In letters written to his family in Penn Yan, New York, Brown describes his experiences at war: the unseemly carping between fellow officers, the fear that gripped men facing battle, and the longing to return home. Brown’s letters also reveal an ambitious young man who not only wanted recognition but also wanted to assure himself of a financial future. Read more
The Finger Lakes Museum is hosting the premier showing of its documentary film series, Vine to Wine- Savor our Finger Lakes, at Bristol Harbour Resort in Canandaigua on Friday, September 21st. The 6:30 p.m. event includes an assortment of tapas and wine tastings from regional wineries as well as presentations by the wine professionals who created the program series. Attendees can also bid on “Finger Lakes Experience” silent auction packages and participate in a raffle.
Part One of the Vine to Wine series, which highlights the history of grape growing and winemaking in the Finger Lakes Region, will be presented at four different venues across the region in October and November. Through film, live presentations, and wine and juice tastings, people can learn how the region developed into the wine destination that it is today.
For additional information and program schedule, or to purchase tickets for the premier, log on to
The Finger Lakes Museum is being planned to be the premier cultural and natural history resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes Region, and to freshwater conservation.
The Finger Lakes Museum is chartered by the New York State Education Department and is incorporated as a not-for-profit tax-exempt organization. For more information or to make contact, log on to
The boating museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva in the fall of 2009 to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with a Visitor Center. The building, which will be located on the current Geneva Chamber of Commerce site, is being enabled by a $2 million grant provided to the city by state Sen. Michael Nozzolio. Construction is expected to start this spring.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of this project,” said Hetzke. “If the site is correctly developed it should be a world class museum. It should be spectacular for the City of Geneva.”
Hetzke started his company, Unitrac, in 1974 as a metal brokerage company and in the mid-‘80s formed Unitrac Energy Management Systems specializing in energy efficient lighting applications. IlluminFx, a division of Unitrac, provided the color-changing LED system used to light the Cradle of Champions sculpture unveiled during Super Bowl Week near the site of the game. The unveiling was covered on ESPN.
The Rochester Business Journal recently reported that the steel statue in Fort Worth, Texas, weight seven tons and is 16 feet high. It is shaped like the state of Texas and honors the strength and legacy of high school football in the state and those who later played in the National Football League.
Before starting his own business, Hetzke worked for Eastman Kodak Co., Community Savings Bank and Home Life Insurance Co. He former First Rochester Co. in 1971 and incorporated the company into First Rochester Security Corp. in 1972.
Hetzke purchased Burke Steel Serviceenters, Inc. in 1973 and sold the company to Mallard Lakes in 1977. He formed Unitrac in 1974.
He is a 1960 graduate of SUNY at Delhi with an AAS degree in business management. His hobby is restoring old boats and he is a member of the Rochester Curling Club as well as the Rochester Business Alliance.
The boating museum has assembled a collection of more than 100 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. The collection is stored in the Geneva Enterprise Development Center on North Genesee Street arranged by the Geneva IDA and in Yates County.
Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility, but President Bill Oben emphasized that there will be a lot more to the museum than viewing boats because education, restoration and preservation are the key elements of the museum’s mission.
Also featured will be boat rides on Seneca Lake, active on-water programs including sailing and small boat handling, interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design and construction of boats and boating history materials and programs.
The boating museum is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation and was chartered by the New York State Department of Education in 1997 to “research, document, preserve and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region.”
Additional information about the boating museum may be found on its
The Boating Museum and the City of Geneva reached agreement last fall on locating the Boating Museum and Visitor Center on the Geneva waterfront where the Chamber of Commerce building now stands.
Bill Oben, president of the Boating Museum, said the southern window is set up with a display of antique fishing gear of the type used in the Finger Lakes region during the first part of the last century. Central to this display is an elegant rowboat built in 1940 by noted Dresden boat builder Seymour Smith.
Smith is believed to have built more than 30 boats between 1920 and 1940. In later years he subordinated boatbuilding to his lifelong hobby of carving duck decoys, which are highly prized by collectors today. The display also includes several vintage photos related to trout fishing during that era.
The display in the northern window illustrates this year’s Boating Museum theme of “Sailing in the Finger Lakes.” In addition to a Penn Yan “Captain Kid” sailboat marketed for children in the1930s, the display contains scale models of some of the most popular one-design sailboats competitively sailed in the Finger Lakes during the past century. These include replicas of the Star, Comet, Lightning and Snipe, all built to 1/12th scale. Full-size examples of these famous sailing craft reside in the Boating Museum’s collection, and will be on display on the Seneca Lake waterfront at the annual Boat Show July 24-25 during Geneva’s Cruisin’ Weekend.
“We are grateful to Joe for lending the use of this space,” said Oben. “We plan to use it to display other artifacts and ephemera from the Boating Museum’s collection on a rotational basis while it is available to us, or until our permanent home on the lakefront is ready.”
No longer in contention is the Bush Farm in Ledyard, the Wells College campus in Aurora, and Sampson State Park in Romulus. Sponsors of those sites were informed of the decision last Friday and in a show of commitment and dedication, each pledged to continue supporting the project.
