Journalism, it has been said, is the first rough draft of history. Today’s story in the newspaper, 10, 20 or 50 years from now, becomes a chapter in a history book or, in today’s world, an entry on Wikipedia.

I left the Finger Lakes Times at the end of August of 1985 and moved to the Los Angeles area. I was very lucky as I knew only one person in the Southern California area, and she had worked for me at the Times but had no connections in the world of photography.

The first time Managing Editor Don Hadley offered me a job at The Geneva Times, I turned him down. I was graduating from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications in 1975, and the idea of being the Phelps-Clifton Springs bureau reporter and working alone, out of my apart…

With a population just under 25,000, Yates County is the third least populated in New York state. The small populace, and the fact that there are no cities or highways, makes Yates County a somewhat overlooked area of the Finger Lakes. But no other county has twice become a haven for religio…

Due to the coronavirus and stay-at-home order in northern Virginia, I’ve had time to remember my early days as a sports reporter for the Finger Lakes Times, inducing cringes and shudders as memories come flooding back.

I started at age 23, in August of 1978, as a copy editor and editor of the new weekend section, “Good Times.” Copy desk chief Phil Beckley handled all copy editing, handing our team of five copy editors the unedited stories, photos that needed captions written, and blank layout grids. We als…

The 1950s and ’60s in Geneva were a period of change. The 1957 opening of Town & Country Plaza signaled a trend toward being modern. The plaza stores were concrete, steel, and had lots of fluorescent lighting. Aisles were wide and shoppers made their own selections, rather than relying o…

As the Finger Lakes Times looks back on 125 years of reporting the news to the citizens of Geneva, I thought I would let Times readers know about some of the Geneva events covered by the paper.

For a local kid, growing up in Geneva, the arrival of the Finger Lakes Times on your porch every afternoon was a key part of small-town life. From the birth announcements through the Police Beat and onto sports and the obituaries, Geneva, we now more fully appreciate, was blessed with an agg…

When I arrived in Geneva in the summer of 1976, I was not happy to be there. I had spent the previous year working at a magazine in New York City and the two years prior teaching English in Nigeria, West Africa. Big-city journalism was my goal, not a small, provincial newspaper that printed …

The Finger Lakes Times and its predecessors have been very important in keeping area residents informed about happenings in Seneca County. There have been many quite important events in the county over these 125 years — too many to deal with them all in this article.

To encapsulate 125 years of local sports history in the space of one story is an immense task. It could be argued that a single article cannot do all of those years proper justice, and that assessment would not be inaccurate.

SENECA FALLS — Walt Gable was a Mynderse Academy social studies teacher in September 1999 when then President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton — who were vacationing on Skaneateles Lake — visited Seneca Falls and Waterloo.


There is a lot in the news lately regarding hospital care, medical personnel, medical supplies and illness; most of the concerns stem from the pandemic caused by COVID-19. The difficulties and strain experienced by our local, state and national health organizations sparked my curiosity about…


As the Seneca County historian, I receive many genealogical requests with comments like “so-and-so lived in Romulus, then moved to Washington and then moved to Fayette, and then to Junius, and then moved to Wayne County.” My first response to those kinds of comments is to suggest that the pe…

For 25 years, from 1891 to 1918, the Great Newark Fair was held in September on 50 acres of land off West Pearl Street on the site of today’s Newark-Wayne Hospital grounds. That’s how Fair Street, leading to the site, got its name.


If you are like me, you really enjoy reading this newspaper’s columns on the happenings 10, 20, etc. years ago. Well, in this article I am going to share some noteworthy events in Seneca County 200 years ago, mostly compiled on index cards by former Seneca County Historian Betty Auten. Where…

CANANDAIGUA — Author Dick Chait will talk about the architecture and legacies of Claude Bragdon, who designed the Ontario County Historical Society’s museum, on Aug. 19. The talk, which will be hosted in the museum at 55 N. Main St., will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Most readers are likely very familiar with the wonderful Greek Revival structure known as Rose Hill Mansion. There is much history to this farm prior to the construction of that magnificent building in 1839.


In anticipation of the Wayne County Bicentennial year in 2023, I thought this might be a great time to explore why Lyons was chosen as the county seat. Why Lyons you might ask? How are county seats, let alone state capitals, selected?

SHORTSVILLE — Harry Tuttle, the author of Lehigh Valley Railroad Stories Manchester Yard, will autograph books from 1-3 p.m. Sunday(July 11) at the Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society on East High Street. His appearance will be part of the Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society’s op…

Something we won’t see on Cayuga Lake this summer is a commercial steamboat transporting passengers to make connections for some other means of transportation, such as a stagecoach. Starting as early as 1821, however, this was a common sight for many years.


