Monthly Archives: May 2014

What’s in a name? Why Jericho became Bainbridge

In an attempt to stop the decline of Bainbridge’s the first impression early Bainbridge was giving to the rest of the world, in the days before towns could manage their reputations on social media, one early resident made a bold move to help Bainbridge start on the right foot.

 

By 1812, the area that eventually became Bainbridge was already on published maps, and people identified with being from this place known then as Jericho: a Biblical name that meant promised land for new inhabitants who had broken through the wilderness, and now called this place home. Jericho had big shoes to fill with a name like that, and, in this case, perhaps the shoes were too big for this upstart village.

 

Jericho began as a small settlement near where Route 7 and the Guilford Road meet. While that area was Jericho proper, some early inhabitants were settling further away, near the crossroads of state routes 7 and 206. In the new area, a group started building a meetinghouse where the Village Park is located, but the structure was never finished, and in 1813, it was mysteriously destroyed by fire. Shortly afterwards, a Jericho merchant was in the Hudson Valley and was asked where he was from. When he told them Jericho, they exclaimed, “Oh, that wicked place where they burned the church.” Upon his return home, he started proceedings to establish an act of the Legislature to declare a new name for Jericho.

 

The following year, the Legislature passed the law to change the name on April 15, 1814, that would take effect on June 1: “… from and after the first day of June next, the town of Jericho, in the county of Chenango, shall be […]

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    Paddling a Legacy: Racing the route of General Clinton’s campaign

Paddling a Legacy: Racing the route of General Clinton’s campaign

Today’s General Clinton Canoe Regatta is named after a Revolutionary War event over 200 years ago that impacted the Susquehanna Valley. In 1778, the Upstate New York frontier was a place of many small skirmishes between Colonists and Native Americans who sided with the British. One of the worst was the Cherry Valley Massacre in the Mohawk Valley, where frontier homesteaders were victims of a surprise attack, and 30 people, mostly women and children, were killed. General George Washington the following year launched the Sullivan-Clinton Campaign to respond to these raids and totally cleanse the area of Native Americans, specifically the Iroquois. The interesting part of the campaign was how the Susquehanna River was managed for travel.

 

In August of 1779, a wooden dam was constructed at the head of Otsego Lake. One thousand soldiers had made their way from Canajoharie in the Mohawk Valley to the foot of the lake overland, under the direction of General James Clinton. The group constructed 220 bateaus (flat bottom boats) to move their supplies 160 miles down river to meet up with General Sullivan in Broome County. The plan was to dam the lake, allow the lake level to rise, and then break the dam to allow a good flow of water down the Susquehanna so the boats would be able to float more easily. The dam system proved successful, and the two parts of the campaign met up in Union, NY near Binghamton, a few weeks later. Along the way, the soldiers burned many Native American settlements, including some villages on an island south of Afton. The campaign destroyed the morale of the Iroquois, and the action was considered successful.

 

The General Clinton Canoe Regatta commemorates this 1779 […]

Stroll Through History in Downtown Bainbridge

Bainbridge is a community of mainly locally-owned businesses which help to give the place its small-town flavor. Visitors can pick up some hardware, browse a downtown gift shop, stop to visit an antique store, or eat a hearty meal in the diner or cafe.

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However, visitors who walk the streets of downtown Bainbridge will also see a village that hearkens back to a past century or two, with interesting architecture that represents a range of nineteenth and twentieth century influences. Bainbridge homes and businesses are generally modest in design, but there are examples of more unusual features such as Gothic, Italianate and bungalow styles, for example. Parts of downtown are included in the Bainbridge Historic District, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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The commercial buildings downtown were mostly constructed during a post-Civil War period of expansion, after a series of fires destroyed the previous wood frame buildings.

The downtown district is primarily brick with large plate glass windows in the shop fronts. A substantial part of downtown is the 1910 town hall block, a large, three story neoclassic building where the theatre, the library, the town offices and other businesses are located.

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One of the main features of downtown is the village green with New England-style churches around it, reflecting the prosperity of the town in its early days of growth and the New England origins of its settlers. The white frame structure in the center of town, once known as the Old Jericho Tavern, is the oldest commercial building in the downtown, originally a tavern at the crossroads of two major transportation avenues.

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The homes on West Main Street are some of the most elegant in the village. They are located on large lots […]

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