Tag Archives: Cayuga County

Cayuga Museum Film Fest Seeks Entrants


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The 2011 Theodore Case Film Festival seeks entrants. Auburn’s only home-grown film festival honors the work of sound film pioneer Theodore Case and his Case Research Laboratory. Its mission is to further the experimental legacy of the Case Lab by promoting original visual media in Central New York. Festival organizers are actively seeking entries, spreading the word in movie houses, colleges, high schools and middle schools throughout Central New York. The work of area student and adult filmmakers will be screened at the Auburn Public Theater on June 10 and 11. The theater is on Genesee Street in downtown Auburn, the city which is proud to proclaim itself “The Birthplace of Talking Movies.”

Central New York residents are invited to submit their recent work (post January 2009) of thirty minutes or less. Entries should be on DVD. Entry forms may be picked up at the Cayuga Museum, 203 Genesee St., in Auburn, or downloaded from either the Theodore Case Film Festival’s website or the Museum’s website. Work in all genres is welcome and there is no entry fee. Deadline for entries is May 2, 2011.

Auburn Joins Arts, Culture, Economic Impact Study


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Auburn, New York’s Historic and Cultural Sites Commission has announced it has joined Arts & Economic Prosperity IV, a national research study being conducted by Americans for the Arts. The study will evaluate the impact spending by nonprofit arts organizations and their audiences have on their local economies.

According to Americans for the Arts most recent national study, the national nonprofit arts industry generated 5.7 million jobs and $166.2 billion in total economic activity during 2005, resulting in $29.6 billion in federal, state and local government revenues.

By collecting detailed financial information from all of Auburn’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations, and surveying hundreds of audience members at cultural events throughout the city, the Historic and Cultural Sites Commission will produce hard date about what the arts bring to the local economy.

Specifically, the study’s results will include:

* The total dollars spent by Auburn’s nonprofit arts organizations.
* The total dollars spent by audiences as a direct result of their attendance at cultural events in the city.
* The number of full-time equivalent jobs supported by arts spending.
* The amount of local household income generated by arts spending.
* The amount of local and state government tax revenues generated by arts spending.

“All of us involved in the arts in Auburn know that we have an economic impact on the city. This survey will give us the figures to prove it. We need real dollars-and-cents figures to make our case about why the arts matter,” said Eileen McHugh, Executive Director of the Cayuga Museum. The survey will be conducted through 2011, and the final report, specific to Auburn, will be available in March 2012.

“From a tourism perspective, arts and culture form a community’s image and set it apart, creating visitor anticipation and excitement. We know this study will show the economic importance of our rich cultural heritage and we hope it will garner the support that the arts deserve,” said Meg Vanek, executive director of the Cayuga County Office of Tourism.

Auburn’s Historic and Cultural Sites Commission is a collaborative organization whose purpose is to position Auburn as the destination of choice in the Finger Lakes through support and promotion of its history and culture.

Boating Museum Donates Important Canal Marker


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The Finger Lakes Boating Museum commemorated the important role of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal in the development of Geneva by donating an historical marker for the city’s waterfront. City and boating museum officials dedicated the marker in a ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday on the lakefront near the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce building. Bill Oben, President of the Boating Museum, made the presentation to Mayor Stu Einstein.

The dedication ceremony coincided with the stopover in Geneva of the Lois McClure, an 88-foot canal schooner moored for three days on the lakefront just west of the Chamber. The McClure is a full-scale working replica of an 1862 canal schooner, a unique example of working vessels that carried goods throughout Northeastern waterways during the 19th century.

“The scheduled arrival of the schooner Lois McClure in Geneva harbor this week is a wonderful reminder of the significant role the Cayuga-Seneca Canal played in the development of Geneva and the region beyond throughout the 19th century,” said Oben. “The last vestiges of the canal along the Geneva waterfront disappeared long ago as the old waterway was filled in to make way for the arterial highway. As we plan the future home of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum on the site of the original entrance to this historic canal, it’s appropriate to recognize this with placement of an enduring marker identifying the former location of this important transportation artery.”

Oben said the historical marker at the original canal entrance will be similar to others already along the waterfront that note significant people and places in Geneva’s history. Geneva Granite donated the granite base for the plaque.

The plaque on the marker will read as follows: “At this point in 1828, water from Seneca Lake was first released into the newly constructed Cayuga-Seneca Canal, forming a navigable link to the Erie Canal. This waterway enabled commerce to flow between Seneca and the Hudson River and soon became an economic engine that brought wealth and prosperity to the City of Geneva and other municipalities along its path. Eventually supplanted by rail and truck transportation, this channel was abandoned in the 1920s and ultimately filled in.”

