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


Officers were established for the proposed local Upstate Baptist Home, and the search began for a suitable location. In 1924, meeting after meeting were held, and many locations were offered. Oneonta first offered a large boarding house on upper Elm Street, which is today’s 107 Elm St. Another Oneonta site near the Normal School was suggested. 

Unadilla presented the Ontio, once a summer hotel on the south side of the Susquehanna River. Cooperstown offered the recently vacated Thanksgiving Hospital in February 1924. In July, the former Bauer Chemical buildings in the East End of Oneonta were suggested. One of those buildings is today’s Lettis Auction Room on Reynolds Street. Sidney had weighed in with an offer in late February 1925. Site after site was rejected by the committee.

Finally on Tuesday, April 14, 1925, the committee met and unanimously voted to purchase the farmland and residence of Mr. C.S. Morris in Milford Center. Possession of the property was set to take place on Aug. 1, at a price of $15,000.

“There are about 106 acres of land, much of it river flats and practically all arable, affording ample room for the dairy and for the cultivation of vegetables for use of the home,” The Star reported on April 15. “The house itself — and there are in addition ample barns and other outbuildings — has a furnace, electric lights, baths, hot and cold water throughout and an ample supply of water from it own reservoir and water system. There are 16 rooms in the house, all large and some of them admirably adapted for use as dormitories, so that it is believed that without any considerable changes at least 40 children can at once be accommodated.”

Harriet and Claude Smith took up residence here on Aug. 1 to direct and care for the children. There was a formal dedication of the new Upstate Baptist Home on Friday, Sept. 4, 1925, where more than 1,000 people attended. Many representatives from the 18 statewide Baptist associations attended, as well as local residents. Music was furnished by the Company G Band of Oneonta. After an invocation prayer and speeches by several people who helped make the home possible, a basket picnic was held on the grounds by those bringing them, or food was offered for purchase, with proceeds to benefit the new home.

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Mark Simonson

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