July 1992

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Note from the Editors

Our issue this month begins with a story about Fourth of July events in 1903 in the village of Fishers, New York. This is from a book of collected stories written by J. Sheldon Fisher. He is a descendant of settlers who came from Massachusetts in 1811. Mr. Fisher was the first county historian for Ontario County, and was a founder of the Rochester Genealogical Society. In 1940 Mr. and Mrs. Fisher purchased the Valentown Hall. Built in 1879, it is an example of an early shopping mall. The restored building is maintained as a museum and market for local crafts. Valentown Museum is located just across Route 96 from Eastview Mall. A second story by J. Sheldon Fisher about the great trolley and train race is taken from his book, The Groaning Tree.

Robert Koch continues his series on local rail transportation—this time about interurbans. Accompanying the story is an early photograph furnished by the New York Museum of Transportation of Car 157 they are now restoring. Professor Koch broadcasts three times a week from WXXI-FM—on Saturday mornings at 9:30 he talks on historical topics, and on Tuesday mornings at 7:45, and Thursday mornings at 7:15 he reports on cultural events.

Jim Dierks, editor of the journal of the New York Museum of Transportation, writes from Rochester, "The story on the '72 floods reminded me of the weekends I spent in Elmira and Corning answering the call for volunteers to help shovel mud from people's basements. I'll never forget our group laboring the better part of a day below an old farmhouse, only to have the lady of the house arrive and announce that they 'didn't have a basement over in that corner.' She does now!"

Bill Treichler reports on the move of the Curtiss Museum from its old quarters in the large stone schoolhouse on the corner of Lake and Main streets in Hammondsport to a new location in a former wine storage warehouse along Route 54 . The Curtiss Museum was started in 1961 by Otto Kohl who had been a Curtiss employee during World War I and had retired from the Mercury Aircraft Company in Hammondsport. The Museum's collection began with a 1912 Curtiss motorcycle and an OX-5 engine donated by Glenn Curtiss' half brother, Carl Adams. Today, 31 years later, the Museum has 60,000 items. It was the enthusiasm and persistence of men like Otto Kohl and Carl Adams who built up the collections and found a place for their display. They would be gratified by the size and importance of the collections and the Museum's move to a larger and more accessible building.

We present more of Josephine deZeng's diary of her summer of 1842 in Geneva.

This issue concludes with another story by Ed Harris about the construction business when Rochester was booming in the mid 1950s and his years with the I. M. Ludington Company

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