September 26, 2012

Eight Square Schoolhouse NEXT Saturday

Another celebration of history I love to see! Family Day at The Eight Square Schoolhouse Saturday October 6th, 2012 1- 4pm Open and Free to all Our Family Day on September 28 was cancelled due to severe weather warnings, pouring...

Posted by simon at 8:15 PM

September 24, 2012

Tommy comes home, Thursday night

This is the kind of history I really love to see. There's great storytelling, but there's also something to do, a physical object people are (re)building. The event is actually at the shop where they're doing the work, making...

Posted by simon at 10:29 AM

September 14, 2012

Catching up with the Journal

I've missed a few articles in the Ithaca Journal worth noting: An amazing examination of Dryden's first murder Girl Scouts grow vegetables for the Dryden and Freeville Food Pantries More on the greening of Ellis Hollow Road's expanded shoulders A...

Posted by simon at 10:53 PM

August 25, 2012

Civil War encampment continues tomorrow

All I can say is wow. A free event, open to the public, and still open tomorrow, Sunday, August 25th, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. Yes, it's a little south of Ithaca on Route 13, but it's definitely worth the trip....

Posted by simon at 6:01 PM

August 20, 2012

Living Civil War History this weekend

I posted last week about the tense summer of 1862, 150 years ago. This coming weekend, you have a chance to what those those young Dryden residents of long ago would have found when they first arrived to go off...

Posted by simon at 7:29 PM

August 16, 2012

150 years ago, heading off to war

Though the Civil War started in 1861, massive enlistment drives grew in 1862. Many Tompkins County residents spent that summer listening for news and deciding whether to join the army. George Goodrich wrote: Chapter XVIII. The War of the Rebellion....

Posted by simon at 8:59 AM

June 27, 2012

Dryden Town Talk reports historian award

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk reports that Dryden village historian Elsie Gutchess received the 2012 Franklin D. Roosevelt Local Government Historian Professional Achievement Award (along with Groton historian Rosemarie Tucker) from the Association of Public Historians of New York State...

Posted by simon at 8:50 AM

April 19, 2012

I'll be talking about the weather

next Thursday night at Dryden Village Hall: WEATHER WISE Unusual weather seems prevalent this year but as the old saying goes, "the more things change the more they stay the same." Over the years Dryden has experienced notable periods of...

Posted by simon at 12:33 PM

April 6, 2012

Dryden, 1940

The 1940 census data is available online. You can find an intriguing 1937 map of Dryden "prepared by the technical staff of the Tompkins County Development Association", and lots of data on Dryden individuals as well in the census schedules....

Posted by simon at 10:24 PM

April 5, 2012

Fatal accident on Pinckney Road

I'm not sure what it is about the area near the Lower Creek / Pinckney Road intersection, but it seems to get more than its share of accidents. The most recent, Tuesday night, killed a Freeville man and injured four...

Posted by simon at 9:00 AM

March 16, 2012

Meet FH Fox

The grafitti on the old railroad bridge in Varna is not universally loved, but it has been constant. If I mention the "FH Fox bridge", people in Tompkins County generally know what I'm talking about. Over the years, I put...

Posted by simon at 8:18 AM

February 4, 2012

Historical Society now owns Southworth Homestead

A landmark of Dryden architecture, built by John Southworth, is now formally in the hands of the Dryden Town Historical Society. I'd mentioned it earlier when the Ithaca Journal did an article, but it's good to see the transfer happen....

Posted by simon at 2:23 PM

December 29, 2011

Southworth House plans developing

This looks exciting: A piece of Dryden history is set to become part of the town's future when the Dryden Town Historical Society takes full ownership of the historic Southworth homestead on North Street in February. The historical society, given...

Posted by simon at 4:59 PM

December 24, 2011

Make-A-Wish causes unemployment issue

Back in October, the Ithaca Journal was reporting on a happy gift to a Freeville 5-year-old. Today, it seems that the trip to Disney World is causing his father painful problems with unemployment benefits. It seems that the eligibility maze...

Posted by simon at 8:47 AM

November 14, 2011

Former Dryden resident analyzing ancient Roman bones

Dryden residents past and present are doing all kinds of amazing things, but it's not every day that I click on a link at the CNN site and find a familiar-looking picture and name: The remaining [Romans] - commoners, slaves...

Posted by simon at 12:14 PM

October 19, 2011

1981 Dryden flood program tonight

Sorry for the late notice, but if you can make it, this should be great: On October 19, 2011 at 7 pm, Dryden Historical Society will present a program about "The 1981 Flood: 30 Years Ago" Mike Lane was mayor...

Posted by simon at 12:05 PM

September 21, 2011

It's been a wonderful life: 75 years with the George B. Bailey Agency

I almost forgot to post this - definitely worth seeing tomorrow night! IT'S BEEN A WONDERFUL LIFE: 75 YEARS WITH THE GEORGE B. BAILEY AGENCY George Bartlett Bailey opened his agency for business on April 1, 1936. George's guiding principal...

Posted by simon at 10:02 AM

May 18, 2011

Past pain across the road

I like that there used to a railroad operating across 366 from me - I'm always interested in trains, and have a stack of books and models and assorted other bits from them. At the same time, I remember that...

Posted by simon at 7:03 PM

Church tour Saturday; early Dryden pilot

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk points out two great events coming over the next week. This Saturday, the Dryden Methodist Church will be open from 11:00am to 1:00pm to showcase its Memorial Windows and tell its history "as part of...

Posted by simon at 8:44 AM

May 16, 2011

From Varna to Etna in six minutes without a car (1912)

Posted by simon at 10:59 PM

April 6, 2011

Highway histories

Every now and then I pause to reflect that the highway in front of my house has been there, in one form or another, for centuries, perhaps millenia. It was a path connecting Cayuga and Onondaga territory before it was...

Posted by simon at 7:28 AM

February 24, 2011

Etna history discussion

The comments section here hasn't often worked as a forum, but if you're interested in Etna history, I recommend the 32 comments on the George Goodrich piece about Etna. Some of them are about Etna, PA, but there's lots in...

