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Fortin Park History

The flatlands and bluffs where the Charlotte Creek meets the Susquehanna River was home to Native Americans for at least four thousand years - excavations conducted by archaeologists from SUNY Albany in the early 1970s show that Native Americans repeatedly occupied the site of Fortin Park over the millenia. Food remnants, firepits, artifacts and patterns of post holes led the investigators to conclude the area was mostly used as an autumn hunting and fishing camp.  Carbon-dating of remains show that it was occupied from at least 2300 BC until the local villages were burned and the people  forced out of the area by General Clinton's brigade of Continental Army troops during their campaign to destroy the Iroquois in August of 1779. 

After the conclusion of the war, the Young family acquired several hundred acres of land around the confluence of the creek and river - the home at the edge of the park dates from the early 1800s.

The farm operated for nearly a hundred and fifty years. The Young family mostly raised dairy cows, and of course grew hay and other crops. They sold their milk and eggs in Oneonta.

At one time the road from West Davenport to Emmons (now County Route 47) ran across the Young farm, crossing the river on a wooden bridge. Apparently a now-forgotten dispute in the 19th century between Mr. Young and the Town Fathers resulted in the rerouting of the road to its current location. A new bridge was built, and it in turn was demolished in 1932 to make way for a newer, wider one.

The farm declined after the Second World War, and in 1959 Mrs. Elise Young and her husband Albert Fortin decided to try their hand at operating an airport. They cleared acres of thornapple trees and graded a runway 125 feet wide and 2400 feet long.

The airport thrived during the 1960s and 1970s, with several instructors training students, and many local aircraft owners using the field for recreational flying, fly-in breakfasts and the like. Governor Rockefeller once flew in to F&F Airpark (as it was known) in his Beach 18.

The Fortins operated the small airport on the site of the park from 1959 to 2000. In 2000, the Town purchased the airport and made it a town park.  The converted runway space features large, flat, open, grassy spaces, with pavilions, barbeques, and former aircraft hangars used for skating in the winter and available for other activities in the summer months.

Fortin Park also has a small network of trails used by walkers and local high school runners. A quiet and beautiful spot, it is a great place to hold your event, only minutes from the city of Oneonta and less than a mile from I-88 and a shopping plaza.

Fortin park is open during daylight hours year round.