Big Chuck’s Monday Morning Time Capsule: Oneonta’s St. Mary’s School: Opens, 1922. Closes, 2011.
THIS IS A THROWBACK THURSDAY POST WHICH WAS PUBLISHED IN 2012
Oneonta's St. Mary's School opened its doors on August 2, 1922. It's first class consisted of less than two dozen students, many of them the children of immigrant parents who came to Oneotna to work in the sprawling railroad yards or in the ethnic businesses that dot the small downtown business district.
The school building is located on Walnut Street across from the present day St. Mary's Church, although the church was originally located a block away from the church where it was erected on Main Street.
Over the decades the student population grew to be one of the largest parochial schools in the Oneonta area. In the 1990s the school left their Walnut Street location, purchased the large old Jamesway Department Store building on Oneotna's far east end and moved into their new school. Their stay their would be (relatively) short lived.
After 87-years it was announced in January of 2011 that the Albany Diocese announced that St. Mary's would close its doors permanently. Enrollment had dwindled over the years to a low of under 100 students. This made keeping the doors open financially impossible. School Board member William Moon said at the time: "Struggling with enrollment and reaching a point of being not sustainable at this time, the board agrees with the closing of the school with "resigned acceptance."
The original St. Mary's Catholic Church (below) was located where the James F. Lettis Highway now enters Main Street, Oneonta.
The school closed it's doors at the end of the school term in June, 2011.
One year later it was announced that Springbrook, a learning and residential facility for people with developmental disabilities had purchased the school campus.