WESTFIELD – The Chautauqua County Historical Society’s (CCHS) programming committee has finalized its 2016 Program Schedule with several unique lectures and events planned.
Highlighting this year’s program schedule is a lecture on the 200th anniversary of The Year Without a Summer, a presentation on several waterways in the county that were crucial to early settlement and commerce, a look back at the county’s thriving ice harvesting industry of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and a collaboration with the Harmony Historical Society focusing on the underground railroad.
CCHS will also once again present several long-standing events, including the Annual Gala and 9th NY Cavalry Encampment, the Antique Show, the Book and Paper Show, and the annual McClurg Museum Open House.
April 16 – The Year without a Summer and Its Impact on Chautauqua County
2016 marks the 200th anniversary of the Year Without a Summer, a worldwide event caused by the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora that caused a significant decrease in average global temperatures. This drop in average temperatures led to agricultural distress in both Europe and in the northeastern United States.
In an effort to highlight the local impact this major climate event had on our region, the historical society has invited retired SUNY Fredonia geosciences professor Dr. John “Jack” Berkley to attend its annual meeting on April 16 and help present a lecture entitled “The Year without a Summer and its Impact on Chautauqua County and Western New York.” Dr. Berkley will share details on how a volcanic eruption half a world away created not only problems for regional farmers, but also created stagnant population growth for the region.
Dr. Berkley will be joined by CCHS trustee Jason Sample, who will share first-hand accounts from early diaries, journals and other documents of the time, illustrating how just how severe 1816 was for the early settlers of the area.
In addition to the 1p.m. lecture, the day will also feature the society’s annual meeting (11:30 a.m.), open to all members, and a luncheon will follow, open to the general public. The Westfield United Methodist Church (101 E. Main St., Westfield, NY) will once again serve as the location.
A fee of $15 will be charged to anyone wishing to eat lunch, otherwise the annual meeting and lecture are free of charge. RSVP for the luncheon is required before April 9 by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or call (716) 326-2977.
May 14 – Update of Jamestown Street Railway Trolley Car #93 Restoration Project Progress and Chautauqua County Streetcar History
On Saturday, May 14, Chautauqua Historical Society trustee and trolley car enthusiast Bob Johnston will provide a presentation at the Jamestown Gateway Train Station focusing on the history of Chautauqua County Streetcars and the renovation effort of Trolley Car no. 93.
Bob’s presentation will begin at 1 p.m. and last about an hour. It will be in the east wing of the train station in downtown Jamestown.
The presentation will coincide with 2016 National Train Day, which will run from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
AUGUST 23 – Researching the Underground Railroad
CCHS will bring back its annual outdoor picnic in 2016 when it partners with the Harmony Historical Society for its special bicentennial celebration in August. The town of Harmony was founded in 1816 and the Harmony Historical Society is planning several events to commemorate the bicentennial. Among them is an appearance by Retired State University College at Oswego professor and noted historian Judy Wellman.
Wellman will appear at the Harmony Historical Society in Blockville (1943 Open Meadows Rd.) on Aug. 23 to discuss her research on the Underground Railroad in New York State. CCHS is partnering with the Harmony Historical Society to help promote the presentation, which will also serve as CCHS’s annual picnic.
The event is free and open to the public and attendees are also encouraged to bring a dish to pass. If possible, please RSVP with CCHS before Aug. 19 by calling (716) 326-2977 or emailing email@example.com.
September 17 – The Seven C’s of Chautauqua County
Did you know there are seven different waterways in Chautauqua County that begin with the letter “C” and each played a prominent role in the settlement and growth of various communities? Join CCHS on Saturday, Sept. 17 at 10 a.m. as Dr. Tom Erlandson, co-author of Figure 8 the Lake: A Driving Tour of Chautauqua Lake, delivers a unique presentation on The Seven C’s of Chautauqua County.
This free event will take place at the Jamestown Audubon Center, 1600 Riverside Rd., Jamestown. It will be the second consecutive year CCHS has partnered with the Audubon to present a program on local history. No reservations are required, but attendees may want to arrive early enough to ensure a good seat.
November 12 – The History of Chautauqua Lake Ice Harvesting
The final CCHS program for 2016 will take attendees to the shores of Chautauqua Lake for a special presentation on the history of ice harvesting.
Local historian and writer Fletcher E. Ward has spent a number of years researching many events, attractions and industries found along Chautauqua Lake. Among those topics is ice harvesting, a thriving industry that spanned from 1871 to 1935 and sent Chautauqua Lake Ice to many communities in northwestern Pennsylvania as well as parts of Ohio.
Ward will present his research findings on this long-defunct industry during a program scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 12 at Camp Onyahsa Lodge in Dewittville. The event is free and open to the public.
Annual Events also on Schedule
Several other CCHS-sponsored events will also take place throughout the year:
On May 7, CCHS will host the annual Westfield Book and Paper Show from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Eason Hall.
CCHS will also host its Annual Summer Gala at the historic McClurg Museum in Moore Park, Westfield on Saturday, June 11. The event is CCHS’s major annual fundraiser, with tickets costing $50 per person. It will run from 6 to 8 p.m. and tickets can be purchased at the museum or from any CCHS trustee. A Civil War encampment, presented by the 9th NY Cavalry, will also take place in the park on both Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12.
The annual Westfield Antique Show, which is coordinated by the Historical Society, will take place July 16 and July 17, also at Eason Hall.
And on Sunday, Dec. 11, the historical society will present its annual Holiday Open House at the McClurg Museum.
There’s also the possibility of an additional program or special event being added to the CCHS program schedule. To stay up to date on all programs and any possible changes that may take place to the current schedule, visit www.McClurgMuseum.org.