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Tag Archives: local history

Me and the History Mystery

I had a great time today at one of my favorite places,  Herkimer County Historical Society.   I was there with my husband Steven,  sister Cheryl, niece Kimi, great nephew Sheppie and great niece Evie.  We were helping Sheppie solve the History Mystery.

Sheppie was given a pencil (he picked a green one, my favorite color!), clipboard and paper.  He had to look at various displays and answer questions.  We helped him write the answers, either by spelling the word while he wrote it or writing it in for him.  It took a while, because we were having fun looking at all the displays, not just the ones that held the answers.

Cheryl, Evie and Sheppie admire a Remington typewriter.

We explained to Sheppie what a typewriter was.  I’ll have to haul one of my collection out for him to play with one day.

Cheryl helping Sheppie spell an answer.

I had to get a shot with a smile!

Evie and her Aunt Kim.

The mystery took us upstairs.   I always stop and admire the woodwork, but Sheppie was more interested in getting up those stairs and finding more answers.

Sheppie trucked up those stairs!

Evie peeked through the banister at me.

We admired the displays in the hall before spending some time in the dollhouse room.

We were all impressed with the big wheeled bike.

Uncle Steve and Kim.

We all loved the dollhouse room.

I was delighted to introduce Sheppie, Evie and Kim to the historic society.  Cheryl and of course Steven have been there with me before.  What a wonderful source of education and entertainment!  If you have never delved into local history,  I highly recommend you make a visit to your nearest historical society.

Herkimer County Historical Society is located at 400 and 406 N. Main St., Herkimer, NY, phone number 315-866-6413.  They are open 10 a.m. to  4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

 

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Another Shattered Shout-Out

This was printed on a post card I sent to a few people.

As I sit here typing in my blog post, the cast and crew of Shattered Angel are at Ilion Little Theatre enjoying their final dress rehearsal. I’m just happy all of them are going to be actually dressed, since my name is in the program under “Costumes.”  Full disclosure:  I personally did very little in outfitting the cast.  I like to think I helped, though.  I like to think I can also help publicize the event with my little blog here.  So here is another shout-out to our play.

Shattered Angel, as you may have read in this space, tells the story of the murder of an area school teacher by one of her students in 1914.  It is a sad story, and a fascinating one, because the defense was not guilty by reason of mental defect, a new idea at the time.   The staging is interesting, too, because although all the action takes place in the courtroom, it is not a straightforward depiction of the trial. Through the use of flashbacks and strategic condensation of testimony and arguments, we get a fuller picture in a shorter time.

The lady in the black dress is not actually in the courtroom, if you see what I mean.

Director Stephen Wagner wrote the script, based on the book Murder of a Herkimer County Teacher: The Shocking 1914 Case of a Vengeful Student by Dennis Webster, and courtroom transcripts.

This is one of my favorite shots.

I stole these pictures from the Herkimer County Historical Society’s Facebook page.  Historian Caryl Hopson took them at rehearsals.  I suppose I should have stayed at dress rehearsal with my Tablet and taken a few pics of my own, but Caryl does such a good job at it.

Once again, performances are Friday and Saturday, Sept. 14, 15 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday Sept. 16 at 2 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Sept. 20, 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday Sept. 23 at 2 p.m., at Ilion Little Theatre, 13 Remington Ave., Ilion, NY.  For tickets, contact the Historical Society at 315-866-6413.

One more picture I found on Facebook.

 

Snap! It’s Lame Post Friday!

For the record, I have not reached mine yet.

My husband, Steven, and I are watching Snapped, one of my favorite guilty pleasures.  It is, with some exceptions, about women who kill people, most often women who kill their husbands, ex-husbands, lovers, or boyfriends.  I think it is a mark of great trust in my husband that he does not mind that I sometimes watch it with a notebook and pen handy.  Ahem, it is the TV Journal, not an Evil Plan Book.  I don’t have an Evil Plan Book, although now that I say so, it sounds kind of cool.  Note to self: get Evil Plan Book.

