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…

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.

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 …

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.

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.

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Although it no longer exists as a congregation and the church building is gone, the Kendaia Baptist Church (formally known as the First Baptist Church and Society of Romulus at least until 1898) was the first church organized in Seneca County.

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Gordon Granger was born in 1821 in the small hamlet of Joy, N.Y. — which is located south of the village of Sodus in Wayne County. Little is known about his early years other than he taught in 1840 during the first year of the Pre-Emption schoolhouse in Sodus.

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From 1881 until 1911, “Cap” Quick (that is what friends called him) crossed Cayuga Lake more than 40,000 times piloting ferry boat passengers and cargo between Kidders and King Ferry on his boat “The Busy Bee.”

About a year ago, Walworth Town Historian Gene Bavis and Wayne County Historical Society Executive Director Larry Ann Evans were appointed co-chairs of the Wayne County Bicentennial Committee by the Wayne County Board of Supervisors. Also assigned to the committee as an advisor was County Hi…

Weather in Geneva has been interesting at times over the years. We’ve seen floods, ice, snow, hurricanes and tornadoes cause a big stir in the past, just as they do today.

As many of us find ourselves staying at home and away from the COVID-19 virus, I thought it might be a perfect opportunity to share what is happening in Macedon Center. As your Town Historian, I also hold the role of secretary of the Macedon Historical Society. Our organization has been incr…

The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1919, allowed women all across the country to vote in the presidential election 100 years ago. An amendment to the New York state constitution extended the vote to women two years earlier. In 1917, New York became the first eastern state to grant full voting r…

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Our favorite restaurants of the past may be gone, but they are by no means forgotten. They served up good food as well as memories, in the company of family, friends and the employees we would come to know.

Amelia Jenks Bloomer was born to a family of modest means on May 27, 1818 in Homer, Cortland County. She received only about two years of formal grammar school education, but at age 17 began a brief stint as a schoolteacher. She decided to relocate and moved in with her newly married sister …

Schools closing, churches canceling Sunday services, public events canceled, panic buying, concern about the capacity of the health system to handle the number of sick people — we have been here before, but it’s been 102 years.

Women cartoonists have always been an industry minority. Mary Flanigan Gauerke was a successful freelance cartoonist from the 1950s to the 1980s and may have been the only woman to sell cartoons to Hugh Hefner and William F. Buckley Jr. at the same time.

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Of all the signers of the 1848 Declaration of Sentiments, only Rhoda Palmer lived to vote. Her story seems an appropriate way to launch Women’s History Month in 2020 — the centennial year of ratification of the 19th Amendment guaranteeing U.S. women the legal right to vote.

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First reports of a “circus” coming to Geneva appear in the Geneva Palladium in 1827 when a group of equestrian riders made the journey to the small village. Trick equestrian riding was typically the main attraction for early circuses, whose modern origins were less than 60 years old at this …

HURON — A William G. Pomeroy Foundation Historic Marker Grant was awarded in 2019 to the Town of Huron. Pomeroy Foundation grants fully fund the acquisition of historic markers for municipalities, historical societies and other organizations seeking meaningful ways to commemorate sites of hi…

During the 1790s New York moved to seize the vast lands belonging to the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy. The situation was only slightly complicated by the fact that at most only four of them fought during the war on the British side; just as it was by the new federal law stating th…

Locally, at least, Palmyra has been known as the only place in the world with four churches on four corners; that is, four churches on each of four adjacent corners at one intersection.

If you want to get to the Waterloo Premium Outlets, you access the stores from Route 318. Known by locals for many years as the Old State Road, it used to be a poorly maintained road that drivers avoided if they could. Route 318 has been transformed in recent years to become — especially at …

The Walworth Historical Society owns the two historically significant paintings created by Clara Billings Yeomans (1850-1926) that served as inspiration for the mural now found at the Walworth Post Office.

The Universal Friend, the first American woman to found a religious movement, was by the standards of her own time a blasphemer and a charlatan. I haven’t space here for a comprehensive defense, but trust me there is one. Yet the historical society in her hometown in Rhode Island, where her …

In a display case in the Oliver House Museum at the Yates County History Center in Penn Yan is a small wooden box with a bottle of Glenora champagne in it. Visitors often ask about it. They are told that the small box is actually a casket and there is quite a story behind it going back to Wo…

On June 4, 1957 the Federal Communications Commission granted an initial decision to allow WACK 1420 AM to broadcast out of Newark, N.Y. and 40 days later approved a construction permit for the brand-new radio station. The station was first located on East Union Street.

The Geneva Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) is part of an international non-profit organization that reaches 64 million people in 120 countries. YMCAs in the United States have a presence in 10,000 neighborhoods, serving innumerable people.

Early this summer, two events took up much of my time: watching the women’s World Cup soccer matches and researching the history of William Smith College athletics. By whatever name you choose – games, sports, athletics – physical education has been at the center of women’s colleges like Wil…

The steamboat companies on Lake Keuka (as it was called in the late 19th century) loved moonlit nights in the summer months. They ran special excursions and lined up bands to play on the boats. Often they would stop at one of the lake resorts for people to have dinner and sometimes they woul…

Many of the early settlers of the town of Fayette were Pennsylvania Germans who settled here early in the 19th century. Not surprisingly, there soon emerged several church congregations worshiping in their faith, and in many instances actually in the German language.

I have written so many articles for this column, but searching through my computer, it looks like I’ve not written one on the beginnings of the county and each of its towns. I’m here to rectify that, since Gene Bavis of Walworth and I are heading up the Wayne County Bicentennial for 2023!