Finger Lakes Museum Receives Gift of Land


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Townsend-Grady Wildlife PresserveThe Finger Lakes Museum has more than doubled the size of its campus in Branchport.

Thanks to a generous gift of land donated by sisters Anne Salisbury and Molly Sujan and to a cash contribution from their neighbors Rolf Zerges and his wife Lynda Rummel, the museum now owns the 16-acre wetland adjacent to Crescent Beach at the north end of the west branch of Keuka Lake. The parcel comes with more than 1,400 feet of water frontage on Sugar Creek, which is a navigable inlet to the lake. Continue reading

Guest Essay:
Path Through History Highlights Historic Assets


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PrintWhat follow is an guest essay by Mark Castiglione – Acting Executive Director, Hudson River Valley Greenway and Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area, and Path Through History Workgroup Liaison; and Ross D. Levi – Vice President, Marketing Initiatives, Empire State Development

Even though few states have had as much impact on history or are home to as many authentic historic attractions, New York State has not always come to mind for history lovers as quickly as places like Boston, Philadelphia, and Virginia.   In an effort to help change this perception, Governor Cuomo created the Path Through History [PTH] initiative to draw attention to New York’s unparalleled history and grow heritage tourism throughout the state, and through it promote economic development and create jobs. As we conclude the busy summer travel season, it’s worth noting how far we have come in promoting heritage tourism in New York as well as the future opportunities that exist to expand the effort. Continue reading

Johnstown: Serial Killer Robert Garrow Talk Thursday


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Robert GarrowThe Fulton County Sheriff’s Association will offer a public review of the case of convicted Adirondack serial killer Robert Garrow tomorrow, Thursday, October 2 at the Johnstown Eagles Club, 12 S. William St., at 7 pm. The presentation will be given by regular New York History Blog contributor Lawrence P. Gooley, who is the author of Terror in the Adirondacks: The True Story of Serial Killer Robert F. Garrow.

Garrow, an abused Dannemora child turned thief, serial rapist, and killer who admitted to seven rapes and four murders (although police believed there were many more). Among his victims were campers near Speculator where Garrow escaped a police dragnet and traveled up Route 30 through Indian Lake and Long Lake and eventually made his way to Witherbee where he was tracked down and shot in the foot. Claiming he was partially paralyzed, Garrow was shot and killed during an attempted prison escape in September 1978 – he had faked his paralysis. Continue reading

NYS Open Space Conservation Plan Comments Sought


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NYS Open Space PlanThe Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (State Parks) have released the 2014 State Open Space Conservation Plan for public comment.  The plan guides State Environmental Protection Fund investments in open space protection.  Public comments on the draft plan will be accepted from until December 17 and a series of public hearings will be held across the state from October 21 to October 23.

What follows is a recently issued press release: Continue reading

Casino Push Recalls 1960s Catskills Nuke Project


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Sullivan County Nuclear PlantEven those who are not particularly astute observers of the current battle for casino licenses have recognized that the struggle has devolved into one in which some of those in the running have resorted to pointing out how desperate they are.

Sullivan and Ulster Counties seem to be in the lead in this dubious category, and although it will likely be worth it if it lands a casino for one or both, it remains to be seen what the long term impact of such reverse promotion will be, especially if no casinos are forthcoming. Continue reading

Museums Mean Business: NYS Museum Impacts


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MANY LogoThe deadline for proposals for the Museum Association of New York (MANY) 2015 Museums in Action Conference, October 4th, is growing near.  This year the theme of the conference is “Museums Mean Business”.  You can learn more about the conference, which will be held April 12th through the 14th, 2015, at the Corning Museum of Glass, in Corning, NY, here.

Here are some details about the economic impact of museums and cultural organizations in New York State and nationally, provided by MANY: Continue reading

Hudson Valley Ramble At The Jay Heritage Center


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In themeadow 2​The Hudson Valley Ramble came to Rye on Jay Day, Sunday, September 28th. The Jay Heritage Center (JHC) has been participating in this annual event since 2009 when it was named to the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area as a premier destination to study themes of Architecture, Landscape, and Freedom and Dignity.

About 1000 people came to the Jay Estate and soaked up the sunshine, centuries of history and the views. They sampled old fashioned honey crisp apples and homemade donuts and enjoyed traditional entertainments like apple coring and pumpkin decorating. Docents led tours of preservation projects in process including the restoration of a room that is believed to have once housed a collection of 50,000 seashells. Continue reading

Johnny Dempster:
Watertown Boy With Wonderful Mind


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P1Bingham painting, checkers1850When leading sports channel ESPN began broadcasting events like poker and eating contests, it was regarded as innovative (or disturbing, as in the case of eating contests). A major media member had turned its attention to games rather than sticking with the traditional sports world. Unusual though it may have been, the move was hardly groundbreaking.

It harkens back to previous centuries, when popular games like chess and checkers received daily coverage on the sports pages of many of the world’s newspapers. And more than 130 years ago, an amazing North Country boy was mixing it up with the best of them in the world of competitive checkers. Continue reading

Waterford Historical Museum’s 50th Anniversary Gala


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image001(5)The Waterford Historical Museum and Cultural Center is pleased has announced its Golden Anniversary Gala will be taking place on Saturday, October 18, 2014 at Chrome Food & Spirits, located on 405 Hudson River Road in Waterford, New York.

