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Call for Entries: 2013 Erie Canalway Photo Contest

W1_Pittsford_Lock33Sunset_GaryEisenhartEntries for the 8th annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest are being accepted now through September 6, 2013. Winning photos will be published in the 2014 Erie Canalway calendar.

Amateur and professional photographers are invited to submit prints and digital images in four contest categories: Bridges, Buildings and Locks- For the Fun of It- On the Water- and the Nature of the Canal. Continue reading

Brimstone, Booze and the BallotSusan B. Anthony vs. Matilda Joslyn Gage

FINALBOOZEsmallThe hundreds of thousands of women who sacrificed their social standing, put their bodies and souls on the line and withstood furious reactions during the 144 year struggle to gain equal rights are still mostly invisible in history books. That’s a loss for a number of reasons.

Far from being a dry subject, the movement was a cauldron of intellectual, emotional and spiritual passion. Suffragists brainstormed strategies for gaining equality, disagreeing vehemently with each other along the way. They challenged world history, had many alternative views of morality and religion, and fomented a head-spinning free exchange of ideas. Religion and politics were not subjects to be avoided. Continue reading

History Projects Get Development Monies

Governor Andrew Cuomo has announced the recipients of $785 million in economic development funding awarded through his Regional Economic Development Council initiative, an effort designed to drive economic growth and create jobs. A number of projects with significance for New York State history were included and are listed below.

NOTE: A number of rehabilitative projects most geared to housing and streetscape, canalfront, or shoreline improvements, and adaptive reuse of historic buildings are not included in this list. A number of projects will require archeological and cultural resource surveys.

Cayuga County

Isabel Howland House Preservation ($400,000)
The Howland Stone Store Museum will stabilize and rehabilitate for re-use &#8216-Opendore,’ a late 19th/early 20th century residence in the historic Hamlet of Sherwood for use as a museum and public meeting space. Also known as the Isabel Howland House, ‘Opendore’ was the gracious Howland family home where, a century ago, Isabel Howland and her family hosted numerous important public rallies promoting women’s rights and other social justice activities.

Chautaqua County

Grape Discovery Center ($200,000)
Final phase in the completion of a Grape Discovery Center in Chautauqua County. The Grape Discovery Center will educate visitors about the historic development of the region and the role that grape growing played in the region’s cultural landscape and communities. The plan proposes 19 exhibit panels in the Display Room and 14 exhibit displays, free standing and wall mounted, for the reception/gift shop space, as well as exterior exhibits and an orientation pavilion.

Broome County

TechWorks! Museum of Invention and Upstate Industry Parking Lot ($116,500)
The Center for Technology and Innovation will install pervious paving in the parking lot and
the Garden of Ideas at the TechWorks! Museum of Invention and Upstate Industry. Porous
pavement will enable o$cials, residents, and developers to see first-hand the benefits and costs of replacing traditional asphalt parking lots with pervious paving.

YWCA Binghamton Preservation ($244,946)
The YMCA of Binghamton and Broome County will restore the exterior masonry and cornice of
their architecturally signi#cant 1907 Beaux Arts/Classical Revival building The building serves as a community anchor providing housing and services for homeless women and children, space for community events and programs and meetings along with healthcare and childcare. This proposed exterior restoration represents one phase of the larger project to renovate the entire building. The work will reinforce and stabilize the exterior of the landmark building and contribute to the rehabilitation and revitalization of Court Street Historic District in the heart of downtown Binghamton.

Clinton County

Plattsburgh Strand Theatre Restoration ($397,000)
The North Country Cultural Center of the Arts will restore the Historic Strand Theatre, circa 1924, located in downtown Plattsburgh, continuing it as a performing arts center and preserving its historical legacy. The funds will be used to repair and point the exposed bricks and terracotta tiles which have signifcant areas of damage and repair or replicate railings and wood caps, balcony and the historic lighting fixtures.

