Henry H. Hill Celebrates 100 Years and SCL Ornament Unveiling!
 
In the year 1918, Henry Hixon Hill started the company, Henry H. Hill out of his house on Main Street in Olean, NY.  His main focus was on repairing magnetos used for the primary ignition system in the oil well industry. Fast forward 100 years, and the company switched gears slightly and is now the largest Axalta paint distributor and hydraulic/industrial hose shop in the Southern Tier.
 
Donald and Tom Derx (father and son) have been operating and owning the business since 1972.  Tom came to the GOACC office last year and asked if his family business could be recognized as one of the Santa Claus Lane ornament in honor of their 100th years in business.  GOACC said yes, what a great idea!
 
This Friday, August 24th, Henry H. Hill will have a public open house from Noon to 4 p.m., with a special ribbon cutting and rededication of the business at 1:30 p.m.  as well as an unveiling of the ornament.  Dignitaries from Congressman Thomas Reed, Senator Catharine Young, and City of Olean’s offices will be at the ceremony with proclamations from their respective offices.
 
The ornament of Henry H. Hill will join with the Bradner Stadium ornament as the 2018 Santa Claus Lane ornaments.  Through the ornament sales, holiday lights are funded and can be lit in Olean from November to early January. 

Included with each of the ornaments is a brief history -- In the year 1918, Henry Hixon Hill started the company out of his house on Main Street in Olean, NY.  His main focus was on repairing magnetos used for the primary ignition system in the oil well industry.
 
During the 1920 and 1930s, Henry started repairing generators, starters and building cold storage batteries.  The company was incorporated in 1929.  In the 1930’s Justus Derx took ownership of the company from Henry Hill’s widow, Helen Hill.
 
In the coming years when aftermarket auto parts became available, Henry H. Hill, Inc. became a distributor.  Throughout the years, three generations of the Derx family were and still are key members of this business. In 1972, two events reshaped the company.  Justus passed away and his two sons, Donald and John took ownership of the business.  They also moved to their current location at 1208 W. State St.
 
In 1983, Donald took primary ownership of the company.  His son Tom joined him in 1977.  In the 1980s, Donald and Tom put in a complete machine shop.  They continue to do electrical repair in the machine shop. In 1977, they added a hydraulic and industrial hose shop.  In 2000, they purchased the Olean Sales Company.  These two purchases allowed Henry H. Hill, Inc. to be the largest Axalta paint distributor and hydraulic/industrial hose shop in the Southern Tier.
 
Servicing the community and their loyal customers has been their number one priority since 1918.  2018 marks Henry H. Hill, Inc.’s 100th year in business. The Derx family would like to thank everyone for all of their years of support.
 
The new ornaments are available at the Chamber office at 301 North Union Street.  Ornaments can also be shipped outside Olean for an additional $6 for shipping/handling charges per ornament.   For more information on the ornament or Santa Claus Lane activities, please call GOACC at 716/372-4433, stop in the office, or email.

22nd Santa Claus Lane Ornament Now Available

Bradner Stadium History

Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce has unveiled its newest Santa Claus Lane ornament, a depiction of the BradnerStadium.  Through the ornament sales, holiday lights are funded and can be lit in Olean from November to early January.  The ornament, in a series created by artist Kathleen McDonald, is $25.00.


Every year, the Santa Claus Lane committee chooses the landmarks to be designed on the 3 1/2 inch circular resin ornament.  The artist sketches the layout from photos provided by Chamber officials and a prototype is created.  Once the prototype is approved, work begins with the process of pouring and hand-painting each piece.  The ornaments arrive in Olean, individually boxed and numbered, with a brief description of the ornament. 
 
The new ornaments are available at the Chamber office at 301 North Union Street.  Ornaments can also be shipped outside Olean for an additional $6 for shipping/handling charges per ornament.   For more information on the ornament or Santa Claus Lane activities, please call GOACC at 716/372-4433, stop in the office, or email.