The boating museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva last fall to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with the Visitor Center. The facility, which will be located on the current Chamber site, is being enabled by a $3.5 million grant provided to the city by State Sen. Michael Nozzolio.

The boating museum has assembled a collection of 100 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. The collection is being moved to a storage facility in the Geneva Enterprise Development Center on North Genesee Street arranged by the Geneva Industrial Development Authority.

Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility. Also planned are interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design, construction and use of the boats and an active on-water program including sailing and small boat handling.

The boating museum is a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation and was chartered by the New York State Department of Education in 1997 to “research, document, preserve and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region.”

Additional information about the boating museum may be found on its website.

The canal schooner Lois McClure, whose homeport is Lake Champlain, is making a 1,000-mile journey across New York’s canals as it stops in 20 ports of call. The tour will culminate in September with a trip to the World Canals Conference in Rochester. The schooner also stopped in Geneva in 2007 on a similar tour.

The expedition is made possible by a partnership between the New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, and the Champlain Valley National Heritage Partnership. This voyage is an opportunity for the public to learn more about the region’s interconnected waterways and the many activities found along the New York State Canal System and Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor, highlighting the Canal System’s roles in transportation, recreation and tourism. Tours of the boat with interpretive presentations, wayside exhibits and educational materials will be provided free of charge to the public at each stop.

The schooner is a full-scale replica of an 1862 sailing canal boat. Constructed in Burlington, Vt., and launched in 2004, the Lois McClure is an exact replica of canal schooners found shipwrecked in the waters of Lake Champlain. The unique sailing-canal boats were the tractor-trailers of the 19th century, designed to sail from lake cities to canal ports using wind power. Upon reaching a canal, the masts were lowered and centerboards raised, transforming the vessel into a typical canal boat.

The schooner is named for Lois McClure, who was born in 1926 and grew up in Burlington, Vt. In 1954, McClure married James Warren McClure, an owner and publisher of the Burlington Free Press, and later a major stockholder and Vice President of the Gannett Company, Inc. In 1971, the McClures left Burlington for Rochester, where Lois McClure continued her education. In 1978, after J. Warren McClure retired, they moved to Key Largo, Fla., spending summers in Charlotte, until they returned to Vermont in 2002.

In the 1970s, the McClures began to make significant financial contributions to organizations in the Burlington area and elsewhere. After her husband became ill in the 1990s, Lois McClure took on the leadership role in their philanthropy, a role she has continued since her husband’s death in 2004. The schooner was named in McClure’s honor for her major contribution to the schooner construction and support of many other community projects.

Photo: Bill Oben (left), president of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, presents Geneva Mayor Stu Einstein with a copy of the historical marker that the boating museum donated to the city to mark the entrance to the Cayuga-Seneca Canal. In the background is the Lois McClure, a replica of a canal boat that stopped in Geneva on a tour of New York State canal waterways.

Golf Tournament to Benefit the Cayuga Museum


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The Cayuga Museum will host its first ever golf outing on Sunday, September 19, 2010 at the Highland Golf Club. This is an added event to help with the severe financial challenges the Museum is facing this year. To register, sponsor a hole or for more information call 253-8051.

This will be a 4-person scramble with a shotgun start at 1:00 PM. The cost is $75 per person, which includes 18 holes of golf, cart, cocktails and heavy hors d’oeuvres. We are also selling hole sponsorships at $100 per hole. Entry fees and sponsorships should be sent to the Cayuga Museum at 203 Genesee St, Auburn, NY 13021. The deadline for entries and sponsorships is September 3, 2010.

Bar-B-Cayuga to Benefit Cayuga Museum


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Food catered by Balloon’s Restaurant and music by The Flying Column will be the main attractions for this 4th Annual Cayuga Museum of History and Art barbecue fundraiser to be held on Sunday, August 15th from 3 pm to 6 pm at the Deauville Island Shelter at Emerson Park in Auburn, NY. Tickets are only $25 per person for adults and $15 for children under 10 years. Tickets are available by advance sale only.

To purchase tickets, visit, call or send a check to the Cayuga Museum, 203 Genesee St., Auburn, NY. 13021. Tickets are also available at www.cayuganet.org/cayugamuseum. No ticket will be sold after August 9th. For more information, contact Museum staff at (315) 253-8051.

History Groups Among Recipients of Canal Grants


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The New York State Canal Corporation has announced the recipients of the 2010 Canal Corporation Tourism Matching Grant Awards Program and the list includes several public history organizations. A total of $30,000 is being awarded to a total of 16 projects for local and regional initiatives to promote the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail as a year-round recreational resource and tourism destination. A full list of the 2010 grant recipients is below, but it includes the Niagara County Historical Society, Schenectady Heritage Area, and Historic Palmyra among other groups whose goals include historical tourism.

