If there is one county where local history should loom large on the political landscape that should be Dutchess County. It was less than a century ago when it had arguably the most famous local historian in America, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. That historical legacy contributed to the disappointment over the fact that Dutchess County did not have a county historian when I began writing at New York History.
In a series of posts surveying the various New York State history community constituencies I devoted one post to the County Historians. I noted that some counties were not complying with the state regulations. Dutchess County was one violator, but I anticipated that would be rectified following the County Executive election for since both major-party candidates endorsed filling the position. There is a story to be told in how that happened that sheds light on the position of county historians throughout the state as well as with implications for the Path through History project. Read more →
Regular readers know that I am a strong advocate of the role of the county historian as a promoter of historical education, community heritage, and cultural tourism. Although the position is a required by state law, the actual job requirements and benefits are left up to the individual counties. Read more →
Part 2 of The Finger Lakes Museum’s three-part inaugural program series, Back from the Brink- The Story of Hemlock and Canadice Lakes, will be presented at the Finger Lakes Wine Center in Ithaca on Thursday, August 18th at 7:00 p.m. The series highlights the natural and cultural history of the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes. Lima Town Historian Douglas Morgan will present, “Blue Blood to Blue Water”, a forgotten view of what Hemlock and Canadice—the only two undeveloped Finger Lakes—looked like between 1875 and 1945. It is a remarkable story of quaint cottages, elegant summer homes, bustling resort hotels, and passenger-ferrying steamboats—and the City of Rochester’s need of a new source for clean drinking water. Morgan’s program will include a slide presentation of antique photographs that help tell his story.
Part 3, “Lakes Go Wild”, will be presented in the Finger Lakes Wine Center on Thursday, September 1st at 7:00 p.m. It will tell about watershed protection efforts that began more than a century ago and detail the trials and tribulations that eventually evolved into the 7,000-acre Hemlock-Canadice State Forest in 2010. A slide presentation will accompany this final program chapter.
According to museum board president, John Adamski, Part 1 of the series, “From the Brink of Extinction”, which was presented at the Wine Center on Saturday, August 6th, “told the story of the successful restoration of the bald eagle—a conservation effort that began in the Finger Lakes Region and spread across the nation.” He added, “People were excited to see Liberty, a live bald eagle, in-person, and were enthusiastic about The Finger Lakes Museum’s vision.”
Each of the “Back from the Brink” presentations is free and open to the public but pre-registration is requested. Donations are welcome.
The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from offices in a former elementary school in Branchport, NY, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District in January.
The Museum’s Board of Trustees has launched a Founders Campaign to raise $1 million to retain design professionals and other consultants, hire staff, and pay for day-to-day operations. With a donation of $100 or more, anyone can become a Museum Founder and have their name permanently inscribed on the Founders Wall in the lobby of The Finger Lakes Museum. Donors will also receive a Founder certificate and decal.
For more information on the Founders Campaign or to pre-register for these programs, visit our website at www.fingerlakesmuseum.org or call us at 315-595-2200. Photo: A 1910 Reunion at the Hemlock Lake Resort Springwater.