Posted by simon at 5:52 PM

January 29, 2011

The Ups & Downs of a Rural Line

Posted by simon at 7:35 AM

January 21, 2011

1885 Schedule, Elmira, Cortland, & Northern

Posted by simon at 5:16 PM

January 17, 2011

Hamlet populations, 1895

Posted by simon at 6:59 AM

January 4, 2011

Dryden's version of the Civil War (zoning)

No, no - I'm not talking about the current conversations about zoning. Retiring Dryden Zoning Officer Henry Slater tells a rich story of the recent Dryden past in the December Town Newsletter, (1.4MB PDF) including this discussion of zoning: I...

Posted by simon at 5:22 PM

October 19, 2010

Horse-drawn wagon ride Sunday afternoon

It's been a few years since there were horse-drawn wagon tours in the Village of Dryden - this should be great! Join the Dryden Town Historical Society and Historic Ithaca for: A Horse-Drawn Wagon Ride to see the carriage houses...

Posted by simon at 7:18 AM

October 9, 2010

Fire at Dryden Middle School

Dryden Middle School was very busy last night, with firefighters battling a blaze in the boiler room, where mechanical equipment seems a likely cause. The Dryden Fire Department will be having an open house Sunday with a demonstration of the...

Posted by simon at 6:19 AM

September 8, 2010

Jazz meets Indian Classical; county budget bleak

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column discusses a free concert coming up September 16th at Dryden High School that will mix contemporary jazz with Indian classical music. She also notes the Dryden Historical Society's September 15th event on the Dryden...

Posted by simon at 8:08 AM

September 1, 2010

History of a Property

While cleaning out piles of paper that used to live in my office a few weeks ago, I found the abstract of title for my house. It's a history of transactions for the property, going back to 1900 with a...

Posted by simon at 12:53 PM

August 28, 2010

More quick hits from the Ithaca Journal

It was a pretty quiet week for Dryden in the Journal. Harvestation, though, may be one of the best applications of technology to come out of Dryden in a while:, a local online bulk buying marketplace which went live...

Posted by simon at 10:01 PM

May 18, 2010

Great Graves of New York, Wednesday

It's way too easy to forget just how much history is all around us here in Upstate New York, and the Dryden Town Historical Society hopes to remind us: Great Graves of Upstate New York The final resting places of...

Posted by simon at 7:35 AM

April 20, 2010

Southworth Library talk Wednesday night

Tomorrow night, the Dryden Town Historical Society will be looking at a key piece of the Southworth Library's past and how it will transform the future of the library. Library Trustees Mary Ellen Rumsey and Mike Lane will discuss the...

Posted by simon at 2:48 PM

December 9, 2009

Holly Tour this Sunday

Two years ago, freezing rain kept me from seeing the Dryden Town Historical Society's Holly Tour of local houses, and I've been grumbling about it ever since. They're doing it again this year, though, with five houses open this Sunday...

Posted by simon at 12:00 PM

December 8, 2009

Eight Square Schoolhouse: Then and Now

The History Center in Tompkins County just sent out a message about their annual meeting this Thursday the 10th. They'll be serving refreshments at 5:00pm, having a business meeting from 5:30 to 5:45, and then spending 5:45 to 6:30pm on...

Posted by simon at 9:18 AM

November 10, 2009

Honoring Bethel Grove School and Community Home

This Sunday afternoon, the Dryden Town Historical Society will be celebrating the accomplishments of the Bethel Grove community: In 19th century Bethel Grove, the local school was the heart of the community. Everyone had to be involved; it was either...

Posted by simon at 8:05 AM

September 16, 2009

Genealogy Workshop in October

I was holding off posting this until it got closer, but I just realized that the registration deadline is coming up: Tracks from the past - Footsteps into the Future The Dryden Town Historical Society is planning a genealogy workshop...

Posted by simon at 12:05 PM

September 2, 2008

Eight Square Schoolhouse teaches public

The History Center held its annual Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival on the 23rd, combining old-fashioned classes with ice cream, games, and music. Playing with stilts. Learning, 19th century style. Spinning at the schoolhouse. I'll make (once again) the radical proposal...

Posted by simon at 7:03 PM

May 17, 2008

Getting to Nodal Development in Dryden

[Update: I no longer think this is a good idea. See the category listing for more information on why. This piece in particular is a concise summary.] [This is long - it's a complex subject and a couple of years...

Posted by simon at 4:32 PM

April 24, 2008

Remembering Nedyrd Co-op

Our efforts to eat locally keep reminding me just how important the connection between people and food is. Over the past century, our country disconnected itself further and further from the food foundations it started with. Starting in the 1960s...

Posted by simon at 8:45 AM

April 23, 2008

NEDYRD Cooperative presentation tonight

Tonight, the Dryden Town Historical Society will be hosting a presentation on Dryden's former NEDYRD food cooperative. The Dryden Village Hall doors open at 6:30pm and the presentation starts at 7:00pm. Thirty years ago, before the proliferation of local farm...

Posted by simon at 8:27 AM

April 9, 2008

Nedyrd in Dryden

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column today is a directory of different things going on in the Town: She reports on the presentation Margaret Lorenzen will lead on the Nedyrd Food Cooperative, at 7:00pm on April 23rd at the Dryden...

Posted by simon at 9:03 PM

March 8, 2008

Priest covering multiple churches

Watch out for today's weather - it's not going to be easy to get around. Road salt shortages continue to be a problem in the area, though the article doesn't mention Dryden. This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at the challenges...

Posted by simon at 9:22 AM

February 25, 2008

Methodist Church serving meals

This week's Dryden Courier is, as usual, packed with Dryden news. There's an article on the Dryden United Methodist Church, which is serving a free meal on the fourth Wednesday of every month. They'd like to expand to more nights,...

Posted by simon at 5:57 PM

February 16, 2008

Dryden seeks superintendent, green energy

Once again, the Dryden Courier sparkles as the one place in town to find in-depth news on the Town of Dryden. One issue of the Courier is easily worth two weeks of the Ithaca Journal or Cortland Standard. Of course,...

