Your Hometown: The Queen Village of Oneida County
Whether it's a sports hero or childhood friend, when you get or give a nickname, it usually has a very special meaning. The same can be said for the Village of Camden. The village got its nickname more than 100 years ago. In this week's edition of "Your Hometown", our Sarah Hagen takes us back in time to a beauty contest that forever changed Camden's image.
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CAMDEN, N.Y. -- For those like 81-year-old John Plumley, that grew up in the Village of Camden, the story behind the "Queen Village" is common knowledge.
Camden resident John Plumley said, "We knew it, we were taught it in school. It was instilled in us, that this is the Queen Village."
But for others, both newcomers and visitors alike, it's usually one of the first questions asked.
Museum Board Member Eleanor Seckner said, "I was curious, wanted to know someday, just why it was labeled that."
Now years later, Eleanor Seckner works at the local museum and is in charge of explaining that label.
It's a title that dates back to the late 1800's, at the Oneida County Fair.
Camden Area Chamber of Commerce President Diane Miller said, "The Queen Village of Camden, the title came about as a result of a contest."
Miller added, "...trying to have the prettiest town, most attractive, and we won."
Then the contest was never held again and the Village of Camden was forever deemed the winner.
Miller said, "People take a lot of pride in that this village is known as the Queen Village."
Plumley said, "...the beauty, the trees, the lawns, the churches, historic buildings."
But maintaining such a title wasn't always easy, in the early 1900's the village became the victim of a string of fires, bringing damage to Main Street, which residents call the heart of the Queen Village.
Seckner said, "There were three major fires, involving the main street, the churches."
Residents in the village say the community was quickly revived, and has always been deserving of its title.
Miller said, "...the landscape is one thing, but the people, everyone in this town cares about each other."
People, who for generations, have worked to live up to their awarded name and a name they hope, other's can also appreciate.
Seckner said, "Well, maybe they would want to come for themselves and see what they think."
For those of you interested in seeing the Queen Village for yourself, the museum has set aside a self-guided tour day for September 18th.