Above: The entrance to Summit Park, along with trolley tracks.
The Battle of Oriskany Historical Society will dedicate a historic roadside marker to commemorate Summit Park on Saturday, October 12, 2019 at 11:00 am. The marker will be installed at the corner of Utica Street and Oklahoma Avenue in the Village of Oriskany, across the street from the USS Oriskany Anchor Memorial. The Oriskany Museum will be open afterward for a reception of cider and baked goods.
Summit Park was a tourist attraction situated on the bluffs above Oriskany in the early decades of the twentieth century. The park opened in 1897 and operated annually from Memorial Day to Labor Day until its last season in 1926. A dedicated trolley line brought visitors from Utica directly into the park by way of Oklahoma Avenue, where the marker will be dedicated. The park boasted a roller coaster, carousel, arcade games, a dance hall, an amphitheatre, and boating on the Oriskany Creek. The dance hall hosted full orchestras from around the state and the amphitheatre had its fair share of big names, including former President Theodore Roosevelt, who spoke to a crowd of 10,000 at the park in the Summer of 1910.
In 1959, the site reopened under new ownership as Summit Park Playground, boasting the “largest and safest pool in New York State” along with volleyball courts, a baseball diamond, concession stand and “acres of picnic grounds.” The park was sold again in 1966.
Though there have been attempts to redevelop the property since the park’s closing, the site remains untouched and most of the property has returned to forest. Over the intervening decades, memories of Summit Park continued to delight those who attended the park in their youth, but living memories of the site are beginning to fade. The historical society hopes the historic marker will preserve the history of this local landmark for generations to come.
The historic marker itself was made possible by a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation®, a private, grant-making foundation established in 2005. One of its main initiatives is to help people celebrate their community’s history by providing fully funded grants for historic roadside markers and plaques. In 2006, the Pomeroy Foundation launched its first program, the NYS Historic Marker Grant Program, commemorating historic people, places or things. Since then, the Foundation has expanded to offer marker grants in the State of Ohio and has established several nationwide programs: Historic Transportation Canals Marker Grant Program, Legends & Lore® Marker Grant Program, National Register Signage Grant Program, and National Women’s Suffrage Marker Program. In all, the Foundation has funded nearly 900 grants for roadside markers and plaques in multiple states, all the way to Alaska. To learn more or apply for a grant, visit: www.wgpfoundation.org.
The Oriskany Museum is located at 420 Utica Street in the Village of Oriskany just off State Route 69 between the cities of Utica and Rome. The museum boasts a collection that spans American history, from Native American arrowheads to Vietnam War flight gear. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 1:00-5:00 p.m. or by special appointment. Admission is free. The museum is located in Trinkaus Park, which features the anchor from the USS Oriskany, an A4-Skyhawk plane, tennis courts, and a children's playground.
This event will correspond with NYS Path Through History Weekend, a statewide initiative to showcase New York State’s rich and fascinating history. For the latest events and happenings at the Oriskany Museum, please visit oriskanymuseum.com or call 315-736-7529.
Photos from original colorized postcards, c. 1900-1910. Oriskany Museum Collection/Public Domain.
The Oriskany Village Wide Garage Sale will be hosted by the Battle of Oriskany Historical Society on Friday, August 2, 2019 from 9 am to 3 pm and Saturday, August 3, 2019 from 9 am to 2 pm in Trinkaus Park outside the Oriskany Museum (420 Utica St., Oriskany, NY).
Booths are available to rent for vendors, food trucks, or individuals wishing to host their own yard sale in Trinkaus Park. Cost is $15 for one day or $20 for both days. Forms are available at the Oriskany Museum or at oriskanymuseum.com/garagesale. Payment is due upon arrival.
Residents are encouraged to host their own garage sales at home. To have your address added to our advertising at no cost, please contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Oriskany Museum at 315-736-7529 (feel free to leave a message with your name and address).
If you wish to donate to the Historical Society sale, items can be delivered to the Oriskany Museum during operating hours (Wed. through Sat. from 1-5 pm) or on Thursday, August 1 from 5-7 pm.
Donations must be in clean, usable condition. The following items are being accepted:
We cannot accept box/tube televisions or outdated electronics such as answering machines and VHS tapes. There is a limited market for such items and they must be disposed of as e-waste. (Video games and universal computer accessories, such as computer mice and keyboards, are acceptable.) Please, no adult clothing, shoes, or upholstered furniture.
The Battle of Oriskany Historical Society is pleased to announce they will be hosting this year's Oriskany Village-Wide Garage Sale. The event will take place this August in Trinkaus Park outside of the Oriskany Museum (420 Utica St., Oriskany, NY). Residents can host sales at their own home or donate their goods to be sold for the benefit of the historical society. Details coming soon!
Larry Ehlinger of the EARTH Metal Detecting Club of Central NY will be giving a presentation at the Oriskany Museum on Saturday June 1, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. Ehlinger has been detecting for over twenty years and has amassed an impressive collection of coins, jewelry, and tokens as well as mundane items like bullets, buttons, pocket knives, ax heads and iron farming tools and relics. Much of his presentation will focus on his recent recovery of colonial-era artifacts discovered by chance along the Mohawk River corridor. He will also discuss respectful recovery methods and how his many finds are researched, preserved and displayed for future historical education. Admission is free and no reservations are necessary.
