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

Mark Simonson

May 24, 2014

A good militia in Oneonta became reason for building an armory

(Continued)

More compromise was needed, as the sum changed to $9,000. The Herald reported on April 10 the state Senate passed the measure for Oneonta’s armory by a vote of 23-1. The Assembly also passed the measure, 92-9, as reported on April 17. “The practically unanimous vote for the measure in both houses is somewhat surprising, as it might have been anticipated that considerable captious opposition would be raised.”

Gov. Grover Cleveland then signed the bill, and the next question arose regarding where to build the armory. A local committee was formed at a meeting held at the Stanton Opera House on Monday, April 28 where, “L.L. Bundy was made chairman and G.W. Fairchild secretary.”

Some of the early sites proposed for the armory were on a lot across from what was then the Union school on Academy Street, “the Ingalls property on Chestnut-st., barn hill, and the Abell property on Dietz-st.”

Burr Mattice, an attorney, recommended that a committee of five be appointed to solicit subscriptions to buy property, for $2,000. Harvey Baker, the Morris Brothers and George I. Wilber were early large donors of $100 each. The committee also used the proceeds from a lecture open to the public at the Stanton Opera House, featuring Henry Ward Beecher on Thursday, June 5.

While raising the funds for the land was slow during the summer, it was reported on Oct. 9 that the armory would be built on the Curtis lot, at the corner of Fairview and Academy Streets.

“The building is to front on Fairview-st., the length of the front being 100 feet and the depth 121 feet and four inches. The plans bespeak a handsome edifice,” The Herald reported.

Ground was eventually broken and as previously documented in this column, more than 18,000 gathered in the village on June 17, 1885 for the cornerstone laying ceremony.

Additions were built on this version of the armory in 1893 but it had always been plagued by structural problems. It eventually called for a better armory, to be covered in a future column.

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Mark Simonson

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