Adamski said that a great deal of effort was put into proposals from the five site sponsors and that each had to be fairly evaluated. Site selection committee members logged more than 150 hours in multiple site visits, committee meetings, and deliberations, not to mention the uncounted miles that were driven.
The committee has asked the board to consider a comparative marketing study to help determine which of the two remaining sites would be the most viable due to concerns for the long-range economic stability of the project based on its location.
Adamski said, “The advantage that the Geneva site has is its central location, which is close to the Thruway and halfway between Rochester and Syracuse. The benefit of the Keuka Lake site is its intimate lakefront and wilder setting, which is more conducive to outdoor wildlife exhibits.” Plans call for natural habitats to showcase native wild animals such as bald eagles, beavers, black bears, coyotes, foxes, otters, and the unique Seneca White Deer.
The proposed $40 million Finger Lakes Museum is planned to be primarily funded by private donations and corporate grants. A committee is currently working on a fundraising program.
Newly elected board president Bill Oben said the Museum has assembled a collection of more than 90 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility. Also planned are interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design, construction and use of the boats and an active on-water program including sailing and small boat handling.
The board also elected a new slate of officers and appointed four new directors at its January 4th. The officers for 2010 are Bill Oben as President, Ed Wightman as Vice President, Bill Smith as Secretary and Dennis Karalow as Treasurer. The new directors are Chrissy Bennett-West, Dave Bunnell, Vince Scalise and Bruce Tuxill.
Bennett-West is a Geneva native and a graduate of William Smith College. A long-time member of the Seneca Yacht Club, she sails Thistles and serves on the Executive Board as Vice Commodore. She and her husband live in Canandaigua where she is employed as a Special Education teacher in the Canandaigua School System.
Dave Bunnell relocated to Geneva following a 40-year career in law and business. He has practiced law with two commercial law firms in Dallas, Texas, served in senior management positions with international food companies, and engaged in various entrepreneurial activities. He is currently involved with others in efforts to accelerate the revitalization of downtown Geneva. He serves on the Boards of Geneva Growth, the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Business Improvement District.
Vince Scalise, a Geneva native and Korean War veteran, retired as Superintendent of the Geneva City School System. He has served on numerous boards including Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail Association, YMCA, Geneva Growth, Geneva Historical Society, United Way of Rochester and Ontario County, the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce, and the FL Cultural & Natural History Museum. He has also served on the Geneva City Council.
Bruce Tuxill returned to his native Geneva in 2008 following a 40-year career in the Air Force and Air National Guard. At the time of his retirement he was serving as the Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard. He is currently the President of the Tuxill Group, which provides consulting service for federal, state and local officials in the areas of national defense and homeland security. He currently serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Geneva and the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church.
Bill Oben, is a founding trustee who has served as president of the 300-member Museum since 2007, commented that the organization is “excited about establishing a permanent home for the museum on the Geneva waterfront. We intend to create a world class facility highlighting the boating heritage of the Finger Lakes region,” Oben said.
Counties that submitted proposals include Cayuga, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates. The City of Geneva is partnering with Seneca County on a site that straddles the Ontario/Seneca county line at the north end of Seneca Lake.
The deadline, which had been originally set for June 15th, was extended by the board for 30 days to give some counties more time to complete title searches. The sites are now being toured and evaluated by the project’s Site Selection Committee.
A question arose concerning a 20th site being added to the list when a landowner inquired about submitting a parcel in Ontario County. The board considered the inquiry but determined that the deadline should be upheld in fairness to the counties that worked hard to make submissions on time, according to a press release issued last week. The landowner is not being identified.
The search for a building site has ramped up the level of excitement for the initiative to develop a cultural and natural history museum to showcase the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region.
The Freemans have divided the cobblestone building period into three eras: The Early Period (1825-11835) which features crude irregular designs of stones of vary shapes and color. The Middle Period (1835-1845) is distinguished by the use of smaller stones set in more geometrical patterns. In the final period, designated by the Freemans as the Late Period (1845 to the Civil War), stones of uniform color and shape were used with almost machine-like precision. Although cobblestone building began on farms where the stones were plentiful after the clearing of fields, the building method did eventually move into villages in smaller numbers.
The book is filled with facts about cobblestone construction methods and the Freemans are quick to note that “cobblestone is a construction method, not an architectural style.” Most of the buildings featured in the book are Greek Revival, although some are Federal, Gothic Revival, Italianate, Post Colonial and Victorian style.
Cobblestone Quest features 17 tours through western New York between Syracuse and Buffalo, plus lots of other resources, including cobblestone museums, bed & breakfasts, restaurants, antique shops and galleries, a guide for owners, an index and bibliography, and a more. It’s available from
The Historical Museum located at 55 north Main Street in Canandaigua will host a reception for its latest exhibit, The Erie Canal: Where Water Flows Uphill. It will be today Saturday June 21. Stop in for a glass of wine and some friendly talk. The event begins at 7 PM and lasts until 9 PM.