Tag Archives: Seneca County

Books: Fight All Day, March All NIght

In 1862 twenty-one-year-old Morris Brown Jr. left his studies at Hamilton College to take up the Union cause. He quickly rose in rank from sergeant major to captain and acting regimental commander for the 126th New York Volunteers. Fight All Day, March All Night: A Medal of Honor Recipient’s Story (SUNY Press Excelsior Editions, 2012) is the narrative of a young Civil War officer, as told through his letters from the battlefield and edited by Civil War historian Wayne Mahood.

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. Continue reading

Seneca Falls Wesleyan Chapel Pews Updated

Women’s Rights National Historical Park Superintendent Tammy Duchesne has announced that replacement cushions for the “recycled pews” in the Wesleyan Chapel have been installed. “We are pleased with the new cushions. When we installed the wooden pews in July, we had plans to finish them with cushions so they would resemble the originals,” said Duchesne.

Park Historian Anne Derousie explained more, “The pews that are now in the Wesleyan Chapel were originally built in 1871 for the First Congregational Church of Seneca Falls, a descendant church of the Wesleyan Chapel. Nine of these pews were purchased by the Park in June, along with a set of pew cushions that were very worn.” These worn cushions were a valuable resource and were used to determine the size, color, and construction of the replacement cushions.

Public programs in the Wesleyan Chapel are offered daily at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. “Everyone is invited to experience the new cushions for themselves and join us for one or all of our ranger programs,” added Duchesne. The Wesleyan Chapel is the site of the First Women’s Rights Convention held July 19 and 20, 1848 and is the centerpiece of Women’s Rights National Historical Park.

For more information visit their website at www.nps.gov/wori or call (315) 568-0024. You can also follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/womensrightsnps) and Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/WomensRightsNPS) to learn more about their upcoming programs.

Old Iron at Empire Farm Days August 7-9

A passion and pride for old farm equipment will be on display daily at the August 7-9, 2012 Empire Farm Days as an “Old Iron” Parade takes place at 2 pm through the 300-acre showgrounds at the Rodman Lott and Son Farms in Seneca Falls, NY.Howard Hemminger of Geneva, NY, will have three classic tractors in the parade at New York’s largest outdoor agricultural trade show. At least five antique tractor clubs are expected to bring their highly-prized classic and antique tractors from Allis-Chalmers to Minneapolis-Moline models to the 2012 Empire Farm Days.
“Empire Farm Days is great fun, driving the old tractors amidst all the new equipment,” Hemminger says. “Show visitors like to hear that five generations of my family have driven our machines. I drive my grandfather’s 1938 14-horsepower Farmall F-14, my wife Carol drives her John Deere 50, and we always find someone for the Farmall 400 that my dad bought in 1955.”

Hemminger, president of the International Harvester Club in Bellona, NY, will be recruiting new members for the club.

“Agriculture runs deep in my veins and I enjoy talking with people and hearing the amazing stories of the old tractors in their lives. We are encouraging younger men and women, and farmers still working the farm with their old tractors, to join us in putting the ‘old iron’ on display and in parades,” Hemminger says.

The three-day Empire Farm Days agricultural extravaganza also provides the opportunity to learn about the newest “farm steel” equipped with GPS technology and to test drive large and compact tractors and ATVs daily 10am-2pm on the northeast side of the showgrounds. The International Harvester “Old Iron” club will have raffle tickets for a Cub Cadet tractor to be awarded in November.

The 300-acre Empire Farm Days agricultural extravaganza includes DairyProfit and Equine seminars- live animals- the NY Ag Leadership Luncheon- cattle handling, farm safety, goat care, and agricultural plastics recycling demonstrations- farm family displays and activities- 600-plus representatives of ag institutions and organizations- and beef, chicken, and pork BBQ.

Photo: Howard Hemminger’s three antique tractors (courtesy Howard Hemminger).

Women’s Rights Anniversary Events Begin Today

The Women’s Rights National Historical Park program for the 164th Anniversary of the First Women’s Rights Convention begins today and continue through July 22, 2012 in Seneca Falls, NY. All events will be free of
charge.

Several programs are being offered during the Anniversary events. Artist Carol Flueckiger will present a program and several art workshops as a part of Women’s Rights NHP’s ongoing ARTS AFIRE! programs. Melinda Grube will portray Elizabeth Cady Stanton in two different programs on Saturday, July 21, and Pamela L. Poulin will portray Matilda Joslyn Gage in two different programs on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22.Paul and Mary Kuhn will present phrenology demonstrations, and Bonnie Breed will present lace-making demonstrations as part of the Anniversary events. The Hutchinson Family Revival will perform abolitionist, temperance, and women’s rights songs. Also, Women’s Rights NHP Social Media Coordinator Stephanie Freese will live-blog during the Anniversary events.

For more information about the program of events visit their website. A listing of the Convention Days events in Seneca Falls can be found on the Convention Days Committee website.

