“The following thoughts on how to maintain a strong local economy appeared in the Freeman’s Journal in 1928 and were reprinted there in 1978. ‘A thriving community, regardless of its size is always at its best...when it is practically self supporting...Thus, Cooperstown has tried to keep her citizenry supplied. There is little that is obtainable in the largest cities that one is not able to procure here...A good citizen is usually interested in his community and will try to patronize his own town. He tries to back up his own merchants, because he knows they are deserving of such backing...Back up your merchants and you prosper with them. By boosting the ‘Buy-at-home’ movement you will help put your community on the map?’ Some food for thought perhaps.”
As we read this, we could not help but think of the village’s current Economic Sustainability Committee, which is trying to find ways to improve the economy of the village. However, we rather doubt that the committee will find a way to return the village to 1928, but we do think the concept of self-supporting community no doubt had an impact on the viability of the village in the past. Unfortunately, it is a concept that would not seem terribly suited to the way the economy seems to work today. Not only would it not seem possible for Cooperstown to be self-supporting, we are not even certain it is possible for New York state, or even the United States, to be self-supporting in the current global economy.
And while on the subject of the village, we also found what we think is a rather interesting discussion of the village’s official seal. On this subject, we wrote, on Jan. 31, 1990:
“Not long ago Hugh MacDougall of Elm Street asked if we had ever taken careful note of the official seal of the Village of Cooperstown. Indeed we had examined this seal closely several years ago. On the seal one sees an assortment of tools some of which are easily identified and at least one of which is rather difficult to recognize. One can discern a shovel, a rake, a pitchfork with two prongs instead of three and a scythe. One can also see a hammer or mallet and a sickle which tend to impart a somewhat communistic look to the seal. There is also a tool which resembles two milk bottles connected to a rod. No one seems to know from whence came this seal or when it was first used. Someone suggested that the implements displayed thereon were all farming tools and therefore most appropriate for a village in an agricultural area.”