George F. Johnson moved to Binghamton New York in 1878 at the age of 23. The son of a career shoemaker, Johnson had learned well every facet of the shoemaking business. In 1899 he entered into a partnership with a wealthy investor from Boston, named Henry B Endicott. Together they formed the Endicott-Johnson shoe company and soon dominated the shoemaking industry in America. At its peak EJ shoes employed over twenty thousand workers and produce hundreds of thousands of shoes a day.
George F. Johnson moved to Binghamton, New York in 1878 at the age of 22. He was the son of a career shoemaker and had learned every facet of the shoemaking business. In 1899, he entered into a partnership with a wealthy investor from Boston, named Henry B. Endicott. Together they formed the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company and began to take over the shoemaking industry in America. At its peak, EJ shoes employed over twenty thousand workers and produced more than 52 million pairs of shoes a year.
n 1919, George F. Johnson, president of the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company provided a new carousel to Ross Park in the City of
Binghamton to replace a smaller, damaged merry-go-round. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ffYEF-8D40
Coming from a poor, working class family, Johnson could not afford the nickel it cost to ride when he was a child. His gift came along with one stipulation -- that the carousel would be forever free to children of all ages. These conditions were also required for the other five merry-go-rounds Johnson and his family gave to the people of Broome County. Today, there are fewer than 100 wooden original merry-go-rounds in the United States.
In the early 1900s, industrialist George F. Johnson built a home for his secretary, Julia Bowes, and her husband Alphonsus, across from his home in the village of Endicott in Broome County. This graceful house remained a private residence for the next three decades before its transformation into Colonial Hall -- the administrative offices for the Triple Cities College, an adjunct campus of Syracuse University in 1946. The college moved to Vestal in the late 1950s and evolved into Binghamton University. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skRESAE4REY
In the early 1990s, the home was transformed into the Endicott Visitor Center as part of the Susquehanna Heritage Area. With its exhibits focusing on the industrial heritage of the birth of Endicott Johnson Shoe Corporation and IBM in Endicott, and a large meeting and banquet room, the Endicott Visitor Center is one of many important stops along New Yorks Path Through History.
In the autumn of 1881, a poor, uneducated shoemaker from Massachusetts stepped off a train in Binghamton, New York. It would mark the beginning of an era that transformed and defined the region for the next 100 years. Johnson, a new documentary film from WSKG, chronicles the incredible life and legacy of the man, George F. Johnson, who shaped the Southern Tier into what it would become. Produced by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Brian Frey and utilizing rare photographs and archival film footage, Johnson traces the rise of what would become one of the largest shoe-making firms in the world, the Endicott Johnson Shoe Corporation. Johnson built more than just boots and factories; his true legacy would be the community that grew from the industrial community he created - a community so rich in tradition and culture it would become forever known as the Valley of Opportunity.