The celebration will begin at 6:00 pm with a cocktail hour and cash bar, followed by a sit-down dinner, remarks from the Master of Ceremonies and a silent auction. One of the highlights of the evening will be the live auction of their public art project’s decorated mules, which have been on display this summer throughout Waterford. The bidding will start at $500 & bidders must be in attendance. The festivities will continue afterwards with music and dancing provided by the Graham Tichy Band with Johnny Rabb. Continue reading

Museum and Library Services Grants Awarded In NYS


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imls logoThe Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded grants for 211 museum projects totaling over $25M through its Museums for America and National Leadership Grants for Museums programs.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services grants are the primary source of federal support for the nations’ 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums.

Over fifty grants were awarded to institutions in the mid-Atlantic region. Thirty-two institutions in New York State received grants, including: Continue reading

This Week’s New York History Web Highlights


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The Historians: Peter Betz, Finger Lakes Culinary History


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The Historians LogoThis week on “The Historians”, retired Fulton County historian and Leader Herald history columnist Peter Betz has the story of an early drowning — or not — in the Sacandaga Reservoir. In the second half of the show I talk with Laura Winter Falk about her book Culinary History of the Finger Lakes: From the Three Sisters to Riesling (History Press).

Listen to the whole program at “The Historians” online archive at http://www.bobcudmore.com/thehistorians/
Continue reading

This Week’s Top New York History News


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Latest New York History News

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2015 NY Museums Conference Call For Proposals


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MANY LogoMuseums are economic engines. Locally, statewide and across the country, museums help drive the economy. Each year nationally, more people visit museums than attend all professional sporting events and theme parks combined. Museums provide jobs, education and community spaces, and are a major attraction for tourism dollars.

The Museum Association of New York (MANY) has issued a call for proposals for their 2015 Museums in Action Conference on the theme “Museums Mean Business.” The submission form is available online. The deadline for submissions is October 4th.

This year’s Museums In Action Annual Conference will address these topics and more: Continue reading

Columbia Co: Van Alen House Archeological Discoveries


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MenArcheSince acquiring the Van Alen House in 1964, the Columbia County Historical Society has sponsored many archeological investigations on the property. When Matthew Kirk, Principal Investigator and Vice President of Hartgen Archeological Associates, Inc. began work at the 1737 homestead, the archeological record was thought to be irretrievably lost after the 1960s, when the landscape was significantly altered with a bulldozer to create a pond. Despite the damage, significant archeological discoveries were made that helped to better understand the family that lived there. Continue reading

Sunday: Southern Tier Event Recalls Civil War Veteran


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04 photo 2014 imThe Coventry Town Museum Association will present its 10th Annual Civil War Commemorative event “Celebrating And Remembering The Life Of Coventry’s Immigrant Son, Private John Shaver – Stonemason, Family Man, Civil War Infantryman”, on Sunday, September 28th, on the grounds of the Coventryville Congregational Church.

This all day event honors John Shaver, ancestor of numerous descendants live throughout the Southern Tier including Chenango, Cortland and Broome counties. Continue reading

Adirondack Architectural Heritage Announces Preservation Awards


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thendaraStation2The Adirondack Architectural Heritage (AARCH) Awards Program annually recognizes exemplary historic preservation work throughout the Adirondack Park. AARCH seeks examples of sensitive restoration, rehabilitation, and demonstrated long-term stewardship.

Program Director Kate Ritter highlights this event as “a celebration of the work and care that individuals and organizations have put into a variety of historic resources throughout the Adirondack region.” Continue reading

American Revolution In The Mohawk Valley Events At Fort Plain Museum


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Fort Plain MuseumThe Fort Plain Museum will be hosting interpretive historians over the coming month, including: Glenn A. Bentz, who will present on the Haudenosaune (Iroquois) in the Mohawk Valley in the 18th Century; Jeff Tew who will discuss British Officers serving in the Mohawk Valley during the American Revolution; and John Anson, who specializes in Artillery, will offer an audio-visual presentation on cannon manufacturing in the 18th century.

Presentations begin at 7 pm. Admission is free and open to the public, although donations are appreciated. The Fort Plain Museum is located at 389 Canal Street, Fort Plain. Check their Facebook page or website at http://fortplainmuseum.com/index.html Details can be found below. Continue reading

Community Day At Thomas Cole Historic Site Sunday


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Photograph: Thatcher KeatsThomas Cole Historic Site will host a Community Day featuring free access to the site, live music, refreshments and family activities on Sunday, September 28th, from 1 to  4 pm, rain or shine.

Open for free visits will be Thomas Cole’s home and studio plus three art exhibitions: Master, Mentor, Master, featuring the 1845 period paintings of Thomas Cole and his young student Frederic Church; Postcards from the Trail 2014; and Thomas Cole’s Honey, Stanley Maltzman’s drawings of our 200-year-old Honey Locust tree. Continue reading