History Happenings  February 2018
The History Center's Electronic Newsletter 
The Corner 
Photo from the December 10th, 2016 program on Karl Jaentsch: "You Can Trust Your Karl."

Businesses with Unique Local Connections

In December of 2016 we hosted a widely popular program on Karl Jaentsch and his Volkswagen Repair garage. Karl died in 2009 but many in the community recall him and his shop vividly.  It led to a discussion about long-time businesses in the county that folks have developed an affiliation with for any number of reasons. We would like to plan another program highlighting a business that is/was part of the community and that has/had a strong local following and connection. Please send me your recommendation for a business that we might consider for such a program (interpret "business" broadly). I look forward to your suggestions.

Executive Director of The History Center in Tompkins County
Bookstore & Gift Shop Highlights  
Mention our newsletter and get 15% off from these selected titles!  
Sons in the Shadow: Surviving the Family Business as an Sob* *Son of the Boss
By Roy H. Park, Jr.

Sons in the Shadow explores the dynamics of family relationships in businesses both large and small. The book examines a father-son relationship and what's it's like to be a son of a self-made entrepreneur working in a family business enterprise.    
Suffra ge Reconstructed
By Laura E. Free  

"In the crisp and lucid Suffrage Reconstructed, Laura E. Free delivers on her promise to shed light on how whiteness and manhood became synonymous with citizenship, why the word "male" was introduced into the constitution with the 14th Amendment." Elizabeth R. Varon, University of Virginia



Enterprising Families, Ithaca, NY: Their Houses and Businesses 
By Carol U. Sisler

"This book is a celebration of enterprising families, and businesses. The families who are included here were amongst the first settlers, they melded transportation and technological advancement to their own benefit, they gave employment to others, they cooperated to fund the churches and the charities. By their houses you shall know them. They are almost all here in the county in their various architectural styles." - Carol U. Sisler

Upcoming Exhibit

Traveling Exhibit
"Journey to the North; New York's Freedom Trail"
February 2 through March, 2018

Journey to the North is a six panel traveling exhibit about the Underground Railroad. This exhibit uses the story of one fictitious character to convey the real events experienced by many freedom seekers (escaped slaves) during their journey to freedom. Much of the narrative is told from the point of view of Sarah, a fifteen ­year ­old, fictional escaped slave. As visitors read the text they are challenged to imagine themselves in her situation and faced with her decisions.

This exhibition was developed for the New York State Historical Association by the Cooperstown Graduate Program in History Museum Studies.  Generous support for the exhibition came from the New York Council for the Humanities and Heritage New York. This exhibit is owned by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

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's 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 application
For more information, visit Ithaca Heritage (http://www.ithacaheritage.com/heritage-ambassadors/) or contact Rod Howe at director@thehistorycenter.net.
Celebrating History Awards Gala

Thursday, March 1st, 2018, 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM
at First Unitarian Society of Ithaca
306 North Aurora Street

The History Center in Tompkins County is pleased to announce its third annual Celebrating History Awards Gala scheduled for Thursday, March 1 at the First Unitarian Society of Ithaca. The History Center's trustees and employees view the awards as a way to honor those who are making history, engaging with local history, interpreting local history, and/or whose work resonates with our mission statement. The event will be festive with well-deserved recognition, music, hearty hors d'oeuvres, drinks and conviviality.


Ithaca Aviation Heritage Foundation 
Louise Bement 
Historian, Town of Lansing 
Diana Riesman
Executive Director and Co-Founder, Wharton Studio Museum
Sean Eversley Bradwell
Director of Programs & Outreach at Ithaca College and Tompkins County Heritage Ambassador 
And Stuart Stein 
will be recognized posthumously  as the Founder of Tompkins County Heritage Tourism 

Register for the Gala by filling out this online registration form,
 or by contacting Ksenia Ionova at 607-273-8284 Ext. 227.
Upcoming Events
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 alumnus with lifelong interests in botany, geology, and history, who has managed the restoration of all the gorge trails in and around the Cornell campus for the last 10 years.   

February is Black History Month. 
Look for events throughout the month sponsored by The History Center in Tompkins County, Greater Ithaca Activities Center, Southside Community Center, and Historic Ithaca. See a list of events

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 Carol Kammen. 

The image to the left features Peter and Phyllis Webb. In 1818, nine years before slavery ended in New York State, Peter purchased his freedom from John James Speed for $384.00. 

