The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY - otsego county news, delaware county news, oneonta news, oneonta sports

Mark Simonson

November 10, 2012

Oneonta's First Presbyterians sought a better church in 1887


By March 1887 it was reported that Mr. Blend’s plans had been approved and that $10,000 of the $15,000 to 18,000 required had been raised. Collis P. Huntington, a former Oneontan whose family had been members of the church, pledged $3,000 in April. The final cost was actually $22,000 but the church was totally free of debt by the time the church was dedicated.

By July, bids had been requested for construction, and the contract was awarded to Parker Wilson of Potter & Co.

With the demolition beginning in early August, the congregation temporarily moved their services to the Stanton Opera House, once found at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets, where today’s 125 Main St. is found. The opera house was demolished in the early 1970s as part of Oneonta’s urban renewal program.

Blend bought the old church from Potter & Co. for $200. The Herald said it was removed “to the rear of the D. Hecox lot on Main st., just below the railroad track, west side … It will be fitted into a tenement house for the accommodation of six families.” Housing in that area was growing in demand at the time, as the D&H Railroad shops were hiring many new employees.

The church construction began and the cornerstone laying ceremony was held on Monday, Sept. 26. Progress in construction was smooth, and it was reported in late May 1888 that the new church “is to be lighted with the electric light.”

Services were first held in the new church on Sunday, Nov. 11, 1888. An impressive dedication service was then held on Tuesday, Nov. 20. Later that day, the Rev. John H. Brandow was installed as the pastor of the church.

One piece of the 1816 church was saved as it was being disassembled. A wooden pin, 8½ inches long was returned in recent years, used to pin beams. Susan Bender of Stuart, Fla., said that the pin had belonged to her great grandfather, Albert B. Tobey, an Oneonta merchant who had joined the church in 1867.

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Mark Simonson

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