History Happenings   July 2017
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
  
The Corner

Carl Koski, Museum Technician and Photographer at The History Center.

Farewell Carl Koski

The History Center staff and board are sad to announce the retirement of Carl Koski, our long-time photographer and museum technician. He has been with The History Center since 1970, when we were still known as the DeWitt Historical Society and resided in the Old Courthouse. 

Carl leaves behind signs of his skillful hand throughout The History Center: The engaging Familiar Faces display - Carl reproduced the photographs and built the walls; the beautiful front desk where staff members greet visitors - Carl built that; the large wall panel where we introduce exhibits - you guessed it - Carl built that, too. Exhibits too numerous to name had components of all kinds hand-built or installed by Carl over the decades. He was involved in the production of many of our published books, providing his beautiful photographic work for Images of Rural Life, A Short History of Tompkins County, The Towns of Tompkins County, and Ithaca's Neighborhoods, to name just a few.

And oh, those photographs! Carl's prints of our historic images were sold and hung in exhibits and homes by the thousands over the years. A painstaking artist, Carl mastered the old-fashioned darkroom techniques that brought out the depth and subtlety of 100-year-old glass plate negatives as well as faded and aging prints. His talent transferred easily and seamlessly to digital work when the new technology took over and his reproductions are as beautiful as ever.

I could name many other things to show his tremendous versatility - his care of the Eightsquare Schoolhouse and grounds; his deep and extensive knowledge of all the collections, especially the photographs; his ease with all things technical. More than all of these tremendous contributions was the nature of the person, and the thoughtful, modest and unassuming way he went about his work. One of our previous directors once joked that the most commonly heard words in all THC staff meetings was "thank you, Carl" but then corrected himself and said it was "thanks again, Carl."

A mainstay for so many of us over so many years, leaving a trail of grateful people behind, Carl will be sorely missed. As a gesture of appreciation and regard we will be naming our extensive photo collection The History Center's Carl Koski Photograph Collection. 

 
Donna Eschenbrenner, Archivist
Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights 
*Items to be purchased in The History Center book store

Mention our newsletter and get 15% off from these selected titles!

The History of the Five Indian Nations: Depending on the Province of New-York in America
by Cadwallader Colden, A Critical Edition

Colden's The History of the Five Indian Nations is a fascinating but complex book. Far from unbiased, it reflects its author's own political interests, as well as the general imperial concerns of the eighteenth-century British nation.
Cadwallader Colden (1688-1776) profoundly shaped the politics and culture of eighteenth-century New York. As a leading colonial statesman, he promoted British imperial expansion and defended the rights and privileges of the British Crown. As a scholar, he advanced American cartography, botany, medicine, natural history, physics, and moral philosophy. Colden's explanation of the cause of gravitation was printed in New York, London, Paris, and Hamburg in the 1740s and 1750s. His influential account of the Iroquois (or Haudenosaunee) confederacy, published in London in 1747, became a standard resource on Native American history.


The Gristmill
by Bobbie Kalman

Bobbie Kalman's acclaimed Historic Communities Series provides a close-up view of how people lived more than 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; the values; customs and traditions of the early settlers. 
Current Exhibitions

Tioga Street in 1920s and modern times. Photo montage from the Collection of The History Center.
Main Gallery Exhibit
The Altered and Preserved Landscape
On display from May 5th through September 9th, 2017
This exhibit by students from Tompkins Cortland Community College examines the local landscape and is part of the larger celebration of the 200 year anniversary of Tompkins County. The artworks explore the visual and functional conditions of Tompkins County over time by drawing on primary source materials from The History Center. 
Faculty:  Harry Littell,  Keith Millman,  Christine Shanks,  Mark Grimm,  Cynthia Kjellander-Cantu.
 
 

Sons of Italy Crowning of Queen (popularity/beauty contest, 1928). Photo from the Collection of The History Center. 
Our Community 
Italian-American Community Display
The History Center presents images and archival materials related to the Italian-American community in Tompkins County.
Italian immigrants have been settling in Tompkins County for over 100 years and have added immensely to the economic, civic, and cultural life of our area. Often from modest origins, Italian families frequently faced economic hardship and the prejudices of their new neighbors and co-workers as they became part of the life of the community. Through their experiences, good and bad, they retained a love of family, work, friends.

