The Otego Historical
A History and A Remembrance of the
Village of Otego
In celebration of its Centennial
Foreword and Dedication
When I received the assignment to write a centennial history of the Village of Otego, I felt that it was an opportunity to fulfill a dream I had long held. Otego has been my home for my entire life and was the home of my parents, grandparents & great grandparents. I love this Village and my hope was to write a memoir of it and its people in such a way that others would love it, too.
The third section of this book contains recollections of several men and women who grew up in Otego. Marjorie Downie McMorris, also an Otego native, conducted a project with her fourth grade social studies class, in which the children wrote to these people and helped to correlate their replies. I am deeply grateful to Marge and her students for their research and interest. My regret is that so many good stories had to be left out for one reason or another.
I wish to dedicate this book to the memory of Paul Thurston Hyatt whose notes form the basis for the first section, and to the memory of my brother, Francis Perry Secor who was mayor of Otego from 1947 to 1954.
Helen Secor Groves
A History and A Remembrance of the Village of Otego
in celebration of its Centennial
In about 1960, Paul Hyatt set down some notes and observations about the town that had been his life long home. It was his plan to write an update of Dr. Stuart Blakeley's History of Otego published first in 1907. Paul was particularly well suited to write this account since, as he was characterized at his memorial service, "the epitome to many of all that was best about Otego." Because of his untimely death in 1965, we have only the notes and a fragment of the proposed work. It is my plan to build this centennial version around Paul's notes.
This will not be a repeat of the Blakely book or of Mrs. Helena Myers's book written in 1976. The material concerning the settlement of Otego and its early history has been thoroughly covered in those books. This will attempt to be a more informal essay in the style set by Paul.
We will pick up his words as he traces the beginning of a day in the life of a citizen of Otego in 1907.
"It was a cold blustery day that greeted the people of Otego on the fifteenth of February, 1907. It had been along winter with good sleighing since Christmas. It looked like ninety days of sleighing that winter. The rivers and ponds had frozen over by the first of December and the ice harvest had been pretty well completed by mid-January. A few stragglers were still filling their ice houses. The Bordens Company had put on a good sized force of men and had cut over the area from the river bridge to the ice houses which stood on the high banks of the river, directly in line with Church Street.
They were ready to cut again and if the ice held,they would have a good supply. It was rumored they were going to build a pond between the river and the railroad directly back of the ice houses. The river supply was too uncertain year after year and they had five large ice houses to fill. Since taking over the milk station from Robinson and Hawkins in 1891, business had grown each year, until they were hiring twelve to fifteen men, and kept six or eight horses to haul the large wagons that picked up the milk, and to transport the tons of ice each day from the ice house to the creamery where it was crushed and packed around the cans of milk as they were loaded in the railroad cars. Also a large amount of bottled milk was being shipped along with butter, cream, and cheese. The farmer was getting $1.80 per hundred for his milk and it was said that it would bring more next year.
The farmers were developing the dairy industry more each year. Farms of fifty to one hundred acres were carrying fifteen to thirty head of cattle and were milking ten to twenty-five. Anything over twenty-five was unusual. They, of course, supplemented this income by keeping a few hens, twenty-five to thirty, enough for their own use and to have a few eggs to trade for groceries. The hens ran outdoors and picked most of their living. There were a few people who had put on from one hundred to five hundred chickens and kept them indoors the year around.
The farmer also of course cut all of his fuel supply in the woods, dragged it to the house where it was cut up, split, and piled a year's supply ahead, and it was a shiftless farmer who made his wife burn green wood. Also, he raised his own beef and pork, kept a few bees for honey, and tapped the sugar bush for syrup and maple sugar, some of which he sold. He did not take in much money, but then he did not need to; he did not spend much. What he took in was clear; land taxes were low and income tax had not been heard of. The highway expenditures for the town that year amounted to just over $2000.00, and other expenditures were comparable. So the farmer had a good life· hard work, yes, but he worked for himself. What he had was his; he had plenty to eat, raised and sold what he was 'a mind to,' His luxuries were few and inexpensive. When he had accumulated $10,000 he could retire, probably buy a house in the village, and live well. What more could a man want? So for the farmer that morning, it was a satisfactory day. He had a good market for his milk, he was saving a few dollars, he was his own boss. Yes, life was good.
When Charlie Martin left his home on Follett Street that morning it was dark and cold. It was a little before six but he had to get up to the store and open up for the early trade. His store was in the Masonic block. Of course he had two clerks but still there was a lot to do - get the old potbellied stove going, sweep out, and dust. And all of the sugar, lard, butter, dried fruits, crackers, molasses, etc., were in bulk, and they would have to get some weighed up ahead. The bolts of cloth, yarn, stockings, pins and needles and so on, plus boots and shoes, pants, overalls, and jackets needed checking over. He expected some drummers in this week, and he had to know what he needed. The store opened at 6:00 a.m. and closed about 9:30 p.m. It would seem as though they could get caught up, but they never did. It was a steady grind, but the business was good. He was making money; he was the boss; maybe he could take a couple of hours off some afternoon in the near future.
As he came by the Fuller block he noted that Fred Squires had not opened his store yet. Fred was usually around early. The store next to Fred's was going to open next week, probably would hurt business for a while, but he would not last long. The store on the opposite corner from his store was vacant since A.D. Annable had become postmaster. He had heard that Glenn Poole was considering opening there. With these thoughts, he entered his store and started the day."
In this way the scene is quite well set for both the rural and village residents of Otego in 1907. At this time, the village of Otego had been incorporated for fifteen years. It is surprising that in none of the histories is this event mentioned.
To go on with Paul's story ... "What has happened in and around Otego since the publication of the original history of Otego? As you think of this, your first answer might be 'not much.' But let us examine a few of the changes. More has taken place than we might think.
At that time, Otego was primarily an agricultural, dairy area. There were in the village four general stores, two meat markets, one newspaper, four hotels, two shoe repair shops, a livery stable, two machine shops, at least one millinery shop, four blacksmith shops, two feed stores, one slaughter house, two telephone offices, at least three cattle dealers, a cattle-shipping yard, one harness shop, one dealer in horses, wagons, and farm equipment, one butter and egg dealer and processor, a third class post office with four letter carriers, two doctors, two lawyers, two undertakers, five churches, and an elementary and high school with possibly 150 students, employing seven teachers and a principal. There were also one creamery and the depot, which employed a station agent and a night and day telegraph operator. A stage also made two round trips a day to Franklin besides having a freight route. There were no hard roads; Route 7 was a dirt road."
