In This Place: Sept. 3, 2014

Administer One Migraine with that Methodology

When covering the Roxbury school board for the News a few years ago, I was astounded by the com­plexity and challenges of school administration these days, from the legion of regulations, the mon­strous spools of red tape and the delicate balancing act between students, teachers, staff and lead­ership. Many’s the night I went home at 10 p.m. with my head spinning, wrestling to get it down right while I still remembered the explanations patiently tendered by administrators and board members.

Back in the day, however, there were hardly any “rules” and the super’s challenges were different but perhaps just as great. Legendary educational leader Lincoln R. Long here weighs in on cows, “creative” mathematics methods, and the fine art of hiring teachers. While handling contracts, tenure and civil service law these days is tough, in Long’s day, administrators and teachers alike faced a veritable free-for-all come hiring time:

In This Place: August 27, 2014

New Schools for a New Year

Hard as it may be for some of today’s students to believe, their 75-year-old schools were, at their birth, centerpieces of community pride. Built in the midst of the Great Depression by FDR’s “New Deal” Works Progress Administration, they were shining exam­ples of what has become a dishonored creed in many quarters: that government exists to build infrastructure and to invest mightily in its communities. The construction of these schools brought dozens of jobs at decent wages to tens of thousands of towns and villages across America, including Andes, Roxbury and Margaretville, where the new schools were a cause of com­­munity-wide celebration and reverence.

Let’s start with Andes! The following story was printed as a very long caption to the photo (above right). Note that there were still schools in Shaver­town, Pleasant Valley, Union Grove, Shaver Hollow, Cabin Hill and Dingle Hill.

In This Place: August 20, 2014

Who’s the Fairest of Them All? Margaretville, Once Upon a Time . . .

by Trish Adams

This week I’ll keep commentary to a minimum, in order to share as much possible of the Margaret­ville Fair as she existed in her heyday, 100 or so years ago. Horse racing may have long since yielded to the demolition derby, but the News archives will always bear testament that Margaretville sure knew how to put on a fair, back in the day. Note how the word “huckster” simply meant a seller of goods, and had not yet acquired the pejorative ring it has today.
From the July 26, 1912 front page.From the July 26, 1912 front page.

In This Place: August 13, 2014

It’s Fair Time!

Looking back at the history of the Delaware County Fair decades ago, I was surprised to learn that what seems to us now as an ironclad tradition almost went under, more than once! It was also fun to read the attractions, as decades went by, to see what became antiquated and what never grew old — namely rides and livestock! Eventually horse races were replaced by “motorized” amusements such as demolition derbies, but the horses continued to hold their own well into the forties.

Feb. 14, 1913 — End of County Fair
A meeting is called for next Wednesday to take definite action in regard to either doing away with the county Fair property and discontinuing exhibitions here, or determining upon some course to resuscitate the society. It's about time a spirit of enterprise manifested towards the local fair. Next Wednesday will decide the fate of the fair. Local business men will have to come to the rescue or the institution will be sacrificed to those who have claims against the society's real estate. This isn't saying the farmers don't know where their interests lie.
Someone has got to get behind the fair or its fate is sealed.—Delhi Gazette.

In This Place: August 6, 2014

Who Shot the Sheriff? We did.
by Trish Adams
Here in upstate New York, 170 years ago, we had our very own version of the “Wild West meets Freedom Fighters.” At issue were centuries-old “durable” leases that held generations of farmers in thrall to absentee landlords; they and their children were doom­ed to pay rent, year after year, on land they had tilled and toiled but could never own.