The board of managers of the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society today named Melissa N. Brown, an expert in Western New York history and the Historical Society’s director of research and interpretation, its new director. [Read more…] about Buffalo & Erie Co. Historical Names New Director
Thanks to the generosity of Geneva retailer Joe Fragnoli, the Finger Lakes Boating Museum now has a museum display in place in downtown Geneva. Several artifacts along with some materials representative of the Boating Museum’s collection are now on display in the storefront windows at 430 Exchange St.
The Boating Museum and the City of Geneva reached agreement last fall on locating the Boating Museum and Visitor Center on the Geneva waterfront where the Chamber of Commerce building now stands.
Bill Oben, president of the Boating Museum, said the southern window is set up with a display of antique fishing gear of the type used in the Finger Lakes region during the first part of the last century. Central to this display is an elegant rowboat built in 1940 by noted Dresden boat builder Seymour Smith.
Smith is believed to have built more than 30 boats between 1920 and 1940. In later years he subordinated boatbuilding to his lifelong hobby of carving duck decoys, which are highly prized by collectors today. The display also includes several vintage photos related to trout fishing during that era.
The display in the northern window illustrates this year’s Boating Museum theme of “Sailing in the Finger Lakes.” In addition to a Penn Yan “Captain Kid” sailboat marketed for children in the1930s, the display contains scale models of some of the most popular one-design sailboats competitively sailed in the Finger Lakes during the past century. These include replicas of the Star, Comet, Lightning and Snipe, all built to 1/12th scale. Full-size examples of these famous sailing craft reside in the Boating Museum’s collection, and will be on display on the Seneca Lake waterfront at the annual Boat Show July 24-25 during Geneva’s Cruisin’ Weekend.
“We are grateful to Joe for lending the use of this space,” said Oben. “We plan to use it to display other artifacts and ephemera from the Boating Museum’s collection on a rotational basis while it is available to us, or until our permanent home on the lakefront is ready.”
Buffalo radio station WBFO (88.7) has received a regional Edward R. Murrow Award by the Radio-Television News Directors Association for a story about the Polish Legacy Project (PLP), a group of people whose aim is to capture the stories of Polish survivors of World War Two while they are still alive.
The piece aired last year just before the PLP’s Untold Stories Conference. [Read more…] about Local Radio Rewarded For Polish Legacy Piece
The Buffalo Maritime Center’s new project to build a replica War of 1812 Bateau is now underway. Work sessions on the 25-foot boat will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 5:00 to 9:00 pm beginning February 23rd in the boat shop at 901 Fuhrmann Boulevard, Buffalo. According to organizers this will be the first bateau built in Buffalo in 200 years. [Read more…] about Buffalo Maritime Center Building War of 1812 Bateau
First there were nineteen. Then there were five. Now there are two. John Adamski, president of the Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum, said today that the Site Selection Committee has referred two sites to the board for further assessment. They are the Geneva/Seneca Lake State Park site along the lakefront in Geneva and Keuka Lake State Park near Branchport in Yates County. Both sites offer lake frontage.
No longer in contention is the Bush Farm in Ledyard, the Wells College campus in Aurora, and Sampson State Park in Romulus. Sponsors of those sites were informed of the decision last Friday and in a show of commitment and dedication, each pledged to continue supporting the project.
Adamski said that a great deal of effort was put into proposals from the five site sponsors and that each had to be fairly evaluated. Site selection committee members logged more than 150 hours in multiple site visits, committee meetings, and deliberations, not to mention the uncounted miles that were driven.
The committee has asked the board to consider a comparative marketing study to help determine which of the two remaining sites would be the most viable due to concerns for the long-range economic stability of the project based on its location.
Adamski said, “The advantage that the Geneva site has is its central location, which is close to the Thruway and halfway between Rochester and Syracuse. The benefit of the Keuka Lake site is its intimate lakefront and wilder setting, which is more conducive to outdoor wildlife exhibits.” Plans call for natural habitats to showcase native wild animals such as bald eagles, beavers, black bears, coyotes, foxes, otters, and the unique Seneca White Deer.
The proposed $40 million Finger Lakes Museum is planned to be primarily funded by private donations and corporate grants. A committee is currently working on a fundraising program.
The Board of Directors of the Finger Lakes Boating Museum in Geneva, NY has established a Site Development Committee and are moving forward with ambitous plans for a facility to research, document, preserve, and share the boating history of the Finger Lakes region. The Museum reached agreement with the City of Geneva last fall to establish a permanent home on the Geneva waterfront in association with the Visitor Center. The facility will be located on the current Chamber of Commerce site. The Museum anticipates occupying approximately 20,000 square feet of space initially, with future expansion on the lakefront and off-site eventually growing to approximately 60,000 square feet of space.
Newly elected board president Bill Oben said the Museum has assembled a collection of more than 90 wooden boats built in the Finger Lakes over the past 100 years, as well as numerous related artifacts and extensive reference material. Portions of the collection will be displayed on a rotating basis within the new facility. Also planned are interactive workshops and displays to engage visitors in the design, construction and use of the boats and an active on-water program including sailing and small boat handling.