Paul traces some of the changes in businesses which had taken place between 1907 and 1960. "The store operated by Charles Martin was sold after his death, to Mann and Pierce. Pierce was killed a few years later in an automobile accident, one of the first fatal accidents. in the area involving a car. George Mann continued to run the store for many years, selling out to Hunt and Waring. Hunt later sold his interest to Hiram Wilbur, and the store was known as Waring and Wilbur; they sold to Ralph Wilbur and Elmer Davis. Davis sold his interest to the Wilburs, and it continued under the name of Wilbur's store for many years."
The place referred to is at the present writing Hesse's Antique Gallery and Auction Sales.
The history of the newspaper in Otego has been given in\the original history up to 1886 when V.S. Fuller purchased the Susquehanna Wave, and changed the name to the Rural Times. For the next forty years this paper, published once a week, was a vital part of Otego. Mr. Fuller, or 'Pop' as everyone called him, was the editor, printer, reporter, and ad writer. The paper covered a great deal of advertising, news, personal items, stories, articles, and editorials. As the paper grew, so did Pop's family. There were ten children, all of whom served their apprenticeships on the Rural Times. They could take over any job necessary. Type, of course, was all set by hand then, and before most children could spell their names, the Fuller children were setting type, fast and accurately, the night before the paper came out.
In a delightful reminiscence prepared for the Otego Historical Society in 1979, Mrs. Pauline Fuller Hovemyer wrote of the Fuller family:
Before he was five years old, Vincent [the oldest son] made a name for himself. He set a stick [thirteen lines] of newspaper copy before he could read. He had learned the type case which meant locating the letters in specific boxes in the case, then matching them with a piece of copy. Dad wrote of his accomplishments and sent proof of it to the Publishers Auxiliary, a trade paper still being published. The article was printed and circulated. That copy of the Auxiliary was found among Vincent's possessions when he died.
"Of the children, five spent their adult lives in the newspaper and printing business, and were very successful at it. Around 1925 the paper was discontinued due to lack of businesses in the town to advertise, competition of the daily papers, and Pop’s advancing age”
In 1932, the Fuller block, which had also housed the Opera House, a lodge hall, the grocery and dry goods stores, a millinery shop, and a dentists office, burned. From Mrs. Hovemeyer's essay: Gone was every trace of the newspaper office, the precious files which could have shed light on a half-century of Otego history; the beautiful wooden type, antique even then; treasured books including atlases and maps; and case upon case of metal type used for the newspaper and job printing.
I have a mental picture of my father standing in the back yard that morning after the fire.
"I had the pancake griddle in my hand," he said, "I looked toward the house and nothing was there. Everything was gone ... the work of half a century."
Vincent Fuller, who established his own publishing business after serving as a printer on the New York Herald Tribune and the Washington Post, was responsible for the reissuing of the History of Otego, an exact reproduction of Dr. Blakely's book. The proceeds from the sale of this bicentennial edition are donated to the Harris Memorial Library, and several copies are sold each year.
Looking at it today, we would have trouble picturing the importance of the railroad in Otego in the early 1960s.
Paul gives a very interesting account of the depot and its activities. "The depot of 1907 was the focal point of the town. The station agent and his assistants bustled around, selling tickets, labeling express, baggage, and freight. The regulation railroad coal-fired stove had to be kept going, and the stove polished, floors kept clean, and spittoons handy and clean. Timetables and travel folders must also be kept handy, connections with other railroads checked, and the best connections arranged. A goodly number of people were waiting to embark on every passenger train, and a larger group who just came to watch the train come in stood around. Three or four hacks, one from each hotel, stood waiting for those who disembarked.
The telegraph operator checked Sidney or Oneonta and announced if 'she was on time' or 'fifteen minutes late.' If she was later you could expect she would be rolling when you first heard the whistle way up the valley for a crossing! Then the rails would hum, and she would blow for the station, and here she came, thundering into the station in a cloud of steam, smoke, and cinders. The engineer would be leaning out the window of the Mother Hubbard engine, and the fireman leaning on the chain between the engine and tender, waving to the people. Passengers swarmed off the train to be greeted by friends and relatives, and those about to leave were busy shaking hands or kissing someone good-bye. Hack drivers were calling the name of their hotels while baggage and mail were being unloaded and loaded. 'All aboard!' shouted the conductor as with watch in hand, he grasped the cord overhead, two yanks, two toots of the whistle, and the train was off. She had those minutes to make up and, by gosh, she would do it.
This is not an over-described scene. It happened this way every time a train came in, except the sleepers. There was much traffic on the railroad then. The freights, not as long as now, rumbled through at close intervals. The WayFreight stopped at every station; the others went right through unless they had some cars to drop off. Two milk trains, one each way, picked up loaded cars and dropped off empty cars to be filled for the next trip. As to passenger trains, there were six a day each way. In the evening there was the flier at 7:00, which carried a sleeping car and a diner. This train did not stop here. It only made about four stops between Albany and Binghamton. She really traveled! Then at 7:08 came the local, which made all the stops. At 3:30 in the morning was another sleeper which made stops, dropping off the boys who had been up to Klipnockie [Oneonta) for a night of it. This was the railroad of the early 1900's. All mail, freight, baggage, and express for Franklin came into Otego, and was drawn over the mountain by horses in large wagons or sleighs. Passengers were transported on the stage."
By 1960, Paul wrote that the depot, "the hot spot of its day," was closed and used by the GLF (presently Agway) for storage. Passenger trains were present up through World War II, but little used later. The fortunes of the railroads in general are another whole story.
If you didn't travel by train, the common mode of transportation was still by horse and wagon over difficult roads. Paul describes these conditions:
"Fifty-five years ago, there were no hard roads, just dirt and mud. People today do not know what mud is. They get a little on their shoes or on the car, and they think they have been in the mud, but before we had macadam, we had in the spring of the year, miles and miles of mud. Just mud, clear to the horses knees, and wagons would bog down and have to be jacked up, and other horses brought to pull them out. In the summer, there was dust, which settled over and into everything. In the fall after it froze up, before snow, there were hubs. A few miles over them in a lumber wagon would shake your eye teeth loose. In the winter, there was snow. Bobs and cutters were the thing, and they were fun; but when the snow really came and the wind blew, it was something else. There were no snow fences or snow plows. You waded through if you could, you drove in the fields, over stone walls, any way to get there, and many times you could not get there."
Other accounts of the transition from horse and wagon to cars appear in the reminiscences section of this paper.
Paul seems to regret the change from the telephone offices with its operators to the "small building full of wires which automatically places your calls. Of course, the operator had a value which the new system has not developed. If you wanted to call someone, she could tell you if he was home or not, and if not, where he was and when he would be back." Can today's answering machine do any better - or as well?
