Owego Awarded $10 Million From State Fund To Revitalize Downtowns

VESTAL, NY (WSKG) — Owego was awarded $10 million dollars as part of New York state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, or DRI. Owego is in Tioga County. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the various projects. They are meant to boost the local economy by attracting new businesses while strengthening existing ones, repair infrastructure, enhance recreational opportunities, and address the demand for affordable housing. The money will go toward 17 projects.

They’re Taking It Off in Owego!

The Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present the Terence McNally/David Yazbek musical ‘The Full Monty’. Director James Osborne joins us to talk about this Americanized musical version of the British film about how a group of unemployed steel workers get back their self-esteem and reconnect with their families with an unusual solution.  

Photo credit: Stephanie Jump

‘A Christmas Story’ is Back at Ti-Ahwaga

The Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present their annual production of Philip Grecian’s stage adaptation of the film ‘A Christmas Story’. Jamie Cornell, who plays the grown-up Ralphie, joins us to talk about the sixteen years of this production, and the members of many families that have grown up in and around this annual event. http://wskg.org/audio/christmasstory2017.mp3

 

Photo credit: R E Baker Photography

Sharada & Jamael at Farmhouse Brewery

We travel to the village of Owego, New York to profile The Farmhouse Brewery. Owner Marty Mattrazzo details how the brewery came into existence and why they rely on local farmers for many of the ingredients they use in their beverages.

‘Brew Beats’ Returns!

WSKG’s concert series Brew Beats returns Thursday, October 26 at 8PM, with two new episodes. Brew Beats is a music show that follows the roads that connect Upstate New York’s dynamic and growing breweries and cideries. The night kicks off at The FarmHouse Brewery in Owego, where we talk with owner Marty Mattrazzo about what makes their products so unique. We also welcome talented jazz duo Sharada Shashidhar and Jamael Dean. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=biNraZp1KTs&feature=youtu.be

Then at 8:30PM, we head to Water Street Brewing Co. in downtown Binghamton.

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players Present ‘The Glass Menagerie’

‘The Glass Menagerie’ was the play that started Tennessee Williams’ career as a playwright. Director James Osborne and assistant director Kylee Thetga join us to talk about Ti-Ahwaga Community Players production of it, featuring Jane Nichols reprising the role of Amanda after 20 years. http://wskg.org/audio/menagerie.mp3

 

Photo credit: Ti-Ahwaga Community Players

Ti-Ahwaga Players Present Jerry Herman's 'La Cage Aux Folles'

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present Jerry Herman and Harvey Fierstein’s musical ‘La Cage Aux Folles’. Director James Osborne and assistant director/choreographer Talia Saraceno talk about staging this comedy that calls for a large cast of dancers and singers. http://wskg.org/audio/cage.mp3

 

Photo credit: Talia Saraceno for Ti-Ahwaga Community Players

Lt. Benjamin Loring | A Civil War Story

Benjamin Loring was born on October 14, 1824, in Duxbury, Massachusetts. During the Civil War, Loring enlisted in the U.S. Navy and participated in a number of important battles, serving with distinction on three different warships. After the war, Loring settled in Owego, New York where he lived out the rest of his days. Today, the Tioga County Historical Society Museum in Owego preserves an item from Benjamin Loring’s military service that was present at one of the defining moments in American History. https://youtu.be/Df5GIyI6yt8

If you enjoy Civil War history or great television drama be sure to tune in for the second season of PBS’s Civil War medical drama Mercy Street, Sundays at 8PM on WSKG TV.

Owego

Amos Draper was a successful trader in Upstate New York in the years following the American Revolution, and he was especially fond of an area along the Susquehanna River in present day Tioga County. In 1787, Amos and his wife Lydia built a log cabin on the north bank of the Susquehanna River near the confluence with Owego Creek – establishing themselves as the first settlers in what would become the village of Owego. https://youtu.be/vhwdjxEp7t0

Funding provided by a grant from Empire State Development. Links:
Path Through History: http://paththroughhistory.iloveny.com/
WSKG’s Path Through History: http://www.wskg.org/pth

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players Present 'A Christmas Story'

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present their annual production of the stage version of the holiday film ‘A Christmas Story’ adapted by Philip Grecian. It’s the fifteenth year for this hilarious classic.  Jamie Cornell, playing the narrator, the grown-up Ralphie, talks about his and his whole family’s involvement over the years. Executive Director Sonny DeWitt is also on hand to talk about new additions to the production alongside the flagpole, the slide, and the infamous leg lamp. http://wskg.org/audio/1202christmasstory.mp3

