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

Mark Simonson

October 19, 2013

Search for Upstate Baptist Home site began locally in 1923

These days, you don’t have to wait for tomorrow’s newspaper to learn the latest breaking news. A look nearly each day at The Daily Star website will show something you’ll read in print the next day. In Oneonta 90 years ago, if you didn’t hear breaking news by word of mouth, you had to wait for the next day’s newspaper.

Big news came to Oneonta on Thursday, Oct. 25, 1923, arriving by telegram from the Post-Standard newspaper of Syracuse. A convention was underway in that city of the New York State Baptist Association, and it was learned that a tentative plan had been approved for “an up-state children’s home.” This was the big step forward in the beginning of what is known today as Springbrook, formerly known as The Upstate Baptist Home.

Judge Frank C. Huntington of Oneonta was president of the New York State Baptist Association at the time. In Syracuse that day, the Rev. D.H. Woodward of Edmeston had presented a cause for such a children’s home “in a forceful way,” according to the telegram.

“It is proposed to start the home with a building and equipment costing $50,000 and to extend the property from time to time as the funds at hand and the needs of the institution permit,” it was reported. The site proposed was Oneonta, but no specific location had been established. That process took nearly two years to complete. 

“For several years this matter has been under consideration, but it was not until about two years ago that any definite steps were taken,” the Star reported. Huntington had presented the idea before, but the idea wasn’t his.

It was Harriet Parish Smith of Oneonta who had presented the idea to her pastor, the Rev. Edson J. Farley of Oneonta’s First Baptist Church, around 1920. Harriet and her husband, Claude, had adopted a child from an orphanage and thought about establishing a home where children could be brought up in a Christian environment. Farley listened and the idea was welcomed by this and many other Baptist congregations in the area, comprising what was called the Franklin Baptist Association. At the time, Baptist homes for children like this were found only in the New York City area, with nothing upstate.

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Mark Simonson

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