At the turn of the last century entertainment in New Hartford was generally local in origin and usually was composed of either music or drama. There was a New Hartford Chorus with over thirty members, a brass band in Nepaug, and a regular series of concerts, dramatic productions, and talent shows. Musical programs were generally mixed classical pieces, popular songs, and readings of verse. Many of them took place in the North Congregational Church and its Assembly Hall; additionally, in the early years of the town, the Chapin Hall in Pine Meadow, located where the Pine Meadow Post office now stands, had room for assemblies and social gatherings. The other popular location was Nepaug’s church.
The concerts relied heavily on New Hartford’s unusually rich musical talent. People such as Efrem Zimbalist Sr., an internationally recognized violinist, Clara Louise Kellog and Teresa Stich Randall, both internationally recognized opera stars, could be counted on to perform locally at Christmas Concerts and other occasions.
Dances were another popular form of entertainment. They were often held in the old Bakerville tannery on the third floor. This was the big red building in Bakerville, at Cedar Lane and Rte. 202, that was taken down last year. The third floor, known also as Jones’ dance hall, was a full width and length clear space, with a sprung floor and a small stage at the far end. Additionally, it had a small piano and a cloak room, complete with a small wood stove, which was received for the ladies. A grander dance hall was that in the Town Hall, now the Senior Center and Assembly room.