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reater GUtica

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October 2017 Vol III Issue 11 FREE



The Rome Historical Society Patrick Reynolds

HISTORY & Excellence

E. J. Herrmann Cross Country Invitational Erastus D. Palmer

We are all about Home Sweet Home

Photo courtesy of the Oneida County History Center





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Contents October 2017 THE COVER STORY

2 Parks to Remember

Chancellor & Steuben Page 4

The Rome Historical Society Page 17 Recording History

Patrick Reynolds Page 20

Back Home Again

GU Coupon Pages 24 & 25 Featured Businesses

Sit Means Sit 27 Engelbert’s Jewelers Page 28 Pondra’s Homes and Hearth Realty Page 30 Inertia Wellness Center Page 39

Center Stage at the Stanley Page 29 Erastus D. Palmer 31 History & Excellence Page 40

E. J. Herrmann Cross Country Invitational

Web: email: Phone: 315-316-7277 Facebook: October 2017 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE 3



Parks To Remember CHANCELLOR & STEUBEN Two of Utica’s oldest parks that would become the homes to Neptune and the Lady of the Fountain - but wait there is more!

by Dominick Velardi

There was a time in our area’s history when its citizens were not offered the vast acreage of parks and recreational facilities we enjoy today. In the parks we did have, there was just enough space to sit on a bench or enjoy great conversation while appreciating


the view. Play area for children was limited, and in most cases, walking on the grass was not permitted. Although many people have little to no knowledge of their existence, some of the oldest parks in our history are still around. Of those still functioning, there are at least two you have traveled by countless times; Chancellor Square and Steuben Park. At one time, both of these parks were known for their mystical and enchanting fountains; which made their beauty impossible to ignore. I learned from posting pictures of Steuben Park and Chancellor Square on our Facebook page, that people had a lot of questions. Of those inquiries, some were easy to answer and others were not; the easiest was, “Where was or is this park?”, the hardest was, “What happened to these fountains and why don’t we have them anymore?” A few Facebook fans became angry when they saw the pictures of the fountains. Their questions almost felt like insinuations that they are spurting water in someone’s backyard instead of in our parks. Before you light your torches and travel to Frankenstein’s castle, there is very good reason why these fountains are no longer standing. After spending more time researching then you would believe, I can assure you that these fountains received the utmost care and are not in anyone’s backyard. So, until recently, what did I do to solve our mysteries over the last few years? Nothing. Research takes time and some questions about history will haunt you until the opportunity to find answers arises. The good news is, that time has finally come. During my journey, I came across other very old parks; however, they will have to be featured in an article at another time. They created more questions without answers but I know the drill, they will haunt me until I have the time. Before we dig in, it is interesting to know that Chancel-


lor Square and Steuben Park were enjoyed by people as far back as Theodore Faxton, Roscoe Conkling and John Butterfield; likewise, their existence precedes the Civil War. They were formed when Utica was still a village and before most of the structures within it were built. These parks are also older than our local railroads and the Erie Canal. It is great to know that the historic Chancellor Square and Steuben Park are still maintained and are part of our parks system today. Hopefully, like me, you will learn something new about these parks as a result of this article.

Chancellor Square

Most publications claim that Chancellor Square became a park sometime near the 1830s, although I have found it referenced as early as 1816. Another source stated the 3.55-acre square was set apart prior to 1810 from the Bleecker Estate. Other references claim that Chancellor Square was “set aside” from the Rutger Bleecker (Greater Utica Magazine November 2015) purchase. I wasn’t quite sure what “set aside” meant which lead to an almost never-ending trail to get an answer. Chancellor Square originally derived from Rutger Bleecker’s portion of the Cosby Manor land auction in 1772. The land purchase Chancellor James Kent was made by Bleecker along with three others: Philip Schuyler (Revolutionary War General), John Bradstreet and John M. Scott. In all, 43,000 acres were purchased at the sheriff land auction by these four gentlemen and later became where Utica was developed. George H. Miller, Boston Architect and former Utican, stated in an article in 1916 that Utica gained possession of Chancellor Square due to


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unpaid taxes. Chancellor Square remains today and is located in the eastern part of Utica. The park is squarely bordered by four streets: Bleecker, Academy, Elizabeth, and Kent Streets. The park’s name derives from the same person which a bordering street is named after; Chancellor James Kent (Chancellor of New York State 1804-1814). Chancellor Square at one time was a luxurious residential area before it became a successful location for some of the area’s local merchants.