Columbia County

Dr. Oliver Bronson House Restoration ($300,000)
Historic Hudson, Inc. will complete Phase II of the restoration of the Dr. Oliver Bronson House by completing the exterior stabilization of the house, securing the building envelope, and protecting the house from further deterioration and loss of historic fabric so it can be returned to use for public benefit. Sited on a bluff overlooking the South Bay of the Hudson River on 52 acres of open space, the Dr. Oliver Bronson House serves as a magnet for the city, providing a park-like setting and increased public access to this historic site as part of the ongoing revitalization of the City of Hudson.

Hudson Opera House Restoration Final Phase ($400,000)
The Hudson Opera House will complete a key part of the fourth and final phase of the Opera
House restoration &#8211 improvements to the first floor, including the badly deteriorated historic Common Council Chambers and anteroom, for community use. New York State’s oldest
surviving theatre (1855), located in the heart of downtown Hudson, the nonprofit multi-arts
center offers more than 1,000 programs, most of them free, to 52,000 visitors each year.

Olana North Meadow Restoration ($274,125)
The Olana Partnership will implement a major aspect of Olana’s Landscape Restoration Plan &#8211 the restoration of the historic North Meadow. Designed by Hudson River School artist Frederic Church (1826-1900) as a work of 19th-century landscape gardening, the historic 250-acre landscape is equal in historic and artistic importance to Olana’s house and collections. The completed project will provide a transformational change to the Olana landscape, restoring the historic meadows and pastureland and reopening views that have been lost over the last 100 years to second- and third-growth forest.

Erie County

Buffalo Central Terminal Canopy Restoration ($306,117)
The Central Terminal Restoration Corp., Inc. will rehabilitate and restore two entryway
canopies located at the historic Buffalo Central Terminal. The disrepair and instability of the exterior entryway canopies pose a safety hazard for patrons, tourists and volunteers and
requires immediate rehabilitation.

Shea’s O’Connell Preservation Guild Theater ($400,000)
Shea’s O’Connell Preservation Guild will restore the interior of the theatre auditorium, located at 646 Main Street, Buffalo. The ceiling, walls and facades will be restored to their original condition. Cleaning, minor repair and painting of the molded plaster ceiling and dome together with restoration on the proscenium arch, front wall, balcony underside, walls, and chandeliers will complete the project.

Essex County

Fort Ticonderoga Historic Preservation Planning Report ($20,320)
Fort Ticonderoga Association, Inc. will prepare a structural condition evaluation that will be used to make long-range decisions regarding the facility. This evaluation will establish the structural priorities of the Fort and identify options for repair.

Lewis County

Constable Hall Restoration ($21,668)
The Constable Hall Association will restore this 200-year-old historic home in Constableville, ensuring that it remains open and accessible to the community and its visitors. This project includes restoration work on four Doric pillars, pointing/flashing of chimneys, repair of water damage in two bedrooms, repair of carriage house floor, and painting of the servants’ quarters.

General Walter Martin Mansion Restoration Plan ($18,750)
The Lewis County Historical Society will prepare a Comprehensive Building Condition Assessment report for restoration of the General Walter Martin Mansion in accordance with federal Historic Preservation Standards.

Monroe County

Genesee Country Museum Training ($4,864)
Training for 12 employees in Continuing Education for CFO, Crystal Reports Commercial Electric Wiring, Small Gasoline Engine Troubleshooting and Repair, Commercial Pesticide Certi!cation, and Modern Plumbing- IT technology , Point of S
ale System, QuickBooks 2011.

Montgomery County

Schoharie Crossing Flood Relief ($95,000)
To replace signage and repair parking lot flood related damage to a prominent historic site and regional visitor attraction.

New York County

General Society Mechanics and Tradesmen Hall Report ($63,000)
The General Society Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York will develop a Historic
Structure Report, a planning document for the renovation, restoration and preservation of The
General Society 1890 building. The 70,000 sq. ft. landmark &#8212- at 20 West 44th Street in Midtown Manhattan, housing one of the oldest and the only continuously operated mechanics’ institute in the United States &#8212- must accommodate modern functions. The goal is to preserve the historic characteristics of the building while complying with current building codes, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and reconciling energy codes with preservation requirements.

