Madison County Hop Fest volunteers who have raised awareness of the agricultural hop houses have called the region of New York State that raised hops “The MMOOOSCH Country” to recognize the counties of Madison, Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Schoharie, Chenango, and Herkimer, which produced most of the hops exported from the United States in the 19th Century.
With regard to these counties, the Hop Heritage programs for the 25th Annual Madison County Hop Fest will present programs on hop houses at 11 am, 12:30 pm, and 1 pm on Saturday, September 18th at the Oneida Public Library.
At 11 am Al Bullard will distribute and explain the Hop House Survey that he developed to assist in the identification of hop houses, which are erroneously called “barns” from time to time. Bullard was introduced to a hop house in 1966 during his graduate program at the Cooperstown Museum Management and Folklife Studies, and has been identifying such structures ever since. The Madison County Hop Fest Program Committee encourages folks to complete the survey of structures that might be a hop house so that the Committee can visit and confirm the description and add the site to a map of that county. Bullard will also describe the four major functions of a hop house using a disseminated diagram.
After the 11:30 am session on the Historic Barn Tax Credit bill with Senator Rachel May (NYS 53 rd District), Andy Roblee (Preservation Association of Central New York), and Michael Tomlan (NYS Barn Coalition), at 12:30 pm Carl Stearns will share his images of Hop Houses in Madison County that he has collected in his many travels through the area. Madison County has the most extant 19th C. hop houses in the country. Stearns, a retired preservation architect, has accomplished many projects to preserve hop houses. He moved a common hop house which was falling apart on NYS Scenic Route 20 to his own property and reassembled it stone by cobblestone. He assisted in the moving of an impaired pyramidal hop house to a brewery on Long Island and managed a volunteer crew of Madison County Historical Society board members and Cornell preservation students to provide emergency cover for a double pyramidal hop house, which later received a NYS Barn Grant. Stearns was crowned Hop Fest King in 2000 at the 5th Annual Madison County Hop Fest.
At 1 pm Bullard will show images of hop houses in Montgomery, Oneida, Onondaga, Otsego, Schoharie, Chenango, and Herkimer counties using the Hop House Survey as the descriptor guide. Information on Onondaga Historical Association archives and the new OHA Brewseum in Pompey will be shared. For fifty-five years Bullard has been providing programs on 19th C. New York State hop production and its influence on agricultural history, architecture, cash crop farming and the invention of machines and tools used in hop growing. An ardent supporter of the Hop Fest, Al was crowned Hop Fest King in 2002 at the 7th Annual Hop Fest.
At 2 pm Al Bullard and Dot Willsey will share articles and images of various hop collections.
All Madison County Hop Fest heritage programs are free and open to the public. For more information and tickets for the 25th Annual Madison County Hop Fest Paired Beer Dinner at 6 pm Friday, September 17th at Foothill Hops Farm Brewery, and for the Craft Brew sampling on Saturday, September 18th at Madison County Historical Society, 435 Main Street, Oneida, call (315) 363-4136 or visit the Madison County Hop Fest website.
The Oneida Public Library is located at 459 Main Street in Oneida.
Photos of Stearns cobblestone common hop house provided.