Tag Archives: Finger Lakes

Registration for 5th Canal Splash! Now Open

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The New York State Canal Corporation, the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor and Parks & Trails New York have announced that the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! will take place during the weekend of August 13-15, 2010. This year’s Canal Splash! will offer a series of locally organized events designed to highlight the history, beauty, culture and recreational appeal of the New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail.

Any Canal Corridor community, business, club or non-profit organization may participate in the Canal Splash! and may register its event at www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html. Examples of local events include, but are not limited to, nature or history walks along the Canal or Canalway Trail; museum gallery features or exhibits; group bicycle rides on the Canalway Trail; rowing regattas; Canalside business or restaurant specials; kayak or canoe tours; cruise boat tours; Canal festivals, concerts and more.

The Canal Corporation encourages those along the Canal to help create awareness and generate additional exposure for their communities, businesses or events by participating in this year’s Canal Splash!. Last year’s Canal Splash! featured more than 120 events and attracted tens of thousands of visitors during the three day, multi-location celebration.

Canal Splash! will be promoted through a printed guide that will be distributed widely during July and August and will drive people to the online listing. In order to gain maximum exposure, it is encouraged that events be registered no later than June 3, 2010 to be included in the printed guide.

For more information about the Fifth Annual Canal Splash! or to register an event, please refer to www.nyscanals.gov/exvac/special-events/splash/index.html or contact the New York State Canal Corporation at (518) 436-3055.

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.

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.


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.

Finger Lakes Boating Museum Moves Forward With Site

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The Board of Directors of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum in Geneva, NY has established a Site Development Committee and are moving forward with ambitous plans for a facility to research, document, preserve, and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region. The 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 will be located on the current Chamber of Commerce site. The Museum anticipates occupying approximately 20,000 square feet of space initially, with future expansion on the lakefront and off-site eventually growing to approximately 60,000 square feet of space.

Newly elected board president Bill Oben said the Museum has assembled a collection of more than 90 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. 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 board also elected a new slate of officers and appointed four new directors at its January 4th. The officers for 2010 are Bill Oben as President, Ed Wightman as Vice President, Bill Smith as Secretary and Dennis Karalow as Treasurer. The new directors are Chrissy Bennett-West, Dave Bunnell, Vince Scalise and Bruce Tuxill.

Bennett-West is a Geneva native and a graduate of William Smith College. A long-time member of the Seneca Yacht Club, she sails Thistles and serves on the Executive Board as Vice Commodore. She and her husband live in Canandaigua where she is employed as a Special Education teacher in the Canandaigua School System.

Dave Bunnell relocated to Geneva following a 40-year career in law and business. He has practiced law with two commercial law firms in Dallas, Texas, served in senior management positions with international food companies, and engaged in various entrepreneurial activities. He is currently involved with others in efforts to accelerate the revitalization of downtown Geneva. He serves on the Boards of Geneva Growth, the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Business Improvement District.

Vince Scalise, a Geneva native and Korean War veteran, retired as Superintendent of the Geneva City School System. He has served on numerous boards including Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail Association, YMCA, Geneva Growth, Geneva Historical Society, United Way of Rochester and Ontario County, the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce, and the FL Cultural & Natural History Museum. He has also served on the Geneva City Council.

Bruce Tuxill returned to his native Geneva in 2008 following a 40-year career in the Air Force and Air National Guard. At the time of his retirement he was serving as the Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard. He is currently the President of the Tuxill Group, which provides consulting service for federal, state and local officials in the areas of national defense and homeland security. He currently serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Geneva and the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church.

Bill Oben, is a founding trustee who has served as president of the 300-member Museum since 2007, commented that the organization is “excited about establishing a permanent home for the museum on the Geneva waterfront. We intend to create a world class facility highlighting the boating heritage of the Finger Lakes region,” Oben said.

Crooked Lake Review: Finger Lakes History Journal

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The Crooked Lake Review is a local history magazine for the Conhocton, Canisteo, Tioga, Chemung and Genesee River Valleys, and for the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario Regions of New York State. Crooked Lake is the old name for Keuka Lake, an unusual Finger Lake because it is shaped like a ‘Y’.

According to the their website, the Crooked Lake Review “is a review of the accomplishments of the men, women and families who settled in these regions, built homes, cleared farms and started businesses. It is also a review of the present work and aspirations of the people who were born here or who came to live here.” The first issue of the Review was published in print in May 1988, but since 2006 the Review has been published as an online blog.

Comments and suggestions on the journal are welcome at:

The Crooked Lake Review
7988 Van Amburg Road
Hammondsport, NY 14840

NYS 2009 Historic Preservation Awards Announced

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New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation has announced the recipients of the 2009 New York State Historic Preservation Awards. Established in 1980 to honor excellence in the protection and rejuvenation of New York’s historic and cultural resources, this year’s winning projects included several buildings adapted or rehabilitated for affordable housing and one that created affordable work spaces for small manufacturers.