The business and professional people in Otego in 1907 were listed earlier. Some of the most notable changes in our village have been in this area. Gone are the hotels, the shoe repair shops, the livery stable, the machine and blacksmith shops, the millinery shops, telephone offices, weekly newspaper, harness shop, creamery, depot, and stages. We still have a store, a slaughter house and meat market, and a feed and farm equipment store. In new businesses we have an antique and auction house, a construction company, a supermarket, a hardware store, a delicatessen, hairdressers, and a video store. In professional services, we still have a doctor, a dentist, a post office, and a funeral home. We have added a nursing home and a bank, a library, an historical society, an archeological museum, and a community swimming pool. If we compare 1960 and 1991, we find the business and professional community on a fairly even basis.
Our school has undergone many changes. The district was centralized in 1930, and construction of the present school was begun. Classes began there in the school year of 1931. Consolidation with Unadilla took place in 1960, and the new junior-senior high school located near Wells Bridge was completed in 1969. The central school building became an elementary school, which in 1992 has 326 pupils and twenty four teachers and staff. Concerned educators, parents, and townspeople are now considering solutions to the overcrowded conditions existing in the Otego and Unadilla buildings.
The Otego High School Alumni Association was active until consolidation, then went into a decline. Due to the efforts of some dedicated alumni, the group has been revived, and their summer reunion has been attended by over one hundred graduates.
In 1892, Otego had four active churches: the Presbyterian, the Baptist, the Methodist, and the Episcopal. The Episcopal church held its last service in 1942, but the others are still serving the community. Two churches which were active for a time during the period are the Seventh Day Adventist and the Faith Baptist churches.
Several organizations have played an important part and have been influential in the history of Otego. Closely associated with the incorporation of the village was the establishment in 1889 of the first hose company, the ancestor of the Otego Fire Department. Their first fire house and club room was in the present Village and Town Office Building, rented in 1906 and purchased in 1924. The hose company was under the jurisdiction of the newly incorporated village after 1892. Records show that men were expected to serve in the hose company for at least a year, after which they were issued certificates of exemption.
The names of those who signed up to serve their year and those who were issued certificates of exemption were carefully noted in the village clerk's minutes. This practice continued until the 1930's. It is at least ironic that the fire house was destroyed by fire along with the Fuller block in 1932. Rebuilt in 1933, the building was occupied by the fire company until 1950, when it moved into its present location. The emergency squad and a women's auxiliary were established in 1952. The Otego Free Library was housed in the former fire house from 1949 to 1982. When the library moved to the Harris House, their rooms became the town and village offices.
By the time Otego became. an incorporated village, the Otego Union Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons had been in existence for forty years. The Masonic block, which has been referred to a number of times, was bought for $400 in 1909. The building has had a variety of occupants general stores, an electrical shop, a drug store, a post office, a law office, and a library, as well as the Masonic and Eastern Star rooms.
The establishment and history of the present organizations in Otego are noted in Mrs. Myers's Bicentennial History. A very unique group is the Old Boys' Club, which was formed in 1904 and has met annually since that date. Originally an all-male group, women were eventually invited to join, and many present and former residents attend the Fourth of July picnic.
There has also been a considerable change in the Otego Free Library Association. For many years, dedicated individuals who thought Otego should have a library collected books and struggled to maintain a library with little money or support. By the 1930's, they had secured a room in the Masonic block, and were able to keep the library open on a somewhat regular basis. In 1939, mainly due to the efforts of Betty Palmer and Selma Rothman, they obtained a state charter. In 1949, they were delighted to move into newly decorated quarters on the site of the present hardware store, only to lose nearly everything in a fire. Moving to the vacated fire house, they started over again and continued to grow. In 1976, the library was the beneficiary of a trust fund from Dasa Harris with a provision that it be known as the Harris Memorial Library. In 1982, an addition was built on the Harris House for a modern library of over 10,000 books. The Harris House is also used as a meeting place for various civic and educational groups, as well as being the headquarters for the Otego Historical Society.
Accounts of some of the other organizations and of present day activities in Otego will appear in another section of this account, through interviews with various residents and former residents. There will also be a political history of the village for the past one hundred years. This part will conclude as it began, with Paul's work.
"The population in the village in 1907 was 658. Today , it is 840, with new houses going up every year [1990 census, population 1068]. We have become a suburb of Oneonta and Sidney. With an unlimited source of pure water, plenty of room to expand, located in a natural bowl plenty of room to expand, located in a natural bowl surrounded by hills; it is one of the most beautiful natural settings in the Susquehanna Valley.
With the natural advantages, an excellent school, modern fire department, our churches, lodges, and friendly people, and the evident attraction to people as a good place to live, Otego is growing, and as it grows new businesses will develop. Otego is not dead. It is growing and thriving. It will probably never again be the self-sufficient, diversified community that it was at the turn of the century. But neither are any villages or cities today. We are dependent upon each other. Cooperation, acceptance of change, and the grasping of new and different opportunities are the key to our future. This is what we are doing."
In another part of his article, Paul had said of Dr. Blakeley's book "It is our hope that the book will once more come alive to you, and the value of the historical facts will be maintained.
We would like to suggest that - not later than fifty years from now - someone should do this again."
Dr. Blakeley's book- 1907
Paul Hyatt's update - 1960
Present writing – 1992
Political History Development of
Incorporated Village 1892-1992
The year was 1892. Grover Cleveland was elected President of the United States, Pearl Buck was born, and Walt Whitman died. The Nutcracker Suite was first presented, and Diesel patented his internal combustion engine. On the sports scene, Gentleman Jim Corbett defeated John L. Sullivan to win the heavyweight boxing title. And somewhere some groups must have been celebrating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Columbus. On April 26, 1892, this notice appeared in the Rural Times:
Announcement of Corporation Election
10 - 3 o'clock, June 4, 1892
at the Otego Hotel kept by B.J. Scofield
It was further stated that the budget for the first year of the newly incorporated village was expected to be $250, and that annual election of officers would be held on the second Tuesday in March.
The election was held, and 138 votes were cast; Yes, 71, No, 67. The village of Otego was born with a four vote majority.
On July 12, the first village officers were elected to serve until the regular election.
President: J. Rutson Thorpe
Trustee, long term: Levi Coburn
Trustee, long term: Charles Blake
Trustee, short term: Charles P. Waite
Treasurer: Edwin B. Rathbun
Collector: Fred Shepherd
Clerk: J.E. Russell
The $250 needed to finance the village was borrowed with the trustees signing their personal note.
The first ordinances passed for the Village were published in December, 1892, and were patterned after the laws in Milford, New York. Some examples were:
- The chief engineer of the Fire Department and his assistants while on duty shall wear a white fireman's hat.
- No person shall use any building or yard in the village for the slaughtering of animals or the storing of gun powder without the consent of a majority of the trustees (fine, $10) .