Posted by simon at 4:32 PM

February 9, 2008

Housing costs and transportation costs

This morning's Journal continues their Touched by Poverty series, looking at the cost of housing. I'm happy to see that they recognize the cost of transportation as a critical related factor: "Students of housing policy would point out that housing...

Posted by simon at 9:16 AM

January 26, 2008

Adelbert Hemingway's diary

Posted by simon at 2:52 PM

September 24, 2007

Remembering Gallagher Hill

If tomorrow night's candidates forum isn't for you, the Dryden Town Historical Society is offering another option down the road. At 7:00pm at Dryden Village Hall, Patti Kiefer will be exploring "Gallagher Hill: An Incomplete History of Lot 57:" In...

Posted by simon at 5:34 PM

The cost of business in New York, circa 1940

When the 1940 WPA Guide to New York State wrote of "smokeless factory chimneys," they weren't talking about environmentalism, but rather another long-standing problem here: In every city of the State, and there are 60 of them, the presence or...

Posted by simon at 8:48 AM

September 10, 2007

Speed limits of the past

A friend of mine loaned me New York: A Guide to the Empire State, the old 1940 WPA guide that is now sadly out of print. I'm just getting started reading it, and came across this: No State speed limit,...

Posted by simon at 6:37 PM

August 27, 2007

Eight Square; storm damage

This morning's Ithaca Journal visits the Eight Square Schoolhouse festival, which I missed this year. It sounds like they had they usual fun re-acquainting people with the schoolhouse, which last served as a public school in 1941. I have my...

Posted by simon at 12:04 PM

August 21, 2007

Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival Saturday

Looking for something to do this Saturday? The History Center's Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival will run from noon to 4:00pm at the Eight Square Schoolhouse on Hanshaw Road, just south of Route 13. It's a free event with activities for...

Posted by simon at 12:05 PM

August 4, 2007


Most of the Dryden activity in today's Journal is on the editorial page. Henry Kramer of Dryden writes about possible government consolidation. While I rarely agree with Kramer, there's a lot worth considering in this article. I agree completely that...

Posted by simon at 11:06 AM

July 7, 2007

Gracie Manos benefit today

Briefly in Tompkins lists a benefit for the family of Gracie Manos at the Dryden VFW this afternoon from 2:00pm to 8:00pm. Tickets are $10 at the door. Jen Dube, Dryden's departing Recreation Coordinator, gets a laurel from Dryden Kiwanis...

Posted by simon at 11:40 AM

April 28, 2007

The Village of Dryden: 1897-1942

Dryden's Second Hundred Years - A Central New York Village in the Twentieth Century: Part I (1897-1942) came out in January, filling a historical gap created by all the time that's passed since George Goodrich's A Centennial History of Dryden....

Posted by simon at 3:25 PM

April 11, 2007

Political advertisement, 1933

I'd asked Mike Lane a while back about E. R. Sweetland, apparently Dryden's only Democratic Town Supervisor in the first half of the 20th century. (If I remember right, according to the portrait in Town Hall, he served from 1938...

Posted by simon at 12:40 PM

March 12, 2007

Dryden accomplishments; sewer plant questions

This week's issue of the Dryden Courier arrived in better time than last week's, and if you read this today or tomorrow and want to find out more about an article the paper will still be available in stores. The...

Posted by simon at 7:54 AM

January 25, 2007

Civic opportunities in The Shopper

This week's issue of The Shopper includes opportunities for Village of Dryden and Town of Dryden residents to get more involved with their community. Village of Dryden residents are invited to caucuses for choosing candidates for the Village of Dryden's...

Posted by simon at 12:09 PM

January 17, 2007

Girl scouts singing

This morning's Ithaca Journal includes Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column, in which she reports on Girl Scout Troop 869, which meets at the Freeville Methodist Church. The troop has performed a lot of service in the past few years:...

Posted by simon at 7:54 AM

December 9, 2006

Senatorial pork

This morning's Journal is light on Dryden news, but there's an article on the money that state senators have been doling out from their share of borrowed pork. Unfortunately it's only in the print edition, and doesn't list pork for...

Posted by simon at 10:19 AM

November 8, 2006

Dryden veterans; cursed mansion

Cathy Wakeman explores the stories of those Dryden lost in World War II today, visiting the WWII monument in the Dryden Village Green and reading More Than Names in Bronze, the book a team of researchers at the Historical Society...

Posted by simon at 5:16 PM

October 7, 2006

Congressional race overview

This morning's Ithaca Journal looks at the 24th district Congressional race, highlighting candidates Michael Arcuri and Ray Meier but apparently forgetting Etna resident and Libertarian candidate Mike Sylvia. There's also a look at the national activity around this seat, and...

Posted by simon at 11:46 AM

August 16, 2006

Visit Robertson's Corners this Sunday

The Dryden Town Historical Society will be gathering at the Plantation Inn this Sunday to talk about the history of a part of town that's currently growing rapidly: Robertson's Corners, around the intersections 366 has with Baker Hill Road and...

Posted by simon at 6:50 PM

Eight Square Schoolhouse event next Saturday

The History Center will be having their Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival next Saturday, August 26th from noon to 4:00pm: An afternoon of family fun - unplugged! The History Center will host its annual Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival on Saturday, August...

Posted by simon at 6:23 PM

August 5, 2006

Westerling convicted

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that Karel Westerling was convicted of kidnapping and rape yesterday, and now faces up to 25 years in prison. An early-morning fire at Wilcox Press Friday was the result of machinery friction in a scrap...

Posted by simon at 9:21 AM

July 22, 2006

Varna and Sertoma give laurels

Posted by simon at 3:45 PM

June 7, 2006

History at Dairy Day

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk visits the Dryden History House, and recommends its new model airplanes display as a good stop during Dairy Day this Saturday. (There are also some excellent new exhibits on raising chickens in Dryden.) Wakeman also...

Posted by simon at 12:27 PM

May 23, 2006

Full house at Historic District presentation

The Dryden Town Historical Society filled the second floor of Dryden Village Hall last night for its 25th annual meeting. After elections for trustees, Bob Watros introduced a new Historical Society publication, More than Names in Bronze, which looks at...