Not-For-Profit Achievement:

The Public Policy Program, Preservation League of New York State for outstanding leadership and commitment to the development and enactment of the New York State Historic Preservation Tax Credit legislation. A multi-year effort came to fruition when legislation expanding the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits was approved and signed into law in July, 2009. The new law offers financial assistance to homeowners and commercial developers.

The League used one of the first applications of GIS mapping to demonstrate the potential impact of legislation during an advocacy process. Mapping and analysis demonstrated the degree to which residents and building owners would benefit from the legislation.

Individual Achievement:

The late Raymond V. Beecher. When the Thomas Cole house in Catskill was placed on the market in 1979, Mr. Beecher, of Coxsackie, saw past the immediate obstacles to restoring the house and property. He envisioned the site as a viable historic resource and led the Greene County Historical Society’s purchase and restoration of the property. The site was designated a National Historic Site in 1999 and opened to the public in 2001.

Mr. Beecher held a number of positions in the community including Greene County Historian, Town of Coxsackie Historian, leadership roles in the Greene County Historical Society for over 50 years and librarian at the Vedder Research Library. A prolific researcher and author, Mr. Beecher understood the importance of documenting the full record of Greene County’s built heritage. In order to raise awareness and encourage the preservation of this heritage, he initiated the establishment of the Historical Society’s Greene County Historical Register in 1990. The organization has just published the first volume of listed properties. Mr. Beecher died in October, 2008.

Project Achievement:

Knox Street Apartments, Albany for an outstanding rehabilitation project and commitment to community revitalization. WINNDevelopment Company of Rochester, NY and Boston worked in partnership with the City of Albany and the Capital City Housing Development Fund Corporation on an Urban Renewal Plan for Park South Neighborhood. The first implementation phase of the project was the rehabilitation of 18 rowhouses on Knox Street. Project consultants included The Architectural Team, Keith Construction, and Landmark Consulting.

Financing for the affordable housing project included Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and low income housing tax credits. The rehabilitation has proven to be a catalyst for other neighborhood projects. These included the rehabilitation of one rowhouse whose owner qualified for the first use of the New York State Rehabilitation Tax Credits for homeowners.

221 McKibben Street, Brooklyn, for an outstanding rehabilitation project and commitment to community revitalization. Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center (GMDC) rehabilitated the building for affordable work spaces for small manufacturing firms. Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and New Market Tax credits were two key financing tools. Project partners included New York City-based preservation consultants Higgins and Quasebarth, OCV Architects, Westerman Construction and PCF State Restoration.

Residential development pressures have forced many Brooklyn businesses and small manufacturing firms to close or move. By preserving an industrial site for continued use, Greenpoint Manufacturing and Design Center is preserving the industrial heritage of Brooklyn.

Park Lane Apartments at Sea View, Former Nurses’ Residence of Sea View Hospital, Staten Island, for an outstanding adaptive use project and commitment to community revitalization. The Arker Companies and The Domain Companies developed the former dormitory into affordable senior housing units with the help of Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits. Other project partners were Building Conservation Associates and Hugo S. Subotovsky, Architects, LLC. The Sea View hospital campus was constructed from 1913 to 1938 for the treatment of tuberculosis, and it was the site of clinical trials that led to the cure for the disease.

The project was the first historic structure to be funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority’s affordable green design initiative program.

Packard Building, Buffalo, for an outstanding adaptive use project and commitment to community revitalization. Regan Development adapted the 1926 Packard Automobile Showroom and storage facility into affordable housing units and commercial space. Hamilton Houston, Lownie, Architects and Resetarits Construction were the consultants. The work was funded in part by Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits and affordable housing tax credits.

The partners took extra efforts to preserve the building’s distinct character. The architects searched nationwide for a firm to custom design replacement windows. In addition, the developers chose to retain and stabilize the building’s water tower, recognizing it as one of the landmark structure’s distinguishing features.

Public Sector Achievement:

The Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and the Western Erie Canal Alliance for commitment to the field of historic preservation as a tool for community revitalization. The partnership of the Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council and the Western Erie Canal Alliance is a model for a comprehensive, regional approach to economic development programs and historic preservation programs.

The Council and the Alliance focus many of their programs on smaller communities where municipal staff may not have the benefit of historic preservation training. Their regional approach is particularly appropriate for encouraging municipalities to collaborate on the community preservation and development programs instead of trying to address economic challenges in a vacuum.

The State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO), which is part of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, helps communities identify, recognize, and preserve their historic resources, and incorporate them into local improvement and economic development activities. The SHPO administers several programs including the state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program, state historic preservation grants, the Certified Local Government program, and the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places, which are the official lists of properties significant in the history, architecture, and archeology of the state and nation.