Niagara County

Niagara Wine Trail Signage ($30,000)
Purchase and installation of signs on designated Niagara Wine Trail route. Project also includes marketing and training.

Ontario County

Finger Lakes Boating Museum ($450,000)
Continuing redevelopment of its lakefront, the City of Geneva will design and construct the Finger Lakes Boating Museum and Visitors Center on Seneca Lake.

Ganondagan Art and Education Center ($400,000)
The Friends of Ganondagan will construct and help operate a 15,654 square-foot, year-round Seneca Arts and Cultural Center at Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor. Ganondagan was the location of the largest Seneca town in the 17th century. The Cultural Center will be located a short walk from the reconstructed full scale 17th Century Seneca Bark Longhouse—a traditional Iroquois dwelling that housed multiple families. The center will include a gallery for historic and art exhibits- orientation theater for educational films and multimedia- auditorium for lectures, films, performances, and events- classroom for education- and administrative spaces.

Sonnenberg Gardens Roman Bath Stabilization ($43,000)
Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park will replace clay tiles and install gutters on the interior of the Roman Bath. Located in the heart of Canandaigua’s historic district, Sonnenberg Gardens and Mansion State Historic Park features an 1887 Queen Anne-style mansion and nine formal gardens on a 50 acre estate. Replacing the clay tiles on the Roman Bath’s roof and installing a gutter and drainage system will slow the deterioration process and prevent further loss.

Rockland County

Bear Mountain Inn Restoration ($400,000)
The Palisades Parks Conservancy, Inc. will continue ongoing renovations at the historic Bear Mountain Inn. Renovations will include constructing a new accessible vehicle entrance for the Inn, modifying the north end of the Bear Mountain parking area to improve parking for the Inn and improve accessibility, designing and installing new interpretive and directional signs, beautification of the grounds, and designing and constructing a new green storm-water
remediation system for the parking area.

Saratoga County

Day Peckinpaugh Barge Museum Improvements ($191,000)
Improvements to the Day Peckinpaugh Barge Museum, a multi-regional educational and heritage tourism project, will improve its operations.

Schenectady County

Schenectady Proctor’s Theatre Preservation Work ($100,000)
The Arts Center and Theatre of Schenectady will complete historic preservation work at Proctors Theatre that will include repairs, restoration and improvements to the theatre’s ceilings, walls, side boxes, scagliola, balcony, mezzanine and orchestra areas, women’s and men’s lounges, and the Golub Arcade.

Suffolk County

Ships Hole Farm Restoration ($400,000)
Peconic Land Trust will acquire the Ships Hole Farm property, expand the farm operation, begin restoring the historic farmhouse and agricultural barn/outbuildings, connect the farm with the existing nature trail, and begin educational and historic programming.

Polo Stable Restoration at Caumsett State Historic Site ($400,000)
The Caumsett Foundation, in partnership with the state, the local community, other government entities, for-pro!t groups and private foundations, will restore from severe deterioration the masonry, carpentry and other exterior elements of the Polo Stable at Caumsett State Historic Site. This is the third and final phase of the exterior renovation project. The Polo Stable, the most architecturally important building at Caumsett, was designed by John Russell Pope, and is on the State and National Registers of Historic Places. The Foundation has already replaced the slate roof and cupola.

Warren County

Lake George Underwater Trail Website and Marketing ($50,000)
The Village of Lake George will develop and maintain a website for the New York State
Underwater Blueway Trail that will publicize and market the individual dive sites that together make up the Underwater Blueway Trail.

