Posts filed under ‘Historical Tours’

Skimming the Cream of History

This guest post is by Kihm Winship, is an author who lives, walks, writes and works in Skaneateles. His blog “Skaneateles” chronicles the character and characters of this lakeside village. Enjoy!

CreamerySkaneatlelesThe Creamery Museum of the Skaneateles Historical Society is a must-stop for visitors who enjoy learning more about their vacation destination. Located at 28 Hannum St., around the corner from the Sherwood Inn, the Creamery is packed with fascinating artifacts and exhibits that bring the village’s two centuries of history to life.

The museum’s newest wing displays a gallery of beautiful wooden canoes, rowboats and sailboats that were handmade in Skaneateles, including Lightning No. 1 — perhaps the most-famous sailboat built here — on loan from the Mystic Seaport Museum of America and the Sea.

Creamery BigThe new, interactive lake model is one of the museum’s most popular displays; summer visitors can see where they are staying and place themselves in the history that has taken place up and down the 16-mile-long lake.

Of prime importance to many visitors, the Creamery has an extensive collection of research materials available for genealogical and historical studies related to the Skaneateles area. On Friday afternoons, a researcher is available to assist, advise and access one-of-a-kind archival resources.

Creamery LineThe Creamery Museum comes with a history of its own. Opened in 1899, it was a place for local farmers to bring their milk to be processed, and for residents to buy the resulting dairy products. The business closed in 1949, and for many years the building stood vacant, but in 1989 a local businessman it the building to the Village. The Skaneateles Historical Society was then given the opportunity to renovate it as a museum, and in 1992 — thanks to time, talent and funding from the entire community — history had a home.

The Creamery is open on selected Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the year:

Jan-April: Fri 1-4

May-June: Fri-Sat 1-4

July-Aug: Fri, Sat, Sun 1-4

Sept-Oct: Fri-Sat 1-4

Nov to Thanksgiving: Fri 1-4

Thanksgiving to Christmas, Fri, Sat, Sun 1-4

Feel free to call ahead – (315) 685-1360 – to be sure the Creamery will be open when you visit. Admission is free, although donations are gratefully accepted, and there’s a terrific giftshop.

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February 22, 2014 at 2:59 pm Leave a comment

Armory Square, Syracuse

Walking around Armory Square you can find interesting shops and LOTs of places to eat

Walking around Armory Square you can find interesting shops and LOTs of places to eat

The Armory Square district in Syracuse was originally settled in 1804. The Erie Canal and later the railroad helped to put Syracuse on the map as a center for industry and manufacturing. Most of the area buildings were constructed between 1860 and 1890 as factories or warehouses.

Armory Square at Jefferson Circle

Walking toward Armory Square on Jefferson

Part of  the Armory Square district consists of a circular street, West Jefferson, with Armory Square Park at the 12:00 spot (N) on the circle. The Jefferson St Armory was actually three buildings used to house both the cavalry and the infantry.

Today the area is bustling with hotels, restaurants, businesses, loft apartments as well as cultural elements such as the Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), the Red House Musical Theater on Fayette, and the Landmark Theater on S. Salina St.

We enjoyed a nice quiet lunch at Lemon Grass.

We enjoyed a nice quiet lunch at Lemon Grass.

Well-known area restaurants include Pastabilities, and Lemon Grass and bc. We ate at Lemon Grass enjoying great service and a nice view onto the Circle.

Interviewed by local TV station

Intrepid reporter working the square

This area is best known for its night life as it has a many bars close together, The Empire Brewing Company, Blue Tusk and The Syracuse Suds Factory, which in the summer open onto the square and street. It is fun to hop from one spot to another to listen to live music and sample local brews.

Map

February 4, 2014 at 4:04 am 2 comments

Hike + History = Mt Hope Cemetery

Rolling hills make for dramatic views

Rolling hills make for dramatic views

One sunny, warm Sunday afternoon, we took a long walk through Mt Hope Cemetary. This cemetery is famous for the grave sites of Stephen Douglas, Henry Lomb, Hiram Sibley, Nathaniel Rochester, Margaret Woodbury Strong, and Susan B Anthony.