- All horse racing, trials of speed, or immoderate driving, exceeding the rate of 10 mph, is prohibited (fine, $5).
- All common prostitutes, all keepers of bawdy houses, drunkards, tipplers, gamesters, all notorious persons, persons engaged in quarreling and fighting within the village may be punished according to the law.
- No person shall extinguish or light any streetlamps ($5 fine).
- Prohibited within ten rods of any dwelling, store, machine shop, or manufacturing establishment: sliding down hill, playing ball with a bat ($1 fine).
The big issue facing the new village officers was obtaining street lamps and lamp posts. By September, they had moved to purchase up to thirty posts and lamps, and G.N. Mulkins was hired as lamp lighter at the rate of forty-five cents per night. Oil would cost nine cents per gallon.
It is fascinating to read the minutes of the village meetings, many written in the flowing script of the day.
The cost of operations rose abruptly by the second year, when the accounts showed amount raised by tax $1055.52, spent $1028.70, leaving a balance of $26.82. The only year showing a deficit appears to be 1894.
The decision to incorporate the Village was not overwhelmingly popular, and by 1897 a petition was circulated by Oliver Beers calling for another vote on whether the village should be incorporated. This time the vote was more favorable with 109 affirmative and forty-three negative.
The business of the officers in the early years had to do with highway work, street lamps, and bills for assessors. In 1897 they voted to purchase four benches, one table, and a stove owned by C.A. Shepherd Post #189 Grand Army of the RepUblic for $2.50.
A problem arose about the water supply. A resolution concerning the rental of hydrants from the Otego Water Company was turned down a number of times by the voters. In 1900, a proposition to establish a system of water works not to exceed a cost of $20,000 was passed 42 to 41.
Finances were a continuing concern, then as now. Money for routine business was raised through taxes - listed in various yearly reports as manufacturers and mercantile taxes, income taxes, and mortgage taxes. A note in 1904 says Landin Aldrich was charged an erroneous poll tax of $1.00. This was refunded because Mr. Aldrich was over seventy years of age. Special projects required propositions to be voted on, and the money was raised through issuing bonds or, as in the case of buying a motorized fire truck in 1930, $3500 was advanced by individuals to be repaid over a period of time. In 1933, the Evergreen Cemetery Association gave the lowest interest bid on bonds for installing a water storage tank. Still, the village operated "in the black" until the 1930's, when the minutes showed that borrowing had to take place with some regularity.
Village officers served without pay until the late 1930's. In 1937, the proposition to pay the mayor $150 per year and the trustees $100 was defeated 24 - 20. In 1939, voters did agree to pay the mayor $100 and the trustees $75. Other officers and appointees were found to be needed over the years - police justice, traffic officers, building inspector, court clerk. Pay for these services also increased, although all officers would agree that no one accepts these jobs with a "get rich quick" idea in mind.
A project of which the Village is justifiably proud is the building of a village swimming pool. In 1947, under Mayor Perry Secor, the village and the Rotary Club established a youth recreation program in connection with the New York State Youth Commission, with a swimming pool as the primary goal. The project was carried on under the leadership of Mayor Frank Bard and through funds obtained locally and from the state, along with much volunteer work by people from the town and village. The swimming pool was completed in 1957 at a cost of $3000. The town's gratitude to Frank for his leadership was expressed by letting him be the first one in the pool - they tossed him in clothes and all. Repairs were made over the years, but finally the pool had to be closed in 1989. Voters agreed to the construction of a new pool meeting state regulations, and it was reopened in 1991. The pool site and park also include tennis courts and the Little League baseball field.
According to the more recent minutes recorded by the village, some of the early concerns have remained. There are many references to the desire to maintain an adequate and pure water supply. The streets have to be kept in good repair, and new streets have regularly been annexed. New ordinances have had to be passed concerning the appearance of more house trailers and housing developments. Problems of youth have been addressed, and the ever-present financial considerations have to be met.
According to the 1990 census, the village of Otego has 1068 residents; 504 male, 564 female. The median age of its residents is 34.5 years. On the eve of the celebration of its century of existence, the community would like to state that it is continuing to meet the needs of its citizens as it has over the years, and that it is alive and well and ready for the next hundred years.
1898 - first mention of candidate representing a political party.
1907 - agreement with Delaware Power and Light to furnish incandescent light.
1914 - first speed limit for motor vehicles - "Speed limit to be set at one mile in four minutes. There will be a $10 fine for each violation, or one day in the county jail for each dollar of fine."
1919 - Georgia Conner appointed town clerk. She served sixty-two years.
1920 - first mention of insurance as an expense.
1925 - first woman candidate for a village office. Hannah Falls elected collector.
1927 - title of chief officer changed from President to Mayor. First mayor, E.S. Arnold.
1928 - first stop light for Main and River Streets purchased - $260.
1930 - first allocation ($25) for the library.
1931 - voted to buy a fire siren.
1933 - bids received for new fire building to replace building destroyed by fire in 1932. Ray Bundy received contract - cost to be $2562.10.
1933 - an ordinance was passed regulating hawkers and peddlers, requiring all to have a license and all except veterans and their widows to pay a fee.
1939 - Leo Owens appointed first chief of police, voted to pay $4.06 for his badge.
1947 - first establishment of a recreation program.
1950 - corporation entrance signs purchased.
1952 - suggestion by town supervisor to have a civilian defense tower for spotting airplanes.
1953 - resolved that village accept the State Building Code. First building inspector appointed.
1957 - library to have responsibility for own budqet, allocated $300 by the village.
1957 - regulations mentioned concerning tourist camps and house trailers.
1958 - first Village police justice.
1959 - putting up Christmas lights to be the permanent responsibility of the village.
1963 - house numbering project conducted by the Yorker Club.
1972 - mention of branch office of Wilber Bank.
1977 - Harris House open for inspection May 21.
1980 - Otsego County Youth Bureau to operate Youth Center.
1984 • first mention of question of River Street Bridge - repair or demolish?
1904 - Why did President L.B. Waite have to defend the village against an action by Willis H. Lines? The action resulted in the Village having to pay Lines $616.85.
1911 - What was the claim against the Village by Mr. Bohlman identified only as "injuries on his horse?"
1917 - Why is there no mention of World War I, or any reference until 1919, when $25 was voted for the entertainment of returned solders and sailors? (48 men from Otego were listed as being in WWI).
1931 - Why did the treasurer of the village refuse to produce his books? (He said he couldn't find them). Resolution passed: State Comptrollers office be notified that the treasurer refuses to produce books, and that the village asks for an audit at once.
1934 - What is the TERA project?
1939 - What happened to Annual Clean-Up Day, voted to be held in May of each year?
1941 - 1945· Why is there no mention of World War II? (134 men and women listed in Otego's WWII Honor Roll).
