If the Oneonta building trade sector of the economy could have awarded a plaque to a most valuable individual customer of 1902, it would have nearly been a shoo-in. That was Edward H. Pardee, who was listed in the Oneonta Directory around that time as a farmer, on Southside.
There have been numerous times over the years I’ve been asked about a mansion, visible as you drive along state Route 28, on the lower part of Franklin Mountain. The name of the place at the entrance shows Colliscroft. It was this site in 1902 that probably made a local contractor and several building suppliers smile often, courtesy of Edward H. Pardee.
Pardee was a native of Oneonta, born in September 1848 at a home “opposite of the site of St. James church,” as mentioned in his 1914 obituary. He was the son of Henry S. Pardee and Phoebe Huntington, and attended private school locally. Edward then “fitted himself for business” at a college in Poughkeepsie, and shortly after completing the course became associated with his uncle and Oneonta native Collis P. Huntington, the railroad magnate. Pardee worked in his uncle’s New York office for 25 years.
Upon retiring from active business life, Pardee chose to return to Oneonta, and he soon began receiving mention in brief local news items in The Oneonta Star.
On Thursday, May 8, 1902, one read, “E.H. Pardee, who has purchased the Alice Fritts home, on the South Side, purchasing also a home nearby for her use, has removed the Fritts home and is grading the grounds, planting a huge amount of ornamental shrubbery and laying out an attractive site for a spacious country residence. He has purchased also the lands between the highway and the Susquehanna, opposite the grounds, commanding thereby an unobstructed view of the Susquehanna, the flats opposite and, in fact, of the river valley for miles in one of its most beautiful sections.”