First Wilderness Heritage Corridor Implementation ($463,116)
Warren County will advance recommendations of the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor
Action Plan, an intermunicipal revitalization strategy for nine communities along the Upper
Hudson River and Delaware & Hudson rail line in Saratoga and Warren counties. E&#8221orts
will include: modernization of the Dynamite Hill Ski Area to allow it to serve as a day-use
destination area in winter months- streetscape improvements between the municipal center
and the North Creek Train Station Complex- enclosing existing platforms and providing
restrooms at the historic railroad stops in the towns of Thurman and Hadley- small business
development to !ll vacant storefronts in the hamlets of the First Wilderness Heritage
Corridor- construction of a boarding platform at the site of the old Corinth station- design and construction of a new 1,100-sq.ft. classroom, an ADA-compliant restroom and o#ce space
for administrative services at the Adirondack Folk School in Lake Luzerne- and the creation,
marketing and promotion of activities to enhance tourism.

Westchester County

Tarrytown Music Hall Restoration ($400,000)
The Friends of Mozartina Musical Arts Conservatory rehabilitate and restore the Tarrytown Music Hall, a highly distinctive 1885 Queen Anne-style local, state, and federal landmark. The project will include the replacement of deteriorated foundations, restoration and repair of walls and windows, rehabilitation of the roof, and restoration of exterior soft stucco and paint finishes and interior lobby plaster and paint finishes.

Bird Homestead Meeting House Rehabilitation ($250,600)
The Committee to Save the Bird Homestead will replace the roofs of the Bird Homestead’s
three buildings, make drainage systems and foundation repairs, replace the main roof and restore of the clerestory for the Meeting House. The Bird Homestead contains an 1835 Greek Revival house, a 19th-century barn and a woodworker’s shop with attached henhouse and woodshed, and the project will help preserve historic structures that retain a high degree of authenticity, but suffer from longdeferred maintenance.

Wyoming County

Letchworth State Park Signage ($3,000)
The Friends of Letchworth State Park will develop and install signage along the Clan Trail at the Council Grounds in Letchworth State Park. This signage will enhance the interpretation and understanding of the role of the Seneca Indian Nation in Western New York for the park visitor an
d especially the school children who study this local history in the 4th grade Social Studies curriculum in New York State.

Yates County

Finger Lakes Museum Building Renovation ($2,281,000)
The Finger Lakes Museum is proposed as the premier natural and cultural resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes Region &#8211 and to fresh water conservation around the world. The first step in renovating a former elementary school building will be the installation of a green roof, covering the roof with vegetation and a drainage system to absorb rainfall and limit stormwater runoff, as well as restoring and protecting adjacent stream banks.

A full list of funded projects is available online [pdf].

Many NY History Halloween Events Planned

Halloween is a unique time for New York History sites around the state as many of them transform themselves into spooky places to learn a little history. Costumed historic interpreters, cemetery tours, haunted historic homes, and the haunted history of restless spirits and unexplained events are all on tap for this Halloween.

What follows is a listing of some of the most interesting, scariest, and fun-filled that are occurring around Halloween night.

Ticonderoga: Discover the unexplained past at Fort Ticonderoga’s Flashlight Nights, Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29 from 7 pm until 9 pm. This family-fun fall program will uncover Fort Ticonderoga’s layers of history and haunted stories at night in the Fort, on the landscape and in the 6-acre corn maze. The nighttime tours of the Fort will be led by costumed historic interpreters and will allow guests to enter areas of the fort where unexplained events have occurred. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children 12 years and under. To guarantee a ticket, reserve a space for this special program by calling (518) 585-2821. Gates open at 6:30 pm and tours begin at 7:00 pm. Tickets are also available at the door the evening of the event between 7:00 pm &#8211 9:00 pm. Bring your own flashlights. Flashlights required.

Elizabethtown: Adirondack History Center Museum is offering a program about Paranormal Discoveries on Saturday, October 29 at 4:00pm. The program begins with a report from Champlain & Adirondack Paranormal Investigations on their findings of paranormal activities at the museum. Jim Thatcher, Lead Investigator from Champlain & Adirondack Paranormal Investigations (CHAPI), will talk about their night at the museum on July 1, 2011. He will discuss the CHAPI team, their set-up, equipment and findings. Following the paranormal report, there will be a tour of the upper floor of the museum where unexplained activities occurred. Cider and donuts will be served. Come in costume &#8211 you may win a prize. Admission for the program is $5 for adults and $2 for students. The museum is located at 7590 Court Street, Elizabethtown, NY. Please call the museum for reservations at (518) 873-6466.