Where was I?  Ah yes, Lame Post Friday.  However foolishly I may have posted all week (I admit that some weeks it is a lot of foolishness), I still feel free to be silly on Friday.  You can shake your head, your finger, or you booty at me.  It won’t change anything.

That’s not me on the poster, but I was Roxy.

Speaking of women who snapped, a few years ago I played one who did in Roxy by Jack Sherman, which was presented by Herkimer County Historical Society and Ilion Little Theatre.  I wrote a few blog posts about it at the time.  I won’t link back to all of them.

On the Historic Four Corners, one of my favorite spots in Herkimer, NY.

The story of Roxalana Druse was a famous local story.  To make this a post of more local interest, I include pictures of a couple of the sites where some of it took place.  Above is the 1834 Jail, where Roxy stayed during the trial and awaiting execution.  She was hanged behind the jail, the last woman hanged in New York State.

Across the street from the jail.

This handsome building is the Herkimer County Courthouse where the trial took place.

Well I don’t know how lame this post turned out to be.  I started out with television and veered into local history, not saying very much about either one.  And I don’t know why I told you what I did; if you’ve read this far, you know what I wrote.  Kind of lame of me, would’t you say?  Happy Friday, everyone.

 

What’s the Story?

This is another pre-rehearsal hasty post (which is not the same thing as hasty pudding) (which I have no idea what that is anyways but thought I would throw it in there).  Will I ever take a break from doing plays and rushing off to rehearsal?  Yes, after this one.

And I really wanted to write a good blog post about it, telling a little about the play, its history, the Little Falls history it is based on, the event of its revival, the special guest involved…

And my brain has turned to mush!  The best I can do, it seems, is to tell you the where, when, etc., and link back to the Facebook event.

The play is Strike Story, by Little Falls resident Angela Harris, directed by Matthew Powers, and presented by LiFT Theatre Company.  The performance is 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, at the Travel Lodge Inn and Suites, 20 Albany St., Little Falls, NY.  Tickets are $5.  Guests are invited to arrive early as a cash bar will be available (I’ve been told that my character would NOT enter carrying a gin martini, dammit!).  I have linked to the Facebook event on the word event, above.

And this is my Tired Tuesday post.  I have to take my shower, finish getting my costume together, and get on the road.  I hope to see you all tomorrow, when it will probably be Wuss-out Wednesday.

 

Remember Roxy?

So there I was, trying to think of something to make a blog post about that was not whining about how I couldn’t make a blog post today or sharing pictures of monster movies, when I saw that a friend on Facebook had shared a memory from 2015, and I said, “Ah, Roxy.”

I’m being threatened by the guy with the ax, but don’t worry: I turn the tables on him.

This is a rehearsal shot from the play Roxy by Jack Sherman, that was presented by the Herkimer County Historical Society at Ilion Little Theatre in September of 2015.  It concerns a famous local murderess, who was tried in the Herkimer County Courthouse and hanged behind the 1834 Jail. I played the title role.  It was a large cast, and everybody had a chance to shine.  It was quite the theatrical experience for all involved (I believe I wrote a few blog posts about it).  Having downloaded the above photo for inclusion in today’s post, I typed “Roxy Ilion Little Theatre” into the Facebook search box to see what else I could find.

I didn’t really look like this, although I tried.

This is the poster.  The Historical Society also had little magnets of it made up.  I have one on my refrigerator now.

Isn’t he handsome?

This is my wonderful husband, Steven, who played four different roles.  Here he portrays Dr. Suiter, who rather fancied himself as a forensic expert and had a lot to do with getting Roxy hanged.  Thanks a lot, Steve!

That reward isn’t really being offered, so don’t go calling “America’s Most Wanted.”