   
Woodard School - District 7 - Last Day Picnic. Photo - Courtesy of the Town of Enfield Historian, Sue Thompson.

Exploring Tompkins County: A Municipality Display Case
The Town of Enfield: Schools as a Center of Our Community
Through October, 2017
Exploring Tompkins County display is a collaboration between The History Center in Tompkins County and Tompkins County's municipal historians. This new exhibit shows how Enfield schools have been continuously bringing the community together. We thank Sue Thompson, Town of Enfield Historian, for  providing her knowledge and time to convey this unique exhibit.
The History Center in Media

AskPearl App 

The History Center sponsors Epic Ithacans category in the new app   AskPearl. In Epic Ithacans, learn about renowned writers, artists, activists, scientists, etc. who once resided in Ithaca. 


Ithaca Times: Forgotten Tales of Time
Read Ithaca Times' updates for the Celebrating Rural Heritage series. The "Forgotten Tales of Time" summarizes a walk through Verne Morton's gallery at the Dryden Mutual Insurance Co. Celebrating Rural Heritage series focuses on how unique history of each town in Tompkins County interrelates with surrounding towns and with the City of Ithaca and calls attention to the county's rich rural history.

Ithaca Kitty Visits #TompkinsRuralHeritage Sites
Follow the Ithaca Kitty visiting various sites of Tompkins County Rural Heritage @tompkinshistory on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
#TompkinsRuralHeriatge is a media series to promote the Celebrating Rural Heritage programs that will be hosted during Summer and Fall 2017. 


Eight Square Schoolhouse Facebook Page
It is now very easy to follow all the exciting activities hosted at the Eight Square Schoolhouse via the new Facebook page   @EightSquareSchoolhouse

Upcoming Events


Photo - Courtesy of Eric Gervais.
Ithaca Pioneer Forest Walk
Saturday, July 1st, 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM (Ithaca South Hill, King Road, starting from the Michigan Hill historical marker) 
The first landowner was John Welch, who received his land (Ulysses Lot 86) for his military service - one of the few Revolutionary War soldiers in Tompkins County to settle on the lot he received from the federal government. A tour will be led by Eric Gervais, a local history researcher who is also a land steward on John Welch's historical lot.   The original farmhouse itself is privately owned, and the tour will focus more on remnants of pioneer life today on this land.  Eric wants the history of Ithaca's amazing forests to be better known. He has a wealth of information to share about frontier life and the local pioneers. To find out more, see his social media project @ithacatours.  This is the second event in the Celebrating Our Rural Heritage series made possible by a grant from the Tompkins County Tourism Program. Please register by e-mailing community@thehistorycenter.net or via the registration page . Tour capacity is limited to 25 people. More details will be sent to those who register.
The trailhead for the tour is on King Road, near Saunders Road, at the Michigan Hill historical marker. The trail connects to the Cornell Botanical Gardens lands, as well as Ithaca College's Natural Land.
Note: The 2 mile walking loop will be wet in areas (the area is known as the South Hill Swamp; driest route will be chosen)

Photo - Courtesy of Walter J. Hollien.
First Friday Gallery Night: Presentation "Historic Water Powered Mills" by Walter J. Hollien
Friday, July 7th, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM (at The History Center)
In conjunction with the First Friday Gallery Night and the current exhibition "The Altered and Preserved Landscape," The History Center will host a
6:00 PM presentation "Historic Water Powered Mills" by Walter J. Hollien, Preservation Architect.
The lecture will briefly discuss barns, which are a part of milling history as this is where the grain was stored and cleaned before it was brought to the mill. Mills were also the first automated buildings. We will discuss how the mill worked, the importance of the different types of millstones, the many inventions of different milling equipment as well as the prevailing superstitions in reference to mills and, of course, the invention of white bread. The tools of the miller and the tools of the millers' sideline occupations, as well as the tools of the millwright will be discussed.
Walter J. Hollien is a Preservation Architect and a Millwright and specializes in the restoration of Historic Water, Wind and Muscle Powered Mills.

HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturdays, July 8th & July 22nd, 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. Sign up to volunteer here: https://thehistorycenter.net/volunteer-historyforge 


Cayuga Heights and Sunset Park Walk and Talk
Saturday, July 8th, 11:00 AM
Meet at Sunset Park on Sunset Park Drive (off Cayuga Heights Road) in Cayuga Heights.  For more information, visit: http://www.historicithaca.org/walk-and-talk/. The event is sponsored by Historic Ithaca. 
 
Smith Woods. Photo - Courtesy of Paleontological Research Institution.
Smith Woods Walk 
Saturday, July 15th, 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM (Smith Woods, across from the Trumansburg fair grounds)
Join The History Center for a guided walk around the historic Smith Woods, following up on a recent publication of "Smith Woods: The Environmental History of an Old Growth Forest in Central New York State," published by the Paleontological Research Institution.
Just outside the Village of Trumansburg, in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, is Henry A. Smith Woods, a 32-acre plot that is one of the largest remaining flat tracts of old growth forest in the area. This small but spectacular place, with its enormous trees, dense forest canopy, and never-plowed ground is a glimpse into the past. A walk through this small forested area may be the closest one can get in central New York to experiencing a landscape like the first Europeans encountered across most of the region in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The authors of the recently published book Marvin Pritts (Professor, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University) and Kurt Jordan (Assoc. Professor, Anthropology, Cornell University), and The Village of Trumansburg Historian S. K. List will lead the walk and talk about how this patch of land was preserved, what it can tell us about the human and pre-human history of the region, and its ecological importance.
Please register by e-mailing community@thehistorycenter.net or via the registration page.
Details about logistics and parking will be sent to those who register.


New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities in the Empire State
Saturday, July 22nd, 2:00 PM (at The History Center)
Join us for a discussion of the book "New York Amish: Life in the Plain Communities of the Empire State" with the author Karen Johnson-Weiner.
In a book that highlights the existence and diversity of Amish communities in New York State, Karen M. Johnson-Weiner draws on twenty-five years of observation, participation, interviews, and archival research to emphasize the contribution of the Amish to the state's rich cultural heritage.
While the Amish settlements in Pennsylvania and Ohio are internationally known, the Amish population in New York, the result of internal migration from those more established settlements, is more fragmentary and less visible to all but their nearest non-Amish neighbors. All of the Amish currently living in New York are post-World War II migrants from points to the south and west. Many came seeking cheap land, others as a result of schism in their home communities.

Save the Date: Come Dig with Us! Archaeology Day Camp
August 5, 12, 19 & 26, 2017, 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM (at the Eight Square Schoolhouse)
The History Center in Tompkins County is offering a field school to the public at the historic Eight Square Schoolhouse, a one-room school built in 1827 and used by generations of students and teachers. Participants will 
learn archaeological field techniques and research skills by working side-by-side with several professional archaeologists; contribute to the historical record of the Eight Square School. Sign up for a day camp by emailing Carole West at EightSquare@Thehistorycenter.net. Learn more about the camp here. 


Macedon Packetboat Corra. Photo - Courtesy of www.wcc2017syracuse.com.
Save the Date: 2017 WORLD CANALS CONFERENCE
September 24-28, 2017 (Marriott Syracuse Downtown, Syracuse, New York)
Our Vital Waterways: Agents of Transformation is a five-day world-class conference 200 years in the making. Celebrate the bicentennial of the Erie Canal and enjoy endless exploration of Central New York. For more information, visit http://wcc2017syracuse.com/.
From the Collection 
Hat Blocks and Stretchers

Hatters. Photo from the Collection of The History Center. 
These are classic millinery tools, and hat-makers use similar devices today; only the styles have changed. Fabric was (and is) wrapped around the block, which determined the shape the hat would take. Modern hat blocks tend to be head-shaped; the ones shown here are hat-shaped, meant for a top-hat and a bowler.

The stretchers could be used to enlarge a hat. The milliner would moisten the fabric and insert a stretcher, which would carefully and evenly exert pressure on the hat from the inside, preventing uneven expansion or tearing. Stretchers today often contain heating elements as well.
 


In need of a video camera
Are you wondering what to do with your digital video camera that you no longer use? The History Center in Tompkins County will make sure that your contribution is put to good use. Your donation is greatly appreciated.

CONTACT US
 
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