Today’s throwback Thursday photograph, taken in 1889, shows the fair grounds in Elmira, New York. From 1842 to 1889, the New York State Fair traveled between 11 different cities before the fair was finally moved to its current location in Syracuse. Between 1855 and 1889, Elmira hosted the State Fair nine different times. One of the more interesting details of the photograph is the banner outside one of the venues that advertises, “The Living Two Headed Boy. Absolutely the Greatest Living Curiosity in the World.”
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows Baldwin Street at the intersection of East Water Street in Elmira, New York, from around the turn of the 20th century. The photo was taken by Charles Van Aken, a photographer from Elmira. Today, a large collection of Van Aken’s original glass plate negatives are preserved by the Chemung County Historical Society at their museum and research library in Elmira. Van Aken took another photo of the same intersection a few years after the first. A comparison of the two photos gives us a glimpse at some of the changes taking place in Elmira at the turn of the 20th century – most notably the addition of the trolly line.
Today’s throwback Thursday photo shows Front Street in Deposit, NY, on August 10, 1948. The image was taken by Bob Wyer, a reporter turned professional photographer from Delaware County. The first settler arrived in the area in 1789. Logging was an important early industry for the community, and felled tress were often “deposited” by the riverbank before being floated downstream. In 1811, the settlement was incorporated as the village of Deposit.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph captures Main Street in Margaretville, New York, on June 5, 1947. The village of Margaretville is located in Delaware County and is situated inside the town of Middletown and on the border of Catskill Park. Today’s photo was taken by Bob Wyer, a reporter turned professional photographer from Delaware County. Over a career that spanned nearly 40 years, Boy Wyer and his wife Billie helped document the history of Delaware County. Wyer’s extensive collection of over 150,000 negatives is preserved by the Delaware County Historical Association in Delhi, NY.
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.
On the evening of June 5th, 1905, the residents of Binghamton, New York, were violently awoken by the thunderous sounds of a tornado that ripped through the city’s Southside. Fortunately, while the storm did serious damage to some homes and barns, no one was killed. For throwback Thursday, we’ve put together a slideshow of photographs taken the day after the storm. The photos highlight some of the destruction caused across Binghamton.
Photographs Courtesy of the Broome County Historical Society.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows the aftermath of the 1903 Rockbottom Bridge collapse in Binghamton, New York. On May 20, 1903, as a trolly loaded with eight people made its way across the bridge, the wood and iron structure gave-way and plunged into the Susquehanna River. Luckily, while seven of the passengers sustained injuries, everyone on board survived the ordeal. The photograph was taken by Joseph K. Noyes, an amateur photographer from Binghamton. In the photo, a man dangles from the collapsed structure as he works on the bridge, and a group of spectators look on from the riverbank.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph is a shot of State Street in Ithaca, NY taken sometime between 1890 and 1901. The photo looks east along State Street in downtown Ithaca, where the Ithaca Commons is located today. In the 1790s, Simeon DeWitt, the New York State Surveyor General, first surveyed and mapped the area that would become downtown Ithaca. The Commons opened in 1975 as a three-block pedestrian mall and continues to serve as a popular destination for travelers and Ithacans alike. What is most striking about this photograph is the number of different vignettes it captures.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph is a stereographic image of Freer’s Glen, now Watkins Glen State Park, circa 1863. Stereograph photography was very popular during the 19th century. When viewed using a stereoscope, the two almost identical images mounted side-by-side created the illusion of depth, or 3D. Freer’s Glen opened to the public in 1863 as a privately run resort. The area was a popular tourist destination from the very beginning.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows a high wire act being performed for a crowd at the Chemung County Fair, circa 1900. The Chemung County Agricultural Society held the first Chemung County fair in 1843. Annual county fairs were one of the most important social gatherings for many communities, and they continue to bring enjoyment every summer. This year marks the 174th annual Chemung County Fair. Between 1855 and 1889, Elmira also hosted the State Fair nine times before it was moved to its current location in Syracuse.
Photograph Courtesy of the Chemung County Historical Society.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows the corner of West Franklin Street and Grand Central Avenue in Horseheads, NY, circa 1900. The first white settlers began arriving in the area soon after the American Revolution and the town was officially formed in 1835. Horseheads’ unique name came from an interesting Revolutionary War era anecdote. The area still looks very similar today. One of Horseheads most famous residents was Eugene Zimmerman.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph is a shot of South Broad Street in Norwich, New York, circa 1900. Norwich is nestled in the Chenango River valley, and the first settlers arrived in the area during the late 1700s. In 1793, the town of Norwich was formed from parts of Union, in Broome County, and Jericho, now known as Bainbridge. Norwich became a city in 1914. Today, Norwich is home to a number of different attractions including the Northeast Classic Car Museum, the Chenango Arts Council, and the Chenango County Historical Society.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph is a portrait of Jane Delano, a trailblazer in the field of modern nursing. Delano was born near Montour Falls, New York on March 12, 1862. As a youth, she attended Cook Academy in Montour Falls and eventually enrolled at Bellevue Hospital School of Nursing in New York City. In 1909, Delano was appointed superintendent of the United States Army Nurse Corps and also helped form the American Red Cross Nursing Service. The thousands of nurses Delano helped recruit and train were instrumental in caring for the wounded from the battlefields of World War I and in combating the deadly influenza outbreak of 1919.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph is a panorama of downtown Binghamton, New York, circa 1909. The photo was taken by the Haines Photo Co. of Conneaut, Ohio and looks east down Court Street. In the background, the 1904 Press Building dominates the skyline, and the Security Mutual Building and the dome of the Binghamton Court House are visible to its right. The bank of the Chenango River and the Court Street Bridge anchor the foreground of the photograph.
