The Oneonta Musicians’ Protective Association was chartered by its national organization, the American Federation of Musicians, as Local 443 in 1907, running continuously since that time, operating with nearly 100 members in 2017. The union was formed one year before the City of Oneonta incorporated, having been a village since 1842.
The union provides coverage to musicians in parts of 4 different counties in Upstate New York, engaging many musicians within the Catskill Mountain region as well as the Leatherstocking Region of Central New York.
The organization’s headquarters is in Oneonta (oh-nee-on-tə), a city in southern Otsego County, New York. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, it had a population of 13,901. Its nickname is “City of the Hills.” While the word “oneonta” is of undetermined origin, it is popularly believed to mean “place of open rocks” in the Mohawk language. This refers to a prominent geological formation known as “Tablerocks” at the western end of the city.
The Susquehanna River flows westward past the south part of the city.
The architecture of Oneonta consists of a variety of Victorian and 20th-century commercial and domestic styles, including low-rise commercial buildings. Oneonta currently has very few industrial complexes.
There are several historic buildings that were originally homes of prominent people. The Fairchild Mansion was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 and was formerly the home of George Winthrop Fairchild, one of the original partners with Thomas Watson. Fairchild and Watson were the founders of what eventually became IBM. Also, George I. Wilber House is a historic home located in the City. It was built in two phases, 1875 and about 1890. It is a three story wood frame structure on a stone foundation in the Late Victorian style. It features a three story, round corner tower, cross gabled roof, and a large, very decorative wrap-around porch with a porte-cochere. In 1997 it became home to the Upper Catskill Community Council of the Arts (now the Community Arts Network of Oneonta). It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000.
Also listed on the National Register of Historic Places are: Bresee Hall, Chapin Memorial Church, Ford Block, Fortin Site, Municipal Building, Oneonta Armory, Stonehouse Farm,Oneonta Theatre, Old Post Office, Oneonta Downtown Historic District, and Walnut Street Historic District.
Oneonta is home to the State University of New York at Oneonta (often abbreviated to SUNY Oneonta and SUCO) and Hartwick College, a private liberal arts college. SUNY Oneonta began in Oneonta as a normal school and a teacher’s college in 1889, and Hartwick College moved into the city in 1928. The approximately 5,800 students from SUNY Oneonta and the approximately 1,500 students at Hartwick make up a significant percentage of the population of Oneonta. Both institutions employ many of Local 443’s members who teach within the musical artistic fields as well as host performances by our community of musicians.