For more information, visit he Women’s Rights National Historical Park website or call (315) 568-0024. You can also follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their upcoming programs.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton House Reopens After Storm

Women’s Rights National Historical Park was affected by a storm cell which occurred during the afternoon of Tuesday, May 29th.  High winds, heavy rains, and hail affected the areas in and near the park, resulting in downed power lines, trees, and tree limbs.  A large chestnut tree located in front of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House suffered severe damage.

Due to the downed tree limbs andongoing cleanup efforts, the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House was closed from May 29th to June 5th, but has now reopened.

Guided tours of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House are offered daily at 11:15 a.m. and 2:15 p.m.  Please call the park’s Visitor Center Information Desk at (315) 568- 0024 from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., for more information about these programs.

Visit their website for more information and updates regarding tours at the Elizabeth Cady Stanton House website. You can also follow the park’s social media sites for Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their upcoming programs, or read its most recent newsletter [pdf].

Women’s Rights Sites Offer Field Trip Funds

Women’s Rights National Historical Park is offering an opportunity for school and youth groups to submit applications for transportation funding to visit the sites associated with the 1848 First Women’s Rights Convention. This is part of an ongoing effort by the National Park Service to bring under-served and underrepresented school and youth groups to place-based learning experiences in national parks.

“Women’s Rights National Historical Park interprets the history of the 1848 First Women’s Rights Convention,” said Park Superintendent Tammy Duchesne. “This program represents a unique opportunity for school and youth groups to visit these nationally significant historic sites.”

Any New York State school or youth group staff person, teacher, or administrator wishing to obtain funds for bus transportation to Women’s Rights National Historical Park may apply. Applications for transportation funding will be accepted for both ranger-guided and self-guided programs.

Applications may be found on the park’s website- they must be received by close of business Friday, May 4, 2012. Applications may be e-mailed to Park Ranger David Malone at David_Malone@nps.gov, or faxed to (315) 568-2141. They may also be sent by US mail to Park Ranger David Malone, Women’s Rights NHP, 136 Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY 13148.

All applicants must register on the Federal Central Contractor Website and must also have a DUNS number. All applications will be evaluated, and those groups which receive funding will be notified after Friday, May 11, 2012. All field trips must be completed by July 31, 2012, in order to receive funding.

Women’s Rights National Historical Park describes its various educational opportunities under the “For Teachers” link on the park website.

You can also follow the park’s social media sites on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about their upcoming programs.

You can also learn about the park’s latest activities by reading its most recent newsletter [pdf].

Photo courtesy New York, We Are on Our Way!.

Oz and Bedford Falls: Upstate NYs American Icons

Upstate New York has bequeathed to the American culture two iconic towns, neither of which exist in the real world. Bedford Falls from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life is based on the village of Seneca Falls&#8230-or so claim the people of Seneca Falls! Oz of the Wizard of Oz book series and one memorable movie also derives its origin from the exact same area &#8211 author Frank Baum was spurred on by his living in Fayetteville in what is now the Gage Home. Continue reading

Boating Museum Donates Important Canal Marker

The Finger Lakes Boating Museum commemorated the important role of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in the development of Geneva by donating an historical marker for the city’s waterfront. City and boating museum officials dedicated the marker in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday on the lakefront near the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce building. Bill Oben, President of the Boating Museum, made the presentation to Mayor Stu Einstein.

The dedication ceremony coincided with the stopover in Geneva of the Lois McClure, an 88-foot canal schooner moored for three days on the lakefront just west of the Chamber. The McClure is a full-scale working replica of an 1862 canal schooner, a unique example of working vessels that carried goods throughout Northeastern waterways during the 19th century.

“The scheduled arrival of the schooner Lois McClure in Geneva harbor this week is a wonderful reminder of the significant role the Cayuga-Seneca Canal played in the development of Geneva and the region beyond throughout the 19th century,” said Oben. “The last vestiges of the canal along the Geneva waterfront disappeared long ago as the old waterway was filled in to make way for the arterial highway. As we plan the future home of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum on the site of the original entrance to this historic canal, it’s appropriate to recognize this with placement of an enduring marker identifying the former location of this important transportation artery.”

Oben said the historical marker at the original canal entrance will be similar to others already along the waterfront that note significant people and places in Geneva’s history. Geneva Granite donated the granite base for the plaque.

The plaque on the marker will read as follows: “At this point in 1828, water from Seneca Lake was first released into the newly constructed Cayuga-Seneca Canal, forming a navigable link to the Erie Canal. This waterway enabled commerce to flow between Seneca and the Hudson River and soon became an economic engine that brought wealth and prosperity to the City of Geneva and other municipalities along its path. Eventually supplanted by rail and truck transportation, this channel was abandoned in the 1920s and ultimately filled in.”

The boating museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva last fall to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with the Visitor Center. The facility, which will be located on the current Chamber site, is being enabled by a $3.5 million grant provided to the city by State Sen. Michael Nozzolio.