Posted by simon at 9:59 PM

April 28, 2006

Civil War effects

Civil War researcher and re-enactor filled Village Hall with an enthusiastic crowd of listeners on Tuesday night, many of whom had brought in their own artifacts to share. A visitor examines guns from Canfield's collection. Grand Army of the Republic...

Posted by simon at 10:03 AM

April 26, 2006

Freeville Village History Room opens Saturday

This week's issue of The Shopper includes this notice: Open House Saturday, May 63:00-5:00 P.M.Freeville Village Hall Celebrating the opening of the Freeville Village History Room! Chat with Village Historian Joan Manning Visit with friends about times past.Enjoy homemade snacks.Check...

Posted by simon at 12:14 PM

April 19, 2006

Civil War presentation

Next Tuesday night, the Dryden Town Historical Society will be having an event at the Dryden Village Hall (map): Civil War Army Movements: The Impact On The Rural Communities Tom Canfield, Civil War researcher and reenactor, will look beyond the...

Posted by simon at 12:25 PM

December 25, 2005

Getting ready for Christmas; thanks to Lane

I'm just getting around to yesterday's Ithaca Journal, and finding a few stories that mentioned Dryden. A story on last-minute shopping includes a picture of Samantha Hornbuckle, whose mother Mary lives in Dryden. Dryden is also mentioned in an article...

Posted by simon at 8:08 PM

November 27, 2005

Work, development, and politics

I started to report on this week's Dryden Courier when I realized that I hadn't yet reported on the previous week's issue (November 16th), so thought I should do that first. The Courier led with an article on custodian Dave...

Posted by simon at 10:19 PM

November 17, 2005

Signs of history

Marilyn Adriance explained the historical markers of the Town of Dryden to an appreciative audience at Village Hall last night, in a program presented by the Dryden Town Historical Society. Adriance had a table of documents and information, as well...

Posted by simon at 6:43 PM

November 14, 2005

Signs by the Side of the Road

This week's Dryden Courier also mentions Wednesday night's Dryden Town Historical Society program, Signs by the Side of the Road, to be held at 7:30pm at the Dryden Village Hall (map). I've always marveled at historic markers, which attempt to...

Posted by simon at 6:44 PM

November 9, 2005

Election day happenings

Today's Journal notices the November 8th election. The "Wilkinson wins DA race" across the top is hard to miss, as is the picture of County Legislator Martha Robertson congratulating Gwen Wilkinson, who defeated incumbent District Attorney George Dentes by a...

Posted by simon at 11:47 AM

October 12, 2005

Barbershop stories tomorrow night

Cathy Wakeman's Dryden Town Talk column looks at tomorrow night's "Barbershop Stories with Bob and Beachy", talking about McKeon's barbershop where many of the tales were told. The Dryden Town Historical Society will be hosting the event, tomorrow at 7:30pm...

Posted by simon at 12:40 PM

October 9, 2005

Looking forward to the economy of the 1970s

It's been a while since I wrote about the 1968 General Plan, but I've finally scanned in the section on the local economy. You can read it in clearer (1125KB PDF) or selectable form (1035KB PDF). Dryden in 1968 had...

Posted by simon at 1:30 PM

October 2, 2005

Land Above Dryden Lake Waters

(I'm behind on posting some stories, like this one - over a month old, but still well worth posting.) Back on August 21st, the Dryden Town Historical Society held a program at the Dryden Lake Golf Club, exploring the Dryden...

Posted by simon at 12:43 PM

Barbershop stories

The Dryden Town Historical Society will be having a program that sounds thoroughly entertaining, as well as historical: Barbershop Stories by Bob and Beachy October 13, 20057:30 p.m. ThursdayDryden Village Hall, corner of South and George Streets Every town had...

Posted by simon at 9:18 AM

September 5, 2005

Carl Carmer, of Dryden

Dryden's used bookstores always seem to have a fair number of copies of Carl Carmer's books on New York. My Kind of Country is a compendium of his articles, and I remembered one article - "Upstate is a Country" -...

Posted by simon at 7:13 PM

August 27, 2005

Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival

I went from the modern Dryden Elementary School to the 1827 Eight Square Schoolhouse today, a rather drastic change in environment. The History Center held a festival there today, complete with ice cream, music, historical talks, a scavenger hunt, tug-of-war...

Posted by simon at 3:26 PM

August 25, 2005

Eight Square Schoolhouse open Saturday

The History Center of Tompkins County reports that they'll be having an event at the Eight Square Schoolhouse on Hanshaw Road on Saturday: Eight Square Schoolhouse Festival Saturday, August 27, 2005 Noon - 4:00 pm At our historic eight-sided schoolhouse...

Posted by simon at 12:03 PM

August 20, 2005

A history of historians

Kimberly Gazzo, who became Town of Dryden Historian earlier this year, has an article in today's Ithaca Journal that explores the accomplishments of her predecessors as Dryden Historian. It's a wonderful introduction to a job many people don't realize exists....

Posted by simon at 11:24 AM

July 16, 2005

A. K. Fletcher returns for a visit

A. K. Fletcher, 97, the retired publisher of the Dryden Rural News (and a proud Democrat), came back to Dryden for a visit yesterday, gathering with friends at the Dryden Hotel for lunch. A. K. Fletcher talking with Elsie Gutchess....

Posted by simon at 9:35 AM

June 18, 2005

Jeremiah Dwight

It's been too long since I've published an except from George Goodrich's Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, so here's a piece about Jeremiah Dwight, one of Dryden's most successful businessmen and politicians of the 19th century. Goodrich mentions...

Posted by simon at 11:52 PM

June 3, 2005

Varna, Bulgaria, meets Varna, NY

One of the wilder things about the World Wide Web is that it's genuinely World Wide. This isn't always helpful - doing a Google search on "Varna" brings up a lot about Varna, Bulgaria. Sometimes it gets more interesting, though!...

Posted by simon at 12:35 PM

May 24, 2005

The Gangly Country Cousin and Lehigh Valley Memories

As Daniel Armitage demonstrated last year, there's plenty of local interest in our old railroad history. Over the past few years, the DeWitt Historical Society (now the History Center) has published two excellent and very complementary books on the Lehigh...

