Tag Archives: cooperstown

Obama Is On His Way To Cooperstown

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In recent weeks, the village of Cooperstown has been installing new sidewalks along Main Street. The work is ahead of schedule and should be completed in time for Obama’s visit. Hall of Fame is in the background.

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The President will fly into Griffiss International Airport today. He will then make his way to Cooperstown where an anxious and excited village awaits him.

President Barack Obama is traveling to Cooperstown today to stress how tourism can lead to good-paying jobs, and he’s delivering his speech inside the baseball mecca.

That will make Obama the first sitting president to visit the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, and it’s a big deal for the small venue that celebrates its 75th anniversary this summer.

“It’s historical,” Hall of Fame president Jeff Idelson said Tuesday. “The fact that he would recognize that we are a cultural icon and use Cooperstown to deliver a speech on tourism is big.”

Obama announced the trip during his weekly radio address on Saturday. The event will be private but the president’s speech will be streamed live on the Internet.

“Believe it or not, tourism is an export,” Obama said. “If we make it easier for more foreign visitors to visit and spend money at America’s attractions and unparalleled national parks, that helps local businesses and grows the economy for everyone.”

Idelson said he found out last week, and learned that the idea originated from the White House.

“The fact that a sitting president has not visited here in our first 74-plus years, it was surprising to get the call, but exciting to realize that the chief executive would be delivering a speech on tourism from a place that thrives on it,”

The last president to visit Cooperstown was Martin Van Buren, and that happened in 1839.”

Local reaction has been positive.

“It came out of left field. I think it’s fantastic,” said Gene Marra, proprietor of the fledgling Cooperstown Distillery. “It’s a great Americana story, an iconic village, as Norman Rockwell as it gets, the home of baseball, Abner Doubleday, the whole nine yards.”

Ironically, the village’s biggest tourist attraction — the Hall of Fame — will be closed. Marra noted that it’s a security issue.

“We’re only closed three days a year — Christmas, New Year’s and Thanksgiving,” Idelson said. “But I guess in our diamond anniversary year, one more day because the president is coming to visit is OK.”

The president’s visit will provide a kick-start to what’s expected to be one of Cooperstown’s best summers in years. This season’s highlights include Saturday’s Hall of Fame Classic at Doubleday Field, the Hall of Fame’s 75th anniversary in June, and induction ceremonies in July.

Still, like other sports museums, the Baseball Hall of Fame has experienced a steady decline over the past five years in the struggling economy. Attendance has gone from 289,818 in 2009 to 253,649 last year.

Given the expected influx of people who hope to get a glimpse of Obama as well as a huge police presence in the village, locals may have to put up with some inconveniences for the day. Hey, they are used to it. Hall of Fame inductions and game every year.

The Clark Sports Center also said it will be closed all day Thursday, saying the move is “in support of a special event hosted by the National Baseball Hall of Fame.” The sports center and the Hall of Fame are both properties of The Clark Foundation.

Obama will be in Cooperstown for approximately one hour, and will address a hand-selected audience of less than 200 people at the Hall of Fame. While it has not been confirmed, he said, there are indications that the visit will take place close to noon.

Otsego County Sheriff Richard Devlin Jr. said his deputies will be out in force, working cooperatively on security with the Secret Service, New York State Police and Cooperstown Village Police. He declined to discuss any specific plans for the day, citing the need for security.

The visit comes on the eve of the kickoff of the busy summer season for the Hall of Fame, the local museums and the village itself. Among former big-league stars slated to participate in the Hall of Fame Classic on Saturday are Steve Garvey, Pedro Martinez, Hideki Matsui and Jim Thome. The Classic will be preceded by the Cooperstown Game Day Parade at noon, followed by the Home Run Derby at 1 p.m.

Obama’s visit comes two month’s before this year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony, featuring six retired major leaguers.

The electees include: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and Frank Thomas, and three expansion-era committee electees — Bobby Cox, Tony La Russa and Joe Torre. They will be enshrined in a July 27 ceremony at the Clark Sports Center.

Obama is Going to Cooperstown

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No, he is not going to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame

President Barack Obama says he’s heading to the Baseball Hall of Fame to stress how tourism can lead to good-paying jobs.

In his weekly radio and Internet address, Obama says he’ll be in Cooperstown, New York, on Thursday, May 22 2014.

Obama also is urging Congress to spend more to modernize U.S. bridges, roads and ports. He says first-class infrastructure attracts first-class jobs.