 

Photo credit: R.E. Baker for Ti-Ahwaga Community Players

History Repeats itself in a Major Drama

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’. http://tiahwaga.com/  It’s a retelling of the story of the Salem Witch Trials, but it is famously a metaphor for the McCarthy Hearings during the Red Scare of the 1950’s that pulled Miller himself into its vortex.  We hear about the history of the play, and the historical events the play is based on from director James Osborne. “Based on the infamous witch trials that took place in Salem, Massachusetts, from 1692 to 1693, a deeply tragic yet captivating thriller emerges as a social and psychological play. Through the unfolding action of the events, situations arise that brings with it hysteria and a definite us or them mentality. This captivating 1949 Pulitzer Prize winning play maintains its relevancy to modern day events by demonstrating the electrifying intensity that is born out of the ideology of paranoia and mayhem.

Female World War II Veteran gets Historic Marker in Owego

Today, a new historic marker was dedicated in Owego honoring the life and service of Corporal Margaret Hastings. Born in 1914, Cpl. Hastings grew up in Owego and joined the Women’s Army Corps, or WACs, in 1944. On May 13, 1945, as the Second World War drew to a close, Cpl. Hastings boarded a transport plane with 23 other service men and women. It was for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea. However, the pleasure cruise ended unexpectedly when the plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain.

Corporal Margaret Hastings | #tbt

Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows Owego, New York, native Corporal Margaret Hastings on her Victory Bond tour at the close of World War II. In Spring, 1945, Owego native Corporal Margaret Hastings boarded a transport plane with 23 other service men and women. It was for a sightseeing trip over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea. But the trip ended when the plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain. Cpl. Hastings was one of only three survivors.

Oscar Barton

On January 1st, 1863, as the Civil War entered another hellish year, President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, freeing slaves in areas under rebellion and allowing the federal government to recruit African Americans into the Union Army, was enacted. At the time, thirty-year-old Oscar Barton was living in Vestal, New York. A descendent of free-blacks from Rhode Island, Barton’s grandfather had been a soldier during the American Revolution and Oscar would follow in his grandfather’s footsteps. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9P1BxnI0A7M

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History: http://paththroughhistory.iloveny.com/
WSKG’s Path Through History: http://www.wskg.org/PTH
Tioga County Historical Society: http://tiogahistory.org/

Photos Courtesy of:
Tioga County Historical Society
Library of Congress

Comedian Tommy Koenig is a Musical Tour Guide Through the Baby Boom Generation

Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center is presenting comedian Tommy Koenig in his one-man show ‘Baby Boom Baby’. The show charts the journey of the Baby Boom Generation through the sound-track of their life. Koenig is a veteran of National Lampoon and a Baby Boomer himself. His song parodies reflect the times that the generation was living through. http://wskg.org/audio/koenigmix.mp3

 

Photo Credit: Tommy Koenig

J. Alden Loring

On March 23, 1909, former President Theodore Roosevelt led an expedition to Africa intent on collecting specimens for a new Natural History Museum. Among the core members of the group outfitted by The Smithsonian Institution was Owego, New York native John Alden Loring. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yBkySBcuwNM

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Tioga County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Tioga County Historical Society

Rescue from "Shangril-La" | #tbt

In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, residents of Owego, NY welcome back one of their World War II hometown heroes  – Corporal Margaret Hastings. On May 13, 1945, Cpl. Hastings was on a sightseeing flight over the uncharted jungles of Papua New Guinea, nicknamed “Shangril-La”, with twenty-three other service men and women. Her plane crashed violently into the side of a mountain and Hastings was one of only three survivors. Cpl. Hastings and the two other survivors of the crash were finally rescued from the remote jungle valley over a month later on June 28, 1945. The story of Cpl. Hastings’ rescue made her a media sensation and she was given a hero’s welcome upon her return to Owego.

Hammon D. Pinney

Prior to the Civil War, the numerous railroads, rivers, and canals that crisscrossed Upstate New York made the area an important corridor on the Underground Railroad. Thousands of runaway slaves followed this clandestine network to freedom in Canada. In Owego, New York many of these fugitive slaves found refuge in the home of Hammon D. Pinney. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1j3wM80i0MU

‘Uniquely New York’ is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Links:
Path Through History
WSKG’s Path Through History
Tioga County Historical Society

Photos Courtesy of:
Tioga County Historical Society
Library of Congress

The Play is a Disaster, but the Play About the Play is All Laughs

The Ti-Ahwaga Community Players are presenting Michael Frayn’s comedy ‘Noises Off’, a quirky look at the cast of a not-very-successful play, whose backstage inter-relationships are much more entertaining than the play they are performing. Ti-Ahwaga produced it last not that long ago, but demand for its revival has been so strong that it is back.  Actors Shawn Yetter and Jamie Cornell tell about the joys and terrors of doing fast-paced comedy. http://wskg.org/audio/noisesmix.mp3

 

Photo credit: sc63 via Flickr

Ti-Ahawaga Community Players have the leg lamp turned on for you!

