Tag Archives: Oneida County

Utica Landmarks Society Honors Preservationists

The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica has honored the recipients of its 2011 Awards of Merit at the society’s annual meeting November 17. A Lifetime Achievement/Distinguished Service Award was presented to Rand Carter, Professor of the History of Art, Hamilton College, for nearly two decades of dedication to the Landmarks Society and the area community in the preservation of historic properties.

The additional honorees are:

David and Regina Bonacci, 251-253 Bleecker St. In 2009, the Bonacci’s purchased a building which most recently contained Gerald’s Men Shop and which dates back to the mid 1800s. It had been on the “endangered buildings” list and was scheduled for demolition for parking in 2007. After extensive renovation, the building now serves as the Bonacci’s loft-style residence, and houses Bonacci Architects headquarters.

St. Joseph’s/St. Patrick’s Church, 702 Columbia St. Constructed in 1873 by German parishioners, the church merged with St. Patrick’s Church in 1968. The parish recently completed a privately funded, $2 million interior and exterior renovation which reflects its commitment to excellence and authenticity in the restoration of sacred spaces and historic buildings.

Manuel and Emmita Avila, l001 Miller St. The Avila’s purchased this stately Queen Anne Colonial Revival house which was on the city’s most endangered buildings list, and have undertaken significant restoration efforts to save it from further deterioration.

Tracy Mills, the The New Uptown Theatre, 2014 Genesee St. Mills purchased Utica’s only full-time movie theater in Utica in 2007. She has since completed the first phases of restoration to maintain the theater’s character-defining features, with plans for upcoming work on the marquee and stage. The theatre has become an anchor destination for the Uptown Entertainment District.

Orin and Kim Domenico, Domenico’s Cafe & The Other Side, 2011 Genesee St. The Domenico family has successfully partnered with their neighbors to create a vibrant and thriving coffee shop and venue for a host of community programs in the Uptown Entertainment District.

Stuart Bannatyne and Vincent Ficchi, Pier’s & Blake, 330 Main St. In 2007, Stuart Bannatyne purchased the Doyle Hardware building, constructed in 1881. hrough a substantial renovation program, the building has been returned to its original character. Thanks to Bannatyne and his business partner Vincent Ficchi, the building is now home of Pier’s & Blake, a cosmopolitan urban pub and gourmet steak house.

Photo: Rand Carter (right) receives the Distinguished Service/Lifetime Achievement Award from the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica President Michael Bosak. Photo provided.

Ansel Adams Masterworks Exhibit in Utica

Images of the American West by the premier photographer of the 20th Century will be showcased in the major exhibition, Ansel Adams: Masterworks through January 8 in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art in Utica.

The collection of 48 images by Ansel Adams (1902-84) represents two-thirds of his Museum Set, a selection the photographer himself made to represent the best of his life’s work. In these images one sees the importance Adams placed on the drama and splendor of natural environments, particularly in the American West. Visitors to the exhibition will see iconic Adams’ images such as Monolith, the Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, California, 1927 and Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico, 1941.

Adams, a California native, first photographed Yosemite National Park at the tender age of 14 with a Kodak Box Brownie. He fell in love with the forests, valleys, and sublime rock formations there and soon dedicated his life to photographing and advocating for the conservation of the environment. In the 1920s Adams became a guide for the Sierra Club at Yosemite, where he covered the terrain via burro or woody station wagon, setting up his large camera and tripod on the roof of the car. He would be active in the Sierra Club for nearly five decades.

Adams’ stature in the history of photography is monumental. With Edward Weston, he was co-founder of the California–based photography group named f64, which emphasized “straight” or “pure” photography over soft-focus pictorialism. Photographer Alfred Stieglitz, who was an important influence on Adams, gave him a one-artist show at the New York City gallery, An American Place, in 1936. In 1941 Adams was commissioned by the Department of the Interior to document western national parks, including the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, and Carlsbad Caverns. He received the competitive Guggenheim Fellowship three times- was a consultant for Polaroid- was named to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s environmental task force in 1965- was a co-founder of both the Friends of Photography and the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona in 1967- was the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, as well as a cover story subject for Time magazine in 1979- and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Jimmy Carter in 1980. In 1985, on the first anniversary of his death, Yosemite National Park named “Mount Ansel Adams” on the Merced River. Throughout his long career Adams was also an influential teacher- he lectured extensively and wrote several books.

A technical master, Adams developed the Zone System for black-and-white photography, in which light is divided into eleven zones, from pure black to white. This system regulated light exposure and development of negatives in the dark room in order to maximize the photographer’s control of each print. Such control was imperative for Adams, who believed photography reflected the maker’s emotional response to his subject matter.

Photo: Ansel Adams from the 1950 Yosemite Field School yearbook (Wikipedia Photo).