Posted by simon at 9:55 PM

May 10, 2005

Population trends, 1968

My scanning of the 1968 General Plan for Dryden hit a barrier with the Population section, which combined lots of graphs with tables of census data that weren't quite as exciting as the maps of land use in the Town....

Posted by simon at 9:32 PM

May 8, 2005

Looking in on the Elmira, Cortland, and Northern, 1891-2

After seeing some of the collectibles at last month's railfair, I went looking around eBay. I didn't find any stunning lanterns or other original memorabilia, but I did find (reasonably priced!) financial reports for the Elmira, Cortland, and Northern for...

Posted by simon at 5:11 PM

April 26, 2005

The need for contested races

This morning's Ithaca Journal doesn't have much news about Dryden, but it does have an editorial on the need for competitive local elections in Tompkins County. The editorial states: Just as competition makes athletes better -- and more interesting to...

Posted by simon at 7:36 AM

April 24, 2005

Monkey Run mystery

While I was assembling the presentation for last Sunday's Varna Then and Now session, I went through a lot of maps of the area over time. One of the largest changes I noticed in those maps was the 19th century...

Posted by simon at 7:50 AM

April 10, 2005

Varna: Then and Now

The Dryden Town Historical Society talked me into leading a presentation on Varna, which will be held next Sunday from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the Varna Community Center (map), and I'm hoping it will be similar to an event they...

Posted by simon at 5:15 PM

March 27, 2005

'Woman from Dryden' and 1831 murder

In yesterday's Ithaca Journal, Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen examines the 1831 murder of Fanny Clark in Ithaca by her husband, and mentions a Dryden link: Then there was the added annoyance of the woman from Dryden: She had moved...

Posted by simon at 8:12 AM

March 18, 2005

Freedom of Information in Dryden

This morning's Ithaca Journal devotes its entire editorial page to New York's Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), which gives citizens access to government documents at the state and local levels, complementing the federal government's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). They...

Posted by simon at 8:12 AM

March 1, 2005

Land use totals, 1966

It's been nearly a month since I last posted pieces of the 1968 General Plan for Dryden, the never-adopted but highly informative complement to the current Draft Comprehensive Plan. The newer plan notes: Residential development, excluding residential development within the...

Posted by simon at 8:12 AM

February 8, 2005

Land use in the Village of Freeville, 1966

The survey in the 1968 General Plan for the Village of Freeville continues to be amazing, again listing use for every parcel as it was in 1966. This graphic shows an inset concentrating on the now vanished railroad tracks in...

Posted by simon at 9:31 PM

February 5, 2005

Eight square schoolhouse

Posted by simon at 8:14 AM

February 3, 2005

Land use in the Village of Dryden, 1966

The survey in the 1968 General Plan for the Villages of Dryden and Freeville is stunning work, listing use for every parcel. I'll post Freeville this week, and here's the Village of Dryden for now. This graphic shows an inset...

Posted by simon at 5:50 PM

January 30, 2005

Land use in Etna and the Town, 1966

After the introductory material on land use patterns, the 1968 General Plan goes into one of my favorite features: a building-by-building survey of the Town as a whole, with additional maps for Etna, Freeville, and Dryden. The map for the...

Posted by simon at 10:35 AM

January 29, 2005

Land use patterns, 1968

After examing Natural Features, the 1968 Dryden General Plan looks at land use patterns. The opening section of this describes Dryden as suburbanization was starting to affect it, but before many of the newer developments in town were built. Land...

Posted by simon at 9:48 AM

January 26, 2005

Natural Features, 1968

The next section of the 1968 Dryden General Plan looks at a set of issues that haven't changed much since then: natural features, like hill slopes, watersheds, and soils. Natural Features and Resources Topography (77KB PDF, or 4KB text) Natural...

Posted by simon at 7:16 PM

Horses killed in accident on 38

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports on an accident which killed two horses which wandered on to Route 38 Sunday night. The Dryden Fire Department replied, and the vehicle involved was towed away, but the people involved weren't injured. Briefly in...

Posted by simon at 8:47 AM

January 24, 2005

Historical and Regional Context, circa 1968

Continuing into the body of the 1968 Dryden General Plan, I've scanned the first two sections, an Introduction and Historical and Regional Context. For completeness, I'm including pictures and maps in separate files, as they tend to be enormous: Introduction...

Posted by simon at 5:37 PM

January 23, 2005

A Dryden that never came to pass

As the Planning Board comes closer to completing the Draft Comprehensive Plan, it seems like a good time to reflect on the fate of the last plan Dryden did, the 1968 Dryden General Plan. Apparently it was never adopted by...

Posted by simon at 4:27 PM

January 2, 2005

1803 to 1812

I'm hoping to finish typing in George Goodrich's Centennial History of Dryden in 2005, though at my current pace that will probably be done around the end of the year. In this installment, Goodrich starts with an eclipse and then...

Posted by simon at 10:27 AM

December 25, 2004

Visiting Michelle Griffin

This morning's Journal visits Michelle Griffin, widow of Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Griffin, who was killed in the invasion of Iraq last year. Michelle, a Dryden native, may return here from Florida eventually: Someday, she may move back to...

Posted by simon at 8:28 AM

December 12, 2004

The Auburn Division, McLean to Freeville

A friend in Potsdam sent me a link to pictures of what remains of the Lehigh Valley railroad between Freeville and McLean, taken in 2003 and 2004 by Joshua K. Blay. It's a very nice collection of pictures with special...

Posted by simon at 1:50 PM

December 1, 2004

Nearby trains

Wednesdays are usually pretty busy days for Dryden in the Ithaca Journal because of the Our Towns section, but this week's news there is mostly of Groton and Caroline. There is a piece on trains in Caroline, including some discussion...

Posted by simon at 8:36 AM

November 28, 2004

More on John McGraw

Back in June, I posted a chapter from George Goodrich about the McGraw family, which mentioned that John McGraw: "... became interested in lumber speculations in a small way, which prepared him for his future success upon a large scale...