HistoryForge Data Entry Bee Party
Saturdays, February 3rd and 17th, 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. 

Relicts from the Dinosaur Age: Cayuga Lake's Sturgeon by Emily Zollweg-Horan
Tuesday, February 6, 2018,7 PM (at Lansing Town Hall, 29 Auburn Road, Lansing, NY)
Enjoy an evening learning about prehistoric relicts living in Cayuga Lake. These gigantic living fossils have swum the waters of the Earth since the Triassic Era, 250 million years ago. Learn why they are now fighting for their existence. Free and Open to the Public. Brought to you by Friends of Salt Point: www.saltpointlansing.org 

Engaging Local History   
Thursday, February 8th, 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. 

Evolution at Extremes: Exploring Life at the Limits
Sponsored by Cornell University and Paleontological Research Institution
Monday, February 12th, 7:00 pm (at The History Center)
Come to The History Center on Monday, February 12th, to hear a group of distinguished scientists discuss Evolution at Extremes: Exploring Life at the Limits. With panelists:
Dr. Lisa Kaltenegger, Director, Carl Sagan Institute, 
Dr. Lou Derry, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell, 
Dr. Tory Hendry, Dept. of Microbiology at Cornell, 
Dr. Ilana Lauren Brito, Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell
For information about other DarwinDays events, visit the official website.

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.    

This image of Ithaca's State Street from the 1950s is just one of many available for research and enjoyment at The History Center.
Getting the Most Out of the John Marcham Research Library
Saturday, February 17th, 10:30 AM (at The History Center)
Are you interested in your family's history? How about the history of your house? Have you ever wondered why your street has an unusual name? Do you like old photographs and maps? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes" then you might want to come to The History Center on Saturday February 17th at 10:30 for a peek behind the scenes of The History Center's Research Library and collections. History Center Archivist Donna Eschenbrenner will give an introduction to the many resources you can find on genealogy, the local built environment, and more. Come for the "show-and-tell" and stay afterwards for your own research on the topic of your choosing.

Civil Warriors Screening
Saturday, February 24, 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM  (at the Southside Community Center)
The Southside Community Center, in conjunction with The History Center in Tompkins County and Historic Ithaca, presents a screening of the PhotoSynthesis Productions film "Civil Warriors" (http://www.civilwarriorsmovie.com/), a dramatization of four Ithacans who served in the United States Colored Troops (USCT) during the Civil War. Produced and directed by Deborah C. Hoard and Che Broadnax, the film explores the unique setting of the soldiers' African American Southside community and connects to the larger struggle for civil rights at this pivotal point in national history. Winner of two independent film-festival awards, the drama illuminates the lives of African American soldiers and their families through first-person narration that resonates with the power of spoken word performance. A panel discussion will follow the film, and director Hoard will share a curriculum based on the C3 Framework for Social Studies that focuses on the concepts of storytelling and recovered history. Cost: $5 suggested donation supports the Southside Community Center's programs. Find more information here.

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.   
Save the Date: Rod Serling and Carl Sagan: Bridging Imagination and Science
Saturday, March 24, 2:00 PM (at Cinemapolis)
More information is coming up in the next newsletter. Stay tuned!
Welcome New Bookkeeper and Office Manager Nancy Menning!

Nancy joined The History Center in January 2018 as office manager and bookkeeper, in a position that THC shares with Historic Ithaca. Nancy has a passion for connecting people and place. She has pursued that interest in both academic and government settings through work in outdoor recreation, community forestry, environmental protection, and religious environmental ethics. She became acquainted with THC through her interest in local cemetery history and is excited to play a supporting role for the important work of The History Center.

We thank Karen Binder for her service as our bookkeeper and office administrator, and we wish her well as she moves on to new things!

Tompkins Center for History and Culture Website is live!
We are Moving!
Packing Highlights 

Flax Hatchell. Photo from the Collection of The History Center.
Flax Hatchel

Flax is a plant that is cultivated for its fiber and seeds.

A flax hetchel (or hatchel) is a specialized tool that could be used separate the fibers from a flax plant so that they could be spun into linen thread. It's a bed of nails that could be used to comb the fibers, much like a comb is used for hair.

This flax hetchel has been in our collection for more than 40 years and is now packed and ready to be moved to our new location.

Watch this space for more updates on packing our collection!

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

Nancy Menning | Bookkeeper & Office Manager  | Admin@TheHistoryCenter.net | Phone: x 225

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

STAY CONNECTED @TompkinsHistory