Books: Madison County’s Frank L. Baum, Wizard of Oz

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This summer the film “The Wizard of Oz” marked its 70th anniversary. Just in time comes The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baumby Rebecca Loncraine, the first full biography of L. Frank Baum – from his birth in 1856 and his youth in the Finger Lakes region, to the years following his death – that looks at the people, places, history, culture, and literature that influenced the renowned storyteller. From the Civil War to women’s suffrage, from amputation to modern medicine, from psychics to industrialization, Baum saw it all and it was reflected in his writings. Loncraine is an acknowledged expert on Oz and Baum who traveled the US to study him, his works and the impact they had on our culture for the book.

When The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written at the turn of the century, it quickly became an icon of American Culture. The public and the media were entranced by myths surrounding Baum’s creation, all covered in the book:

Was OZ really named from the O-Z on his file cabinet?

Was the book really a reaction to the Populist party?

What was Baum’s incredible connection to PT Barnum?

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.

New York Heritage Adds 16 More Collections

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The New York 3Rs Association has added sixteen more online collections to its collective digital heritage web site, www.NewYorkHeritage.org. The site now connects more than 200 digital collections from around the state, contributed by libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions, and builds on existing digital repository services administered by each of the nine reference and research library resources councils.

New materials include the Historical Portraits Collection from Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Elmira College’s Mark Twain Archive, the New York Historical Association’s Murder Pamphlet Collection Exhibit , early Robert Montgomery materials housed at the Trinity-Pawling School Collection, Alfred University’s Image Archives, Rochester Medical Museum and Archives, NYU’s Abraham Lincoln Brigade Collection, images from the Onondaga Nation at the Liverpool Public Library, folk art collections at the Crandall Public Library Folklife Center, the Steinmetz Collection of Schenectady, the Almquist Green Lakes Collection housed at the Fayetteville Public Library, and many others from around the state. For an up-to-date list of collections and contributors visit www.NewYorkHeritage.org

Additionally, The Tools of History regional digitization site, created by the South Central Regional Library Council, has been added, as have been the Rochester Regional Library Council’s Finger Lakes-Genesee Valley Heritage and the Capital District Library Council Digital Collections regional sites.

A variety of materials can be found among the New York Heritage Digital Collections, including photographs, postcards, correspondence, manuscripts, oral histories, yearbooks and newspapers. Many kinds of institutions from New York State have partnered to make this project possible, including public, academic and school libraries, museums, archives and historical societies. The power of collaboration is what makes this new service possible.

Participants to New York Heritage Digital Collections are committed to enhancing the site by adding both content and contributing institutions on a regular basis. The goal of the project is to eventually connect one thousand collections and one million items from throughout New York State. All institutions interested in participating in the project are encouraged to contact the 3Rs organization that serves their region.

The New York 3Rs Association is a partnership among New York’s nine reference and research resource systems. The New York 3Rs was incorporated in 2003 to further the ability of those systems to provide statewide services. The members of the New York 3Rs Association are: the Capital District Library Council, Central New York Library Resources Council, Long Island Library Resources Council, Metropolitan New York Library Council, Northern New York Library Network, Rochester Regional Library Council, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council, South Central Regional Library Council, and Western New York Library Resources Council.

Underwater Explorer Presents Lake Ontario Shipwrecks

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Noted shipwreck explorer Jim Kennard will present an all-day program on the “Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario” on Saturday, June 13 as part of the 2009 Great Lakes Seaway Trail Experience Series. Kennard’s discoveries have received worldwide attention and have been featured in National Geographic Magazine. The program at the “Red Barn” at the Sackets Harbor Battlefield State Historic Site on Hill Street in Sackets Harbor benefits the nonprofit Great Lakes Seaway Trail Foundation that promotes tourism-based learning experiences along the 518-mile-long freshwater shoreline of New York and Pennsylvania. The program fee for the day-long shipwrecks program on June 13th is $15 or $5/program payable at the door.

The waters of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail hold many of the more than 200 wrecks Kennard has discovered in more than 35 years of diving. Each of his four presentations on May 21st will focus on a different wreck that Kennard and exploration partner Dan Scoville have discovered over the past six years in Lake Ontario. The program begins at 10 am and will include presentations on:

“Discovery of the Steamer Homer Warren,”

“The Last Voyage of the Schooner Etta Belle,”

“Discovery of an Early 19th Century Lake Ontario Schooner,” and

“The Deep Water Shipwrecks of Lake Ontario.”

During each program Kennard will present a brief update & short video on HMS Ontario, a British sloop-of-war that sank in Lake Ontario on October 31, 1780, during the Revolutionary War. Kennard also be signing copies of the recently-published book “Legend of the Lake,” the story of the HMS Ontario.

Since 1970, Kennard has discovered shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Lake Champlain, NY Finger Lakes, and Mississippi and Ohio rivers. Using his background as an electrical engineer, Kennard built the side scan sonar system that located the shipwrecks.

For more information on the Great Lake Seaway Trail and the Dive the Seaway Trail Project, visit www.seawaytrail.com or call 315-646-1000.