1984 - Was the Rent-A-Youth project a success?
What happened to:
1982 - Otego Fun Days?
1983 - Otego Community Days?
1984 - Unified for Otego plans?
Perhaps the plans for the centennial celebration will inspire groups to have annual community observances again.
Remembrances of Otego
Many present day and former residents of Otego responded to the invitation of the 4th Grade Social Studies classes to reminisce about their days of growing up in Otego. Paul Terry, 88, was the oldest "native" of Otego to answer. Otego Village had been in existence only 12 years when Paul was born in 1904. From that starting point, we can bring you in this section, our Living History, memories of every decade down to the present centennial year.
We have grouped the essays into categories that were most often mentioned, and have included excerpts from the longer letters received. Those letters in their entirety can be read at the Harris House Library. We have also included some replies given in a similar project conducted in 1983.
A recurring theme was recollections of school days. Agnes Hawver wrote of starting school at the age of five in a building on the site of the present bus garage. The teacher was her aunt, Mrs. Enderlin who was a "pusher", Agnes says, "not of drugs but of children and their education." Agnes worked very hard and was rewarded with good report cards and listing on the honor roll in the Rural Times. Transportation to school was by covered wagon, a replica on a smaller scale of a prairie schooner with a narrow board along each side for seats. Frances Stever remembers especially the leather curtains that could be raised or lowered. Roads were rough and rutty especially in spring time and many a time a wheel would drop suddenly into a sink-hole and tip the entire wagon on its side. "Children, dinner pails, books, and book bags would go flying and piling to the down side."
Burnette Bundy also remembers the school buses. "It was a real treat for some of us kids to accompany one particular bus driver because he would sometimes let us drive the team." Lynn Secor usually walked to school but he and siblings Perry and Ruth would occasionally catch a ride with a high school student who drove her horse to school each day. "She used to let us ride on the bale of hay which she carried along to feed the horse which was kept in a shed behind the Adventist Church during the day." Those people who wrote about going to district schools before coming to the Village for high school quite often mentioned four things about those schools they remember - having a big water bucket and dipper to drink from, the efforts to keep the fires going in the iron stoves in winter, the outside privys, and recess.
The building, of course had no cafeteria or gymnasium before the central school was built. Lynn mentions sitting up drills and muscle stretching exercises.
Agnes enjoyed games such as Drop the Handkerchief. Clara Ferris recalls the chapel exercises which started each day. Helen Sloan Morgan was a member of one of the first classes to go to the "new" central school. For first grade, her classes were held in rooms over the telephone office which stood between the present school building and the Hill Museum, then she moved to the newly completed school. Helen's parents were connected with the school for many years; Clark as head custodian and bus driver and Bernice as cafeteria manager when that feature was added. Helen also worked in the cafeteria and their combined years of work at the school was 77 years. Louise Bump pointed out that in the 60 year history of the school, there have been only 6 principals - Stephen A. Prokop, Orlo R. Nichols, Joseph Horton, James Svolos, Harold Skinner and Peter J. Negri.
Before the central school was built, much of the social life of the town centered around the churches and the Fuller Opera House. Many of those writing had happy memories of events held at the Opera House. This was located on River St. next to the present town office building. Burnette Bundy and Lynn Secor recalled the basketball games played there although Burnette says they played in just about any building that would hold two baskets and 10 players. George Dieball coached a team at one time and one of the Sandikes could usually be counted on to referee. There was a town baseball team that played on the field where the American Legion building stands. For a while, there was a track team, coached by George Kelly who also furnished transportation to out of town events. Lynn writes, "I recall riding with him in his air cooled Franklin to a meet at RPI in Troy, NY. Others rode with a student who drove a Model T Ford which overheated on a hill. While waiting for the car to cool off, I recall Mr. Kelly telling us about a young man named Lindberg who was trying to fly a plane alone across the Atlantic Ocean that day in May 1927." Burnette rode to one game with the whole team riding in the back of a flatbed truck.
Several people shared fond memories of area swimming places before the building of the pool. Howard Vroman swam in the "Deeper Deep" swimming hole at the D&H railroad bridge, Marguerite in the Otsdawa Creek, Neil Rothman learned to swim in the Otsdawa Creek and Burnette Bundy mentions Ed Hamilton's ponds, in the area of the present pool and Little League Field. These ponds were also used for skating in the winter.
Joyce Sloan reminds us that "during WWII, the school rented roller skates and one night a week there was public skating in the gym. This was so people could have something to do locally while there was gas rationing. "Other events at the opera house were home talent plays and minstrel shows, often directed and acted in by George and Helen Dieball, parents of Frances Stever who writes that her father also held a class there in ball room dancing.
"The Fullers also ran movies sometimes in the Opera House." writes Lynn. "These were quite a novelty and pretty good crowds came. Occasionally the lights in the village would go out and this would stop the show. For some reason, the electric line serving the village came over Franklin Mountain and the power plant on the other side had problems. When the power failed, an older son, 'Dutch' Fuller would drive over the hill and check the cause of the black out. If the matter could be fixed, the show would resume but if not the waiting crowd would get rain checks. To save time, when Dutch got the message, he would come back to the top of the hill, and with his car headlights would signal whether or not the people should wait." Marguerite Vroman also enjoyed the movies held at the Opera House. The cost was $.25 which covered a news reel, comedy, and the main picture. Her mother Mrs Lulu Brown played the piano background during many of these silent films. Marguerite recalls the home talent plays also held here as well as stock company plays. "One that came at different times was Uncle Tom's Cabin, when many tears were shed by the audience.
Several people mentioned the band concerts which were held at the Opera House and later on the school lawn or porches of the stores. Marguerite's uncle, Wallace Martin, taught and directed the band. "When he lived in Walton, he drove over to Otego in all kinds of weather, for band practice." Burnette was a member of the band which also sponsored "an annual Community Day type of celebration with wrestling matches, boxing matches, displays, concession stands and games."
It was a tragedy when the Fuller block was destroyed by fire in 1932. The loss of the printing office is recounted in another section of this book. Everyone who was living in Otego at that time remembers this fire and the great loss to the community. Joyce Sloan writes that the bass drum of the band was stored in their living room for several days since at the time they were living in the Breffel Hotel across the street.
Howard Vroman was a member of the Fire Department that fought the blaze. "All the equipment we had was a hand drawn cart and hook and ladder cart. As our equipment was antiquated, we had to call in the Oneonta and Franklin Fire Departments which had truck pumpers. The structure was completely destroyed."
Otego has supported its churches throughout the years. "My mother was organist for the Baptist Church for a good share of her life" says Marguerite, who adds "My mother was born July 16, 1892 so this year would have been her 100th birthday along with the Village of Otego." Helen Morgan and Joyce Sloan's mother, Bernice, was organist at the Methodist Church for 22 years.