Bronze Mausoleum Doors

Bronze Mausoleum Doors

Mount Hope Cemetery is one of the most remarkable Victorian cemeteries in America. Its 196 acres of lofty hills and picturesque valleys created by glaciers were transformed into a beautiful historic cemetery. A mature, diversified forest  forms an arboretum shading thousands of marble, bronze, and granite monuments. The cemetery is a verdant museum of funerary sculpture and mausoleums spanning more than a century and a half.

Monument to the soldiers of the Civil War

Monument to the soldiers of the Civil War

The Friends of Mount Hope offer guided walking tours each weekend, May through October.

Close-up view of the Civil War Monument reveals beautiful patina

Close-up view of the Civil War Monument reveals beautiful patina

Dedicated in 1838 in Rochester NY, Mount Hope is America’s first municipal Victorian cemetery.

Screen Shot 2013-01-13 at 7.14.52 PMThe cemetery features 82 mausoleums, soaring Egyptian obelisks, winged angels of mercy, a Florentine cast-iron fountain, two stone chapels in Gothic Revival style, a Moorish gazebo, and infinitely varied tombstones marking 350,000 graves.

Willie_MtHope

Great names. And he had 3 wives

Great names. And he had 2 wives

Get lost in the sea of green

Get lost in the sea of green

You can hike over many well trod roads as well as less travelled pathways as you view 2 centuries of memorials in every form and fashion. The winding hills and variety of trees make this a top pick when visiting Rochester.

April 13, 2013 at 5:44 pm 1 comment

The Bank Street Café in Geneseo: Where Breakfast Bears Notice

The view down main street from the cafe

The view down main street from the cafe

Geneseo is a charming upstate town that enjoys preserving it’s history along with it’s sense of humor. Legend has it that Seneca Indians called it jo-nis-hi-yuh, meaning the pleasant or beautiful valley. This evolved into Genesee, the river which carved out the beautiful valley containing the town of Geneseo.

The bear holds a working lantern

The bear holds a working lantern

In the center of Geneseo, right in the middle of the street is a large round fountain, with a bronze statue of a sitting bear, holding a lantern. This is the Wadsworth Fountain. It was built for Emmeline Wadsworth, an animal lover, and the fountain was intended as a watering trough for horses.

The Wadsworth brothers built their homes at either end of Main Street, then recruited others to move to the town and assisted them in building their homes.

Note the dead squirrel draped across the bears nose. Heaven forbid anyone should go hungry in Geneseo.The bear which remains  remains the iconic symbol of the town, holding it’s  $15,000  lantern — a working replica of the original — has inspired an annual teddy bear parade.

While visiting Geneseo stop for breakfast at the Bank Street Café and Grill.The Café is easy to locate — right across from the famous fountain bearing the Bear.

Most wonderful Blueberry Pancakes

Most wonderful Blueberry Pancakes

The Bank Street Cafe & Grill is no ordinary eatery. Nothing at Bank Street has been pre-processed. Everything is home-made from scratch. Breakfast is served all day long, and I enjoyed the best (and biggest) blueberry pancakes ever. They are also known for their angus beef burgers.

The village is making a proposal to widen the sidewalks at the three sides of the Bear Fountain and create a small outdoor cafe spot with tables and chairs opposite his restaurant. That would give the town even more character.

The Bank Street Café is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays

March 24, 2013 at 8:00 am 1 comment

A Seneca Falls: His Story

view from the canal

View of downtown Senca Falls from the Sculpture Trail

A fabulous post from Not That Geneva:

Seneca Falls Still Matters

Posted on January 27, 2013

I’ve been living in Geneva for a year and a half and I keep meaning to write a post about Seneca Falls, NY.  I was reminded of this intention when Obama referenced it in hisInauguration Address this past week.  Here’s what President Obama had to say:

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth …..

