About Our Community
Oneonta became the 46th city in New York State at the stroke of midnight, January 1, 1909. Since then, Oneonta has long been known as the City of the Hills, derived from a Mohawk word meaning “open rocks” or “rocks sticking out”, a reference to the exposed bedrock cliff faces found on the east end and north side of the city.
In the mid-1800s, Oneonta was a small town and then the Delaware and Hudson Railroad reached Oneonta, stimulating development as a railroad center and attracting new industries. In 1906, the Roundhouse was built and Oneonta was home to the largest locomotive roundhouse in the world, a record we held for over a quarter of a century. The Roundhouse itself was over 400 feet in diameter with a 75 foot turntable until 1924 when a new turntable, 105 feet long, was installed to accommodate the longest locomotives. The use of steam power gave way to diesel power and the Roundhouse was rendered obsolete with demolition beginning in the 1950s and being completed in 1993.
Since then, our biggest economic drivers have been the two colleges that are located in the City, the State University of New York at Oneonta (often referred to as SUNY Oneonta or SUCO) and Hartwick College. SUNY Oneonta began in 1889, and Hartwick College moved into the City in 1928. The population doubles when both schools are in session and they contribute tremendously to the dual college atmosphere in the downtown and neighborhoods surrounding the campuses.
Another major economic driving force has been our medical centers. Aurelia Osborn Fox Hospital, much better known as A.O. Fox was built in 1900 as a 22-bed facility. Since then it has become 128-bed facility along with another 130-bed nursing home and the FoxCare Center. The FoxCare Center, formerly the location of the Pyramid Mall in the Town of Oneonta has turned into a large complex that houses physician practices, a fitness center, an education center, lab and x-ray services, pharmacy, a cancer care center and a dental practice. These facilities fall under the Bassett Network, which also has its own primary care center and a specialty services center right in the City. With their vast array of services, the medical centers are a major source of employment for many in our community.
One of our biggest attractions is our baseball. We are home to the historic Damashke Field which opened in 1906 as Elm Park and has hosted baseball stars such as Babe Ruth and Rogers Hornsby. The site was the longtime home of the area's minor league baseball team, the Oneonta Red Sox (1966), Oneonta Yankees (1967–1998), Oneonta Tigers (1999–2009). Prior to becoming a Hall of Fame quarterback, John Elway played for the Oneonta Yankees in 1982, his one and only year in minor league baseball. It is currently the home field of the Oneonta Outlaws, a team in the New York Collegiate Baseball League. We are half an hour away from Double Day Field in Cooperstown, which is widely recognized as the birthplace of baseball and home to numerous baseball events and special concerts.
We are also neighbors to several busy cities in the region, Albany, Binghamton and Utica, who all have a similar draw for the many students looking to expand their horizons at our prestigious universities. What sets the City of Oneonta apart from the others is also what makes us special. With a much smaller population (about 14,000), Oneonta is a city with a small town feel but still with access to all the amenities of much larger cities. From the many beautiful public parks, including two major municipal parks right in the heart of our downtown, Neahwa Park and Wilber Park, local art and cultural institutions, and many diverse dining options, Oneonta has much to offer residents and visitors alike!
Drone Videos by Chris Chase