Obama warns that almost 700,000 jobs are at risk if Congress doesn’t authorize more transportation dollars by the end of summer.

No details of the visit, but you will be treated to all sorts of stories and statistics before the week is out. Wonder how he will get there? Probably his new helicopter. It could land on Doubleday Field where the Annual Hall Of Fame game is played and where baseball was rreputedly invented and first played. One thing for sure, he won’t take a train to Cooperstown.

In the meantime explore more about Cooperstown.

Our New York State Tourist Page

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YES! Traveling to New York State? Check out our New York State Tourist WebSite.

We just added some new and interesting things about Albany. Start with a story about how bobsledding originated in Albany. Makes it the only Olympic sport started by the USA. The pictures above are from Albany too:

Baseball Hall of Fame Celebrates a Big Anniversary in Cooperstown

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COOPERSTOWN —

Baseball’s Hall of Fame is going to celebrate its 75th anniversary with a series of events throughout the 2014 season.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum said in a release on Tuesday that there will be four events, including one on June 12, the day of its official opening in 1939.

The legends game at Doubleday Field and a golf fundraiser will take place Memorial Day weekend May 23-35, when there will also be a race promoting healthy living and a parade.

The birthday weekend of June 12-14 will focus on the events the day the Hall was commemorated and will also honor the museum’s members.

Induction ceremonies for new Hall of Famers takes place July 25-28. Festivities conclude on Aug. 2 with a concert.

Picture above is “Call For Philip Morris”  advertising star Johnny Roventini visiting Cooperstown. Have one of Yankee announcer Mel Allen going down Main Street in Cooperstown driving a Cadillac convertible. Will post when I find it.  Both photos from my manager when he went to summer camp near Cooperstown.

The Southern NY Railway

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The Southern New York Railway passed through Richfield Springs. This traffic signal controlled cars on historic Route 20 for many years.

In 1901 the promoters touted it as the Leatherstocking Route (alluding to James Fenimore Cooper‘s novel) and extended 25 miles northward to Cooperstown. Finally, in 1902 they extended the line to Richfield Springs (then known as Richfield Spa) and in 1904 to Mohawk. This created a 52-mile main line from Oneonta to the banks of the Mohawk River, and left Cooperstown on a three-mile branch from Index. For several years, the D&H had an injunction preventing the electric line from crossing the steam line at the west edge of Cooperstown. Passengers were obliged to walk across the railroad between connecting electric cars.

Although short on population, the Southern New York had connections with the Delaware & Hudson and the Ulster & Delaware at Oneonta; the Delaware Lackawanna & Western at Richfield Springs; and the New York State Railways and West Shore at Mohawk.

The company built a coal-fired steam plant at Hartwick to generate electricity. Because of the growing dependence on the profitability of power, the name of the company was changed in 1916 to Southern New York Power and Railway Company. The power business went on its own in 1926 and the line became Southern New York Railway. When the power business split off, though, so did the profits. The first casualty was Oneonta city trolley service. In 1922 there were five round trips a day between Oneonta and Mohawk. This was reduced to two by 1930 and then to one. The 1933 abandonment of the Utica and Mohawk Valley subsidiary of New York State Railways left the SNY without Herkimer access, a New York Central connection, and interurban box motor service to Utica. Passenger service was terminated and the line was cut north of the company-owned Jordanville quarry. Electric freight service lasted another seven years. The major justification for freight service was the quarry. When the quarry closed, the Southern New York then dropped back to a three-mile long diesel freight connector with the Delaware & Hudson at Oneonta.

Much of what is written about the Southern New York comes from several accounts of an October 20, 1938 fan trip.

Early into the excursion, a car ran into the trolley at an intersection. Damage was light, as the motorman quickly dumped the air. The car was owned by the mayor of Richfield Springs, who proclaimed, “There aren’t any trains on this railroad on Sunday!” He ended up joining the trip.

Also joining the trip at Index Junction was famed photographer Arthur J. “Putt” Telfer of Cooperstown. His pictures of the Southern New York portray the entire history of the line and are preserved in at least two museums, as well as in the collections of several postcard collectors. Telfer focused each print with his head beneath a black shroud over his old-fashioned (even by 1938 standards) camera with leather bellows.

The late Bob Gurley (from New Hartford, NY, where I lived once) was an acting motorman during the well-documented fantrip over the Southern New York.
See Gino’s Rail Blog for more stories.