Wedded Perfection: Two Centuries of Wedding Gowns

Vera Wang, Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Zac Posen, and Bob Mackie are just a few of the world-renowned designers whose creations are showcased in “Wedded Perfection: Two Centuries of Wedding Gowns” on view June 19 through September 18 in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art in Utica.

Wedding gowns are the ultimate in fashion opulence. This monumental exhibition, the most impressive ever presented on the wedding gown and the largest in MWPAI history, showcases 50 gowns dating from the 1700s to today.

From vintage to vogue, gilded to goth, these fashion masterpieces are the epitome of artistry, illustrating how the same styles that pervade the fine and decorative arts in the Museum’s collection manifest themselves in fashion art.

Ancient Greek and Roman motifs, which saturated American arts in the late-18th and early-19th centuries, are embodied in the empire waistline, sheer material, and columnar outline of an 1801 gown in “Wedded Perfection.” The bride would have eschewed the opulent heavy silks and structured gowns associated with French and English 18th-century aristocracy of a generation earlier, and as captured in a 1763 emerald-colored, brocaded-silk gown in the exhibition.

Designers transform extraordinary ideas into clothing. Each gown in “Wedded Perfection” relates a story about cultural values, the bride, or the creator of the dress. Dressmaker Ellen Curtis (1850-1923), for example, wanted her own wedding dress to serve as a showpiece, a way to entice more ladies to call on her needle-working artistry. In the exhibition, her stylish wedding dress illustrates a mastery of skill and tailoring techniques and an awareness of all the latest fashions. Contemporary couture designer Zac Posen fashioned an imaginative vision into an extravagant dress for his sister’s 2004 marriage. The intense color and six-foot train ornamented with silk poppies are inspired by the movie “The Wizard of Oz” and reflect the bride’s sense of style. The train in its entirety can be seen in the exhibition.

“Wedded Perfection” will explore the origin of western bridal traditions, trendsetting wedding dresses, contemporary and avant-garde wedding dresses, influential designers and periods when the “traditional” white wedding dress was not worn.

When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert in 1840, she popularized the mode for the single-use white wedding gown. Not all women could afford such a luxury, and dresses of numerous colors are represented in the exhibition. When Evelyn Marie Wright married during the depression, for example, her family was not in a position to buy an elaborate wedding gown. Her future mother-in-law, an accomplished seamstress, crafted a fashionable dress from machine-made lace. The bride chose blue, her favorite color, and despite the high neckline of the dress, its sleek, form-fitting shape and light fabric are alluring.

The variety of styles in the exhibition illustrates how each bride makes a personal statement. As exemplified by the lace, tulle, feathers, fur, rhinestones, and flowered trim on the gowns, the wedding dress is an artistic canvas. The dress may be the most elaborate piece of clothing a woman will ever wear and the one garment in which she is assured rapturous attention. An opulent 1887 gown is ornamented with silver beads, faux pearls, and wax orange blossoms, a symbol of purity. Thirty-four years later, a 1921 dress also elaborately decorated with pearls, demonstrates how quickly fashion arts revolutionize.

With gowns that vary from a fairytale princess style to a 1967 installation piece by celebrated international artist Christo, this exhibition will examine the compelling allure of the glamorous wedding dress for modern women and its present iconic stature. A gown by New Hartford, N.Y., native and Emmy-award winning designer David Zyla evokes historical antecedents interpreted in an ultra-modern and chic manner. Likewise, dresses by Vera Wang illustrate her trendsetting designs of elegant formfitting, strapless dresses.

Including elaborate fashion statements and extreme runway samples by leading designers, “Wedded Perfection” is organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum. Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute is the only other venue for the exhibition. A fully illustrated catalogue will be available in the Gift Gallery.

Special Exhibition Admission: MWPAI Members—first visit free with the voucher that you will receive in the mail- subsequent visits, $5. General Admission—$10

Group tour rates, which include a guided tour and offer a gourmet luncheon on the Fountain Elms Terrace, are available for groups of 20 or more. Contact Ellen Cramer at (315) 797-0000, ext. 2149, for more information.

Photo: Christian Dior (1905-57) France, Wedding Ensemble: Dress, Crinoline, and Headpiece, 1954, linen, silk, Gift of Countess de Rochambeau.

Student Organized Exhibit Highlights Museum Collection

”Follow the Light: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute,” opening April 14 is an exhibition organized by students in the Exploring Museum Careers High School Partnership Program, and examines a broad range of works from the Museum’s collection by tracing the connection each shares with a recent Museum acquisition.

