Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Schuyler County Historical Society

Name: Schuyler County Historical Society
Address:  108 N Catherine St, Montour Falls, and NY 14865
Phone: (607) 535-9741

The Schuyler County Historical Society is located in the village of Montour Falls. It is an old brick tavern along one of the major streets, Route 14, and almost at the corner of Main Street. Pulling into their driveway, you find room for parking behind the house and enter from the rear. Actually, it is the oldest brick building in Schuyler County, having been built in 1828. It was also once a select school for boys, a boarding house and a private residence.  Exhibits and a desk for staff are in the wide hallway that was probably once a reception area of the home. Rooms off of it are a mixture of exhibits and the modern workings of a historical society tucked away in the far rooms. A small, but adequate front room houses the research area. Despite the busy street not far away, there is little noise except the whoosh of a heavy tractor-trailer occasionally.
When I visited there last summer, I was the only researcher that morning. I was allowed to browse through the books and files at my leisure after a brief over-view of the rules and where thing were. I spent about an hour pulling files and books looking for the information I was searching for somebody. When I had everything I needed, I brought the items I needed copying to the staff member (whose name I have now forgotten) and she very nicely made copies for me.
Although it is a rather small collection, there were many sources for cemetery and local newspapers that are not readily available elsewhere. For anybody with ancestors or an interest in this area, it is indeed a wonderful place to research!
Hours are:
January-April:      open 10am-4pm, Tuesday-Friday
May-December:   10am-4pm, Tues., Wed., Fri., and Thursday 1:30pm-7pm
July & August:  same as May-December but includes summer Saturdays, 11am-3pm
The Museum is closed Mondays and holidays.
Non-members are charged a research fee. It is $5 per hour, or you can join for $25. Copying costs a quarter; fifty cents if it is in color.
This is a typical small historical society that can be found in many places around New York State as well as other states. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention one thing that makes this society very special. It’s not what is here, but what is a short distance down the road. For family or friends you’re traveling with that aren’t interested in history or when you need a break, there is a spectacular diversion just a short distance away. Watkins Glen State Park is located in the nearby village of Watkins Glen. And I do mean in the village! Driving north on Route 14 through the main part of downtown, a glance to the left will locate not only the main entrance to the park, but a look up the beginning of the main gorge, visible right from the street!
Nearby is Glenwood Cemetery and I learned from the Schuyler County Historical Society’s website that Humphrey Bogart's grandparents are buried there! How’s that for small town famous?
One of the interesting things I came across here was the fact that there is a Backbone Ridge History Group. The Backbone Ridge is a small area between Seneca and Cayuga Lakes just north of Watkins Glen. I never heard of the name before, as it is a small area, and was very surprised that they had enough people interested in it’s history to form a group. What a treasure for the people of this area!

No comments: