Around the corner find cellar stairs, to see the man who isn’t there.
Nor are the stairs, though seek therein; he stored a cache encased in tin.
The Marathon Area Historical Society, newly formed in 2002, is located here at the 1861 Building on Lovell Field. Prior tenants included a church, post office and beauty parlor. Also located in close proximity on Lovell Field are the Marathon Maple Museum and the Civic Building.
Marathon was first settled as a Military Township in the late 1700’s from veteran land grants given for honorable service during the Revolutionary War. In 1818, Marathon was formed and grew slowly with commercial enterprises such as sawmills, gristmills, tanneries, taverns, and other businesses. To this day, the township relies on agriculture as its main industry.
The east side of the Tioughnioga saw the most rapid village growth in the mid-1800’s, as the stage road from Cortland to Binghamton ran on this side. The arrival of the railroad in 1854 on the west side of the river insured a boom for that side, with connections to the New York, Lake Erie and Western Railroad to the south and the New York Central Railroad to the north. By the late 1800’s, Marathon was a bustling commercial town and the structures built at that time reflected this air of prosperity.
While many historic structures remain today in the Village of Marathon, occasional devastating floods have damaged or destroyed a number of buildings. One such example, the Smith Block, which originally abutted the Tarbell Building to create a row block, was destroyed in the severe flooding of 1935.
These days Marathon celebrates its heritage with an annual Maple Festival in the spring and an old-time celebration, the 1890 Union Fair, in late summer.
The building next door to the 1861 Building currently serves as the Marathon Maple Festival Museum but at one time was the Seeber Feed Store, owned and operated by Clayton Seeber. One evening in 1930, Clayton’s son Carter walked by the store and claimed he heard what sounded like a robbery in progress. He excitedly ran to the movie theater nearby to find the deputy sheriff, whereupon they gathered up a posse.
After surrounding the store and throwing a stone through the front glass window to get the suspected robber’s attention, store owner Clayton Seeber stepped out, frightened and with a pistol drawn. Shots rang out and Clayton dropped dead. Adding to the excitement, a woman with whom Clayton was having a private meeting ran out the back door. She was summarily shot but survived.
Later, it was generally understood that the son was aware of the paramours’ rendezvous and intended to embarrass his father but did not anticipate its tragic turn. The deputy sheriff believed to have fired the shot that killed Clayton Seeber was running for sheriff at the time and his brother, standing beside him, took the blame.
The incident received sensational coverage in the press, yet no one was ever convicted of a crime. Sadly, Carter Seeber died by his own hand 30 years later.