Saranac Lake: Saturday, October 29 at 1:00pm, local storyteller Bob Seidenstein will lead a tour of Pine Ridge Cemetery in Saranac Lake. Pine Ridge Cemetery is a microcosm of the history of Saranac Lake from its earliest settlement, through the village’s busy years as a health resort, to the present day. The cemetery began as a burial place for the Moody family, Saranac Lake’s first settlers. It grew to encompass the old St. Bernard’s Cemetery and the Hebrew Memorial Cemetery, as well as the lots surrounding them. Many of Saranac Lake’s prominent doctors are buried here, along with Norwegian Seamen, guideboat builders, and architects. Admission for the tour is $10 per person to benefit Historic Saranac Lake and the Pine Ridge Cemetery Association, a volunteer organization which maintains the historic cemetery. The tour will meet at 1:00 at the vault on the cemetery grounds.

Saratoga: Halloween Party and Car Show at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, October 29, 10 am to 2 pm. Dress up the car, yourself, and the kids, or don’t dress up at all. Candy bags, goody bags and fun for the whole family. Awards for the Best Dressed Cars and children’s costumes. Vehicle registration of $15.00 includes admission passes for the driver plus one, including the Museum’s new Porsche Exhibit. The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located at 110 Avenue of the Pines, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866. For more information contact Peter Perry at (518)-587-1935 ext. 17 or peterperry@saratogaautomuseum.org.

New Paltz: For three nights Haunted Huguenot Street removes the veil of secrecy that stands between the living and the dead. If you are prepared for an experience that may be chilling, certainly repugnant, probably morbid, horrid or simply scary, this may be the perfect way to spend an evening. Tours run every 15 minutes on Friday and Saturday, October 28 and 29 from 7-11 pm and October 30, 6:30-9 pm. Not recommended for children under 12. A special craft activity prepared and presented by a team of art teacher and curator will be available for younger children for $5. Reservations are strongly recommended. $10/BOOK ONLINE , $15/DAY OF, $10/STUDENTS www.huguenotstreet.org | DuBois Fort Visitor Center, 81 Huguenot Street, New Paltz, NY 12561 | 845.255.1660 or 1889

New Windsor: “It was dark back then” at Knox’s Headquarters, Saturday, October 29: Do you remember walking past a creepy looking house at night when you were a kid? Come and see ours from 8:00 &#8211 8:30 or 8:30 &#8211 9:00 PM and tour the grounds, if you dare. Reservations required. Knox’s Headquarters is located at 289 Forge Hill Road, in Vails Gate, New York, three miles southeast of the intersection of I-87 and I-84. The bridge over Moodna Creek, just east of Knox’s Headquarters, was damaged by Hurricane Irene, so access to the site is from State Route 94 only. For reservations and more information please call (845) 561-1765 ext. 22.

Cooperstown: The Farmers’ Museum invites visitors to experience “Things That Go Bump In The Night.” Join museum interpreters as they lead you about the shadowy grounds and recount the many mysteries and ghostly happenings that have occurred within the buildings making up the Museum’s historic village. These tours will be held on two more nights only: Friday, October 28- and Saturday, October 29, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Museum guides will walk visitors through the darkened 19th-century village by lantern, stopping at various buildings throughout, including the Blacksmith’s Shop and Bump Tavern, weaving ghostly tales adapted from the Louis C. Jones’ classic, Things That Go Bump In the Night, a timeless record of haunted history and restless spirits in New York State. Participants will hear stories associated with the museum’s buildings as in the tale of a young ghost sighted by staff and guests in Bump Tavern and the mysterious early morning strikes on the blacksmith’s anvil. These hour-long tours will be held every half-hour between 5:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Reservations are required. Admission is $10 per person (ages 3 and up), please call (607) 547-1452.

