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

Mark Simonson

April 19, 2014

Signs of springtime in Oneonta arrived in April 1889

Spring was in the air as Oneontans turned over their calendars to April in 1889. Muddy streets, the start of construction projects, clothing styles and other visible signs made it clear that warmer weather was more the norm than a novelty in Oneonta 125 years ago.

“The first organ grinder of spring appeared yesterday on our streets,” readers of The Oneonta Daily News learned on April 11.

Hopefully the street musician had a good pair of boots to get across the streets, as the major thoroughfares were nothing but mud after winter’s thaw.

“Main street mud was plentiful yesterday. If ever mother earth spoke, she did yesterday, and loudly, too, in favor of paving,” the Daily News said on April 4. Street paving was yet again a major news story as winter gave up its grip, and the village debate resumed from the previous fall. A defining step was taken the day before, as the newspaper noted, “Yesterday was a good day for Oneonta. The question of paving our streets is settled at last by a vote of 241 for, and 168 against, a clean majority of 73 in favor of supporting and confirming the action of the Board of Trustees in their effort to make our embryo city a credit to the Susquehanna valley and to the world at large.”

As far as action to pave the streets, there was nothing swift about it, as readers will learn in a later entry.

The Daily News called it “A Swell Affair,” on April 12.

“A social event unique in the annals of Oneonta, an at home reception from four o’clock to seven, was held in the grand saloon parlors of the D.F. Wilber mansion of Ford avenue yesterday, chaperoned by Mrs. D.F. Wilber and Mrs. C.J. Morehouse.” D.F. Wilber’s mansion was at the corner of Main Street and Ford Avenue, where the modern section of Community Bank is today.

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Mark Simonson

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