Posted by simon at 8:08 PM

Creating and running Dryden, 1803-1897

It's been over three months since I last posted a piece of George Goodrich's The Centennial History of the Town of Dryden, 1797-1897. There's been plenty of Dryden news to keep the days busy, and the chapters I haven't yet...

Posted by simon at 9:22 AM

November 13, 2004

Railroading on the Auburn Division

Today's Ithaca Journal includes an article by John Marcham on the history of the Lehigh Valley's Auburn Division, giving a brief overview of many lines, including the ones that crisscrossed Dryden. The History Center of Tompkins County has just published...

Posted by simon at 8:21 AM

November 6, 2004

Dryden historical baking

I went to the Dryden Town Historical Society's bake sale at around 9am this morning, and it's a good thing I got there early, as the pies, breads, and brownies were leaving quickly. A busy bake sale in the First...

Posted by simon at 3:17 PM

October 31, 2004

Pie and bread sale next Saturday

For those looking ahead to life after Tuesday's election, the Dryden Town Historical Society has a treat planned for Saturday: The Dryden Town Historical Society will hold their annual homemade Pie and Bread Sale on Saturday, November 6th, at the...

Posted by simon at 9:28 PM

October 21, 2004

History of the Dryden Grange

A week from tonight, the Dryden Town Historical Society will be taking a close look at the organization behind Dryden Dairy Day: the Dryden Grange. Mary Hornbuckle sent this notice: The Dryden Grange The Grange is the nation's oldest national...

Posted by simon at 6:35 PM

September 20, 2004

Judy's Day photos

While I was at Bethel Grove, Michael Ludgate (of Ludgate Farms) was at another event with a large dose of history, though just outside the Town of Dryden. He was taking around 200 pictures of Judy's Day at Cornell Plantations,...

Posted by simon at 10:05 AM

Dryden Town Historical Society remembers Bethel Grove

The Dryden Town Historical Society's "Remembering Bethel Grove" session brought people to the Bethel Grove Community Center yesterday to look over exhibits of Bethel Grove history and talk about what happened there and why. Exhibits of Bethel Grove History. After...

Posted by simon at 8:32 AM

September 18, 2004

200 years of worship in Etna

The Etna Community Church, founded as the First Baptist Church of Dryden, is celebrating its 200 years of activity. Pastor Robert Doan, Postmaster Judy Auble, and a group of volunteers were posting information about the church and getting ready for...

Posted by simon at 12:32 PM

Fire funds questions; Church celebrates 200 years

This morning's Ithaca Journal reports that questions about what constitutes an 'active member' are delaying the distribution of foreign fire insurance money. State law requires that the money, which comes from out-of-state insurance carriers covering property in Dryden, be distributed...

Posted by simon at 9:28 AM

September 12, 2004

Remembering Bethel Grove

Mary Hornbuckle of the Dryden Town Historical Society writes about an event to be held next Sunday afternoon: On Sunday, September 19th, from 1 to 4pm, the Dryden Town Historical Society will present a program entitled "Remembering Bethel Grove," to...

Posted by simon at 11:29 AM

August 22, 2004

George Goodrich's father

George Goodrich unsurprisingly has kind things to say about his father in the biography he provides in the Centennial History of Dryden, portraying a brilliant man who overcame financial difficulties to become a great lawyer. Milo Goodrich, Dryden lawyer....

Posted by simon at 3:34 PM

August 21, 2004

Hammond Hill block party

Wow. Ann Leonard knows how to throw a great party. Start with a few hours of shoveling mud in the rain, then head back to a camp area where barbecued chicken is waiting, people are playing music (including bagpipes), orienteering...

Posted by simon at 4:50 PM

August 6, 2004

The Ellis family

The Ithaca Journal was quiet on Dryden this morning, and as I'm stuck an extra day at a conference in Montreal, I can't take more pictures of Dryden. Fortunately, I brought George Goodrich's Centennial History of Dryden with me, so...

Posted by simon at 4:30 PM

August 1, 2004

Early transportation and crime

I'm not sure what George Goodrich would think of Dryden's current road network, but I'm sure he'd appreciate its general lack of mud, especially on the Bridle Road, now Routes 13 and 366 (and maybe 392 as well, though I...

Posted by simon at 12:12 AM

July 16, 2004

Tower, serendipity, making a difference

This week's Dryden Courier looks at the protracted saga of the Crown Castle Atlantic cell phone tower that the Town Board approved last week. They also visit the Dryden Historical Society, looking through the collections and talking about the programs....

Posted by simon at 12:49 PM

July 11, 2004

If a bear steals your pig...

Life in the early settlements of Dryden was a challenge, as many of the stories George Goodrich provides here indicate. Your chimney, if you had one, was made of sticks and mud, building that first clearing for a house took...

Posted by simon at 3:13 PM

Updates in The Shopper

I've been a bit more lax about covering The Shopper, but there's been less in it lately that I haven't covered elsewhere. I do scour it every week, though. This week's Shopper contains, among many other things: An ad for...

Posted by simon at 9:26 AM

July 4, 2004

Dryden from 1812 to 1822

I suspect I'd be irate if I had to go to Albany because my credit for buying nails here was no good, and Albany is far easier to get to today than it was in 1816. In this installment, George...

Posted by simon at 8:24 PM

June 27, 2004

The McGraws of Irish Settlement

It's been a little while since I had time to enter more of the Goodrich Centennial History of Dryden, but here's a short piece, looking at the McGraw family, residents of "Irish Settlement" and donors of the McGraw building at...

Posted by simon at 2:46 PM

June 19, 2004

Ithaca redistricting, Dryden budget

Today's Ithaca Journal reports on prospective Ithaca City School District elementary school redistricting, and links to the school district's report on the matter (694KB PDF). I was hoping for detailed demographics of the areas served by the schools, but didn't...

Posted by simon at 8:18 AM

June 13, 2004

"Death, Hell, or Canada"

1812 saw the closest approach of war to Dryden since the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign during the Revolutionary War, and this time Dryden residents participated. George Goodrich tells what little is known of who participated and where, and what "Death, Hell, or...

Posted by simon at 4:13 PM

June 6, 2004

Was Dryden's first resident a squatter?

