Step Back in Time features news items from The Daily Star 25 and 50 years ago.
March 25, 1988
In 10 years the streets of downtown Oneonta will be lined with cafes, small shops, bakeries, florists and a host of other retail businesses geared toward urban residential life. The surviving older buildings — examples of 19th century commercial style architecture, will lend an antique flavor to the area. And the merchants and city officials will take pride in downtown, sweep the sidewalks and keep it clean.
That is the vision of Oneonta businessman Peter Clark.
“I think downtown is going the way of a lot of larger city downtowns — Manhattan, Boston, Chicago. We can’t go there as fast as some cities,” Clark said. “But it’s coming.”
Clark’s latest contribution to that trend, in conjunction with his business partner David Wilber, will be the renovation of Main Street’s Clinton Plaza, which the two recently purchased.
Wilber and Clark have big plans for the plaza, which, with its 21 spaces for businesses and modern block structure, has never been fully occupied.
Clark radiates enthusiasm about the project. All the plaza needs is a little tender loving care, he said.
Clark said the plaza will be landscaped, and wrought iron fences erected. More windows will be put in to take advantage of the southern exposure on the Market Street side of the building. He and Wilber plan to put in a new heating system and fix the roof.
50 years ago
March 25, 1963
OTEGO — Otegoans and residents of that vicinity flocked to visit the Otego Community library Sunday afternoon in an Open House event designed to show to the area the complete renovation carried out in what was once Otego’s fire station.
More than 97 attended, according to Mrs. Graham Palmer, president of the Board of Trustees.
The village has been proven by the complete renovation and refurbishment of the Otego Library, that if a community wants something badly enough it can be done.
Community effort, including time donated by civic and service groups, individuals, and members of the Library Board, plus funds made available from bequests of Otego individuals, has brought the re-furbished library to the point of Open House Sunday when residents of the area were given a chance to see a completely redecorated building that houses almost 5,000 volumes.
It all started, Mrs. Palmer said, as the result of a fire in July 1949 which completely wrecked the old Grange building where the library was housed.
In the fire, she explained about 600 books were destroyed or too badly damaged to be usable.
In 1949 or 1950 Otego built a new fire station, the Board president recalled, and the Library Board, anxious to get usable quarters, petitioned the village to turn over the old fire station to the library.