History Happenings  January 2018
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
The Corner 
Images from the book "Tompkins County, NY: Images of Work and Play."  
Left: Neighbors Eva Goodrich, Nellie McKee and Little Miller Goodrich enjoying the snow. 
Top right: 1913-1915 remodeling of the Rothschild's store.  
Middle right: A group of men surveying for a development in the Village of Groton. 
Bottom right: Anna Kozel Moravec is feeding her pet crow and cat.

As we continue to welcome in the new year it seems a good time to think about being a part of this Tompkins County community. A significant part of the historical narrative are the reasons people came here or stayed here. Some of us have connections that go back generations. There are Cayuga Nation people who talk about coming back to the land that they were driven from over two hundred years ago. There are individuals who came here to attend school and stayed here. There are many folks who grew up here, left and then made a conscious decision to come back. There were people brought here as slaves in the early 1800s and their descendants are among us. There are many folks who came here due to conflict and issues in their native countries. People come here for specific employment opportunities. Some were adopted and brought here from other counties, states or countries. There are many scenarios. We are a diverse population with varied stories. That said, we are all members of this community and part of what make us unique is embracing all that brought us to be part of this community in January, 2018. When you come to The History Center tell us your story. What brought you here? Tell your narrative to others. The range of reasons is part of our rich history. How can The History Center continue to provide opportunities to highlight that richness as a way of building connections and community? Please send me your thoughts.

The History Center looks forward to living, working and playing with you in 2018.

Executive Director of The History Center in Tompkins County
Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights  
Mention our newsletter and get 15% off from these selected titles!  
Tompkins County New York: Images of Work and Play
by the Municipal Historians of Tompkins County and the Tompkins County Historian 
Decades of memories culled from attics, albums and organizations alike are preserved in this charming collection of photographs chronicling the everyday lives of Tompkins County residents.   
The Sauna in Central New York 
by Melissa Ladenheim 
"Sauna in Central New York,"  contains numerous photographs, focuses on the history of the sauna in the Lower Finger Lakes region, based on memories, experiences and photo collections of the local Finnish community.  

The Gristmill 
by Bobbie Kalman
Bobbie Kalman's acclaimed Historic Communities Series provides a close-up view of how people lived more then two hundred years ago. Colorful photos, many taken by Bobbie Kalman herself at restored historic villages across the country, help support the fascinating information. Children will have fun learning about: early homes and the settler community; what people wore and the crafts they made;how they spent their leisure time; and the values, customs and traditions of the early settlers. 
Current Exhibitions

Main Gallery Exhibition
The Maps of Tompkins County
Maps are powerful and engaging forms of visual communication. They show us our world, and the myriad smaller places within it. Maps simplify, scale down, and organize what otherwise would be too large, too distant, or too complex to be seen. 
Maps fulfill a multitude of functions, and are used for a variety of purposes. Political maps, railway maps, waterway maps, soil maps; from cross-sections of lake water depth to trolley routes; maps are irresistible and invaluable resources for learning about our environment in all its tremendous diversity. 
This exhibit displays a sampling of The History Center's map collection from the 19th through the 21st centuries.
Peter Webb & Phyllis Webb of Caroline, n.d. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Our Community Corner 
The Webbs - A Tompkins County Family
In honor of our county's bicentennial The History Center is celebrating one long-established family from Caroline, the Webbs and their descendants, who exemplify the strength, character, and dedication to family and community that highlight the best of Tompkins County. Peter and Phyllis Webb were both born into slavery sometime in the 1790s and brought to New York as children. Phyllis (she had no last name) was born in North Carolina. Peter Webb, who was born around 1792 in Virginia, was brought here by John James Speed, a slave merchant who settled in Caroline on Level Green Road. Through tremendous hard work and perseverance Peter bought his freedom in 1818; Phyllis would be freed when slavery was abolished in New York State in 1827.
This photograph exhibit tells the moving and enriching story of one family's triumph over extreme hardship and their prosperous and vibrant descendants. 

Former Map Room 
The Many Names of Fall Creek
Names tell a story. Known to the Cayugas as Nogaene, Fall Creek flows past Tompkins County places whose names acknowledge the many connections we have with the creek--from business success to technical triumph, and even personal tragedies. 
The exhibition is co-sponsored by: 
Tompkins County Bicentennial Commission  and  Names on the Land--Tompkins County

Opening page of the Town of Ithaca Board Minutes, 1821. Photo Courtesy of David George.
Exploring Tompkins County: 
A Municipality Display Case
Town of Ithaca: Early Days
Exploring Tompkins County display is a collaboration between The History Center in Tompkins County and Tompkins County's municipal historians. This new exhibit samples artifacts of early Town of Ithaca. We thank David George, Town of Ithaca Historian, for providing his knowledge and time to create this unique exhibit. 
Heritage Ambassadors Training Program 2018
Call for Participants!

Heritage Ambassadors leading a Pub Crawl tour group in April, 2017.
The Heritage Ambassador Program is a free, fun, and engaging training program to get to know Tompkins County history and rich heritage. In turn, you will be a resource to fellow county residents and to visitors.
After the training, you will commit to:  
1. Engaging county residents with the history of our unique community; 
2. Assisting visitors to get the most out of their time in Tompkins County;
3. Volunteering for at least three events per year (e.g., HistoryForge Days, Old House tours, heritage tours, and Visit Ithaca and Discovery Trail events).