A former pastor of the Methodist Church and now Pastor Emeritus Lavere Dodson, served two pastorates in Otego 1932-1936 and 1962-1968. His first stay here was in the midst of the Great Depression and he writes of some experiences. "The unemployed did drift in large numbers through our village. Our door was always open as were the doors of many of our neighbors. One winter's day, a man came to our door just at meal time. He ate with us. It was not hard to conclude that he had not had a real meal in some time. Dinner over, he thanked us and stood to leave. As he turned toward the door we saw the man's back for the first time and we saw that the entire seat of his trousers was gone. A large area of naked skin was exposed and the temperature outside was near zero. I had two pairs of pants so I gave one pair to him and he went on his way decently clad. The nearest thing to a soup kitchen was set up in our church basement. Drifters and unemployed were set to cutting wood in area woodlots and at noon they came back to the church basement where the ladies of the community served them a substantial meal. The wood was sold and proceeds shared among the workers.
Many people wrote of the pleasant times they spent at church services, socials, and suppers in their growing up days.
Other organization have played their part in the history of Otego. The Otego Chapter Order of the Eastern Star was founded in 1906 and continued through June 30, 1988. Both Joyce Sloan and Frances Stever wrote of this organization, established for female relatives of master masons to cultivate and promote fraternal, social and beneficial practices.
Mary Jerauld reviewed information about a group which "made a significant impact on community life in Otego for a period of about 40 years. This was the Women's Civic Club which was organized on April 12, 1944 by a group of 12 civic minded women. Betty Palmer was the first president and remained an active member throughout the life of the club. The Club's many acts of community service performed through the years were supported by funds raised through a variety of projects. Their community efforts included contributing each year to the library, helping the school with Safety Patrol trips, Commencement prizes, athletic scoreboard, Halloween parade and party, faculty receptions, etc. The Emergency Squad received money to purchase a resuscitator. The Club sponsored the first TB Clinic in Otego, assisted in Lazy Eye Clinics, and supported the Handicapped Children's Organization. In addition, educational and cultural events governed a large majority of the programs at the regular meetings. The final project of the Civic Club was to promote the purchase of Christmas Street Decorations which are now the property of the Village."
Paul Terry has long been associated with the Otego Old Boys' Club which has met each July 4th since 1904 with the exception of a few years during World Wars I and II. According to records which have been preserved, in some of the early years the celebrations might last two or three days and ladies were invited to attend many of the festivities. "Annual dances were held in the Fuller Opera house and churches prepared meals for those attending. John Russell, a well to do person from the New York City area spent his summers in Otego and was much involved in the Old Boys' Club activities. Later the Russell Field was given in his honor on upper Willow St. where the Legion building is presently located. Some of the earlier years, the Club held their gatherings under large tents on the above named Russell Field. After this, for several years, the event was held by the Susquehanna River on the John Herring Flats. For the past 35 years, the group that has assembled has included the ladies and meets at the Otego Rod and Gun Club with from 100-150 attending."
Otego is proud of its Indian Heritage and its preservation. Calvin Behnke wrote of the history of the Roland B. Hill Museum, located next to the Elementary School on Main Street. "In 1966 members from local families who had collections of Indian Artifacts gathered together and decided to form what was to become the Upper Susquehanna Chapter of the New York State Archeological Association. This was done because of the lack of local organization dedicated to scientific excavation and preservation of tremendous amounts of archaeological remains in the Upper Susquehanna drainage area. The newly formed Chapter's immediate goal was to establish a museum as soon as possible. In 1973 our Chapter acquired the Palmer House from the School District and this enabled us to reach our goal. The late Roland B. Hill was one of the foremost amateur archaeologists in New York State working in the Upper Susquehanna area in the 1930's. He collected and catalogued over 3,000 artifacts which were donated by his widow in 1971 for our future museum. It was therefore decided to name our building the Roland B. Hill Memorial Museum in his honor."
Many of our writers remembered businesses in Otego that no longer exist, Burnette, Lynn, and Paul mentioned the blacksmith shops and Burnette says, "it was a quiet day indeed when there wasn't at least one runaway horse or team down Main Street, usually ending in a mess of broken wagon wheels and harnesses." There was also a large livery stable in back of the present Bookhout Funeral Home. This burned along with several horses.
Also remembered are drug stores, lawyers, dentists, doctors offices, the Casket Factory which stood on the south east side of River Street, across the railroad track,(this later became a chair factory), feed mill, and creamery. The various stores and meat markets are often mentioned as well as the hotels which came and went. Helen Morgan recalls the "Old Home Inn" which was owned by her grandmother Vina Fish and was located at 86 Main Street. It started as a restaurant and tourist home but later was operated as a restaurant only. It was well known for its excellent food. Many people remember it as the "Tea House."
Probably the D&H Railroad was the big employer during the 1920's and 1930's. Paul Hyatt wrote vividly about the early days and several of those who wrote for this book had stories to tell. "There was a freight agent," writes Lynn, "who sold tickets, operated the telegraph and kept track of shipments in and out as most bulk items came in and went out in box cars. There was also a crossing watchman on duty. A watchman I remember was named Pasco Sandike and we kids used to think his name was 'Pass-Go' as he had a sign with Stop on one side and Go on the other." At least two people wrote of the mail service on the railroad. Lynn and Burnette both told of the "out of town mail which was carried by trains that didn't stop. The mail bags were placed on a pole by the track and a hook was used to grab the bag as the train went by. Incoming bags were just dumped off and mail was sometimes roughed up a bit. Mail and baggage were loaded on a hand drawn platform wagon and Seeber Russell would drag it up to the post office for sorting." Later Mr. Russell had a horse and wagon and delivered merchandise from the train to the stores as well.
Ozzie McMorris and Donald Davis remember the stores operated by their families. Ozzie's father bought the hardware store from Carson (Daddy) Morrell in 1946. Daddy had the business for 59 years. Ozzie says at the time they bought "horse shoes by the keg, sold harness straps, horse collars and sweat pads to farmers for their teams. Linseed oil, turpentine, whiting, plaster of paris, Japan drier were all kept in bulk to be measured out for painters. There was a large wooden thermometer in front of the store on which the local undertaker (Dwight Bailey) had loosened the Mercury tube. On real cold days he would raise the tube and people looking at it would open their collars thinking it was warmer than it was. On warm days, he would slide it down and people would be seen to raise collars or put on gloves. "Don Davis remembers being in his dad's grocery store when a customer came in and said President Roosevelt had died. Everyone was shocked. Also remembering Wilbur's store is Neil Rothman who was impressed with the candy and cookie barrels which were great temptations to the kids. Clara Ferris worked for Wilbur's store and recalls the boot and shoe department they had downstairs and the dry goods opposite the groceries on the main floor. Before working for Wilbur's she had been a clerk at the Arrowhead store next to the Hardware store (managed by Paul Hyatt) and she had operated the Victory Market in the same block.
