8.31.2006

What's in a Name No.8: Unadilla

One of my favorite place names upstate is Unadilla; it rolls off the tongue nicely, like a song, and gives the impression of a beautiful isolated town that time forgot.* The word 'unadilla' is and Iroquois word meaning "place of meeting" and lends its name to the Unadilla River, which has two branches that meet in the hamlet of Unadilla Forks. The original Unadilla, first settled in 1770 in what is now the town of Sidney, was destroyed in the Revolutionary War, and then rebuilt in its current location. Unadilla is the name of a village as well as the township, the river, the valley, and the hamlet (Unadilla Forks) The Unadilla area is not only home to the meeting of both branches of the Unadilla River and the Unadilla and the Susquehanna River, but also the meeting of Otsego, Delaware, and Chenango counties.
There are several other Unadillas in the country, deriving their name from the upstate Unadilla.

Having successfully used the word 'Unadilla' in every sentence of this brief installment of "What's in a Name," I will leave you with this 1915 map of the aformentioned village.
Posted by Natalie
*I must confess, I have yet to visit Unadilla, so I can't say one way or the other if the impression the name gives me is accurate.

4 comments:

Jenn C. said...

As a Binghamton native who presently lives in Albany, and who went to college in Oneonta, I've passed the Unadilla exit on I-88 hundreds of times. I think it's ironic that you had envisioned Unadilla as "a beautiful isolated town that time forgot." It is my understanding that prior to the construction of I-88, Route 7 (which runs through Unadilla) was the main way people traveled from Binghamton to Albany. Once I-88 was built, most of the towns along Route 7 were forgotten. However, this spring's tragic flooding caused I-88 to be closed between Sidney and Unadilla, and had brought tons of traffic through the towns during the summer. Not forgotten anymore! I drove through Unadilla for the first time in July; it is a cute little town. According to a fairly recent article in the Albany Times-Union, the increased traffic hasn't really boosted Unadilla's economy, which is a shame considering the damage the flooding had done to the surrounding area.

joe said...

Yo, i think if you head north from unadilla you can get to Eunice Welsh's not-quite-haunted mausoleum.

Trace said...

I grew up in the aformentioned Unadilla my whole life, only this past summer did I move away to PA. It is a very quiet town, and time did kind of forget us. Everyone knows each other, everyone is friendly and welcoming. The entire length of main street is lined in stately maple trees that are well over a hundred years old. I miss it. If you travel up the river in either direction that "small town friendlyness" seems to vaporize. It's really quite funny to hear how many mispronunciations of Unadilla there are. It is pronounced: Yoon-ah-dilla. The worst pronunciation I have ever heard to date was: Un-ah-diya *lol*

Jeff Mount said...

Unadilla motocross nationals- the one n only reason it stays on the map