The grant program was open to designated Tourism Promotion Agencies (TPAs), Chambers of Commerce, Nonprofit organizations and canal communities in New York State for the development of Canal System promotional material consistent with regional themes set forth in the Canal Recreationway Plan and recommendations contained in the state’s “A Report on the Future of New York State Canals”.

The grants provide up to $2,500 for the development of promotional materials that promote the Canal System and/or Canalway Trail, or specific Canal-related events, festivals or attractions.

Special consideration was given this year to applications that involved collaborative partnerships among several TPAs and/or private industry to create multi-county, regional thematic canal destinations and self-guided tours consistent with historical, cultural, urban and environmental assets and attractions contained along or within the Canal System and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor.

Additionally, all awarded projects incorporated Canal Corporation logos and the New York Canal System’s promotional theme: “Cruise the Past, Unlock the Adventure”. Materials will be made available to the public at no charge.

The New York State Canal System is comprised of four historic waterways, the Erie, the Champlain, the Oswego and the Cayuga-Seneca Canals. Spanning 524 miles across New York State, the waterway links the Hudson River, Lake Champlain, Lake Ontario, the Finger Lakes and the Niagara River with communities rich in history and culture. For more information regarding events, recreational and vacation opportunities along the Canal System, visit www.nyscanals.gov or call 1-800-4CANAL4.

The New York State Canal Corporation is a subsidiary of the New York State Thruway Authority (Authority). Since 1992, following State legislation transferring the Canal System from the New York State Department of Transportation to the Authority, Canal operating and maintenance activities have been supported by Thruway toll revenue.

2010 CANAL CORPORATION TOURISM MATCHING GRANTS (listed by Canal)

Agency Name – Contact – Grant Award

Canal System-wide

• Canal New York Marketing and Business Alliance, Inc., Victoria Daly, $2,500.00

Erie Canal

• Mohawk Towpath Scenic Byway Coalition, Inc., Eric Hamilton, $2,500.00

• Schenectady Heritage Area, Maureen Gebert, $2,500.00

• Stockade Association, Lyn Gordon, $800.00

• U.S. Water Ski Show Team, Kara Pangburn, $2,000.00

• Town of Niskayuna, Lori Peretti, $500.00

• Historic Palmyra, Bonnie Hays, $1,050.00

• Fairport Village Partnership, Scott Winner, $2,500.00

• Niagara County Historical Society, Douglas Farley, $1,117.50

• Lockport Main Street, Inc., Heather Peck, $2,400.00

• Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas, Joyce Santiago, $2,500.00

Champlain Canal

• Lakes to Locks Passage, Inc., Janet Kennedy, $2,500.00

• Hudson Crossing Park, Inc., Marlene Bissell, $2,500.00

• Rensselaer County, Christine Golden, $1,427.84

Oswego Canal

• Oswego County Dept. of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, Janet Clerkin, $2,500.00

Cayuga Seneca Canal

• Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, Sarah Osterling, $700.00

Finger Lakes Museum Selects Keuka Lake Site


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On Thursday, the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum Board of Trustees adopted a resolution to select Keuka Lake State Park in Yates County as the future home of the Finger Lakes Museum. The vote was unanimous with one abstention.

After nearly a year of evaluating 19 sites that were originally submitted, the Site Selection Committee, under the direction of chairman Don Naetzker, recommended two sites for the Board’s consideration: Seneca Lake State Park in and adjacent to the City of Geneva, and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport.

The idea to create a museum to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological history of the 9,000 square-­mile Finger Lakes Region was first floated in a Life in the Finger Lakes magazine article by John Adamski in March 2008.

After enlisting ConsultEcon Inc., a Boston­based market research firm in March, it was determined that the project is viable at either site although for different reasons. Board president, John Adamski added, “While the Seneca Lake site has significant advantages like a central location, the Board determined that the Keuka Lake site more closely met the requirements that were originally established in the Strategic Plan, especially as they relate to natural history programming.”

Among the advantages that he said tipped the scales in favor of the Keuka Lake site are the following:

• There is 700 feet of intimate lakefront with a level, sandy beach.

• The natural history element of the project is predicted to draw the most visitors. The rolling, hilly terrain, ravines, brook, woods, and areas of natural succession that exist there are ideal for wildlife exhibits in natural habitats.

• Several hundred acres of land are available for wildlife habitats and interpretive use—now or in the future.

• A 350­-car paved parking lot already exists.

• Keuka College has offered to add Museum Sciences to its curriculum
and become a partner in the educational aspect of the Museum.

• Yates County and Keuka­area business leaders have pledged over $2 million in start-up funding.

