220611_columns_simonson_photo.jpg

The original structure of Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, shown under construction in 1918. The fieldstone was reused from a nearby cotton mill, which had closed.

Names familiar to Cooperstown in the 21st century were beginning to be heard for organizations and businesses during the spring months of 1922.

As the Otsego Farmer reported on May 5, “Typifying the spirit of America toward the boys of the World War who today occupy unknown graves, the members of Cooperstown Post, No. 529 American Legion, at its regular meeting on Wednesday evening, voted to change the name of the post to Clark F. Simmons Post in honor of Clark F. Simmons, who was the only Cooperstown member of the A.E.F. who made the supreme sacrifice whose body was never recovered.”

The Clark F. Simmons Post is found today at 60 Main St., the place they’ve called home since February 1940. The 1922 article didn’t specify where the post was at that time.

The Farmer continued, “Clark F. Simmons was a member of Company E of the 311th infantry, 78th division, and was killed in action in the Argonne on November 1, 1918. He, with First Sergeant Raymond Schroth and a small detail, had been sent out as an advance patrol to clean up a machine gun nest that was hindering the advance. The detail was surrounded by an overwhelming force of Germans and every man was killed except Sergeant Schroth, who made his way back to the lines with a prisoner as a shield.”

KIRBY & ROOT BECAME

BRUCE HALL, INC.

“An important business transaction took place in Cooperstown on Tuesday of this week,” the Farmer reported on May 19, “when Bruce L. Hall purchased the interest of his partner Harry M. Parker in the business conducted under the corporate title of Kirby & Root. Mr. Hall plans to change the name of the business from its present title to that of Bruce L. Hall, Inc. The change in ownership goes into effect immediately.

“The business is one of the oldest and best established in Cooperstown, having won a high standing with a wide clientele through the years. A complete stock of wood, coal, flour and feed, fertilizer, mason’s supplies, etc. are carried and it will be the policy of the new owner to increase rather than lessen this.

“Personally Mr. Hall’s popularity is well known, and his integrity and business standing thoroughly established. That the business will prosper under his guidance is confidently predicted by all.”

NEW 100 BED

INSTITUTION OPENED

“Large numbers of the people of Cooperstown visited the new Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, Saturday afternoon,” the Farmer reported on June 9, “when that magnificent institution was opened to the public. Edward Severin Clark, the donor, and Dr. Bassett for whom the hospital has been named, and who is the chief of staff, received the guests, the physicians of the staff representing their respective departments. Opportunity was given to inspect the entire institution and privilege was highly appreciated and thoroughly enjoyed by all who braved the storm between the hours of 3 and 7 o’clock. Reisman’s orchestra furnished music throughout the afternoon.

“To the average layman the new hospital represents a gift by an exceedingly generous and public spirited citizen; a fine example of colonial architecture rivaling in its proportions the great buildings of the land, yet homelike in its impression and in entire harmony with the purpose for which it was built.

“Through it Cooperstown becomes the home of an institution which in the very nature things must be great not in any mere local sense. In it, Mr. Clark not only has made his greatest gift to his native town but to the country at large and for humanity as well; for it is through the advantage offered by such an institution as the Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital that the great advances in medicine and surgery come that mean so much to the human race.

“So it requires no great flight of the imagination to think that while his fellow townsmen now offer their sincerest congratulations upon the completion of the material project, his fellow men in larger and larger numbers will continue to do so as the years go by and its beneficent influence become larger and larger.”

Mark Simonsonin Oneonta’s city historian. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com.

Trending Video

Recommended for you