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Village History

Soldier's Monument

Soldiers Monument

By John E. Raitt, “Ruts In the Road”

The Civil War was still in progress when a movement was started to erect a fitting monument in Delhi to the memory of the brave soldiers who fought and died to preserve the Union. The idea was there but it bore little fruit.

Periodically during the next three decades the plan would surface, a little effort would' be expended and a little money collected. However, there was no concerted appeal or united county effort made.

Finally, in 1896, Colonel R. P. Cormack, who had been extolling the idea for' years, presented the matter before his comrades in the England Post of the G.A.R. The colonel was then commander of the post.

A committee was formed, suggestions were made, and plans submitted. Letters went out to other veteran organizations in the county and the old soldiers of Walton took up the cry. Available was $803.63 in money and pledges, far short of the cost of a suitable monument.

Pledges and subscriptions were solicited throughout the county with the donors’ names being sometimes published in local papers to keep alive interest in .the project.

monument1A small plaster model of the proposed monument was placed in the Delaware County Clerk's office in 1900 for the public to view. This model, far shorter than the present one, had but one soldier atop the structure with four American eagles at the lower corners. It was also planned that four mortars would be placed near the monument and in September of that year two arrived in Delhi. These were placed at the front corners of the square. The mortars were donated by the U.S. government, the only cost being shipping charges.

Finally, an official agreement was drawn up and signed between the monument committee and John A. Woodburn, a Delhi marble dealer. It called for a 15 foot square base with a 49 foot high monument. Four figures on the corners, cut in granite, would depict the four branches of military service; namely, Artillery, Cavalry, Navy and Infantry. On the top would be an eight-foot figure representing peace and holding aloft a sheathed sword draped in laurel.

The names of the battles in which Delaware county boys fought were to be placed on the four sides of the monument. Facing Main Street would be Gettysburg and Antietam. On the right side, Fredericksburg-Petersburg. At the rear, Fort Sumter-Honey Hill and on the left side, Wilderness-Cold Harbor.

Higher up would be the dates of military action in American history -- 1776, 1812, 1861-1865 and 1898.

On the face would be placed a bronze plaque with these words; "Erected by the People of Delaware County in grateful remembrance of those who served their country in the Civil War and who have defended the American flag."

At the time of Col. R. P. Cormack's death in 1903, over $3,000 had been raised toward the estimated $7,000-$10,000 cost. Captain J. K. Hood was then placed at the head of the committee with Dr. G. C. Smith as secretary.

By 1906 the project became a reality. About half of the cost was raised by pledges or donations; the rest would be collected by general tax of the county. Selecting the site was the next issue to be resolved.

You may think that there was only one place, the courthouse square, considered as a suitable place for the monument. Think again! H.E. Stoutenburg, a one-armed veteran of the Civil War, had this to say concerning a plot of ground at the junction of Main and Elm Streets.

"To my mind (it) is an ideal spot. There all sides would be viewed from the public streets. It is near the high school, the railroad station and upon the principal streets of the village. The center of the plot monument2should be raised so as to make a gentle slope in all directions .......... the committee could purchase (from the village) and deed it to the county."

One month later the location was resolved when the board of supervisors passed a resolution to the effect that the soldiers' monument should be placed on the courthouse square.

Preparation work was soon under way. Robert L. Gray and a force of six men were busy laying the foundation, which was to be six foot under the' base of the monument, made of chip- or broken stone and Portland cement.

Captain J. K. Hood went to Rutland, VT, to be sure that the necessary parts would be shipped and delivered as soon as possible.

The disassembled monument arrived in three railroad cars during August, and John Woodburn had a large force of men ready to assemble it. Everything went forward on schedule and all was soon ready for a formal, late September dedication of the marble monument.

Delhi Little League

The participation in 2003 was at approximately 55 kids. Since then the program has grown to 120 players in 2004, 145 in 2005 and 131 in 2006. The 2008 season had 123 players while the 2009 season saw 112. This past year there were 115 players

The program continues to strive for an environment that stresses an instructional atmosphere where everyone plays. Once again we have achieved this goal and have put forth the best possible product there is to offer at this time. The program has taught the game of baseball and conducted competitive games with all players participating. With two divisions based on age and the games played at the Legion Fields and occurring on the same nights we have achieved a level of stability that helps the parents in planning their summer activities.

Without the support of local Business's (in the form of the purchase of jersey’s), the league would not continue to operate at the level it does. Thank you:
Clark Companies                      Sportsfield Specialties, Inc.
Delaware Business Systems      Frank Lumia Real Estate Plus
County Tire Co.                       DMV Nutritionals
Catskill Mtn Embroidery           Delaware County Electric Coop

Saturday Evening Post

This postcard is a copy of the July 5, 1951 cover of The Saturday Evening Post.  The original scene was painted by Stevan Dohnaos in early spring of 1951.  The following text was included in the print edition of the magazine describing Dohanos reactions while painting.