The Oriskany Museum is located at 420 Utica Street in Oriskany, NY and is open to visitors Wednesday through Saturday from 1-5 p.m. For additional information about the museum or this event, please visit oriskanymuseum.com or call the museum at 315-736-7529.
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Join the Village of Oriskany and the American Legion in honoring our Veterans this Memorial Day with a parade from the Oriskany Cemetery to Trinkaus Park. The parade will begin at 9:45 a.m. Speeches will be given in the park by Mayor Mick O'Connor and former Mayor Donald Rothdiener, our Oriskany Veteran of the Year. There will also be bagpipe music. Come dressed in patriotic colors or historical costume. Children are encouraged to decorate their bike to enter the best patriotic bike decoration contest!
For some, Easter eggs are brightly colored hard boiled eggs that are eaten. But for Mary Kuchera, a Ukrainian American woman, they are an art form.
The ninety-three year old Oriskany resident has been decorating Ukrainian Pysanky for fifty years. The daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, Kuchera is keeping Ukrainian culture alive by making traditional Ukrainian pysanky.
Affectionately known as the “Egg Lady,” Mary has close to one thousand intricately decorated pysanky in her home. She loves to demonstrate how to make them and speak of the rich traditions regarding the symbolism of each line and design.
The elaborately designed eggs form a part of the centuries-old celebration of the Christian Easter in Ukraine.
Through the wax and dye process, eggs are transformed from their natural state into decorative works of art. A simple design may take two hours to complete but an intricate design can take several hours. Kuchera works on chicken, duck, goose and even ostrich eggs.
Her exhibit will include several eggs from her collection. She will be available to explain the symbolism of the lines of a design as well as explain other styles such as the pre-Christian era.
Kuchera’s works of art will be on display at the Oriskany Museum (420 Utica St., Oriskany) from March 14 until Easter. An extended exhibit will run on Saturday, March 23 from 1:00-5:00 p.m. with a short lecture at 2 p.m. Regular hours for the Oriskany Museum are 1:00-5:00 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
The Village of Oriskany will celebrate the retirement of Mayor Donald F. Rothdiener with a banquet at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro on Saturday, April 6, 2019 at six o’clock in the evening.
Mayor Rothdiener is not seeking reelection after thirty years at his post, prior to which he served as village trustee for ten years, accounting for a total forty years of service to the Village of Oriskany.
Senator Joseph A. Griffo will preside as Master of Ceremonies. Tickets are available for $30 per person. Please contact the Oriskany Village Clerk, Andrea Lawrence, by phone at 315-736-3512 before March 29 to reserve your tickets. Payment may be mailed to PO Box 904, Oriskany, NY 13424 or delivered to the village office at 708 Utica St between the hours of 9:30 am and 2:00 pm on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday.
About Mayor Rothdiener
Donald Francis Rothdiener was raised in Utica and attended Utica Free Academy before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in June 1949 at the age of seventeen. He went on to serve in both Japan and Korea during the Korean War.
Rothdiener married Melvina Kery in Utica on September 20, 1952. Together they raised
four sons (Donald F. Rothdiener II, Thomas E. Rothdiener, Eric C. Rothdiener, and
Mark J. Rothdiener) while stationed at Air Force bases in Big Spring, TX; Rome, NY;
Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, England; Washington, DC; Honolulu, HI; and Oscoda, MI.
On August 1, 1972, Rothdiener retired at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant and was
presented with the Third Oak Leaf Cluster of the Air Force Commendation Medal. The
family returned to Central New York and purchased a home in Oriskany that same year.
Rothdiener went on to work for Utica Fire Insurance Co. (now Utica First Insurance
Co.), from which he also retired.
In 1978, Rothdiener was elected to serve as a trustee on the Oriskany Village Board.
Ten years and five terms later, he decided to run for mayor. Rothdiener won the
mayoral race and took office on April 3, 1989.
As Rothdiener entered office, the village was in an era of change. The Helen B.
Lawrence Library building was newly constructed. The Oriskany Village Museum was in
the process of expanding into the former library, and thoughts were circling on how to
improve the village’s park, then known as Point Field. Over the next ten years, the
mayor, the village Anchor Committee, and the Battle of Oriskany Historical Society
arranged for the USS Oriskany Anchor Memorial to be constructed around the original
starboard anchor from the namesake aircraft carrier. This was quickly followed by an
A-4 Skyhawk plane, the ship’s bell, a gazebo, and a new museum building, constructed
almost entirely through community outreach and donations. The anchor now serves as
a landmark for residents and passerby alike.
Over the years, Donald Rothdiener also served as President of the Oriskany Little
League and as a coach for Parkhurst Post Baseball at Oriskany American Legion Post
#1448. He enjoys golf and bowling, having passed many hours at the former Riverside
Lanes in Marcy. Donald and his wife Melvina were married for fifty-seven years before
her passing in 2010. Today, the Mayor enjoys spending time with his four sons and
daughters-in-law, fourteen grandchildren, and twelve great-grandchildren.