Newark’s iconic clocks and Lyons’ minty history are included in a recently published book that tells the stories of dozens of rare and unusual places that aren’t often on tourists’ radar.


The colony of cottages at Kashong began in the 1890s with just a few buildings where people from Geneva came to spend weekends, traveling by railroad.


I have had several requests for an article on the Irish in Geneva. This is a topic that sounds easier to write about than it is in reality.

PENN YAN — Yates County History Center Executive Director Tricia Noel will give a lecture about the abolitionists, freedom seekers and Underground Railroad in Yates County.

Researching for a new exhibit always turns up fun things I didn’t know. The Geneva Historical Society’s new exhibit, “Geneva Innovators,” includes people whose inventions received a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Travel any of the winding, rural roads in Yates County and you will come across road names and intersections that indicate a community should be there. But where is the village or hamlet?


The Town of Rose has a wonderful Veterans War Memorial Monument at the triangle intersection of Main Street and Wolcott Road. Although most know of its existence, how much do we really know about this wonderful monument, or about the determination, patriotism, dedication and support from all…

PENN YAN — The Yates County History Center will welcome author Rich MacAlpine for an outdoor book-signing and presentation at 1 p.m. May 22 at the L. Caroline Underwood Museum, 107 Chapel St.


The 21st New York Cavalry has the distinction of being the very last volunteer regiment to be mustered out of active federal service on Aug. 31, 1866, long after the Civil War ended in April 1865. The regiment was raised in mid-1863 by experienced officers, with most of the roughly 1,600 men…


Coming across a name like Danc’ Inn for a business is pretty unusual, but eye-catching. Geneva native Dorothy Doxsee, 12 years old in June 1922, submitted the name for a contest put on by Carl Ferris, who had opened a dance pavilion on the outlet at Seneca Lake. For her winning entry Doxsee …


Today, the hamlet of Lakemont sits quietly along the Lakemont-Himrod Road in the southeast portion of Yates County. Part of the Town of Starkey, Lakemont began its life in the 1790s and was originally named Eddytown after its founder, William Eddy (it was not renamed Lakemont until 1902).


Unlike the water-born flower for which it was named, the iconic schooner Lotus will be coming back to Sodus Point in the near future. This vessel had a storied history sailing on several of the Great Lakes for nearly a century before necessary repairs made her land-based for the last several years.

GENEVA — The Antiques Club of the Finger Lakes, in partnership with the Geneva Historical Society, will present the virtual program, "How Nestlé Sweetened Life in Upstate New York" by Central New York historian and author Jim Farfaglia, at 7 p.m. April 22.


Today, Geneva has a population of not quite 13,000, but in 1921 Geneva had almost 15,000 residents and was one of the most vibrant communities in the Finger Lakes.


Who remembers taking Sunday drives with their parents and noticing historic marker signs along the roadside? My parents often did this, encouraging us to learn something along the way. Sometimes we even got an ice cream as we drove miles over Chemung County’s back roads.


Former Seneca County Historian Betty Auten, in her March 1985 newsletter, wrote about how Mrs. Permelia Story of Hector barged into the White House and met with President Lincoln! As I pursued my research, I found some similarities and some noteworthy differences in Gary Emerson’s article in…

GENEVA — The Geneva Historical Society is kicking off its virtual Spring Lecture Series with “A Dangerous Freedom: Abolitionists, Freedom Seekers and the Underground Railroad in Yates County.” Presented by Tricia Noel of the Yates County History Center, the free program is set for 7 p.m. March 23.

GENEVA — The Antiques Club of the Finger Lakes, in partnership with the Geneva Historical Society, will present the “Finger Lakes Scenes in 3-D” by Dan Weinstock March 25. The program, to be held virtually, begins at 7 p.m.


By the time Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation into law Jan. 1, 1863, Yates County was the home to numerous active abolitionists and Underground Railroad sites. However, decades before abolitionism became a popular cause in the county in the 1840s and ’50s, a formerly ensla…


It wasn’t just that her laugh was distinctive, or that it was so contagious. That high-spirited, full-bodied exuberant laugh was part and parcel of the amazingly upbeat bundle of positive energy that WAS Larry Ann Evans — an energy as contagious as her laughter.

A bright, shining light was extinguished on July 8, 1987, when Timothy Leon Barber was killed in a two-car collision on Route 104 just west of Williamson. The youngest of 16 children of Arthur and Ethel Barber, Tim had just graduated from Williamson Central School on June 22 and had plans to…