Before moving into the present building, the Post Office operated out of a portion of the Masonic Building. Edwin Harris worked as a clerk there and says they used to pass the mail through a hole in the wall between the Post Office and Wilbur's store. This hole also saw use as a speaking tube and sometimes Wilbur's even passed through their telephone.
Some excellent anecdotes were recounted by our writers. Charles Herring was involved in many years of Halloween pranks but remembers one especially, "It concerns a man named T.P. and several young boys in town. Mr. P. owned among other buildings a rather large hotel located where your school is now. One Halloween Mr. P went up to the second floor to watch for pranksters on his property. Unbeknownst to him, while he was up there, the boys removed the stairs between the first and second floor. Needless to say when he came running down to catch them, he came down a lot faster than he went up."
Paul Terry shared another story about the same individual. "A heavy lumber wagon was borrowed from Mr. P's supply of farm machinery and taken to the school grounds where the wheels and all parts of the wagon were dissembled. Then by the means of ladders and brute strength, the several parts of the wagon were carried up to the roof and again assembled, becoming a whole wagon. It was something of a job to take the wagon apart again and return it to the ground. The NY State Police were usually called to town on Halloween. The boys invaded the churches and rang the bells to welcome the police who were seldom able to catch the culprits."
"When cars and trucks became more numerous, it was decided there should be a stop light at the corner of Main St. and River. I remember riding with my father as he took cans of milk to the Borden's plant and noticed that he did not stop at the red light as he headed down River St. When I called it to his attention, he said the light was not for local people but was to stop the speeding tourists." Lynn Secor
"My uncle was the public health officer and I can remember his frustration when my brother was the only person whom he vaccinated against smallpox who did not get a positive reaction. He must have vaccinated David a dozen times." Neil Rothman.
"An interesting sidelight to the railroad story happened when I was quite young but it made great news. Box cars for bringing in or taking out goods were switched off on sidings and left for a few days to be loaded or unloaded. One time a car remained on the siding for several days and no one seemed to know why. It appeared to be loaded with lumber but being sealed the contents were hard to determine. Finally, the 'Revenooers' (this was during Prohibition) found that in the middle of the load of lumber was a shipment of illegal spirits. Either from odor or otherwise, a few people - some said from out of town - had discovered the car's contents and by boring holes in the bottom of the car, could break open the glass jugs and collect the drainings in their own containers. This proved to be wasteful and, as the story goes, much of the brew spilled on the ground, even flowing over into Joe Sandike's chicken yard. As the story continues, some of the hens couldn't stagger up to the nests and they didn't seem to care about laying." Lynn Secor
This story apparently made the rounds and had some other versions. Ed Hunt says that since his father worked for the railroad, he could tell what really happened.
"We were supposed to write a little composition about something or other and I didn't have any written. The teacher said to somebody, "Read your composition now." So they read it. Then she said, "Now, Clara, read yours." I said, "Mine's the same as hers." She said, "You can read it anyway." So I got caught." Clara Ferris
"Mr. Eugene Clayton was the teacher director of the first Otego Central School marching band which was formed in 1948. The first uniforms were second hand, purchased from a neighboring school district. I made the hats for the majorettes from cheese boxes and covered them with cotton. They did look rather good if I do say so." Helen Morgan
"Will Barney had a two story blacksmith's shop on Follett 81. My brother took his horse there. He was a real dark chestnut, awful good horse, took him there to have him shod and the blacksmith got two shoes on him and the horse was taken sick. They got the veterinarian but the horse died. They came down with a wagon and somehow got the horse on the wagon and Will asked my brother if he wanted him to take the shoes off. "No sir, Floyd said, "He earned those shoes." Stuart Foote
Found tucked away in the 1956 file on the Youth Commission in the Village office, is a letter which says something about Otego, the pool, some Otego Citizens and people in general. It is to Frank Bard, mayor, and signed George B. The writer would be identified as the Rev. George B. Graves, pastor of the United Methodist Church who worked hard to bring to completion the swimming pool.
Apparently the leaping antics of our youthful supermen on the pool diving boards attracts more attention from passing cars than we realize. A bus load of teen age boys from Waverly, NY, saw something that made them holler, 'Hey, stop, there's a pool here. Bob (McCready) gave them permission and the usual tests and it was a treat to see them put on their act. Just then a stranger walked in and asked me how this little Village had done this and asked if he could add his token. The enclosed $5.00 is what he left to help on the effort."
Ozzie McMorris wrote about the Fire Department as well.
According to some records, at their early meetings, banquets were often held. One account says R.C. Hunt was to furnish the oysters, crackers, coffee, and sugar and submit a bill; F. Emerson offered to furnish the cigars free. Ozzie reported that in 1907, William Redington was elected chief and imposed strict rules. One member was fined 5 cents for 'swaring'. It is also noted that the emergency squad formed in 1952 is observing its 40th anniversary.
The Rotary Club, formed in 1946, has contributed much to the betterment of Otego. Members were instrumental in organizing a first aide squad, starting the swimming pool project and have supported many community activities.
Ruth Searles submitted a vignette on one of Otego's founding fathers. "Our grandmother's brother, David Waite was involved in village affairs and served as Otego's second president. A 1909 article about him entitled. 'An Honored Citizen Who Has Been a Factor in a Former Industry of Importance' tells of his dealings in the butter business. During the Civil War, Uncle David bought butter in the area and took it to New York City to sell and apparently virtually cornered the market, making in one year $100,000. 'His competitors entered a complaint and he was obliged to take out a license which made him a Iiscensed butter buyer and increased his standing in the community as a a reputable dealer ... He bore the distinction of being the boss butter buyer of all the vast section. He continued 'in this vocation for about 20 years until the creameries killed the business'."
“We settled in Otego because we sought a small community in this area with a good school system for our children, a semi-rural atmosphere, and a clean, happy, child-filled neighborhood. We have been extremely pleased with our decision.” - Sherry Zerbe
“I am glad our young people are getting interested in things we used to do. I thank you very much for asking me some questions about the good old days.” - Stuart Foote
“To sum up my life in Otego is this: Whenever I travel, whether to a foreign country, Canada, or any place in the U.S., when I see the Otego sign on returning to the village, I feel glad about getting home. Little Otego is BIG for me.” - Gene Ouimet
“I have fond memories of Otego, mostly I remember the people. They were friendly, caring and concerned.” - Dr.Neil Rothman
"More than any village I have known, Otego, NY can be characterized as a group of friends and neighbors living together in peace and harmony with one another. This does not mean that there is never anything wrong or that offenses never take place. The point is that most differences and wrongs are forgiven and dealt with quietly and successfully while Otego lives on.” - Lavere Dodson
"We have always liked this beautiful area and found the people friendly. It is a nice place in which to live." - Roger Steiner
"My husband came to Otego in 1976 to become pastor of the Otego Baptist Church which is 176 years old. Upon arriving in Otego we came to Main Street and went almost to Oneonta, looking for the center of town! We couldn't believe it was so small!
