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August 20, 2012

Oneonta Municipal Airport experiences expansion in August 1987

Daily Star

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Oneonta's airport was seeing expansion, Hartwick College did a bit of revising of its history, it was payoff time for those communities affected by the Marcy South Power line project, horror visited Cherry Valley and Christmas tree farming was on the rise. It was all part of our local life and times in August 1987.

Arguments would be very few these days if one said the Oneonta Municipal Airport is a quiet place. This wasn't the case 25 years ago, when Catskill Airways was operating 14 flights per day to five other airports -- Boston, LaGuardia, Newark, Utica and Long Island.

Airline flights out of Oneonta had increased 145 percent from 1985-86, according to The Daily Star of Saturday, Aug. 1, and expansion plans were in the works. Part of the reason for the increase was because of opening a Catskill Airways terminal in Utica at what was then the Oneida County Airport. Flights to Washington, D.C., were set to be added that fall and a project to lengthen the Oneonta airport runway was due for completion in the next year or two.

Hartwick adopts founding date

The Hartwick College Board of Trustees adopted 1797, the year Hartwick Seminary was established, as the college's founding date, it was reported Aug. 3, 1987. This put the college in an elite group of 33 colleges that were founded before the 19th century.

Hartwick College got started in 1928 by the seminary, but when the seminary went out of business in 1947 at its town of Hartwick site, south of Cooperstown, it left its heritage to the college.

Hartwick College President Philip S. Wilder Jr. wanted the college's founding date to show its complete ancestry.

Counties get grants for projects

Another round of grants were being distributed to the towns in Otsego and Delaware counties affected by the Marcy South transmission line. This round of $440,000 brought the total of all grants along the line to nearly $9 million.

The New York Power Authority approved grants recommended by Citizen Advisory Panels located in each town or county.

In the town of Richfield, $8,900 was granted to the Chamber of Commerce to renovate the historic bandstand in the village park in Richfield Springs, and more than $31,000 was approved for American Legion Post 190 in Delhi to build athletic fields, among many other projects in the region.

horror film shot in cherry valley

A low-budget horror movie film crew was in Cherry Valley in the closing days of that month. The setting was what was then a decayed 1800s mansion just south of the village. It was the old Campbell mansion, also known as Oakwood. There was speculation it was haunted. It had been renovated in the mid-1850s to look like a Scottish castle.

This was the first full-length production for October Films, based in New Jersey. The film company was aiming for a nationwide release in the mainstream theater circuit.

A Web search found nothing about this production, however another film, called "Cherry Valley" was reviewed on in 2007, made in Cherry Valley and on the same premise of a haunted house. The reviewer hoped a distributor might take a chance on it, but called it an "amateur" effort.

more tree farmers in 1987

Apparently people were growing tired of artificial Christmas trees in 1987, as there was an increase in the number of tree farmers in our region, providing attractive Douglas fir or blue spruce trees to buyers in both our area and in bigger cities such as Albany and New York.

Arthur Siegel, who had a seasonal home on East Brook in the town of Walton, was among a growing number of tree farmers who were using New York's former fields to grow 2.5 million trees in a $625 million business. Siegel was featured in a Daily Star article Aug. 29, 1987.

Siegel bought his property in 1971 and steadily populated his hillside fields with seedlings. It takes about 10 years to grow a prime, pruned Norway or blue spruce, of which he planted the most. Siegel was set to sell about 100 trees that year.

"There's a lot of new people in it," said Jim Rice, Delaware County Cooperative Extension agent. "A lot of absentee landowners are using this to pay their taxes and fire insurance. My father put me through college with Christmas trees."

This weekend, a memorable Schenevus fair in 1912.

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 e-mail him at His website is His columns can be found at