The board also elected a new slate of officers and appointed four new directors at its January 4th. The officers for 2010 are Bill Oben as President, Ed Wightman as Vice President, Bill Smith as Secretary and Dennis Karalow as Treasurer. The new directors are Chrissy Bennett-West, Dave Bunnell, Vince Scalise and Bruce Tuxill.
Bennett-West is a Geneva native and a graduate of William Smith College. A long-time member of the Seneca Yacht Club, she sails Thistles and serves on the Executive Board as Vice Commodore. She and her husband live in Canandaigua where she is employed as a Special Education teacher in the Canandaigua School System.
Dave Bunnell relocated to Geneva following a 40-year career in law and business. He has practiced law with two commercial law firms in Dallas, Texas, served in senior management positions with international food companies, and engaged in various entrepreneurial activities. He is currently involved with others in efforts to accelerate the revitalization of downtown Geneva. He serves on the Boards of Geneva Growth, the Finger Lakes Regional Arts Council and the Business Improvement District.
Vince Scalise, a Geneva native and Korean War veteran, retired as Superintendent of the Geneva City School System. He has served on numerous boards including Cayuga-Seneca Canalway Trail Association, YMCA, Geneva Growth, Geneva Historical Society, United Way of Rochester and Ontario County, the Geneva Area Chamber of Commerce, and the FL Cultural & Natural History Museum. He has also served on the Geneva City Council.
Bruce Tuxill returned to his native Geneva in 2008 following a 40-year career in the Air Force and Air National Guard. At the time of his retirement he was serving as the Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard. He is currently the President of the Tuxill Group, which provides consulting service for federal, state and local officials in the areas of national defense and homeland security. He currently serves on the Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Geneva and the Vestry of Trinity Episcopal Church.
Bill Oben, is a founding trustee who has served as president of the 300-member Museum since 2007, commented that the organization is “excited about establishing a permanent home for the museum on the Geneva waterfront. We intend to create a world class facility highlighting the boating heritage of the Finger Lakes region,” Oben said.
This summer the film “The Wizard of Oz” marked its 70th anniversary. Just in time comes The Real Wizard of Oz: The Life and Times of L. Frank Baumby Rebecca Loncraine, the first full biography of L. Frank Baum – from his birth in 1856 and his youth in the Finger Lakes region, to the years following his death – that looks at the people, places, history, culture, and literature that influenced the renowned storyteller. From the Civil War to women’s suffrage, from amputation to modern medicine, from psychics to industrialization, Baum saw it all and it was reflected in his writings. Loncraine is an acknowledged expert on Oz and Baum who traveled the US to study him, his works and the impact they had on our culture for the book.
When The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was written at the turn of the century, it quickly became an icon of American Culture. The public and the media were entranced by myths surrounding Baum’s creation, all covered in the book:
Was OZ really named from the O-Z on his file cabinet?
Was the book really a reaction to the Populist party?
What was Baum’s incredible connection to PT Barnum?
The Polish Legacy Project in Buffalo will be hosting a conference, “Poland to Buffalo Through WWII: Untold Stories Come Alive” in that city on October 3rd and 4th. The aim of the conference is to highlight the stories of Polish WWII survivors who settled in Western New York as a result of the war. [Read more…] about Conference: Poland to Buffalo Through WWII
The Board of Trustees of the Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum have officially closed the site submission process. Nineteen potential building sites were proposed by seven Finger Lakes Region counties and the City of Geneva before the deadline of July 15th.
Counties that submitted proposals include Cayuga, Schuyler, Seneca, Steuben, Tioga, Tompkins, and Yates. The City of Geneva is partnering with Seneca County on a site that straddles the Ontario/Seneca county line at the north end of Seneca Lake.
The deadline, which had been originally set for June 15th, was extended by the board for 30 days to give some counties more time to complete title searches. The sites are now being toured and evaluated by the project’s Site Selection Committee.
A question arose concerning a 20th site being added to the list when a landowner inquired about submitting a parcel in Ontario County. The board considered the inquiry but determined that the deadline should be upheld in fairness to the counties that worked hard to make submissions on time, according to a press release issued last week. The landowner is not being identified.
The search for a building site has ramped up the level of excitement for the initiative to develop a cultural and natural history museum to showcase the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region.
July 9-12, 2009 marked the 50th anniversary of the engineering feat that created the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The best way to see the seaway is to take the 518-mile Great Lakes Seaway Trail which parallels the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Niagara River and Lake Erie in New York and Pennsylvania. A journey along the Great Lakes Seaway Trail offers an authentic American experience of the fresh waters and shoreline landscapes that has shaped much of America’s history.
Fifty years ago Queen Elizabeth II and Dwight D. Eisenhower opened the manmade waterway route into the North American interior. Since then, rhe Saint Lawrence Seaway has been called “the Gateway to North America” and the 120-mile east-to-west start of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail is its road-based parallel. The byway then continues another 398 miles to the Pennsylvania-Ohio border along Lake Erie.
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Locks Visitor Center, from which you can watch the world’s oceangoing vessels rise and lower the equivalent of a six-story building in the locks at Massena, NY, is one of many iconic destinations on the Great Lakes Seaway Trail. Other popular destinations include the 1000 Islands, small harbors along the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie shorelines, Niagara Falls, and the Seaway Trail Pennsylvania Erie Bayfront. Learn more online at www.seawaytrail.com.