We will be forever grateful to the people of Otego and to the Otego Emergency Squad for their love, professional care, and concern for our daughter Candace. She was born in 1977 with serious birth defects. We owe our heartfelt gratitude to the emergency squad for saving her life and for the monetary and emotional aid we received from the people of Otego." - Elizabeth Hatch
Several of our respondents looked ahead to the future of Otego. Mrs. Hatch sees it in terms of its children and has been instrumental in forming a youth group named SOC (save our children and you save our community). Many young people have participated in its programs and social events.
"We moved to Otego in August of 1970. We arrived on Saturday and were amazed to find the water to the house was shut-off at the street. Being a family of five we really needed to have water. Buster Smith stopped by to introduce himself, and I told that we didn't have any water; he got on the phone to Mayor Bouton and in about ten minutes the Mayor arrived and turned on the water. I knew from that point on that we would like living in the Village of Otego." - Ron Embling
The 4th grade students wrote essays on "Why I like living in Otego." Chosen as representative entries were the following:
"Otego is peaceful and we are free to live. When people are feeling down a lot of people support us. We have a nice school system and we have after school sports like basketball, volley ball and soccer. Thanks to the town of Otego we have a nice pool to go to in the summer on hot days. We also have a restaurant and a big store. Our thanks to the volunteer fire fighters." - Morgan Baker
"Otego is the kind of village every kid should grow up in. There are many reasons why I like Otego. I like it because you can ride your bike down a street and there is not much traffic. The people in Otego are friendly and they are always there to help you out. It is nice just to walk down a street. Otego is a safe village. If I ever have children, I hope they will grow up in a village as wonderful as Otego." Amanda Latham
G.X. Cramette, who is in 1992 beginning his 6th year as mayor of the village plans to seek re-election in March of 1993, as there are a great number of projects he would like to see completed. "Some of these include reconstruction of Main Street, the establishment of more small businesses, and transportation to and from Oneonta on a daily basis for all to use. I honestly believe we have one of the best little villages in NY state; however, we can keep striving to make improvements to make it even better."
Contributors to the Living History: Calvin Behnke, Louise Bump, Burnette Bundy, G.X. Cramatte, Donald Davis, Lavere Dodson, Ron Embling, Clara Ferris, Stuart Foote, Edwin Harris, Elizabeth Hatch, Agnes Hawver, Charles Herring, Ed Hunt, Mary Jerauld, Pearl Livingston, Elbert O. McMorris, Helen Morgan, Gene Ouimet, Neil Rothman, Ruth Searles, Lynn Secor, Joyce Sloan, Roger Steiner, Frances Stever, Paul Terry, Margurite and Howard Vroman, Sherry Zerbe. Thank you to Andrew Groves, Ron Embling and Kathy Hewlett for their help in putting this project together.
A special thank you to the fourth grade student of the Otego Elementary School.
Michael Angilletta, Thomas Lent, Morgan Baker, Eric Lundin, Josh Banks, Simon Masciola, Brian Baumgaertel, David McCurdy, Timmy Becker, Amanda McDade, Lynne Brayman, Nathaniel Miller, Lara Bremer, Corey Maraglio, Jaime Briguglio, Kristen Nichols, Cory Brown, Luke O'Hara, Kathryn Brown, Jonathan Owens, Anthony Bushek, Christina Palmeter, Wendy Carkees, Danielle Rous, Abby Cattadoris, Allen Rowledge, Tiffany Crandall, Christopher Sullivan, Stacey Dean, Jennifer Taylor, Jody Ellis, Staci Tomkins, Jennifer Esposito, Corey Underwood, Matthew Green, Brett VanBuren, Carrie Hewlett, Ian Ward, Mark Jackson, Josh Wayman, Megan Johnson, Sarah Wilson, Dawn Kilpatrick, William Wilson, Zachary Lawyer, Tonya Young, Amanda Latham
The centennial seal was designed from ideas proposed by Otego Elementary School fourth graders and drawn by Zachary Lawyer.
Presidents & Mayors of Otego, 1892-1992
President J. Rutson Thrope 1892
President David Waite 1893
President J. Rutson Thorpe 1894-95
President Theodore Martin declined
President J.E. Russell appointed 1896-97
President J. Rutson Thorpe 1898-99
President Jerome Ceperley 1900-Q2
President L.B. Waite 1903-04
President Jerome Ceperley 1905-07
President W.H. Parker 1908
President Jerome Ceperley 1909-10
President George Mann 1911
President JeromeCeperley 1912-1914. 1915 resigned
President B.F. Shepherd 1915 acting
President G.W. Sherman 1916
President Luzerne Wood 1917
President Elmer Ferris 1918-19
President Luzerne Wood 1920
President E.S. Arnold 1921-22
President V.S. Sherman 1923-resigned
President E.S. Arnold appointed 1924-27
Title changed to Mayor, term 2 years.
Mayor E.S. Arnold 1929-30
Mayor Ray Ayers 1931-32
Mayor Dewitt Southard 1933-34
Mayor G. Cruickshank appointed 1934-38
Mayor B.B. St. John 1939-40 resigned
Mayor Douglas Little appointed 1940-46
Mayor F. Perry Secor 1947-54
Mayor Frank Bard 1955-60
Mayor Millard Gage 1961-62
Mayor Harry Bouton 1960-72
Mayor George Beckley 1973-74 resigned
Mayor Don Davis appointed 1974-78
Mayor Ronald Embling 1979-82
Mayor Richard Rohrlack 19 83-84
Mayor Robert Kim 1985 resigned
Mayor Gary Goff 1985-86
Mayor Charles Stevens 1986
Mayor GX. Cramatte 1987-1992 (present)
A hundred years ago, you
say? Why! I wasn't even born
And much of what was around that day Has rusted,eroded or rotted away
With so few of us left to mourn.
Still, a century is a real milestone
In the years of a dear little town.
Before any more of those years have flown Let's make our joy and thankfulness known that Otego is still around.
Lets celebrate - there's no reason to wait A Century has already passed -
One hundred years for a town that's great God's choice piece of real estate
May Otego last and last.
Raymond Groves May 15,1992
Otego Historical Association
2009 - 2010