Copies of this 1868 map of South Edmeston will be on display Sunday when the hamlet in western Otsego County celebrates its bicentennial.

The hamlet of South Edmeston in western Otsego County will mark its bicentennial Sunday afternoon at the South Edmeston Church.

Historic photographs, maps and a few written histories of this community situated on the bank of the Unadilla River will be on display as residents celebrate their heritage.

Friday morning, Carole Rogers, Bill Rogers and Kathy Dye were organizing artifacts that will be on display Sunday.

``A lot of people have been very helpful, looking for pictures and documents and getting them to us,'' said Dye.

This year is the 200th birthday for the entire town of Edmeston, but some residents of South Edmeston believed it would be fitting to have a separate celebration for their hamlet, said Rogers.

``We're part of Edmeston, of course, but in some ways we're more closely connected to New Berlin,'' she noted. Children in South Edmeston have long attended school in New Berlin, as it would have been very difficult to climb the hills on the way to Edmeston hamlet.

Before South Edmeston became part of the Unadilla Valley and New Berlin Central School districts, it had its own school.

According to a history of South Edmeston prepared by Mattie Edmonds for the Home Economics Club in 1922, ``The first schoolhouse in District 6 was built of logs and stood down opposite the `bog,' where one may see the location at the present time. The second schoolhouse stood near the roadside, opposite the old factory house. In 1873, the district bought the lot of Charles Goodrich, where the school now stands, moved the schoolhouse back and remodeled it. The present school was built in 1901.''

Edmeston was created in 1808, carved out of the town of Burlington, and the hamlet of South Edmeston drew settlers in those early days for three reason, Edmonds wrote.

Roads were already established, the bottom land was fertile and the river provided a ready source of water power.

As people came, homes, shops and mills were built. The most famous and long-lasting business in the hamlet was its cheese factory, which would one day be billed as the world's largest.

A successor to this factory, which was erected in 1861, still employs local people today, making Greek-style yogurt under the Agro Farma label. The enterprise has been rebuilt and moved and through the years has been known by the Phenix, Breakstone and Kraft labels.

In its heyday, South Edmeston was a booming community, and after a long quiet period has shown signs recently of reinvestment, said Rogers.

On Sunday, from 1 to 5 p.m., residents and visitors will revisit the past, perhaps with an eye toward the future, she said.

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