The Spring 2018 Heritage Ambassadors training is scheduled for six consecutive Wednesdays from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM, beginning February 28, 2018 and  running through April 4, 2018. 
To participate in the Spring 2018 Heritage Ambassadors training, complete and submit an electronic applicationYou can contact Rod Howe, director@thehistorycenter.net, for more information.
Upcoming Events

Engaging Local History   
Thursday, January 11th, 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM (at Tompkins County Public Library)
Join Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen for these free monthly workshops on exploring and 'doing' local history. 
Winter Memories
Wednesday, January 17th, 6:30 PM (Southworth Homestead, Dryden)
Join the Dryden Town Historical Society for a talk on Winter Memories. January is cold and dark.  Let's get together for an evening of sharing winter stories. Nothing formal - just tell or listen to stories  about skating, ice fishing, ice making, ice surfing, winter storms.   Maybe it's making ice candles... or snow plowing...  Whatever winter means to you.   
HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturday, January 20th, 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (at The History Center)
Come volunteer at our next transcription bee! Light refreshments will be served with lots of fun and an educational opportunity that will make Ithaca history come alive. Be sure to bring your laptop. 
First Friday Gallery Night: "Ezra's Gorge(s)" presentation by Dan McClure.
Friday, February 2nd, 6:00 PM (at The History Center)
In conjunction with First Friday Gallery Night and the current exhibit "The Many Names of Fall Creek," The History Center will be featuring a 6:00 PM talk on the historical perspective on Ezra's Tunnel. The talk will be presented by Dan McClure, a Cornell Alum with lifelong interests in botany, geology, and history, has managed the restoration of all the gorge trails in and around the Cornell campus for the last 10 years.   
February is African American History Month. Look for events throughout the month sponsored by The History Center in Tompkins County, Greater Ithaca Activities Center and Southside Community Center. 
Save the Date: Free African-Americans in Pre-1827 Tompkins County
Saturday, February 3rd, 2:00 PM to 3:30 PM (at The History Center)
Visit The History Center for this discussion with Tompkins County Historian Carole Kammen. 
The History Center Welcomes Teachers
February 16 through February 24 (at The History Center and in the Ithaca Community)
Show your VIT pass at The History Center during Ithaca Loves Teachers Week, February 16th through February 24th, and get 25% off on local history books, photos and more!  Pick up several of our historic dolls: Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart and Bessie Coleman at a 30% discount.  Our famous Ithaca Kitty will also be available at a discounted price for teachers.     
We will feature a 'free box' where teachers may help themselves to past History Center newsletters, 19th century magazines, photos and other items! 
The History Center is open Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m.    
2017 Celebrating History Awardees.  
Francesca Chu, Youth Award. Eli Zhang, Youth Award.  
The Cayuga Heights History Project, Illuminating History Team Award.   
League of Women Voters of Tompkins County,  Making a Difference Award
Robert (Bob) Baxter,Local History Engagement Award. 
Carol Kammen , Lifetime Achievement Award.(not pictured)
Save the Date: Celebrating History Awards Gala
Evening of Thursday, March 1st, 2018
Stay tuned for more information in the following newsletters!
Save the Date: Spring Railway Tour
Saturday, March 17th, 1:00 PM to 5:30 PM  
The History Center is organizing a bus tour of the Tompkins County railway system. Tompkins County today is served by one railroad - the Norfolk Southern branch from Sayre PA to the AES Cayuga power station and the Cargill salt mines, both in Lansing. We will visit structures and railroad grades of this industrial past and present, from Trumansburg to Newfield (the ill-fated Pennsylvania & Sodus Bay railroad) to Willseyville (just over in Tioga County) to Freeville to Lansing.  Stay Tuned for more information on how you can register to join this exciting tour. 
Special Exhibits in New York State Museum, Albany, NY
Erie Canal Bicentennial, New York State in WWI, and NYS Woman Suffrage

From the Collection 
Ice Skates
Ice Skates, ca. 19th Century. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.

   Ice skating was extremely popular during the 19th Century, and throughout Tompkins County residents found or created places to enjoy their favorite pastime. In Dryden, the tennis courts in Montgomery Park were flooded during the winter to create a skating rink.
Professor A.W. Brown of Ithaca also flooded his tennis courts for children to skate. 
   Beebe Lake, in Ithaca, was created by a dam constructed in the late 1830s by the young Ezra Cornell and soon became a popular place to skate. 
   The Public Transportation of Ithaca even signaled good skating conditions with a red ball attached to its vehicles and took anyone carrying skates up to Beebe Lake for half price. 
   John Udall recalls skating in the quarry where "the big boys skated and I shuffled around in my double runner skates precariously held on with straps."
   The double runners (above, bottom left) are a good example of the children's skates that Udall describes. Although the straps are missing on these skates, those that remain on the other skates pictured give an indication of how unstable they were.
   Most were simply tied on to regular boots by thin leather straps. The skates (bottom right) were handmade and worn by the Rev. Samuel Murdock. They have a wooden sole with a spike on the heel which would provide additional support by clamping on to the shoes of the wearer. 
   The iron skates (top left) are more ornate then most of the skates used at the time. Attached to the toe and heel are iron rings that once held leather straps similar to those on Murdock's skates.
Thank you for your donations at the end of last year. Those contributions help us to be a dynamic and vital center. We value helping make connections to place, people, buildings and community. We look forward to seeing you throughout this new year.
On the left: Extended family and descendants at Snyder Hill Farm. (Photo provided) On the right: Snyder Hill Farm Tour, October 14, 2017.

Rod Howe | Executive Director | Director@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 222
Donna Eschenbrenner | Archivist | Archives@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 224

Carole West | Educator, Eight Square Schoolhouse | EightSquare@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 229

Ksenia Ionova |  Community Outreach & Visitor Services | Community@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 227

Karen Binder | Bookkeeper & Administrative Services | Admin@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 225

Cindy Kjellander-Cantu | Design & Support Specialist | Design@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 223

STAY CONNECTED @TompkinsHistory