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October 6, 2012

New buildings, boxing made area news in October 1937

The Daily Star

---- — A new school was dedicated in Stamford, Oneonta’s Carl Delberta entered the professional ranks of boxing, Oneonta police got an innovative tool in crime fighting, a 4-year-old quit smoking, and new dental offices got under construction on Chestnut Street. These were only a few items in our area’s news during October 1937.


The new $425,000 Stamford Central School was the site of dedication ceremonies on Friday evening, Oct. 1. There were plenty of speeches, as state education officials were the principal speakers. A representative of the Public Works Administration, Arthur J. Benline, spoke of how this school construction put several unemployed people back to work during the Great Depression.

Harold O. Fullerton, the architect of the school, presented the keys of the building to the principal, J. Arthur Rich. Visitors were invited to tour the building and teachers were in their respective rooms.


“Fighting his first scheduled six-round semi-final battle in the professional ranks,” The Oneonta Star reported on Tuesday, Oct. 5, “Carl Delberta, Oneonta’s entrant for honors in the square circle, knocked out his opponent in eight seconds of the second round at the Ridgewood arena, Brooklyn, Saturday night. The victory, Delberta’s fourth in a row, stopped a string of eight made by his opponent, Seigi Aschaenan, Swiss welterweight.”

Delberta fought under the name of Carl Dell. The Star continued, “Delberta’s manager now plans to put him on a card in Madison Square Garden, the mecca of American pugilists, as soon as possible, and has high hopes for the Oneontan to go high in the rank of box fighters.”


Oneonta police recently put several more video cameras in place in downtown Oneonta, to improve law enforcement in the city. The same idea was in mind when patrolmen were equipped in October 1937 with a new device, the iron claw. 

The inventor of the device, Y. Smith Strange, gave a demonstration to the department on Thursday, Oct. 14. The iron claw was designed to replace handcuffs and night sticks to subdue an unruly prisoner. It could be done without apparent force on the part of the officer or injury to the prisoner. 

“A quick twist and the prisoner will move without argument.” In case of a struggle, “only an additional twist is necessary to produce pain so excruciating that further resistance is out of the question.”


Carlton “Sonny” Yanson, according to the Star of Monday, Oct. 25, “brought Oneonta probably its greatest national notice since the Eva Coo murder trial Saturday when he was included in the ‘Believe It or Not’ panel of Robert Ripley.” Under a drawing of the child with a big cigar in his mouth, appeared how “Sonny” age 2, smokes 10 cigars a day.

Yanson was 4 when the Ripley panel appeared. It was true about the smoking. Sonny’s mother had been working at breaking the boy of the habit. It had been discovered that when he was given a nickel, while most boys would buy candy or ice cream, Sonny bought cigars. It became necessary for Mrs. Yanson to tell the storekeeper not to sell the youngster any more cigars.


It was reported on Friday, Oct. 29, that excavation work would begin the next week for a new $20,000 office building to be built by Dr. C.C. Gregory at 53-57 Chestnut St., today’s dental office suites on the western side of the street, next to the Oneonta Theatre. Older buildings on the site had been razed during the summer.

“Plans call for a two story brick building with a slate roof. Each room will be of standard size and will be heated by a modern air conditioning plant. Dental offices of Dr. Gregory will locate on the first floor, and will include an operating room, laboratory and reception room.” The design was Georgian colonial style. H. Vincent Edgarton was the architect and the building was expected to be completed and opened in the spring of 1938. Dr. Gregory was relocating his office here from the Physician’s Building, once found at the corner of Church and Chestnut streets, formerly the Baird mansion, and today a series of retail shops.

On Monday: No meat on Tuesdays, no chickens or eggs on Thursdays in October 1947.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at