Its almost summer and a time for a visit to historic Cooperstown, New York. Set on the shore of Lake Otsego, the charm of this quaint village is felt by young and old alike. Named for its founding father William Cooper, a judge and then U S Congressman, Cooperstown is more thought of today for baseball and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
William Cooper came to what was then Montgomery County in 1785, and purchased a patent of 10,000 acres from Colonel George Crohgan, the village being establish a year later in 1786. It was not only William Cooper’s home, but also the home of his famous son James Fenimore Cooper, considered by many to be America’s greatest author. Today you can visit the cemetery in town and see the graves of James Fenimore Cooper and other Coopers, many of whom also became writers and poets.
Cooperstown is also famous for the Clarke family, whose home Hyde Hall is set at the opposite side of the lake James Fenimore Cooper made famous, Glimmerglass –Otsego Lake. Hyde Hall was built by George Clarke starting in 1817, great grandson of George Clarke, who once held important positions in the colonial government of New York. Today Hyde Hall is part of Glimmerglass State Park.
Another Clark Family made its mark in Cooperstown with its many philanthropic donations, this was the family of Edward Clark, whose fortunes came from part ownership of the Singer Sewing Machine patent.
History is everywhere for the visitor to Cooperstown.
The Farmer’s Museum and the Fenimore Art Gallery also grace the lake shores of the village itself and Cooperstown is the also the home of the New York State Historical Association.
The famous Otesaga Resort looms above Glimmerglass with its scenic vista and golf course, open since 1908 and still a beautiful structure that welcomes visitors all year long.
There is so much history to see and so much to do in Cooperstown that the whole family can find something to interest each member. So take the time to visit, savor the area made famous by its favorite son James Fenimore Cooper in his Leatherstocking Tales, I’m sure you’ll be able to picture Natty Bumpo and Hawkeye on the shore looking out over the lake.
For more information on Cooperstown you can visit the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce at www.cooperstownchamber.org.
*Sometimes while writing articles you find that history collides in an unusual way. Oswego, the previous article’s location, actually was once the residence of famous writer James Fenimore Cooper. Cooper was a midshipman in 1808 and helped supervise work on the Great Lakes warship Wasp while it was being built. Cooper actually wrote about the Oswego River in two of his books, and three of the dinning halls at the New York State University at Oswego are named for his books they are – Cooper, Littlepage and Pathfinder.
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