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players offer their annual production of A Christmas Story.  The flag pole, Santa, the Old Man, the leg lamp, Lifebuoy soap, the Ovaltine decoder ring, and the Red Ryder BB gun all make their appearance. Todd Smith, who plays the narrator, the grown-up Ralphie, talks about this perennial favorite. http://wskg.org/audio/toddsmithmix.mp3

 

Photo by R.E. Baker via Ti-Ahwaga Community Players

 

 

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.

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players stage Harper Lee's classic story

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present a stage version of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee’s novel that was turned into a memorable film.  The play centers on the trial and how the father, Atticus Finch, and his daughter, Scout, support each other during a difficult time. American History professor Joseph Crespino has said, “In the twentieth century, To Kill a Mockingbird is probably the most widely read book dealing with race in America, and its protagonist, Atticus Finch, the most enduring fictional image of racial heroism.” We hear from the actors playing father and daughter, Greg Fusare and Nadia Murphy. http://wskg.org/audio/mockingbirdmix.mp3

 

Photo courtesy Russ Baker via Ti-Ahwaga Community Players

Bement-Billings Farmstead | #tbt

In 1792, Asa Bement, Jr., a 28-year old blacksmith and Revolutionary War veteran traveled from Massachusetts to claim his new homestead along Owego Creek. This photo of the property was taken in 1894. Today, the house is a living history museum and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more in our Path Through History Video about the museum:

Photo Courtesy of the Tioga County Historical Society.

Owego's Courthouse Square | #tbt

Built between 1871 and 1873, the Tioga County Courthouse is one of the oldest functioning courthouses in New York State and today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Learn more about this picturesque location from our Uniquely New York video series:

Photograph courtesy of the Tioga County Historical Society.

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players presents "The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd"

Director Keith Nichols and the actor playing Cocky, Micah Neiss, talk about Ti-Ahwaga Community Players production of the Anthony Newley/Leslie Bricusse musical The Roar of the Greasepaint, the Smell of the Crowd.   It’s not a standard “book” musical, but an allegory played out on a game board. The musical takes a look at the differences between the upper and lower classes of British society in the 1960s. The show is filled with songs that have become standards, including “Who Can I Turn To?,” “Feeling Good,” and “The Joker.” https://youtu.be/pulEa0cfNcw

The show runs through June 14th at the Ti-Ahwaga Performing Arts Center, 42 Delphine St., Owego.

Glass Artist Frank Bocek

Frank Bocek started working making stained glass in 1975 right after his wife told him “he needed to get a hobby”. After watching a fellow stained glass artist cutting glass, he immediately went out and bought $20 worth of supplies, quit his accounting job, and proceded to learn the craft himself. In his technique, Bocek applies the copper foil approach, which is a technique co created by innovators and glass artists Louis Comfort Tiffany and John La Farge. Besides being commissioned in the restoration of the windows of the St. Patricks Church in Owego, NY, other commissions include the building of a piece for the Vietnam Women’s Memorial for which he received great recognition.

March 12, 2015 | The Gin Game; author Deborah Blake; Romancing Spain

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present The Gin Game. 

Oneonta author Deborah Blake talks about the new book in her Baba Yaga series. We hear an excerpt from Romancing Spain by Lamar Herrin read by David Romm at last November’s Ithaca Out Loud event. Entertainment Editor Chris Kocher gives us a look at what is coming up this weekend.

Historic Civil War Drum is Given New Life

In 1863, Oscar Barton enlisted in the Union Army as a drummer. For two years, he carried his drum across the South as a member of the 26th United States Colored Troops. Today, the Tioga County Historical Society has given his drum a second lease on life. OSCAR BARTON

In 1863, the Civil War was in its second hellish year, and thirty year old Oscar Barton was living in Vestal, New York. He was a descendant of free-blacks from Rhode Island, and his grandfather had been a soldier during the American Revolution.