Amos Sweet, the first resident of Dryden, didn't get to enjoy his log cabin very long. It isn't entirely clear why, but he seems to have suffered from a problem common in the earliest days of Dryden: a land title...

Posted by simon at 8:54 PM

May 31, 2004

Individuals in the Civil War

Yesterday I posted Goodrich's general remembrances of the Civil War. Today's entry follows that one with his list of soldiers from Dryden who fought in the Civil War and, where possible, describes what happened to them. I've only included the...

Posted by simon at 10:00 AM

May 30, 2004

Dryden in the Civil War

There are no longer any Civil War veterans among us, but their sacrifices are no less worth remembering. George Goodrich examines the impact of the "War of the Rebellion" in the Town of Dryden, the units from Dryden, the support...

Posted by simon at 10:09 AM

May 23, 2004

Opening the road to Dryden

In this chapter near the start of his Centennial History, George Goodrich tells of the early surveying and naming of Dryden, its passage from county to county, its sale to soldiers of the Revolutionary War, and the challenge of building...

Posted by simon at 4:19 PM

May 18, 2004

Remembering the Lehigh Valley

After an organizational meeting for the Dryden Town Historical Society, a packed Village Hall listened to Daniel Armitage talk about the thrills of being the "kid from Freeville", riding and occasionally operating the Lehigh Valley Railroad's trains from the age...

Posted by simon at 6:29 PM

May 16, 2004

Southworth Library

Unlike many of the buildings and businesses George Goodrich described in his 1897 Centennial History, Southworth Library still stands and is still a library serving the public. Southworth Library, around 1897....

Posted by simon at 10:14 AM

May 10, 2004

Freese Road bridge

David Weinstein, who lives on Freese Road along the north side of Fall Creek, sent this telling of the Freese Road bridge's history and current functions. The Freese Road Bridge in Varna was built in 1920, replacing an earlier wrought-iron...

Posted by simon at 7:44 AM

Lehigh Valley Memories

Next Monday night, the Dryden Town Historical Society will be hosting a presentation that should interest anyone who wants to know more about the trains that used to run through the Town of Dryden. Daniel Armitage grew up in Freeville,...

Posted by simon at 7:32 AM

May 9, 2004

Dryden in the 1840s

George Goodrich covers a lot of territory in this chapter, from the slaves held in Dryden to the quality of liquor and its use in raising church walls to the appearance of mineral coal, steam engines, and sewing machines in...

Posted by simon at 4:50 PM

May 2, 2004

Improvements in the 1860s

Transportation issues looked a lot different in 1869, when the railroads first came to Dryden. In this tale of a period of prosperity in Dryden, George Goodrich describes a period when everything was in flux, and seemed, at least to...

Posted by simon at 6:28 PM

April 25, 2004

The Village of Dryden around the Civil War

The period right before and during the Civil War seems to have been a good moment for the Village of Dryden, if not a great a time for the country in general. George Goodrich looked at development in the area...

Posted by simon at 11:35 AM

April 23, 2004

History and development

The news in today's Ithaca Journal is county news, not Dryden news. The Journal looks at "Creating a Competitive Workforce Advantage," a conference that was sponsored by Tompkins County Area Development, Tompkins Workforce New York, and the Tompkins County Chamber...

Posted by simon at 7:50 AM

April 21, 2004

TC3 memories

Ron Space, the first Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3), gave a presentation to the Dryden Town Historical Association Monday night, shedding some light on how exactly the college came to be, and how...

Posted by simon at 8:43 AM

April 18, 2004

Native Americans in Dryden

The signs welcoming visitors to the Town of Dryden say "since 1797", dating it to the arrival of Amos Sweet, but George Goodrich, even while writing a centennial history based on that date, knew that there was activity here before....

Posted by simon at 12:34 PM

April 12, 2004

TC3 beginnings

Mary Hornbuckle of the Dryden Town Historical Society sent this announcement for an event to be held at the Dryden Village Hall (map) a week from tonight: Tompkins Cortland Community College (TC3) sits on a hill overlooking the town of...

Posted by simon at 8:55 AM

April 10, 2004

Early settlement

Back in December, I posted George Goodrich's telling of the first resident of Dryden with a valid claim to his land, George Robertson. The following chapter looks at the people who arrived shortly after Robertson and the work they did...

Posted by simon at 10:22 PM

March 28, 2004

Gilesville: tales of a lost hamlet

George Goodrich's Centennial History of the Town of Dryden includes a chapter on "Isaiah Giles and Gilesville". There was no Gilesville on any of the maps I had (including the one in Goodrich's book), so I asked about it last...

Posted by simon at 10:05 AM

March 23, 2004

John C. Lacy

Here's a biography of an early Dryden resident that's quite different from George Goodrich's earlier portrayals of John Southworth or George Robertson. It's also somewhat funny to note that Goodrich earlier cited the Lacy family for its regular fighting at...

Posted by simon at 12:36 PM

March 13, 2004

Request for information on schools, history

Elsie Gutchess has a letter in the Cortland Area Tribune: To Area Senior Citizens, As we speedily move along in the 2000s, I am always interested in hearing personal recollections of bygone times from within the Town of Dryden. Many...

Posted by simon at 9:10 AM

March 8, 2004

The Dryden Lake area in the 19th century

The Dryden Lake area today has farms, parks, trails, and a golf course, but it used to be a lumbering and milling area before settling down to farming and (long since gone to refrigeration) and ice-making. George Goodrich explores the...

Posted by simon at 8:04 AM

March 7, 2004

John Southworth

George Goodrich's Centennial History of Dryden includes a number of biographical portraits of people Goodrich deemed especially important. The name of one of his subjects, John Southworth, is still remembered through both a library and a road in the southeast...

Posted by simon at 11:37 AM

February 27, 2004

February Town Board meeting minutes

I didn't make it to this month's Town Board meeting, so I was especially interested to see the minutes which recently appeared. As a number of issues were discussed at different points in the meeting, the summary below attempts to...