In today’s throwback Thursday photograph, President Kennedy greets the 1961 Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis. The photo was taken at a reception sponsored by the National Association of Manufacturers held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. As a young man, Ernie Davis attended Elmira Free Academy in Elmira, New York. Davis excelled at a number of different sports, but had a natural athletic gift for football. In 1958, Davis became a running back for Syracuse University and was selected Most Valuable Player in 1960.
In 1925, IBM president Thomas J. Watson decided to honor the salesmen of his company who exceeded their sales goals by inducting them into what he called “The Hundred Percent Club”. The club’s first convention was held in Atlantic City, N.J and then at New York City’s famous Waldorf Astoria hotel until 1939. In 1940, the group’s size exceeded the hotel’s capacity and Watson decided to move the meeting to the hills above his plants in Endicott, NY. This 1948 photo shows the entrance to what became known as “tent city” where over 400 two-man tents equipped with telephones, electricity and baths were erected to house the honored salesmen.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph comes from the Library of Congress and shows a young soldier from the 137th New York Infantry Regiment posing for the camera. The Library of Congress officially lists him as “unidentified,” but according to its notes, the young man is most likely Charles Hallett of Company K.
The 137th was organized in Binghamton, NY and mustered into service in 1862. While recruits came primarily from Broome, Tioga and Tompkins Counties there were also enlistees from other parts of Upstate New York and Northern Pennsylvania. The regiment was led by Col. David Ireland and saw action at a number of important battles, most notably Gettysburg and Lookout Mountain.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows the “Matt H. Shay” locomotive in the Binghamton Rail Yard, circa 1920. The “Matt H. Shay” was an articulated “triplex” locomotive and had three sets of driving wheels. At the time of its construction in 1914 it was considered the most powerful locomotive in the world and was used primarily to help freight trains up steep grades. It was named after an employee of the Erie Railroad. Between 1914 and 1916, the Baldwin Locomotive Works built four “triplex” steam locomotives.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph overlooks Groton, New York. This peaceful winter scene was taken by Verne Morton in 1904. Morton was born in Groton in 1868. He began taking pictures in the late 1890s, and specialized in documenting rural life. Today, the majority of Morton’s original negatives are preserved by the History Center in Tompkins County.
Today’s throwback Thursday photograph shows a nighttime winter scene of downtown Binghamton, circa 1940. The photo was taken at the intersection of Court Street and Washington Street, and looks north up Washington Street towards where the Metro Center stands today. While this section of Binghamton looks much different today, a few features from the photo still remain like the Ellis Brothers’ neon sign. Image Credit: Google Maps
Photograph Courtesy of the Broome County Historical Society.
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.
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.
Today’s vintage throw-back Thursday photo shows the intersection of Court Street and Chenango Street as they would have appeared around 1905 from the perspective of courthouse square. The Binghamton Press building, built 1904, can be seen in the background and the Broome County Soldiers & Sailors Monument, erected 1888, dominates the foreground. A local firm designed the 49-foot granite monument and renowned architect Isaac Perry was a consultant on the project. In the decades following the Civil War similar types of moments were constructed in towns and cities across the Southern Tier and Northern Pennsylvania. Learn more about the monument here.
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.
Prior to advancements in transportation and cold storage, small local creameries dotted the landscape of Upstate New York. These creameries collected and processed local dairy products and distributed cream, butter, cheese, and milk to residents daily. In this photograph taken in 1902, Inah and Inas wait patiently for their turn at the H.A. Niles Creamery in Maine, NY. Photograph courtesy of the Broome County Historical Society
During World War II, colleges and universities across the country expanded their ROTC programs and participated in other military training programs. This was especially true at Cornell University where there were both specialized army and navy training programs. In all, over 20,000 students who trained at Cornell during the war would serve in World War II. Our new local history documentary, “Class of the Century” explores how World War II and the G.I. Bill helped forever change the landscape of higher education in America. https://youtu.be/y21cLFB8rb8?list=PLkEiFS5w2pdmio2Y73g5lrQVfXkcYrLsP
Photo courtesy of The Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections at Cornell.
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.
On July 7, 1935, the skies north of the Southern Tier opened up, dumping more than eleven inches of rain in some areas. The event caused widespread flooding and was one of the worst natural disasters in the history of the Southern Tier.
Some early picnickers enjoy a meal near Lily Lake in what would become Chenango Valley State Park. The state park was created in the 1930’s and many of the park’s trails and amenities were built by workers of the Civilian Conservation Corps as part of the New Deal program. Today, the park is still a great place to enjoy a picnic. Learn more about Chenango Valley State Park in our Uniquely New York video series:
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.