Hanford Mills Celebrates Independence Day

The Hanford Mills Museum celebrates Independence Day with demonstrations, a fishing contest, frog-jumping, and ice cream made by a steam-powered churn using ice from last winter’s Ice Harvest.  Executive Director Liz Callahan talks about the many events and hands-on learning opportunities available at the Independence Day Celebration. https://wskg.org/audio/hanford4th.mp3

Liberty Hyde Bailey, Jr. | #tbt

In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, Liberty Hyde Bailey, considered the father of agriculture at Cornell University, sits at his desk. Bailey was born outside South Haven, Michigan on March 15, 1858.  In 1882, he graduated from what is now Michigan State University and went on to work with Asa Grey, one of the most prominent botanist of his day, at Harvard.  After teaching horticulture at Michigan State, Bailey took a job as a professor at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Bailey greatly expanded the agricultural programs and in 1903 he established the State College of Agriculture at Cornell. Bailey served as its first Dean until 1913.

Join Us For a Special Discussion About 'Harvest'

Join WSKG on Wednesday, January 20th at 6:30PM as we host the Broome County Historical Society for a presentation on Harvest, the latest documentary from award winning filmmaker Brian Frey. Frey will present extended clips from the film and discuss the making of his documentary which examines the evolution of farming in the region over the last 200 years. Be a part of this special look at Harvest, January 20th at 6:30PM at WSKG Studios located at 601 Gates Road Vestal, NY.  Admission is free and no reservation is needed.  

This event is sponsored by the Broome County Historical Society.

Family Chores | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows a group of young children hard at work on their family’s Steuben County farm. From a very young age, children were asked to contribute to the daily chores on the farm. Some of these tasks were essential to keeping the farm productive and in operation. They included milking the cows, checking the chicken coop for eggs, and even mucking out the barn stalls. However, many of these children also enjoyed a great amount of responsibility and freedom in their lives on the farm.

Horse Logging | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows a scene of horse logging in Tompkins County, New York. Groton native, Verne Morton, took the photo in 1910. Morton began taking pictures in the late 1890s, and eventually gave up a career as a teacher to pursue photography full-time. Morton’s specialty was photographing the outdoors, especially images of farm scenes and rural life. Morton lived in Groton for the majority of his life, capturing the history of the surrounding communities in over 12,000 beautifully composed images.

Cooperstown | Town Spotlight | Harvest

Cooperstown, New York sits along the pristine water of Otsego Lake and is surrounded by the rolling and heavily wooded hills of Otsego County. The headwaters of the Susquehanna River begin here, and the river flows southward through New York, Pennsylvania, and Maryland before emptying into the Chesapeake Bay. Today, the village is best known as the home of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, but Cooperstown is also home to a number of other museums and historic locations including the  Fenimore Art Museum, the Glimmerglass Opera, and the  Farmers’ Museum. In fact the village is full of historic buildings tied to its early agricultural beginnings. The Revolution
During the American Revolution, the area was still a vast wilderness.

Milk Wagon | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows a dairy wagon owned by George S. McCann Farms in Chemung County, New York, circa the late 1800s. Before the days of large supermarkets, families had milk delivered to their doors daily. Through World War II, milkmen and their horse drawn milk wagons were a common sight in towns across the country. Horse and driver worked together as a team traveling the same routes everyday. Some horses knew the path so well they could be left alone to walk on to the next stop while their drivers disembarked to make a delivery.

Tobacco Barn | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photo shows a tobacco barn in Tioga County, New York. When people usually think about tobacco farming they typically envision places like Virginia or Maryland, but there was a time when our region was home to a number of large tobacco farms.  From the late 1800s to the mid-20th century, tobacco farming helped bring wealth and prestige to a number of local families, including the Pumpelly family of Owego, NY. While the heyday of tobacco farming in the area is long past, a few of the large tobacco barns, used to cure the tobacco leaves, still dot the landscape of the region. Learn more about our region’s agricultural past in Harvest, WSKG’s new original documentary, premiering November 19th at 8PM.  

Photos courtesy of the Tioga County Historical Society.

Delhi, NY | Town Spotlight | Harvest

Nestled among the steep rocky hills of the Catskill Mountain range, Delhi, New York sits at the base of a deep valley along the West Branch of the Delaware River. Situated near the center of Delaware County, the Town of Delhi was formed in 1798 out of land ceded from the towns of Middletown, Kortright, and Walton. Prior to the American Revolution, the Mohawk Indians were the main inhabitants of the region. The Mohawk, who called themselves the Kanienkehaka, were one of the original member tribes of the Iroquois Confederation, or Haudenosaunee. The first European settlers arrived in the area around the 1740s, and after the Revolution a new wave of Scotch-Irish and German immigrants pushed into the region.

Horse Power | #tbt

In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, a Cortland County farm family uses a horse-powered treadmill to saw wood. For centuries, draft horses have been used on farms to plow fields, haul wagons, and for various other forms of hard labor. During the 19th century, farmers also used horses to provide their machinery with a dependable source of power. The horse treadmill utilized a system of gears and belts to harness the power of horses to thresh hay, saw wood, and even churn butter. The amount of force necessary to operate these treadmills was measured in “horse power,” a familiar term that is still used today.

Oxford, NY | Town Spotlight | Harvest

As the Chenango River snakes it way southward through the rolling hills of Upstate New York, it bisects the town of Oxford. Before the American Revolution, the fertile land around the river was home to the Oneida Indians. The land was ceded to the fledging United States Government after the war in the 1788 Treaty of Fort Schuyler (Stanwix). White settlers quickly moved into the region and Oxford was officially incorporated on January 19th, 1793. The town’s central location made it an ideal early trading center in the region.

Going for a Ride | #tbt

In today’s vintage throwback Thursday photograph, a farmer gives his daughter a ride in a wheelbarrow while a group of cows look on. The photo was taken in Chenango County probably around the late 19th or early 20th century and represents an interesting snapshot of farm life during this time period. Tune in for the premiere of “Harvest,” WSKG’s new original documentary chronicling the history of agriculture in our region, on November 19th at 8PM to learn more about family farm life.  

Photograph courtesy of the  Chenango County Historical Society. 

Back to School

The other day marked the “unofficial” end of summer in my household as my daughter boarded the school bus for the first time and rode off to kindergarten. The event found my wife and I discussing the tradition of summer vacation and its origins. We both shared the belief that summer vacation was tied to America’s agrarian past, however upon further inquiry we discovered that our assumptions were mistaken. According to a PBS NewsHour article from 2014, the myth that summer vacation was directly tied to our nation’s agrarian roots is still very persistent. In realty, the early rural schools in America that were tied to an agrarian calendar had short summer and winter terms with breaks in the spring and fall.

Liberty Hyde Bailey: The Father of Agriculture at Cornell University

By Miranda Materazzo

Liberty Hyde Bailey (1858-1954) was a professor of horticulture and botany at Michigan Agricultural College, now Michigan State University, and later at Cornell University. Explore this map, and follow Bailey’s travels while he makes some of the most important contributions to New York State agriculture. Explore the map fullscreen! Photo credit: Wikipedia