Posted by simon at 8:37 AM

February 19, 2004

Etna's history, to 1897

We'll see what the Town Planning Board has to say about Etna's future tonight, but here's a rich description of its past from George Goodrich. Etna was a very busy place, and this entry is considerably longer than the one...

Posted by simon at 12:15 PM

Varna's history, to 1897

Since the Town Planning Board will be looking at Varna's future tonight, it seemed like an appropriate day to post George Goodrich's history of its past. (I'm still typing in Etna's chapter.) In a first, I've scanned in the pictures...

Posted by simon at 8:51 AM

February 15, 2004

Developing Dryden, circa 1825

When we talk about "development" now, we tend to mean adding buildings and infrastructure to terrain that's already firmly under our control. "Development" in the 1822-1847 period that George Goodrich describes here means removing the forest and eventually the stumps...

Posted by simon at 9:38 AM

February 12, 2004

Anecdotes of Dryden Village

I'm not sure these anecdotes are as funny as George Goodrich seems to think they are, but I suspect that humor's changed a bit since 1898. The "swear your fill" one does makes me smile....

Posted by simon at 9:36 AM

February 8, 2004

McLean and Malloryville

George Goodrich had a bit of a challenge covering the McLean area in his Centennial History, as much of it - like the McLean fire district today - is in Groton, rather than Dryden. This discussion focuses more on Malloryville,...

Posted by simon at 10:00 AM

February 2, 2004

Dryden Old Home Days 2004

Elsie Gutchess sent a letter that she's also sent to the Cortland Area Tribune, asking for help with planning and putting on Dryden Old Home Days this year, at the pavilion at Dryden Lake Park July 31st and August 1st....

Posted by simon at 7:26 PM

January 18, 2004

Dryden in the Gilded Age

It's been too long since we've heard from George Goodrich, whose 1897 Centennial History of the Town of Dryden richly describes what happened here long ago. In today's chapter, Goodrich takes a close look at his own time, and ends...

Posted by simon at 10:29 AM

January 2, 2004

West Dryden Road Church

I drove by the West Dryden Road Methodist Epispocal Church yesterday and took a picture of this historic landmark: West Dryden Methodist Episcopal Church (map). George Goodrich writes of the founding of this church: The first Methodist society in the...

Posted by simon at 10:51 AM

January 1, 2004

Early days of Republicans in Dryden

As the Republicans are taking over the town board this year, it seems like a good day to reflect back upon the earliest days of Republicanism in Dryden, during the years before and during the Civil War. George Goodrich relates...

Posted by simon at 5:21 PM

December 31, 2003

The Robertsons

Robertson Cemetery appears to be named for Captain George Robertson and his family. Robertson was the first permanent settler, the first town supervisor, and seems to have been a rather benevolent man as well, according to George Goodrich....

Posted by simon at 10:18 AM

December 30, 2003

Robertson Cemetery

I knew there was an old cemetery around the corner from me on Baker Hill Road, but I hadn't visited it until yesterday. It's apparently the oldest cemetery in Dryden, having opened in 1802. It's been pretty well documented by...

Posted by simon at 12:13 PM

December 24, 2003

Willow Glen

Willow Glen (map) is a place that's listed on some maps, but isn't exactly a destination. You can get weather reports for it, but it's not considered a place for purposes of things like the Draft Comprehensive Plan, where it's...

Posted by simon at 8:40 AM

December 8, 2003

A dense Ithaca

George Frantz, of the firm creating the Dryden Comprehensive Plan, has an editorial in the Ithaca Journal today about visions of a much more compact Ithaca at Cornell's Urban and Regional Studies program. He's right that the distributed "American city...

Posted by simon at 10:14 AM

December 7, 2003

Earliest days

I've been writing about current events and possibilities for the future outlined in the Draft Comprehensive Plan, but I think it's time to listen to George Goodrich about the past again. In this first chapter of The Centennial History of...

Posted by simon at 6:28 AM

December 4, 2003

Used Books, Creeks, and Typhoid

Dryden has two excellent used bookstores: The Phoenix (on Route 13 near Etna), and Book Barn of the Finger Lakes (on North Road across from TC3). A few months ago, I bought a few issues of New York History, the...

Posted by simon at 8:41 AM

November 23, 2003

Disappearing state highways

While looking through the Cornell Plantations Path Guide, I noticed the Cayuga Trails Club's 1971 Cayuga Trail map in the back. Though it clearly wasn't the focus on the map, two small labels stood out: "Ellis Hollow Rd. NY 393"...

Posted by simon at 9:14 AM

November 20, 2003

Dryden as a lumbering town

While Dryden has been slowly reforesting itself for the last century, there was a time when this was much more thoroughly forested. In the first chapter of The Centennial History of Dryden, George Goodrich describes primeval Dryden: When first discovered...

Posted by simon at 7:24 PM

November 15, 2003

Dryden Historical Society

I stopped by the Dryden Historical Society today. They're at 36 West Main Street in the Village of Dryden, and they're open from 10-2 on Saturdays or by appointment. It's in a very nice building, one which was apparently moved...

Posted by simon at 5:01 PM

November 14, 2003

More on the Eight Square Schoolhouse

I had mentioned the Eight Square Schoolhouse in an earlier posting, but found more information on it in The Centennial History of Dryden (1898), which is available from the Dryden Historical Society. I've typed in the relevant chapter, as its...

Posted by simon at 1:51 PM

Village of the Damned?

I'd rather not dwell on this entry, but it's hard to avoid that Dryden's had a pretty rough time with crime over the last fifteen years, and every now and then I hear it described as the "Village of the...

Posted by simon at 1:41 PM

November 9, 2003

Eight Square Schoolhouse

I hesitated before adding the DeWitt Historical Society of Tompkins County to my "Organizations" links, since they're based in Ithaca, not Dryden. Unfortunately, the Dryden Historical Society doesn't have a web site, and the DeWitt folks do cover Dryden as...

Posted by simon at 6:39 PM

November 7, 2003

Scenic tour and history

In looking around the Town of Dryden site, I found a brief scenic tour as well as an outline history. Dryden Road is a modern descendant of the Bridle Road, which that history notes was built from "1793 to 1795......

Posted by simon at 1:37 PM