Included with each of the ornaments is a brief history -- Bradner Stadium  Olean, New York -- According to city records, in 1913, a group of influential and wealthy city residents began discussing Olean's need for its own stadium. In 1919, they formed a private organization called the Olean Park Improvement Association (OPIA).
 
By 1924, they had 40 acres of land. The land included a former basin that was part of the Genesee Valley Canal near the confluence of Olean Creek and the Allegheny River. The basin was used for loading and unloading canal boats and for turning the boats around.
 
In February 1925, OPIA offered the land to the citizens of Olean at cost. Marsha Boardman Bradner and her husband, John Howe Bradner, offered to finance the construction of the stadium.
 
On May 10, 1926, construction of the stadium began. The engineering department of A.G. Spaulding and Brothers designed the stadium and its athletic fields. The design included a baseball diamond, football field, track and tennis courts. Havens Construction Co. of Olean was the general contractor.
 
Bradner Stadium opened June 20, 1927 with a seating capacity of 6,000.
 
Around 1928 James F. "App" Driscoll formed the Olean Nationals baseball team. The team called Bradner Stadium their home until it disbanded in 1938.
 
The Olean Oilers were originally a minor-league baseball team that played in the New York-Pennsylvania League from 1939-1951 and from 1955-1958. 
 
During 1939-1956 the Oilers played in the Pennsylvania-Ontario-New York League.  The Oilers were affiliated with the Brooklyn Dodgers, the St. Louis Browns and the Philadelphia Phillies. When the Oilers were a farm club for the Dodgers, the Oilers brought regular minor-league baseball games to Olean, along with annual exhibition games featuring the major-league Dodgers.
 
The Dodgers signed Jackie Robinson, the first African-American to play in the majors. This year’s exhibition game was held June 8, 1947.  Playing first base and batting third, Robinson collected three hits, including a long double, two RBI and a run scored to lead the parent Dodgers to an 8-0 one-hit triumph over the Oilers. The game was played before 4,000 eager fans inside Bradner, many of whom had scaled the fences ticketless just to catch a glimpse of the big-league opponent.
 
Local high schools without athletic facilities would use the stadium for football, baseball and track meets.  Community events were held including car shows, flea markets and - of course - the Fourth of July fireworks that have been held annually in Bradner since 1947.
 
The Olean Common Council started major renovations in 1969, which included a new entrance, new lights, and a blacktop sidewalk.  In 1970, a $150,000 drainage tile system was installed beneath the field.
 
The true return of major events came when top touring music acts began playing at the stadium.  Charlie Daniels, the Beach Boys, Chuck Berry, the Four Seasons, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eddie Money and Joan Jett were just a few of the big names that played Bradner Stadium.
 
Mayor David Carucci during his term in office started the renovation process at the stadium.  The grandstand, which contained the locker room, was torn down.  These efforts created an effect of planned future restorations.
 
In 2009, the semi-professional Southern Tier Diesel of the Northeastern Football Alliance relocated from Wayland to begin play at the stadium.
 
In 2012, the Olean Oilers team was reinvented in the collegiate, wood bat development team with the NYCBL (New York Collegiate Baseball League), which is affiliated with Major League Baseball.  Brian and Rene O'Connell moved the Olean Oilers to their historical home at Bradner Stadium in 2014.  The Olean Oilers won back-to-back NYCBL championships in 2015 and 2016 with manager Bobby Bell at the helm.  
 
Began with Mayor Carucci, continuing through Mayor Linda Witte’s term, and completed during Mayor William Aiello’s term, the Bradner Stadium was constructed into the field of dreams it is today.  Renovations included a complete overhaul of the tunnel entrance under East State Street, as well as the installation of a baseball diamond and a permanent dugout.  Also completed were the replacement of  the original 1925 electrical switchgear and transformers, the installation of safety netting around the backstop area, and the replacement of a dangerous sidewalk around the top walking area of the stadium.
 
Nearly 70 years to the day, an exhibition baseball game made its return to Bradner in the form of the New York Collegiate Baseball League All-Star game, held on July 13, 2017.

 SANTA CLAUS LANE

Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce • 716-372-4433 • email