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The Mayor's Nest: Importance of Local History

Written By Editor on 5/27/15 | 5/27/15

Many issues faced by Schoharie County's residents and communities are wider than the obvious implications. Often many issues, both positive and negative come out of the winding history of the area. Preserving such local history and connecting it to the present and future is key.

Local history was ingrained in me from the start. From my Schoharie County History course with Wes Laraway teaching me to honor our heritage with local service to Steve LaMont and Charley Spickerman's local history colloquialisms and excellent work with the Middleburgh Library Historical Documents room, the ideas are still fresh in my mind. The Old Stone Fort and County Historical Society's efforts have both fascinated locals and drawn in those from out of the area in sharing our collective interest.

The same can be said in building the future. As a history professor at SUNY Oneonta, I can certainly appreciate how history rhymes. The many volunteers that have rebuilt Middleburgh have tied in our local history-- including the Green Wolf Brewery's beer festival, the Heritage Day celebrations every year, the Best House revival under great leadership, and Middleburgh's recent creation of a historical trail.

We are often asked why Middleburgh has come such a long way since the flood. There are many reasons and many people that have contributed. Sometimes old wounds or inability to change have hurt efforts in communities across the country. We do the opposite: taking the best parts of local history with an attitude that welcomes positive change. By connecting our efforts with knowledge of the past the area is stronger and in better shape to be a good page in a future history lesson.

Head out to one of your local historical society meetings, the Old Stone Fort, a historic site, or crack open a book. You're writing the area's history every day-- make it one worth learning about!

Matthew Avitabile,
Mayor of Middleburgh
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