In addition, Adamski said, “The Branchport Elementary School, which is presently vacant, has been purchased by the Finger Lakes Visitors Association for use as the Museum’s base of operation during the project’s start-up phases. The building will provide 15,000 square­ feet for business offices and initial programming as well as storage for the acquisition of artifacts and collections.” Its 13­-acre site provides navigable water access to Keuka Lake.

He also stated, “Finger Lakes State Parks and the Finger Lakes Museum Project will undertake a joint master plan for the entire 620­acre park. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation & Historic Preservation has been very cooperative and enthused over the proposal and we look forward to working with them to bring the project to fruition.”

Although the Museum will be built on lands leased from Finger Lakes State Parks, it will remain a privately­-owned and mostly privately­-funded not­-for­-profit educational institution.

Canal Splash Event: Erie Canal Tour of Cayuga County


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The Old Brutus Historical Society, Weedsport; Lock 52 Historical Society, Port Byron; and the Montezuma Historical Society, will present an all day canal sites tour as part of the statewide Canal Splash day. “Following The Flow: The Tale of Two Erie Canals; A Narrative Driving and Walking Tour Featuring Historic Canal Sites and Villages Along the Erie Canal in Cayuga County, NY, will be a day long celebration of the Erie Canal following its route through the three canal villages of Weedsport, Port Byron, and Montezuma.

Participants will learn about the original Erie Canal, and its replacement, the Enlarged Erie. We will tour five canal sites and see the remains of canal structures. We will also learn about the canal side businesses, a murder, the largest grain mill in the state (in 1830) and even a little about the Montezuma Swamps (and much more).

The tour is organized so that you can do it at your own pace, or, by joining one of two guided groups. The tours consists of two walking segments; one in Montezuma and the other in Port Byron; and driving between other stops that are located alongside the road. Both walking tours cover about 1.6 miles.

The guided tours are structured so that you can pick and chose what stops you wish to see. There is no cost for attending the tours. The organizers are asking that people pre-register if they wish to attend the guided tour.

Details on times and stops are available on the blog site at http://www.canalsplash.blogspot.com/

This event is part of a yearly Canal Splash Celebration of the extraordinary history and culture of the New York Canal System and the Erie Canalway Trail that is coordinated by the New York State Canal Corporation and the Erie Canalway National Corridor.

Photo: Erie Canal’s Centreport Aqueduct, West of Weedsport in Cayuga County. Courtesy http://www.eriecanal.org/

Finger Lakes Museum Site Submission Process Closed


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The Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum have officially closed the site submission process. Nineteen potential building sites were proposed by seven Finger Lakes Region counties and the City of Geneva before the deadline of July 15th.

Counties that submitted proposals include Cayuga, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates. The City of Geneva is partnering with Seneca County on a site that straddles the Ontario/Seneca county line at the north end of Seneca Lake.

The deadline, which had been originally set for June 15th, was extended by the board for 30 days to give some counties more time to complete title searches. The sites are now being toured and evaluated by the project’s Site Selection Committee.

A question arose concerning a 20th site being added to the list when a landowner inquired about submitting a parcel in Ontario County. The board considered the inquiry but determined that the deadline should be upheld in fairness to the counties that worked hard to make submissions on time, according to a press release issued last week. The landowner is not being identified.

The search for a building site has ramped up the level of excitement for the initiative to develop a cultural and natural history museum to showcase the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region.

Executed Today Blog: New York’s Electric Chair


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One of the blogs I follow here at New York History is Executed Today, which gives a glimpse of those unfortunates who have found themselves at the wrong end of capital punishment. Unlike the American-only Execution Database of the Death Penalty Information Center, Executed Today travels the world far and wide and includes notable lynchings and other extra-legal violent deaths.

Wednesday’s post “1890: William Kemmler, only in America,” traces the emergence of the electric chair in New York by following the careers of those that have made state death their business. Men like Buffalo dentist (hence the chair and not the gurney) Dr. Alfred Southwick, who watched a drunk guy die after falling into an electrical generator and then worked diligently with New York Governor David B. Hill to make execution by electricity legal. The first execution, despite the War of Currents, was William Kemmler on August 6, 1890. He had been convicted of the hatchet murder of his common-law wife Tillie Ziegler. That’s a sketch of his death at left-above.

Some other recent fascinating posts at Executed Today have included:

1916: Sir Roger Casement
Executed by the British Government for his part in the Easter Rising.

1917: Frank Little of the IWW lynched
Wobbly labor organizer abducted from his hotel and hanged from a railroad trestle in Butte, Montana.

1963: 21 Iraqi Communists
Iraq’s new Ba’ath government executed 21 Shi’a soldiers for participating in a coup attempt.