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…
(Editor’s Note: This story originally ran in the Finger Lakes Times on Jan. 29, 2014 to note Ontario County’s 225th anniversary)
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…
(Editor’s note: This article originally ran as a “Looking Back” column in August 2019)
It may seem to the average person that Finger Lakes wines are a Johnny Come Lately, based on the accolades the region has been receiving from consumers and critics over the past 20 years.
SENECA FALLS — Jimmy Carter was president and Mario Cuomo was New York’s governor when stories about the Cayuga Nation began appearing in the Finger Lakes Times and other upstate newspapers.
High on Seneca’s fertile slopes;
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.
First, let’s establish that I was not at the Finger Lakes Times for 125 years.
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.
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 1883, a handpicked group of eligible men joined together to organize the Geneva Historical Society. By design, the original members had to be men at least 45 years old, born in and living in Geneva.
SHORTSVILLE — Harry Tuttle, the author of “Lehigh Valley Railroad Stories Manchester Yard,” will sign copies of his book from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday(July28) at the Lehigh Valley Railroad Historical Society, 8 E. High St.
Although native to the region, bear sightings in the Finger Lakes often cause a flurry of excitement on social media. That’s true especially among visitors to the area, or when the bears happen to wander into more urban areas, such as the one sighted in the city of Geneva last month.
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.
On a hot summer day early in the Civil War, the population of tiny Himrod swelled as people descended on the hamlet from every direction. More than 2,000 people, more than twice today’s population, showed up to hear a speech by Frederick Douglass, who had chosen what was then known as Himrod…
Happy Birthday to the Sodus Bay Lighthouse!
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.
You probably have seen cobblestone houses and maybe even houses built of cut limestone, but have you ever come across houses built of siltstone?
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).
GENEVA — The final program of the Geneva Historical Society’s 2021 Spring Lecture Series, “Provocative Mothers Raising Precocious Daughters: Women’s Rights Leaders from the Finger Lakes,” is set for 7 p.m. May 4.
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.
If you are like me, you have driven by one or more of the stone monuments for the 1779 Sullivan Expedition without paying clear attention to the shape of the monument’s top or the wording of the plaque.
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.
The National Park Service is seeking public comment in a feasibility study regarding whether the U.S. Congress should designate the Finger Lakes as a National Heritage Area.
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.
Today, the location in Penn Yan where the Keuka Outlet flows from the foot of Keuka Lake is framed by a pair of parks. Indian Pines Park is situated on the west side of the Outlet and Red Jacket Park sits on the east.
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.
In the Finger Lakes, we’re accustomed to seeing horse-drawn vehicles on the road. They’re usually enclosed buggies and the occasional open bed wagon or two-person runabout.
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…
Born in Englewood, N.J. in 1942, John Joyce spent most of his adult years in Wayne County until he and his wife Sharon retired to Vermont to be closer to the youngest of their three adult sons, Rashid.
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…
Although it hasn’t received much public reporting, there were several African-Americans making a living as residents of Seneca County in the years before and shortly after the Civil War.
SODUS — Now in his mid-80s, Gus Newport draws on his area roots for his continued activism for racial and social justice.
Did you know that the long wooden log in our museum is actually a water pipe from Geneva’s first water system?
Always express yourself. Speak. Never close your mouth because someone could take you down the river. Speak.”
The Rev. Fay Hovey Purdy (1816-1894) was a prominent land and business owner during the late 19th century in the town of Huron. Purdy owned two Central New York state military tracts (east of the Pre-Emption Line).
GENEVA — The first Geneva Historical Society History “Sandwiched In” program for 2021 will be held at 1 p.m. Feb. 3. Geneva Historical Society Executive Director Kerry Lippincott will share a short history of Geneva Medical College.
BRISTOL SPRINGS — The school lacked a competent teacher, an old mare had taken ill, and money was so tight that a local farmer wasn’t sure anyone would be able to afford new shoes. That was the news from Bristol in April 1817, taken from a letter discovered recently by a Saratoga County historian.
As we began planning the upcoming Wayne County bicentennial celebration, we found some interesting documents.
Among the principal streams in the town of Lodi is Mill Creek, which flows into Seneca Lake at Lodi Point. Like most streams emptying into either Cayuga or Seneca lakes, Mill Creek has a waterfall. With a fall of 160 feet, it was originally known as Lodi Falls.
You hear a lot nowadays about landfills, recycling, garbage, and waste. There are advertisements on the radio for recycling, letters to the editors about landfills, and exhibits, displays, and housing projects built around recycling.
In normal, non-pandemic years, people all over the world celebrate the New Year by attending parties or crowding into bars and restaurants.
We know many of the early Phelps pioneers — J.D. Robison, the Deans, Swifts, Grangers and Dickersons — but what do we know of pioneer Johnathan Melvin?
The Peace statue in Pulteney Park is a beloved, and sometimes decorated, part of Geneva. Did you know she has a twin sister in North Carolina?