Josiah McElheny’s, Chromatic Modernism (Yellow, Blue, Red), (2008), chosen for the museum collection by Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Mary Murray in honor of the MWPAI 75th anniversary, is the centerpiece for the exhibition. The exhibition shows how such diverse art works as a Tiffany lamp, c. 1900, and a Stuart Davis watercolor, Colors of Spring in the Harbor (1939), are a part of the history behind McElheny’s work, setting up an unexpected relationship between these and a variety of other works from the collection.

A gallery talk will be presented by the exhibition’s student curators at 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow the talk. Follow the Light remains on view through July 7.

The students, Amy Gleitsmann, Journey Gyi, Annalyn McNamara, Andy Mendez, and Roxanna Pineda, from Thomas R. Proctor High School in Utica, and Eliza Bell, Mary Bonomo, and Marlee Mitchell, from Clinton Senior High School, all worked together with Institute staff on all aspects of producing the exhibition, from selecting the objects to leading tours. The students met and worked with other museum staff to learn about each person’s career background and role at the museum. The students completed regular assignments and participated in art research, publication design, marketing, exhibition layout and installation, arranging public programs and tours- and producing an audioguide of the exhibition.

For more information about the program, contact Museum Education Director, April Oswald, at 797-0000 ext. 2144, or aoswald@mwpai.org. Upon the opening of the exhibition, listen to the exhibition audioguide at www.mwpai.org/museum/events.

Landmarks Society of Greater Utica Recognized

Landmarks Society of Greater Utica President Michael Bosak accepted the John J. and Wilma B. Sinnott 2010 Conservation Award at a brunch held in December at the Hotel Utica. The award, administered by the Utica Zoological Society and presented by the late Mr. and Mrs. Sinnott’s daughters – Allison (of West Winfield) and Deirdre (of New York City) – was established by the Sinnott family nine years ago to recognize organizations and individuals that support the preservation of the Earth’s wildlife and natural resources.

The Landmarks Society was recognized for its extraordinary efforts in preserving community architectural and cultural resources of major importance. The award consists of a plaque and a $500 contribution to further the work of the Landmarks Society.

For more information about The Landmarks Society of Greater Utica, visist them online, call them at 315-732-7376, or e-mail info@uticalandmarks.org.

Photo: (l to r): Allison Sinnott- Deirdre Sinnott- Michael Bosak, President of the Landmarks Society and Beth Irons, executive director of the Utica Zoo. Photo provided.

Utica Exhibition Highlights Holiday Season

A mixture of greenery and finery marks the Victorian Yuletide celebration that opens in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute Museum of Art period rooms in Fountain Elms Friday, November 26 and remains on view through January 2, 2011. This annual exhibition brings to life an historical 19th-century Christmas and illustrates the origins of many of today’s Holiday customs.

This year, the dining room and parlor will be arranged to depict an evening party called a kettledrum. At this type of affair, somewhat of a predecessor to the 20th-century cocktail party, the dining table was set with a buffet of cold entrees, salads, fruit, cakes, and other sweets. Guests were served eggnog, tea, coffee, wine, and claret or champagne.

One author of etiquette books noted that at a kettledrum, an assortment of unmatching china should be used, which added to the festive appearance of the table. In keeping with all these traditions, the dining room will feature a bountiful table setting using all of the best crystal, silver, and china, and highlighted by an elaborate Yuletide centerpiece.

The Successful Housekeeper (1882) provides a detailed description of a kettledrum: “At a kettledrum, the time is passed in greeting friends, disconnected fragments of conversation, listening to music or recitations, and, best of all, in partaking of good cheer from the groaning refreshment table.”

After “partaking of good cheer,” a guest could retire to the parlor to enjoy music and the profuse Christmas decorations of greenery and a table-top tree. Despite the convivial gathering and abundant food and spirits, guests were expected to follow certain proprieties. The Successful Housekeeper also noted that: “[Women’s] bonnets are not discarded and only one hand is ungloved. The experienced guest hardly ever remains more than an hour.”

The Museum’s other period rooms will be adorned with various types of Christmas trees. The library will feature a German putz—a traditional miniature farm scene featuring buildings, animals, and figures. The Museum’s putz belonged to the Williams family, whose daughters, Rachel and Maria, grew up in Fountain Elms. The girls’ diaries from the 1860s record the simple gifts they received: books, cornucopias filled with candy, pens and journals, and paper dolls.

In the manner of our forebearers, the period rooms will be dressed with a variety of greenery, ribbon, wreaths, and flowers and with the beauty of autumn, which was harvested and laid aside for the bleak winter holidays. Nineteenth-century toys and games will be on display. All of the decorations that grace the period rooms are based on 19th-century accounts of how a home as grand as Fountain Elms would have been decorated for the Holiday season.

Digital History Archive Adds Important Volumes

Bob Sullivan, of the Schenectady Digital History Archive, has announced that the first two (historical) volumes of Nelson Greene’s four-volume history of Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Schenectady and Schoharie Counties, History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925 is now online.