Chancellor Square was a popular meeting place for many of the area’s people during its day of fame. On July 4th, 1850, it was the site of a great Independence Day celebration. The day began with a precession which included: marching bands, soldiers of the Revolutionary War in carriages and public officials. The parade started at Franklin Square and ended at Chancellor Square, where after the parade, there were a number of other festivities including: music, reading of the Declaration of Independence, ringing of bells by the Fire Department from Genesee Street and fireworks. Similar celebrations took place at Chancellor Square for other events during this same era.


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During the Civil War, you would have found Mrs. Laura Read, the daughter of a valiant solider of the War of 1812, tending to the wounded at Chancellor Square (used as an encampment). In 1865, when the Civil War ended, the boys who served were welcomed home by the tune of “Home Sweet Home”, performed by the Old Utica Band as crowds of the area’s people were in attendance. In March 1875, the city had enough money saved to order an elegant fountain. The Common Council had agreed to purchase it for Chancellor Square some time earlier and it was now time to put their plan to action. Soon, this famous fountain would be pictured in articles and old postcards, among many other places.

Neptune In July 1875, it was announced that the Chancellor Square fountain would be spurting water sometime during the August horse races (at the time, Utica Park had harness horse racing– a story for another day). The centerpiece chosen for Chancellor Square was a fountain that stood eight and a half feet high of the Roman god Neptune with his trident and all. Neptune was the god of freshwater and sea; he was also the creator of horses. On August 17th, 1875, the Neptune fountain was in place at Chancellor Square, and although it was beautiful, some complained that it was not big enough to suit the park in which it lied. Soon after the fountain was installed, it had three beds around it with blooming flowers of different colors and was loved by the public. The city did its best to care for the fountain; in July 1899, Neptune was given a fresh coat of paint, and in 1913, the 38-yearold fountain required some cementing repairs.

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In 1914, the citizens of the area took up a petition to divide Chancellor Square by connecting First Street through the park. As it does today, First Street ended at Elizabeth and continued on the other side of Chancellor Square at Bleecker Street. These citizens felt it was a great inconvenience to have to travel around the park to reach destinations on the other side. The con-

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necting of First Street through the Square never happened, and to this day, the only way to travel around the park is accessing Kent and Academy Streets.

Miller’s Vision In 1916, Chancellor Square was again considered as the potential site for a civic center; it had been an idea in past years before the building of the courthouse, library and train station, but was ultimately abandoned. The civic center idea had regained life, only this time, with a proposal for the erec-

Left: One of the merchants you could find across from Chancellor Square on the Bleecker Street side was the Utica Motor Car Company. Photo courtesy of the Oneida County History Center. Top: At one time when Chancellor Square was a residential area and where you would have found the Nicholas Devereux Mansion.

tion of a new city hall building and possibly a post office. George H. Miller felt that if the forefathers of Utica were still alive today, the idea of Chancellor Square being civic center would perfectly fit their vision for the future of the city. Miller felt Chancellor 600 French Road New Har�ord, NY 13413 315-735-9201 8 GREATER UTICA MAGAZINE - October 2017


Right: Citizens stroll through Chancellor Square. We are looking south from the Bleecker Street side of the park. The Neptune fountain can be seen almost in the center of the picture.

Square was an ideal location for a civic center because the site already had two main thoroughfares, a railroad, a school, a theater and a large church which were all close by. Miller also expressed, “What better place with the Munson - William Memorial Building (The former Oneida Historical Society) also close by?” Miller’s thought was, with the Munson – Williams Memorial building just feet away, our relics from the past were in the ideal position to be conveniently shared with all those who visited the park. He also thought, the civic center would be a place where all our historic buildings would shine; a place that would be appreciated, respected and would offer the area’s people great inspiration. Once completed, Chancellor Square would be a work of art and serve as the centerpiece for our city and our Greater Utica culture. At the new civic center, Chancellor Square would be left as green grass with planted elm trees, a flag staff, a fountain and monuments. The buildings would face the park from all its surrounding streets. According to Miller, First Street would also

serve as a convenient path from the train station on Main Street to the civic center. His vision was to use the same material for the construction of all the new buildings, with each of them being the same height and architectural design. They would occupy the necessary square footage to ensure they would not be outgrown for at least 100 years. Imagine if Miller’s vision had come true, not until 2016 would these buildings have reached their capacity. Miller realized that the civic center would be at a great cost to the city, and financially speaking, could not be done all at once. His idea was to start the project around the time his proposal was made, and in the coming years, it would gradually be completed.

