SUNY Oneonta’s “Old Main” Now a Beautiful but Distant Memory (Photos)
Oneonta's college, "Old Main" was built at the top of Maple Street in 1889. It was called the Oneonta Normal School and its mission was to educate teachers to prepare them for the world of academia. In 1948 it became a founding member of the State University of New York college system.
I never remember the building (above) as it was long gone before I arrived in Oneonta in 1984. It was torn down in 1977. You can see the Bugbee School to the right in the photo above. Bugbee is still in active use.
Now, I am sure the building was horribly outdated, impossible to heat during our notoriously cold winters and probably loaded with asbestos and lye and lead paint and all kinds of other bad things. But seriously.......
In today's world, with a keen eye on preservation, would this building ever have been turned into rubble? Like Broad Street, and the D&H Roundhouse and so many other landmarks, would there have been an outcry to save this grand building or not?
I don't know the answer, but I have just recently come upon some photos of this old building that makes me so wish I could have walks its halls just once, just once. For to me, it certainly looks like something worth saving! See for yourself in this series of photos.
1909 'Old Main" is covered with many fine stained glass windows
1958...don't you wonder where this classroom spiral staircase went to?
1946....look at the wonderful architectural flourishes of "Old Main"
1895....just five years after it was built, look how huge the building was!
1895....look at this ornate music conservatory room!
1945 after the war these iconic archways that welcomed students home to Old Main
1920..OK, I'll admit this gym looks a little rough (note the barbells on the back wall!)
1914...they had a museum room. What's with the stuffed elk in the back?
1960s...students in Home Economic learn the art of using a microwave oven!
1915...this is my favorite This is the library at Old Main. Boy would I have liked to spend some time in here! I love the historic busts around the top of the shelves, and the fancy lighting. And what would all of those beautiful, handmade solid oak library tables bring at auction today? $3,000? $4,000? Wow...
1925...the main auditorium.
1920....a fancy "sitting room" (look at the old Victrola in the back, left)
1957...the view down Maple Street
1960...Old Main gets a new name!
1977.....you just have to wonder if this would happen in today's world.
Old Main...she served us well for almost a century!