Oneonta History Center

- GOHS Logo 2014 Lucida Sans


Attraction Description

The Greater Oneonta Historical Society’s History Center is located in the Downtown Oneonta Historic District, a reflection of GOHS’ commitment to a vibrant Main Street. The Bissell Block in which the Center is located is the oldest brick building on Main Street, built in 1866 to house a hardware store, and successively, a restaurant, confectionary, and ice cream parlor; a dress shop; and a jewelry store. Visitors will now find permanent and special exhibits on this floor, all reflecting Oneonta’s rich heritage.

Learn about how the railroad transformed the village of Oneonta into a city in the decades after the trains arrived in 1865. Oneonta was the site of the world’s largest roundhouse and where an early railroad union was founded in 1883. At the History Center, visitors can listen to 100-year-old music on a made-in-Oneonta player piano. (Oneonta was home to two piano factories, McCammon and Shearer. The History Center has one of each.) See a Bundy Time Recorder, one of the first companies to form IBM. Learn about Oneonta native sons, the Huntingtons, builders of the American railroad system; Carleton Watkins, father of American landscape photography; George Fairchild, first chairman of the Board of IBM; and his son Sherman Fairchild, a pioneer in many areas, including aviation, computing, and photography.

The Center’s gift shop features local history books, music, traditional toys and crafts, and more. The second floor is for collection storage, the repository for thousands of items of importance to local history. The third floor ballroom will be restored as a venue for GOHS and community events.

GOHS offers regular programs at the Center and around the community, including walking tours. Admission to the History Center is free. There may be a charge for some off-site programs.

To Make You Smile

• Railroad history
• Gift shop
• Restrooms
• Player piano
• Baseball history
• Research resources
• Information rack
• Historic maps


April: Postcard & Ephemera Show & Sale
May: Traditional Cakewalk
November: Benefit Auction
December: Model train layout