fear of punishment. This they did to their hearts content, though the teachers in the public schools took due precautions to lock up all surplus supplies of this material.”

Youngsters enjoyed it, but it wasn’t necessarily condoned by their parents.

“Not content with making all kinds of hideous characters on the sidewalks and on the backs of unsuspicious persons some of the boys have taken a delight in writing unprintable words on various public spots. The parents of a few of these offenders caught their beloved offspring in the act and applied a slipper where it did the most good. Truly a worthy example to follow,” the Star said.

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