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

Mark Simonson

March 24, 2014

Railroad declined, other industries surged locally in 1954


Mayor Roger G. Hughes, knowing that the local job picture wasn’t especially stable at the time, launched a campaign on March 29 to bring a proposed state mental institution to Oneonta, planned by Gov. Thomas Dewey “for care of the mentally retarded or disturbed.”

Hughes didn’t surprise the community with the idea for seeking such a hospital, as he had made extensive inquiries to local leaders and the business community, and it received initial support. An unidentified local citizen said he’d donate 60 acres of land for the hospital. Voters statewide in the November election approved a bond issue for new mental institutions, but Oneonta’s attempt to secure one never succeeded.

Also during March 1954, having nothing to do with employment, there was a major debate going on over a new fashion style at the Oneonta State Teachers College, in the form of Bermuda shorts.

As the Star reported on March 12, “To paraphrase the immortal Hamlet, the controversial question seems to be, ‘to wear or not to wear.’”

“‘So far it’s strictly a girls’ fight,’ Dr. Clifford Craven, dean of students, said, ‘This is a matter for students to decide.’”

“What’s stirred the girls up? Bermuda Shorts have been banned in STC’s new campus student union, Morris Hall. The faculty frowns at their appearance in home economics classes. There’s even talk of banning them downtown.”

“To which pro-BSers cry, ‘nonsense.’ ‘They wear them at Vassar, and all girls schools,’ said one co-ed. ‘I’ve had mine for two years. My boy friend wears them at Brown. And they wear them at Colgate.’”

Bermuda shorts weren’t on the mind of Jon Crain in the heat of this debate. It was more of a concern over how fast he could get to New York City.

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Mark Simonson

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