Enjoy this timeline of Klock's Park; former location of the Transient Camp and now the Harry C. Smith Benefit Club.
Thank you Sharon Fuller for your work on this project.
Dr. Charles M. Klock
---5/19/1920--Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Reaney have presented the village of St. Johnsville without reservation a beautiful 10 acre tract of land to be used for a public park. The park is to be known as the Dr. Charles M. Klock Memorial Park and this name is the only condition attached to the gift. The park is located near the mill road of West St. Johnsville and was formerly known as Chain Swing Grove and also as Indian Gully. The village board promptly accepted the gift and will take steps looking into the proper management of the gift.
---11/25/1927--(From the letter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Reaney to the village board)--“We desire to present to the Village of St. Johnsville a gift of all out interest in the following described land, for a public park and playground: the letter continues to describe the surveyed area of the 50 acres, more or less, that the Reaneys were gifting.”
---11/30/1927-(From the St. J. newspaper)--At a village board meeting a communication was received from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph H. Reaney giving the village an additional 50 acres to add to the original 10 acre gift given in 1920 and known as the Dr. Charles M. Klock Memorial Park. The gift consists of a parcel of rugged valley extending along Klock Creek including the famous “Big Six” swimming hole and the big six spring on the property.
---5/11/1929-(Ams.-DD&R)—The Community Club has completed planting 3,000 white pine trees in Morris Klock Park at St. Johnsville.
---5/23/1932--The present village board is favorably inclined towards development of Klock Park, but are hampered by the fact village funds are tied up with numerous demands, but the main hindrance is the fact that the park is cut off for travel and only reached over a private right of way.
---1933-4-(From a booklet handed out at the opening of the new addition of the Margaret Reaney Memorial Library)--A 20 acre plot, which completed the allotment and gained an entrance on the north road, was the third and final section of donated by the Reaneys for Klock Park.
---2/1/1934-(Ams.-ER)--Ivan Asay, Herkimer, TERA official, has announced that the government intends to establish a transient camp near the village. It is understood that representatives have been looking at land in the Chain Swing section in West St. Johnsville.
---4/3/1934-(Utica-OD)--The St. Johnsville village board approves $30,000 for the building of a camp for transients to be located at Klock Park. Under the contract with the government St. Johnsville, at the end of two years, will own the building to use as it pleases.
---4/7/1934-(Ams.-ER)--Three members of the St. Johnsville ministerial group protested (three days after the contract had been let) against the establishment of the transient camp at Klock Park, claiming that the wanderers might stray into the village and cause trouble.
---4/18/1934--Work is starting on the transient camp at Klock Park.
---5/9/1934--The Transient Camp is nearing completion. Visitors to the site of the Crum Creek road above Hills Falls are impressed with the extent of the project. The transient camp building consists of a central building with wings stretching from either side.
---5/30/1934—Six hundred blankets and 200 pillows have arrived at the transient camp.
---5/30/1934-(Yesterday-6/1/1934)--Work is progressing at the immense transient camp at Klock Park.
---6/5/1934-(Utica-DP)--The occupants of the big transient camp at Klock Park will not want for recreational facilities. A lot across the road has been transformed into a baseball field (land courtesy of J.H. Reaney) and double tennis courts built to the southeast of the camp. Showers are also available.
---6/8/1934-(Cooperstown-Otsego Farmer & Republican)--The huge Montgomery county transient camp in Klock’s Park, St. Johnsville, will be ready for occupancy by June 10.
---7/4/1934--The Federal Transient Camp for homeless men in St. Johnsville, located at Klock Park, was opened last week.
---7/11/1934--A fire in the wood lot known as the Chawgo Woods was reported to the transient camp and boys from the camp brought it under control.
---7/18/1934--Work is being done on the baseball diamond directly across the road from the transient camp. The transient camp team will play a game of baseball tomorrow night at the camp diamond having as opponents the county road team.
---8/1934--Mr. Reaney, appreciative of the need for recreation for those who do not find enjoyment in the ball games and other sports at the camp, has presented the camp with a small library of 750 volumes.
---8/4/1934-(G-J-MH)-A few days ago, a petition, signed by a number of townspeople, was presented to Major Charles P. Savary, in charge of the transient camp in Klock Park, requesting he keep the transients from using the swimming pool known as “Big Rock”, located near the transient camp.
---10/24/1934--Capacity has nearly been reached at the Transient Camp.
---2/11/1935-(Ams.-ER)--Frank Stasi, who stabbed a man at the Transient Camp in St. Johnsville gets one and a half years to three years at Clinton prison.
---3/20/1935--A report states that a large amount of work has been done by the men of the transient camp in the woods near the camp.
---5/8/1935--A group of men from the Federal Transient Camp at Klock Park will start working on a roadway to accommodate visitors to the Scout Camporal and Rally easy access to the grounds.
---9/17/1935--A resolution objecting to a proposal that after September 20 no more transients will be cared for by TERA funds was featured at the regular monthly meeting of the Board of Supervisors. A communication from the state division director of TERA stated it planned to give no more relief to transients after September 20 and instead institute a WPA relief program for transients in this county and others.
---12/4/1935--The upkeep of the Transient Camp in Klock Park was entirely a state proposition and the village or town paid nothing.
---12/11/1935—Chris Caffrey replaces Maj. Charles Savary as the supervisor of the transient camp. The camp went under WPA supervision the first of this month.
---6/11/1936-(Utica-OD)--The progress made on the grounds at Camp St. Johnsville was demonstrated Tuesday evening. An inspection of the grounds showed a number of good roads have been constructed, as well as foot and bridle paths. Campground and stone fireplaces have been built.
---6/19/1936--Mr. J.H. Reaney donates 500 shrubs to be set in the foreground of the transient camp.
---8/18/1936-(Ams.-ER)--The Transient Camp in Klock Park at St. Johnsville is one of 6 of the original 24 that were in the state. It is one of two that is operated by the WPA.
---10/22/1936-(GJ-LH)—Transient camp to close—no date set.
---10/21/1936--The transient camp will close. The property reverts to the village. The local institution is to be liquidated by the government.
---10/30/1936-(Cooperstown-OF)-- The WPA camp management division has announced that as soon as the necessary formalities can be concluded, Camp St. Johnsville, the transient camp institution in that village, will be closed.
---10/1936-(Ams.-ER)--Members of the St. Johnsville Board of Elections have announced they have that they have refused to let 166 inmates of the transient camp to register to vote on November 3. The transients are not residents of this town and must vote in their own towns.
---12/5/1935-(Utica-DP)--The village has named a caretaker for the transient camp building in Klock Park.
---5/8/1937-(Ams.-ER)--Klock Park will be formally opened May 15 for public picnics. There are a number of fireplaces, running water and many fine walks laid out for the comfort of those who wish to visit Hills Falls.
---8/24/1938--The local King Hendrick tribe of Red Men of St. Johnsville repulsed an attack by the Fort Plain Red Men in a softball battle on the Red Men’s diamond opposite the former transient camp at Klock Park.
---8/16/1939--The local Red Men will meet the Brown Bros. softball team diamond tomorrow night. Alofs will pitch for the locals.
---1/25/1940-(G&J-MH)--The Rotary Club reversed its attitude of a week ago and adopted this resolution: Be it resolved that we go on record as being opposed to the bringing of the National Youth Administration school to the transient camp here.
---1/26/1940-(Utica-OD)---The former transient camp in the municipally-owned by the village will not become a National Youth Administration vocational school. The St. Johnsville Village Board has vetoed the NYA proposal.
---8/21/1940---Arrows, on which the name of Klock Park has been printed in large letters, have been placed at the corner of Mill Rd. and Route 5, West St. Johnsville, and at the junction of roads on Klock Creek. Also, at both entrances to the park, the one opposite the ball diamond and the other on the easterly bank of Klock Creek, are large signs which guide motorists to the picnic area.
---6/1941-(Utica-OD)--Klock Park, the municipally owned tract located a mile from the village, has been definitely decided upon as the site for the Regional 4-H Club Camp, to be conducted during the 1st week of August.
---7/29/1941-(Ams.-ER)—The first summer camp of the Mohawk Valley 4-H Clubs opened Sunday at Klock Park.
---11/10/1941—(Ams.-ER)—The 4-H are meeting at Klock Park for their postponed Halloween Party.
---7/22/1942-(Ams.-ER)—The former transient camp at Klock Park is to be used by 4-H Club campers.
---5/20/1943-(Ams.-ER)—The local Auxiliary Police organization went on record approving the proposed leasing by the village of former transient camp building for use by the NYCRR to house maintenance employees.
11/12/1943-(Ams-ER)--A lease, granting use of the village-owned former transient camp building in Klock Park to the New York Central Railroad at an annual rental of $1500, has been entered into by the village board, but a clause permits cancellation of the lease by either party.
---3/29/1944-(Ams.-ER)—Local Spanish students will act as translators for Mexicans at the former transient camp.
---4/14/1944-(Ams.-ER)--The half a hundred Mexican laborers employed by the New York Central Railroad housed in the former transient camp in Klock Park, received their first pay Wednesday.