“The “D” on that base drum suggests that this is the Stevan Dohanos Brass Band, but the artist says no, it is two thirds of the Delaware Academy and Central School Band, of Delhi, New York.  As the musicians wouldn’t all fit into the bandstand, Dohanos dedicates his painting to those who were sad about not making the Post.  When Dohanos set up his easel opposite Town Hall, passers-by forgathered to see why, and the first thing they knew, they were on the canvas.  Making it an all-American Independence Day theme, Dohanos also inserted folks from other towns.  If bringing so many strangers together causes any confusion, Dohanos says that the Sheriff’s office is behind the house at the right, and lost children should be taken there.”

The Village Square in Delhi where the scene was painted remains to this day as an icon of small town America.  Throughout the non-winter months, you will find local citizens and visitors to Delhi enjoying the small town ambiance provided by The Square.

During July of each year a local citizens group sponsors a “Fair on the Square” each Friday evening.  Local fraternal organizations tents spring to life Friday afternoon selling a wide variety of picnic goodies.  Local crafts folks display and sell their wares along the sidewalks traversing The Square.  Other civic and community organizations attend soliciting community support for their cause.  Around dusk the Bandstand lights up and local performers take the stage.  Venues ranging from country classics to Irish ballads can be heard well into the night.

The tradition continues into late fall when local organizations sponsor events on The Square.  The venues range from weekend long arts and crafts festivals displaying the wares of local crafts folks to events marketing the local Delhi Main Street businesses.  The local churches band together to put on a “Share on the Square” event encouraging the local churches to join hands in support of their missions.  In late fall the community bands together to present a community-wide “Harvest Fest” during which local vendors flood The Square and surrounding side streets with tents displaying their items for sale.

The Square remains active well into the winter months.  Lighted displays of snowflakes magically appear on The Square reminding visitors and citizens of the winter recreation available in the local area.  A Christmas tree is placed on the bandstand on which relatives can hang memory cards of loved ones who have passed on.  Nearer Christmas time a local church dons Victorian garb and presents an old fashioned Victorian hymn sing.  A local organization that is sponsoring the construction of a community pool takes another Saturday evening to offer local citizens in an old-fashioned horse drawn wagon ride through the Village.  After the wagon ride the folks can join in an old fashioned marshmallow roast on The Square and imbibe in hot chocolate.

Proposed Delhi Aquatic Center

Delhi Village Hall

Today’s Village Hall has served many functions since it was first constructed in 1820.  The building was constructed to be the County Courthouse.  It was originally on the Courthouse Square.  The building was considerably altered in appearance when it was moved to the rear of the present County Clerk's office in 1869.  It was converted into a Village Hall with rooms beneath for the Delhi Fire Department's apparatus.  Tall cupolas were removed buildings and the new Village Hall had a tall tower and about a 10 foot section added to the left side.  This made a new entrance way plus two staircases leading to the upper floor.  The triangular section of the roof line along the original face of the building is still intact.  The top story or main hall is the entire size of the old building with a stage being a part of the new addition.

In 1948 the old wooden Courthouse took its final ride to its current location farther up Court Street.  It is believed that the primary purpose of the move was to improve the intersections of Second, Court, and Church Streets.  And there the proud old building stands today.  The Village Hall houses the offices of the Delhi Mayor and Village Clerk on the second floor.  The Village Boardroom is also on the second floor.

During its years of service to the Village, the building has served many functions.  Up until the last decade, the third or top floor functioned primarily as a Village gather place.  This big room spanning the entire top floor with an elevated stage at the west end has hosted social functions such as public dances and private parties.  During the middle of the 20th Century the large room became the monthly meeting place for Cub Scout Pack 33.  Even though Boy Scout Troop 35 had its own small meeting cabin on the eastern hill overlooking the village, Troop 35 used the large room for larger meetings and promotion ceremonies.

During the 1950’s the 3rd floor room was turned into a recreation center every Thursday night.  A jukebox was installed and played continuously during the few hours the center was open.  One evening in 1956 the center “rocked” all evening long to the then popular song “The Green Door!”  As the tune played over, and over, and over, the local teenagers attempted to master the rock and roll dance steps seen daily on the popular TV show out of Philadelphia, “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand.”  Some mastered the steps; other did not do so well!

The room contained pool and ping pong table and a collection of card tables with playing cards and board games.  On Thursday evenings as many as 40 local teenagers along with kids from the surrounding hamlets could be found on the 3rd floor enjoying the recreational facility.

Eventually the Delhi Town Court took over the third floor.  Judges and counselor rooms were created along with an appropriate judge’s bench, witness stand, and attorney’s tables.  The Town Court remained until 2008 when it was determined that the old building was not structurally sound enough to serve the court.  At that time the Delhi Village Police Department moved to the 3rd floor.

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Mon Jan 24 @ 5:30PM - 07:30PM
Village Board meeting