Little Known Finger Lakes Facts


It's hard to believe beautiful Hamlin Beach State Park once served as a POW camp

Hamlin Beach became a State Park in 1938. During WWII, it served as a Prisoner of War Camp for close to 340 soldiers.  These POWs were hired by local businesses to help work the farms and local food processing plants that suffered as high numbers of citizens went off to enlist in the war.  Once the war was over, the camp was closed.

For more on Hamlin Beach State Park, read the Finger Lakes Travel Maven’s “Hamlin Beach State Park…Definitely a Day at the Beach.”

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"Down Time" for Silver Ball Tournament Players

Professional baseball was born in New York City in 1845 when members of the Knickerbocker Base Ball* Club formed and began formalizing the rules of the sport.  The game  has changed, along with its rules, uniforms and etiquette since those early days, but true baseball aficionados can see the game played in its original 19th Century form at Genesee Country Village & Museum‘s premier vintage baseball park.  Each year, a dozen teams from across the northeast gather in Mumford, NY to play the three-day round robin-style National Silver Ball Tournament.

In 2011, the tournament takes place from Friday, August 5 through Sunday, August 7 at Genesee Country Village & Museum, located at 1410 Flint Hill Road in Mumford.  Spectators can catch the games between between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.  Major Event Admission rates apply: Adult $16, Youth 4-16 $10, Seniors 62+ or students with ID $13, children under 3 admitted free.

If this article was of interest, you may also enjoy the Travel Maven’s 2009 Article on Genesee Country Village, the National Silver Ball Tournament and Laura Ingalls Wilder Day.

For more on Vintage Baseball, visit the Vintage Base Ball Association’s website.

*Baseball was originally written as two words.

Photo and text copyright 2011 © Carol White Llewellyn.

This "Carrousel," now a centerpiece in Hershey Park, was once a landmark in Auburn

From 1929 to 1944, the Philadelphia Toboggan Company’s wooden merry-go-round that is now the centerpiece of Hershey Park‘s Founders Circle in Hershey, PA was once part of Enna Jettick Park  in Auburn, NY. The park is now named Emerson Park, after park found Fred L. Emerson of Dunn & McCarthy shoe fame.

Because Enna Jettick Park had to be closed during WWII due to gas rationing that prevented patrons from visiting the park, many of the rides deteriorated.  The merry-go-round was purchased by Hershey Park in 1944, was restored, and it has been in Hershey ever since.  It still sports the original signmaker’s spelling of “Carrosel” and has 42 Jumping Horses, 24 Standing Horses and 2 chariots.

The carousel that replaced the one sold to Hershey Park was also sold in 1972 and the beautiful building that once housed the carousels is now home to the Merry-go-round Playhouse, “Broadway in the Finger Lakes.”

Photo by Carol White Llewellyn copyright © 2011.  All rights reserved.

Monroe County Parks are home to plants from around the world

On February 8, 1942, the Democrat & Chronicle published an article entitled “Plea for Tolerance in Our Parks.”

The article was referring to an incident in 1917 during the height of WWI, where a group of four young zealots stole into Highland Park at night armed with flashlight,  ax and  towel, aggresively destroying any plants they could find with a marker stating “from Germany.”

The article, written during WWII, begged for tolerance for the parks since Highland and other Monroe County Parks were home to “Hundreds of shrubs indigenous to the soil of far-away lands,” including Japan.

Fanny and Her Father shared a close relationship

William H. Seward lived part of his life in the Finger Lakes region and was secretary of State to Abraham Lincoln.  His daughter Fanny was an aspiring writer whose diaries have given rich insights into her father’s and her family’s life in and outside the public eye.  We even know that one of her father’s favorite party drink was Roman Punch, shared here, thanks to an article contributed by the Seward House’s former Executive Director, Peter Wisbey.

The Seward House, located at 33 South Street in Auburn, NY is open Year ’round, Tuesday through Saturday 10 am – 4 pm. It is closed Mondays and major holidays and also during the entire month of January. Admission is Adults $8, AAA/Senior Citizens/Military $7, Students with ID $5,Children under 6 and Circle of Friends Free.

Photo is in the public domain.

Wherever you go, whatever you do, I wish you a safe and Happy July 4th!

The museum documents great moments in aviation history, such as Curtiss' July 4, 1908 flight

On  July 4, 1908, Glenn H. Curtiss piloted his plane, the “June Bug” across Pleasant Valley a distance of 5,090 feet – 1,810 feet farther than required to win the first leg of the acclaimed Scientific American trophy. This was the first officially-recognized, pre-announced and publicly-observed flight in America.The next year, he won the trophy by flying his plane, the “Golden Flyer” a distance of 24.7 miles to establish a new world distance record.  A replica of the plane can be found at the museum.

The Glenn H. Curtis Museum is  located at 8419 Route 54 in Hammondsport , NY. It’s open May through October, Monday – Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From November through April it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Easter, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Admission is Adults $7.50, Seniors (65 and over)$7.50, Students (7-18)$4.50, Children (6 & under) and Members Free. They also offer a family rate of $20/family an adult group rate of $5/adult and a student group rate of $2.50/student.

Click here for the Travel Maven’s post on the museum with narrated slide video.