John J. Gann Jr. was worried about the future.
It was the summer of 1969, and city dwellers were becoming annoyed with urban conditions. They were moving to the country, and suburban developments were becoming common sights. Now, city problems such as preservation of open and farm lands, rising taxes, pollution and traffic congestion were becoming country problems.
“I don’t think it is inevitable, but by the way things are going, it is probable that success will spoil the country,” said Gann, an associate with the community resource and development unit of Cornell University. “Country residents have the ways and means to prevent city development problems in their area, but to be most effective, these means must be utilized in advance.”
City and country folks were listening. Gann made his speech at the Rural Urban Mixer at Duanesburg’s Pine Grove Dairy on Wednesday, Aug. 6, 1969.
The mixer was an annual summer party, sponsored by the agricultural committee of the Schenectady Chamber of Commerce, Schenectady County Extension Service, Schenectady County Farm Bureau and local granges, among other organizations.
Gann had dire warnings, but Mac Kuglar, Norris Stout and Ernie DeMarco had fire warmings: The guys were cooking chicken for the 450 guests. Seven hundred ears of corn, 350 pounds of potato salad and mini cartons of milk also were on the menu.