---5/18/1944—The Central School will provide English classes for the Mexican laborers in the former transient camp.
---7/31/1944-(G&J-LH)--Three Mexican employees of the New York Central Railroad, housed at the former transient camp in Klock Park, were arrested for public intoxication.
---4/17/1945-(Ams.-ER)--New York Central Railroad will be terminating the lease on Klock Park April 30. The mayor states New York Central has left the camp better than when it was first used by them. Improvements have been made in the kitchen, on the building. The well and disposal facilities.
---6/1947--New York Central Railroad is again renting the building at Klock Park to house laborers.
---4/26/1948-(G&J-MH)--The transient camp was rented last year; there is no indication that it will produce any income this year.
---9/30/1954-(G&J-LH)--Consideration is being given by the St. Johnsville Village Board to the disposition of the former transient camp building in Klock Park.
---11/11/1954-(Under Legal Notice)--Notice: Sale of the Transient Camp--Bids not later than 11/23/1954
---7/25/1957--Mohawk Indians meet with the village board to discuss the possibility of purchasing the transient camp and some land of Klock Park for a museum. Offers in the range of $10,000 or more will be entertained for the camp building and 10 acres of land.
---5/29/1958--The Rod and Gun Club offers $3000 to the village transient camp and an adjoining 10 acres.
---6/30/1958--The St. Johnsville Village Board has given approval to acceptance of the $3,000 offer by the St. Johnsville Rod and Gun Club to purchase the former transient camp property in Klock Park, with a provision permitting re-purchase by the village under certain conditions.
--It was voted to write a formal letter to the assessors of the Town of St. Johnsville, requesting that the new assessment of $2,400 on Klock Park be removed, since the property is used for municipal purposes.
---11/27/1958-(Ams.-ER)--The lease drawn for the transient camp property was satisfactory to the Rod and Gun Club and only minor changes will be made.
---9/30/1958-(Ams.-ER)—The St. Johnsville Rod and Gun Club votes to buy the transient camp.
---10/29/1959-(Ams.-ER)--Arby Green appeared before the village board and handed in his resignation as caretaker of the transient camp at Klock Park, effective December 1.
---1/14/1960--The St. Johnsville Village Board officially approved the lease agreement between the village and the Rod and Gun Club for the transient camp property. It was submitted by Attorney James Conboy to Mayor W. Kraft for the latter’s signature which the board agreed to. (This agreement later fell through.)
---4/1/1961-(Ams.-ER)--Correspondence from the State Conservation Department was read to the village board concerning a possibility that the department may take over the Transient Camp in Klock Park.
---5/16/1961-(Ams.-ER)--The fate of the former transient camp building in Klock Park was discussed at the meeting of the Village Board, but no final action has yet been taken. The Auxiliary Police have indicated an interest in the property, but Mayor Kraft has had contact with the State Conservation Department which has also indicated an interest.
---11/30/1961-(Ams.-ER)--Also discussed at the St. Johnsville Board meeting, as it has been countless times in the past, was the deteriorating condition of the former transient camp building in Klock Park.
---3/1/1962--The Auxiliary Police are interested in buying the building and a small portion of the land surrounding it at Klock Park, but not the complete park land.
---5/24/1962-(G&J-LH)--The village board votes to receive bids for the sale of the transient camp and for complete removal of the buildings with an alternate bid offering to remodel the buildings.
---6/15/1962-(G&J-LH)--A bid of $1000 was received from Dominick Peruzzi for the purchase of the transient camp at Klock Park. He is to tear down and remove the buildings.
---8/9/1962--The Benefit Club purchases a portion of the Transient Camp for $400. The club arranged to buy the center portion from Dominick Peruzzi, who came into possession of the building through an agreement with the village to raze the structure.
---8/23/1962--Monday evening of this week was set as the date to start work reconstructing the remaining portion of the former transient camp building by the St. Johnsville Benefit club, which recently purchased it.
---9/14/1963--There was a discussion if taxes by the village board on the former transient camp building in Klock Park. The St. Johnsville Benefit Club recently acquired it and remodeled it. It was brought out that the Benefit Club has the responsibility of paying the taxes on the building while the village is responsible for the taxes on the land.
---11/19/1964--The St. Johnsville police apprehend vandalism suspects who committed damages at Klock Park.
---11/12/1969-(Ams.-R)--The Benefit club, meeting at the rooms at Klock Park voted to rename the club after Harry C. Smith who was treasurer of the club until his death two weeks ago. Mr. Smith spent many hours laboring on helping to rebuild the building and donated $100 to the purchase price.