Snapshots in time -
Remembering the Town of Prattsville through postcards ... Part 1
... go to Part 2
Rock Of Prattsville, N.Y.
unused black and white card, printed in Germany, was distributed by
B.F. and W.C. Platner. Under the Platners� names also were the
village water company and a village store. One of the Platners stands
before the huge stone, which sat at the Junction where Routes 23 and
23A met until it was finally blasted and removed. At the time, before
World War One, a card required a one-cent stamp (domestic) or a two
cent stamp (foreign). This copy bears as the publisher�s logo, the
profile of a Native American full headdress. From the Big Rock, it was
40 miles to the Oneonta Fair where you could �be happy�.
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on the reverse side only by �postcard� in curlicue printing, this
aerial view of the local fair grounds includes a curve of the
Schoharie Creek in the background. Occupying some of our present day
ball field are two permanent buildings, a large circular tent, and
several small pavilions. Big crowds flocked to this summer excitement
in their horse-drawn carriages that were lined up by the dozens �
not a car on sight! The next nearest fair, the Greene County Fair in
Cairo, was a long trip, or otherwise even longer to Cobleskill or
Walton, making the Prattsville Fair the only one on the mountaintop.
Who could resist a look at the first aero planes and balloon
ascensions, the thrill of a lifetime. To the right of the photo
someone recorded the chant of the ticket sellers: �Five a ride and
away we go!� Go
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PCK Series postcard carries the peacock logo without further
identification. A Mr.
Wilbur Meeker of Fishkill on Hudson c/o Rev. Sheldon, N.Y. received
this card in 1907. Apparently, you did not need a more exact address
if you were connected to the Reverend, who no doubt, was well known.
The writer uses the picture side only for his message and omits any
signature. When Wilbur Meeker received the card, he probably wished he
could be cheering with the men crowding either side of the racetrack
as the two sulkies flashed by the judges� stand. On the left side in
the grandstand only one lady among the men can be spotted, identified
by her large black umbrella against the summer sun. Tans were not in
vogue. All this excitement by postcard for one cent Ben Franklin in
full face. Go
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leading to Pratt Farm, Prattsville, N.Y.
the east end of the village; opposite the Rocks, was the 365-acre
farm, identified as the Pratt Farm even after it was sold in the
1920s. The footbridge of wood and cables (286 feet long) shortened the
walk to town and especially to school. It avoided wading to Schoharie
or using a small rowboat. At least three successive bridges were taken
out by high water, as was the
teahouse, just east of it.
Though referred as a �footbridge� it often became a
�swinging bridge� when exuberant youngsters charged across it to
set it in motion. At times, to curb these hijinks, someone set a very
heavy stone against the door.
A copy of this card, dates August 18, 1910, invites John Sharp of
South Kortright, N.Y. to the Prattsville Fair: �30-31 of August and
the 1st of September. We would like you to come out and go
to it.� Signed E.A.L. Most picture cards seem to be sent in summer,
but on January 25, 1912, �Ida� used a bridge postcard to ask her
uncle, Mr. Hiram Platner of Middleton, N.Y. in Orange County, if he
was sick from the intense cold of the winter. A third copy of the
Bridge card went to Edith Fowler: �Carrie has just been over and
told us about you last night. Ha! Ha! That�s right, go ahead.
S.M.� What�s this mystery about? Go
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House, later known as Miller�s Hotel
House, later known as Miller's Hotel, owned by Dwight Miller, card
three men, one in apron stood for their picture rather than use the
captain�s chairs. After the camera clicked, maybe they sat or
disappeared into the Barber Shop on the right.
The Hotel is remembered as a gathering place before other larger rooms
were available. (Not counting the churches.) A full, deep cellar
allowed for storage of even sides of beef on hooks that still bristle
from the beams. In case of fire, patrons on the second floor under the
low roof could uncoil a heavy rope attached to the metal loop inside
below the �eyebrow� windows to let themselves down to safely on
the ground. Later known as Prattsville Hotel.
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produced by Brown�s Service, Prattsville, N.Y. To
the several passerby this is a new phenomenon � a gas station in
those new-fangled cars that frighten men and beast. But to some keen
observers, the tremendous elm tree to the right of the station is the
focal point. Turn over the card and the statistics tell the story:
�New York State�s Largest Roadside tree � 300 years old,
150�*130� shade spread � 20�3� in circumstance breast
high.� And though perhaps only a legend, the story persists that a
local treaty was signed beneath the shade of this tree during the war
of Revolution. The Prattsville Elm Tree was inspected, found hollow
and officially removed in September of 1955.
Other huge elms live in Main Street until they were destroyed by
disease. One of the hotels, now gone, was named The Elm Tree Inn (and
was later used as an office for the New York City reservoir
employees.) Nature magazine published an article that revealed
an even larger elm tree growing on the Prattsville Flats. Coming back
to present reality, you can still drive into O�Hara�s and choose
to gas up from one of the four modern pumps.
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