Evergreen Cemetery

Established in 1851, Evergreen Cemetery in Owego covers 51 acres of a beautifully landscaped, terraced hillside.  Two stone pillars and a large iron gate mark the entrance, while small streams and stone fences meander across grounds. A wide variety of stone markers and monuments mark the sites were those who worked and lived in Tioga County over the last two centuries as buried. There are also unique sections devoted to veterans of the Civil War and firefighters. One of the most visited gravesites in the cemetery is that of a young Indian maidenknown as Sa-Sa-Na Loft, who died in a tragic train accident after visiting Owego in 1852.  This gravesite is also the epicenter of a number of eerie tales.  

 
Watch More

In this web exclusive clip, Professor Tucker explains the tradition of leaving tokens and coins at Sa-Sa-Na Loft’s grave.

Devil's Elbow

West of Owego, old Route 17c rises to crest a large hill. For over two hundred years, this road has served as a vital artery of trade and travel. At the top of this hill, there was once a sharp curve in the road – known to locals as the Devil’s Elbow. The Devil’s Elbow has been the site of a number of paranormal tales. From the time of horse drawn carriages to today, travelers along this highway have reported encounters with a phantom hitchhiker in white who seems to wander this section of road for eternity.

Ti-Ahwaga Community Players present "Frost/Nixon"

Director James Osborne speaks with WSKG’s Sam Goodyear about Ti-Ahwaga Community Players production of Frost/Nixon. Peter Morgan’s play pits the disgraced former president against the light-weight entertainment interviewer.  One is trying to redeem his image; the other is trying to maintain his playboy lifestyle. Only one can succeed. http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/national/local-national-1036498.mp3

 

Photograph courtesy stevendepolo via Flickr

September 18, 2014 | RoberCon; Artist Lynn Capani-Czebiniak; Know Theatre performs 'Vieux Carre'; Rachel Lampert talks about the new season at Kitchen Theatre

Today’s guests:

Jason Fiume from the Roberson Museum and Science Center talks about the upcoming RoberCon SciFi Convention, expanded this year because of last year’s unexpected success. Artist Lynn Capani-Czebiniak talks about how her art ideas spring from her dreams.

Know Theatre is taking their production of Tennessee Williams’ VIEUX CARRE to the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theatre Festival.  Tim Gleason and Amanda Marsico join Crystal Sarakas to talk about their last weekend of the play in Binghamton and their upcoming trip. Rachel Lampert talks with Bill Snyder about the Kitchen Theatre’s new season.

Parkview Restaurant

Built in 1867, the Dugan House served as a popular hotel in Owego for many years. Located just steps from Courthouse Square and overlooking the scenic Susquehanna River, the upper floor of the hotel included a long balcony where residents could relax and enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKeYYFmohXc

Over the years the hotel played an integral part in the growing community of Tioga County. There is a rich history associated with the hotel and many fascinating stories about the dignitaries and outlaws who passed through its doors. Today, known as Parkview Restaurant, the old hotel serves as a restaurant and tavern, where locals and travelers can enjoy good company, good food, and a piece of local history on New York’s Path Through History.

Pumpelly House Estate

On the sloping banks of the Susquehanna River in Owego, stands a magnificent Georgian-style home and carriage house known as the Pumpelly House Estate. Built in 1902, by Gurden Pumpelly and his wife Kia, the house remained in the Pumpelly family for over 70 years and now serves as a bed and breakfast. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OH2rgnxWjdw
The Pumpelly family originally settled in Owego in the early 1800s. They were significant landowners, and the family prospered through their involvement in the timber and tobacco industries. By the late 1800’s, Gurden Pumpelly had achieved great success as a leaf tobacco farmer and dealer, and at the turn of the 19th century, he decided to retire with his wife to their grand new home in town,.

Evergreen Cemetery

Two stone pillars and a large iron gate mark the entrance to an impressive cemetery that overlooks the Susquehanna River and the town Owego below. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KLomerLbYZ0

Established in 1851, Evergreen Cemetery covers 51 acres of a beautifully landscaped and terraced hillside. Designed in the “Rural” style, small streams and stone fences meander across the grounds and a variety of stone monuments mark the sites where many of the past residence of Owego now rest in peace. One of the most visited gravesites in the cemetery is that of a young Indian maiden known as Sa-Sa-Na Loft, who died in a tragic train accident after visiting Owego in 1852. Located at one of the highest points in the cemetery, her monument overlooks the Susquehanna River Valley and the historic Village of Owego, offering one of the most picturesque views in New York’s Southern Tier.