The boating museum has assembled a collection of 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 being moved to a storage facility in the Geneva Enterprise Development Center on North Genesee Street arranged by the Geneva Industrial Development Authority.

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 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 website.

The canal schooner Lois McClure, whose homeport is Lake Champlain, is making a 1,000-mile journey across New York’s canals as it stops in 20 ports of call. The tour will culminate in September with a trip to the World Canals Conference in Rochester. The schooner also stopped in Geneva in 2007 on a similar tour.

The expedition is made possible by a partnership between the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. This voyage is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the region’s interconnected waterways and the many activities found along the New York State Canal System and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, highlighting the Canal System’s roles in transportation, recreation and tourism. Tours of the boat with interpretive presentations, wayside exhibits and educational materials will be provided free of charge to the public at each stop.

The schooner is a full-scale replica of an 1862 sailing canal boat. Constructed in Burlington, Vt., and launched in 2004, the Lois McClure is an exact replica of canal schooners found shipwrecked in the waters of Lake Champlain. The unique sailing-canal boats were the tractor-trailers of the 19th century, designed to sail from lake cities to canal ports using wind power. Upon reaching a canal, the masts were lowered and centerboards raised, transforming the vessel into a typical canal boat.

The schooner is named for Lois McClure, who was born in 1926 and grew up in Burlington, Vt. In 1954, McClure married James Warren McClure, an owner and publisher of the Burlington Free Press, and later a major stockholder and Vice President of the Gannett Company, Inc. In 1971, the McClures left Burlington for Rochester, where Lois McClure continued her education. In 1978, after J. Warren McClure retired, they moved to Key Largo, Fla., spending summers in Charlotte, until they returned to Vermont in 2002.

In the 1970s, the McClures began to make significant financial contributions to organizations in the Burlington area and elsewhere. After her husband became ill in the 1990s, Lois McClure took on the leadership role in their philanthropy, a role she has continued since her husband’s death in 2004. The schooner was named in McClure’s honor for her major contribution to the schooner construction and support of many other community projects.

Photo: Bill Oben (left), president of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, presents Geneva Mayor Stu Einstein with a copy of the historical marker that the boating museum donated to the city to mark the entrance to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. In the background is the Lois McClure, a replica of a canal boat that stopped in Geneva on a tour of New York State canal waterways.

Finger Lakes Museum Selects Keuka Lake Site

On Thursday, the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to select Keuka Lake State Park in Yates County as the future home of the Finger Lakes Museum. The vote was unanimous with one abstention.

After nearly a year of evaluating 19 sites that were originally submitted, the Site Selection Committee, under the direction of chairman Don Naetzker, recommended two sites for the Board’s consideration: Seneca Lake State Park in and adjacent to the City of Geneva, and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport.

The idea to create a museum to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological history of the 9,000 square-­mile Finger Lakes Region was first floated in a Life in the Finger Lakes magazine article by John Adamski in March 2008.

After enlisting ConsultEcon Inc., a Boston­based market research firm in March, it was determined that the project is viable at either site although for different reasons. Board president, John Adamski added, “While the Seneca Lake site has significant advantages like a central location, the Board determined that the Keuka Lake site more closely met the requirements that were originally established in the Strategic Plan, especially as they relate to natural history programming.”

Among the advantages that he said tipped the scales in favor of the Keuka Lake site are the following:

• There is 700 feet of intimate lakefront with a level, sandy beach.

• The natural history element of the project is predicted to draw the most visitors. The rolling, hilly terrain, ravines, brook, woods, and areas of natural succession that exist there are ideal for wildlife exhibits in natural habitats.

• Several hundred acres of land are available for wildlife habitats and interpretive use—now or in the future.

• A 350­-car paved parking lot already exists.

• Keuka College has offered to add Museum Sciences to its curriculum
and become a partner in the educational aspect of the Museum.

• Yates County and Keuka­area business leaders have pledged over $2 million in start-up funding.

In addition, Adamski said, “The Branchport Elementary School, which is presently vacant, has been purchased by the Finger Lakes Visitors Association for use as the Museum’s base of operation during the project’s start-up phases. The building will provide 15,000 square­ feet for business offices and initial programming as well as storage for the acquisition of artifacts and collections.” Its 13­-acre site provides navigable water access to Keuka Lake.

He also stated, “Finger Lakes State Parks and the Finger Lakes Museum Project will undertake a joint master plan for the entire 620­acre park. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation has been very cooperative and enthused over the proposal and we look forward to working with them to bring the project to fruition.”

Although the Museum will be built on lands leased from Finger Lakes State Parks, it will remain a privately­-owned and mostly privately­-funded not­-for­-profit educational institution.

Finger Lakes Museum Site Selection Narrowed to Two

First there were nineteen. Then there were five. Now there are two. John Adamski, president of the Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum, said today that the Site Selection Committee has referred two sites to the board for further assessment. They are the Geneva/Seneca Lake State Park site along the lakefront in Geneva and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport in Yates County. Both sites offer lake frontage.

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.