Included are more than 300 photos and maps, and a biographical section – more than 2000 pages so far, are online. Greene’s History joins the Hudson-Mohawk Genealogical and Family Memoirs, a four-volume set with more than 1300 family entries from Albany, Columbia, Fulton, Greene, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties.

Utica Harbor Lock Reopens, Dredged Soon

The New York State Canal Corporation has announced the start of dredging of the City of Utica Harbor and the re-opening of the refurbished Utica Harbor Lock. The recently completed rehabilitation of the lock by the Canal Corporation will allow dredging to occur for the first time in 30 years. The dredging will allow use of the harbor for future recreational, tourism and economic development opportunities.

Utica’s location on the Erie Canal middle section (the first to open in 1820) stimulated its industrial development. The Chenango Canal, connecting Utica and Binghamton, opened in 1836, and provided a further stimulus for economic development by providing water transportation of coal from Northeast Pennsylvania. With the opening of the Canal, Utica’s population increased threefold over a span of ten years. By the late 19th century, Utica had become a transportation hub and a commercial center but was somewhat limited in its industrial capacity due to low water power on the Mohawk River.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority. In 1992 State legislation transferred the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Thruway Authority. Canal operating and maintenance activities are supported by Thruway toll revenues.

Illustration: Bird’s eye view of the city of Utica, Oneida County, New York 1873. Drawn by H. Brosius.

Oneida Nation Will Remember Battle of Oriskany

The Oneida Indian Nationhas announced that they will participate in an memorial ceremony to remember the 1777 Battle of Oriskany this evening:

231 years ago, the Oneida Indian Nation became the first ally of the American colonists in their fight for freedom, at the Battle of Oriskany. On Wednesday, August 6, at 7 pm, a solemn remembrance ceremony will be held at the battlefield to remember those who fought and those who died at what history has called the ”bloodiest battle of the American Revolution.” The Oneidas will be represented at this community-wide event by Brian Patterson, Bear Clan Representative for the Nation’s Council, and members of the Nation’s reenactment group, First Allies.

The Battle took place in what is now Oneida County on the south side of the Mohawk River. According to the great wiki:

During his march down the Mohawk Valley from Oswego to Albany, Lieutenant Colonel Barry St. Leger besieged Fort Stanwix, then under the command of Colonel Peter Gansevoort. St. Leger’s force of British regulars of the Royal Artillery, 8th and 34th Regiments, loyalist King’s Royal Yorkers and natives of the Six Nations and Seven Nations of Canada laid siege to the fort.

Upon hearing reports of St. Leger’s advance, Brigadier General Nicholas Herkimer assembled the Tryon County militia at Fort Dayton to proceed to Gansevoort’s aid. On August 4, 1777, Herkimer, with 800 militiamen—mostly poorly trained German-American farmers—and 40 Oneida Indians, began the forty-mile (65 km) trek west from Fort Dayton to Fort Stanwix.

When St. Leger learned through Molly Brant that Herkimer and his relief expedition were on their way, he sent Joseph Brant, a Mohawk chief, with more than 400 natives, and Sir John Johnson, with the light infantry company of his King’s Royal Yorkers to intercept them. Their clash at Oriskany Creek was one of the key episodes of the Campaign of 1777.

On August 6, 1777, [the] American relief force from the Mohawk Valley under General Nicholas Herkimer, numbering around 800 men of the Tryon County militia, was approaching to raise the siege. British commander Barry St. Leger authorized an intercept force consisting of a Hanau Jager detachment, Sir John Johnson’s King’s Royal Regiment of New York, Native allies from the Six Nations, and Indian Department Rangers totaling at least 450 men.

The Loyalist and Native force ambushed Herkimer’s force in a small valley about six miles east of Fort Stanwix. During the battle, Herkimer was mortally wounded. The battle cost the Patriots approximately 450 casualties, while the Loyalists and Natives lost approximately 150 dead and wounded. It was a clear victory for the loyalists over the rebels.

But the Loyalist victory was tarnished when a sortie from Fort Stanwix sacked the Crown camp, spoiling morale among the Native Americans.

The Oriskany Battlefield is located on Route 69, two miles west of the Village of Oriskany.

A Western New York Online Historical Resource

Forwarded from Tim Stowell who posted it to the NYDUTCHE (Dutchess County NY) genealogical mailing list, is notice of this massive online archive from the Western New York Library Resources Council. It includes a tremendous collection of maps of the Holland Patent area which are held by the State University of New York at Fredonia.

According to Stowell, “These maps are mainly about New York state and western New York at that – from Herkimer west, but also contain early maps from Pennsylvania to Maine to Georgia and points in between.”