A friend put this frame on a picture of me.  As far as I remember, no reward was offered for Roxy’s capture, and she wasn’t that hard to take in anyways.  If you want to know the real story of Roxalana Druse, I recommend James M. Greiner’s book, Last Woman Hanged.  I said I was not going to be in any more plays for a while.  Still, if anybody decided to stage a revival of Roxy… well, let’s just say I would take it under consideration.

 

At Least I Got a Blog Post Out of It

Early on today, I knew I was going to stop by Ilion Free Public Library.  You see, I am attempting to write an article about Russell Park for Mohawk Valley Living magazine and wanted more background.  So far I have the story of me and Steven walking through the park and a work friend’s reminiscences of boyhood visits there.  I wanted more background, especially about the park’s history.  Another work friend said they probably had a whole file in the local history section of the library.

What a great idea, I thought.  The library will hook me up, and I can also write my blog post about the visit.  You see how I utilize my resources for multiple purposes.  I felt pretty pleased with myself.   And that should have given me my first clue that things would not go as planned.

When I walked in and made my request to the librarian, she said, “Let me look up the hours the history section is available.”

Oh dear.

I had already missed the hours it was available today.  Tomorrow they are closed for Veteran’s Day.  Thursday evening I can come in between six and eight.

Feeling as foolish as I usually feel, I explained how I do not have my act together and my deadline is fast approaching.  In my defense, I had planned to write an article about quite a different topic, only that fell through (long story, may make another blog post).  One of the VERY nice librarians volunteered to go upstairs and see if there was anything they could photocopy for me.

While she was gone, I couldn’t help noticing the ongoing book sale on a couple of carts right next to where I stood.   Ooh, that one looked good… oh, I already have that book.  Then I found one I hadn’t read.  By the time the lady returned, I had two hardcover, two softcover and a book on CD by Bruce Campbell (I adore Bruce Campbell).  She had not found anything. I thanked her for trying.

“Hang on, let me go and take one more look,” she said.

I paid for my purchases while she went.  She still did not find anything, but I told her how much I appreciated all the effort.   My deadline is on Friday.  There is a chance I could go Thursday night and still get it together.  As an added incentive, I noticed the library is having a pie sale on Thursday.  I do like homemade pie.

In conclusion, Ilion Free Public Library is a great resource with extremely helpful people.  As for me, I mean to begin earlier to write my articles and do my research in a more timely fashion.

The library is located at 78 West St., Ilion, NY.  Phone number 315-894-5028.

 

Me at the Museum

Sometimes people are our best resources.  See: yesterday I ended on a profound statement; today I begin on one.

Twice now I have been to Richfield springs Historic Association Museum and Exhibit Hall, and both times I have been greeted by friendly, knowledgeable individuals who made sure I enjoyed the visit.  I foolishly did not get the name of the gentleman who was there last Saturday, but he showed us and told us a lot.

I think I mentioned in Sunday’s post how the volunteer motioned me in to get warm when I was on Main Street looking for Cheryl and Penny and how we had a nice visit once inside.  I’d just like to mention a couple of specifics.

The Association recently acquired a collection of newspaper and magazine clippings from a library that is going digital. Our guide said, and I agreed, that it’s good to keep the paper, because computers can crash.  I pointed out that it was also good to have the computers, because paper turns yellow and eventually falls apart.  That’s one reason I find history so fascinating: eventually everything seems to disappear.

One artifact I especially liked was a very old pair of glasses, the kind with no temple pieces.  They were rimless with only a nose piece and a hole in the side for a ribbon.  The original case showed that the glasses came from the jewelry shop that used to be in the very building which houses the museum.  The jewelry story sign, which is in the shape of a clock, is also on display.

The museum is located at 134 West Main St., Richfield Springs, NY.  Phone number is 315-858-0027. They are open from noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays from May to mid-October, or by appointment. No admission is charged, but donations are gratefully accepted.  You can visit their website at www.richfieldspringsmuseum.org.