Calaboose Grille

Built in 1910, the Tioga County Jail quickly drew criticism from locals. Many believed the prison was too attractive and cozy to be an effective deterrent to crime. A newspaper column from the time claimed that people would deliberately commit crimes in order to live in comfort in the new jail. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F9JiGxEhaMY

Located on Court Street in Owego, the old county jail housed prisoners for over eighty years, until 1997 when it was purchased by a local developer and renovated. Four years later the repurposed building opened as a restaurant and bar.

Newark Valley Depot

It was 1870, when freight and passenger railroad service began in Newark Valley. The Southern Central Railroad, later the Lehigh Valley Railroad, brought continued service to the area for one hundred years. Today, the original train depot has been restored and now serves as a museum of railroad artifacts and memorabilia. An HO scale replica of the Tioga County segment of the Lehigh Valley Railroad is one of the most popular permanent exhibits of the museum. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7rYT1p0v_8

The depot is located in the picturesque rural village of Newark Valley on the East Branch of Owego Creek.

Owego's Courthouse Square

Built between 1871 and 1873, the Tioga County Courthouse is one of the oldest functioning courthouses in New York State. Today it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and stands as the centerpiece in Owego’s Courthouse Square. Located along the Susquehanna River at the gateway to the village, Courthouse Square provides a picture-postcard first impression of this historic community. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g2YTawaPhLk

A Civil War Monument, erected in 1891, stands in front of the courthouse and at the northeast corner of the square sits a replica of the 1883 gazebo. Baker Memorial Fountain is one of the most distinctive and memorable features in Courthouse Square.

Grand Central Station

It was December 1831, when a convention was held in Owego to discuss the creation of a new railroad. Established the following year, the Erie Railroad would stretch nearly 450 miles from the Hudson River, through the Southern Tier, to Lake Erie. In 1849, an excursion train made the first run, travelling 237 miles from New York City to Owego. On its arrival in Owego, the passengers, including several VIP dignitaries, dined at the newly constructed Erie Station. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qSlzNNITHU

Several years later the original station was destroyed by fire and a new brick station was rebuilt on the same spot.

Owego Historical District

Located along the Susquehanna River, Owego is one of the most picturesque small towns in New York State. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Owego Central Historic District encompasses 85 buildings, including the 1828 Owego Academy, Village Firehouse, Courthouse and Post Office. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7OBl6JbTW4w

Quaint shops and restaurants make up the Riverow Commercial Complex, a collection of Greek Revival and Italianate buildings lining the river’s edge. Viewed from the highway across the river, the County Courthouse, Riverow Complex, tall church steeples, and Court Street Bridge combine to form a spectacular image of this historic and inviting small town. Recently voted the Coolest Small Town in America, Owego, with its historic district of architectural treasures is definitely one of the Coolest Small Towns on New York’s Path Through History.

Bement-Billings Farmstead Museum

In 1792, Asa Bement, Jr., a 28-year old blacksmith and Revolutionary War veteran traveled from Massachusetts to claim his new homestead along Owego Creek in Newark Valley. As one of the area’s earliest settlers, Bement worked hard to clear the untamed land and build a log home for his family. Over the years the family expanded the farm by enlarging the house, and building a sawmill, gristmill, and blacksmith shop on the property. The farm would become one of the most prosperous in the area, and Asa Bement, his family and their farmstead would play a significant role in the history of Tioga County. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MKAjH9oMNU

One hundred years later William Billings gained possession of the property and in 1977 his granddaughter deeded the house and property to the Newark Valley Historical Society.

Tioga County Historical Society Museum

Tioga County is rich in history. From American Indians and early pioneers, to local businesses and industry, to famous residents and family histories, this history can all be discovered and researched at the Tioga County Historical Society Museum, located along the Susquehanna River in historic Owego, New York. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iGJBLy2k5Eg

Established in 1914, the Historical Society is committed to preserving and sharing the history of Tioga County, and today, the Historical Society Museum includes galleries for permanent and rotating exhibits. There is also a research library for genealogy and local history research. In addition, educational programs are regularly offered in the museum auditorium.

Southern Tier Memory Store 2

A series of remembrances of extraordinary events and everyday life in the Southern Tier of New York featuring: Elmira’s Eldridge Park, once called “the playground of the Southern Tier”; Lackawanna Railroad Trains on the Ithaca-Owego line that negotiated the hills via an unusual double switchback; more than 1,000 people paddling home-made rafts 11 miles down the Susquehanna River in the Owego to Nichols raft race; and Rothschild’s department store in Ithaca. Buy the DVD