Take the time to visit Seneca Falls.

Seneca Falls Sculpture Trail

January 27, 2013 at 12:48 pm Leave a comment

Lucien Morin Park — Guided Hikes Unlock the Secrets of the Trail

It’s nice to take a hike, even nicer when you have an experienced guide to share everything you would ever want to know about the plants and the history of the area.

I took a hike with the Penfield Trails Committee to learn more about Lucien Morin Park, aka the Ellison Park Wetland aka The Rifle Range Trail. The Rifle Range Trail is so named because it passes what remains of a rifle range and pistol range formerly used by the National Guard and State Police, during WWII.

Continue Reading October 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment

Rochester’s Four Corners — A Present From the Past

Finger Lakes Summer

Ornate exterior of the Powers Building

If you want to learn about the rich history of Rochester, NY — tag along with a walking tour by the Landmark Society of Upstate New York. I joined an “architecture for lunch” speed tour of the famous Four Corners of Rochester. But first, what are the Four Corners?

THE FOUR CORNERS 
The intersection at Main Street (of downtown Rochester) where State Street becomes Exchange Street. It was located where the first two streets crossed, then called Buffalo Street. (Main Street) and Carroll Street (State Street). That intersection is still commonly called by its original name, The Four Corners.

The tour began inside the Powers Building — a building so vast and ornamented, it swallows the sky for a city block.

Finger Lakes Summer

Looking up inside the Powers Building

Entering the atrium my eyes scanned upward, enjoying the vast expanse of multi-tiered interior space, bathed in natural light. How could I have lived in this city for 50 years and NEVER seen this gorgeous space? (I think our educational system needs a little more emphasis on local history — this is worth learning about.)

Quoted from “ThePowersBuilding.com:

“Construction of the building utilized steel framing with a cast iron and ornamental stone façade. This revolutionary method of construction was employed to create what was then billed as a fireproof building. The building was the first in upstate New York to have a passenger elevator (then called a vertical railroad), gas illumination and marble floors. In 1861 it became the first commercial structure in Rochester to have electricity, utilizing its own power generating boilers.”

Mr Powers built several of the buildings in this small footprint, but he did not want any other structure in Rochester taller than this his masterpiece, continuing to add to it’s height in 1874, 1880, 1888, and 1891 as others vied for the top spot in the sky.

Case and point, here is an excerpt from “The Flower City: 1850-1899”

“1870

Powers Building completed

1888

Ellwanger & Barry Building is erected to a height of eight stories. Daniel Powers adds a third Mansard roof to the Powers Building, adding two additional floors, reclaiming again the title as Rochester’s tallest.

Wilder Building erected to a height of thirteen stories. Daniel Powers adds to the height of the tower on the Powers Building, recapturing the title, for another five years.”

It is difficult to believe that less that 100 years prior to this building’s construction, this same area is unsettled and described as ” a swamp with dense forest, and swamp fever (malaria).”

Finger Lakes Summer

Glassed in atrium inside the County Courthouse

Finger Lakes Summer

Inside the County Courthouse

Other fabulous examples of architecture in this same area are 39 West Main St, which is the County Courthouse, Two Saints Episcopal Church, 17 Fitzhugh St S, and The Rochester Free Academy, 13 Fitzhugh St S..

Finger Lakes Summer

Gothic Revival Style displayed by the Rochester Free Academy and the Episcopal Church

Designated in the National Register of Historical Places, “The City Hall Historic District, tightly clustered in two downtown blocks in Rochester, is one of the most architecturally compelling nineteenth century civic complexes remaining in a major New York State city.” (More info)

Each building in this provides diverse examples of architecture. The church and academy stand side by side representing the early and later phases of Gothic Revival in the nineteenth century.  Across the street is the courthouse backed up to the City Hall.

June 18, 2012 at 5:30 am Leave a comment


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