Garrison: Author and renowned paranormal investigator, Linda Zimmerman and her partners will lead tour groups through the dimly-lit halls of Boscobel mansion. Accompanying Linda will be psychic and self-proclaimed psychometrist, Barbara Bleitzhofer. Barbara will be using her sixth sense to determine what spirits are present and why they are there. Each group will be armed with specialized equipment to detect the possible presence of supernatural entities, and group leaders will talk about their previous and mysterious findings inside Boscobel, as well as explain their techniques for spying supposed specters. Each tour is limited to 15 people so advance ticket purchase is required. Dates are Thursday October 27 and Friday October 28 at 6pm sharp. Adults $35, Children (12-14) $20, Friends of Boscobel members $30. Cider & cookies will be served. To purchase tickets, call 845-265-3638 x115 or stop by any day (but Tuesday.)

A New Guide to 30 Iconic Upstate Memorials

Monumental New York! A Guide to 30 Iconic Memorials in Upstate New York highlights some of the most fascinating statues and memorials found throughout Upstate New York. Author Chuck D’Imperio leads readers through the state’s rich history as he explores some of the famous and lesser-known monuments.

Featuring memorial tributes to such well-known historical figures as John Brown, FDR, and Carl Sagan, the book also includes the site of Upstate New York’s infamous Civil War prison camp and the chilling &#8220Jerry Rescue Monument,&#8221 which recalls Syracuse’s defiance of the Fugitive Slave Law. Readers will meet the canal diggers who muscled their way across the state trenching &#8220Clinton’s Ditch&#8221 and learn about the &#8220Female Paul Revere,&#8221 the Crown Point Lighthouse, Albany’s Moses statue, and more.

These monuments are scattered from cities such as Albany and Buffalo to the many little-known towns that populate the state such as North Elba, home of the John Brown Memorial. Each chapter offers detailed information on the history and significance of each monument as well as useful travel information about the area.

At over 200 pages, with 31 black and white illustrations and a map, D’Imperio’s narrative, research, and enthusiasm for Upstate New York makes Monumental New York! a intersting and useful guide to some of the state’s best memorials.

Chuck D’Imperio is a longtime radio broadcaster at Central New York Radio Group’s station WDOS in Oneonta. He is the author of several books including My Town Is a Cathedral, Upstate New York, and Great Graves of Upstate New York.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

How George Washington Fleeced the Nation

Sometimes legendary presidents and war heroes are revered for their brilliance and shrewd decision-making – but nobody is perfect! Even people like Churchill and Gandhi had their quirks, and hidden secrets, and laugh-out-loud eccentricities.

How George Washington Fleeced the Nation reveals the previously hidden shortcomings of leading figures from history – the ones your high school teacher or favorite biography conveniently forgot to mention.

Meticulously researched and verified by Phil Mason, who has amassed one of the country’s largest private collections of cuttings and books chronicling the weird and the strange and is also the author of Napoleon’s Hemorrhoids…And Other Small Events that Changed History, this book includes the sometimes hilarious, sometimes shocking details about the lives of history’s icons.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers. Purchases made through this Amazon link help support this site.

Amazons 10 Best Selling New York History Books

Stealing an idea from the Civil War blog TOCWOC, I thought I’d periodically post the ten best-selling books about New York history from Amazon. I took the liberty to separate the wheat from the chaff.

1. Jacob Riis, How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York

2. Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York

3. Tom Buk-Swienty, The Other Half: The Life of Jacob Riis and the World of Immigrant America

4. Jill Lepore, New York Burning: Liberty, Slavery, and Conspiracy in 18th Century Manhattan

5. Russell Shorto, The Island at the Center of the World: The Epic Story of Dutch Manhattan and the Forgotten Colony That Shaped America

6. John F. Kasson, Amusing the Million: Coney Island at the Turn of the Century

7. Mark Kurlansky, The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell

8. David McCullough, The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge

9. Mary P. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790-1865

10. Thurston Moore and Byron Coley, No Wave: Post-Punk. Underground. New York 1976-1980