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Top: Looking south to Steuben Park. Bottom: Looking in the same direction as the top photo. To the right of the park, on Rutger Street, is the State Armory (before the armory on Culver Ave.) To the left is Park Baptist Church. Both buildings have since been razed.

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In 1925, after decades of repairs and maintenance, the public began to complain about the Chancellor Square fountain. The fountain had not worked in years and the citizens felt as though it was becoming disgraceful. For multiple generations, those seated on the benches close to Neptune, felt the cool mist of water carried by a slight breeze on a hot summer day. Unfortunately, even with all the care given to Neptune over the years, at this point, it was beyond repair. That summer, 75 years later to the month that the great Neptune was first installed, a crew arrived at Chancellor Park and dismantled him. A local newspaper headline read “Kids mourn the passing of the fountain”.

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another historic land purchase by a man named John Post. John Post, was Old Fort Schuyler’s (Utica) first merchant and often referred to as the founder of Utica. Once a Revolutionary soldier, John Post moved with his family from Schenectady to this area in 1790. Steuben Park is somewhat oval-shaped and lies today on its original site. It is bordered by Rutger Street and Steuben Park (street name). In the early years, Steuben Park served more as a residential area, and in the following years, it became the location for a couple of funeral homes, law offices and other businesses. Across the street from the park, was the State Amory on the corner of Steuben and Rutger Streets with the Park Baptist Church next door on the corner of West and Rutger Streets.



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Like Chancellor Square, Steuben Park was the site of many area events. The park was originally known as Steuben Square until the name was officially changed in June 1834. Prior to 1810, the one-acre Steuben Park was formed as the result of


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The Baron von Steuben Monument When the decision was made to erect a monument in honor of Baron Von Steuben, there was great debate as to where it would be placed. The first site mentioned was Steuben Park, but the Germen â&#x20AC;&#x201C; American Alliance (the committee in charge of the erection of the monument) also thought the Parkway (where it stands today) would be a great location due to its visibility. J. Edward Schwieser (Philadelphia), sculptor of the Baron Von Steuben memorial, was invited to meet with the committee in Utica on November 25, 1913. On that day, Schwieser and the committee traveled to multiple locations within the city to determine the best suited place for the monument.

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If I may get off topic for a moment, there is no doubt it was important to our area’s ancestors how these heroes appeared as monuments; however, I never thought of their painstaking efforts to find the best locations used to display them; a place they could be enjoyed most by future generations and our visitors. It helps you realize that these monuments were not only meant to honor the heroes they depict, but they were built for us so we would never forget who we are, and how we got here.

The Mystery of the Fountains at Steuben Park

Some of the most fascinating aspects of Steuben Park are its fountains. Yes, I said “fountains” not “fountain”. A few years back, I came across this amazing fountain of a women standing atop a short pedestal on one foot, with her hand held high within short distance from her face. Surrounding this woman were four jets shooting water in multiple directions and just below her, was a decorative basin. There is no way to give it the proper description of beauty it deserves; I urge you to study the picture to the left. From the first moment I saw that picture, I knew one thing for certain, “I wanted to see and learn more.” That is when the fountains became a mystery to me. The next picture I came across was a fountain of a boy standing on a small pedestal (pictured on the next page). The boy is looking up at a globe on a pole above his head. My first question was, “Could there have been two fountains during the same time period in Steuben Park?” After confirming the houses pictured in the background of several pictures and postcards, I realized that these two fountains occupied the same space during separate time periods. This is when more questions began; Which fountain was first? What happened to these fountains?” and the list goes on.

The Lady of the Fountain On July 15th, 1875, almost a month before the Neptune fountain was installed at Chancellor Square, Steuben Park received its own work of art. On this day, the people of the area took their first look at the new, elaborate fountain at Steuben Park. During this same period, a fountain was discussed for Johnson Square (another park that still exists, now known as Johnson Park; located where West and Square streets would

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intersect). On this July night, approximately 1,500 people were present including government officials and Steuben Park looked more beautiful than ever. At the ceremony, the Youngâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Cavalry Corps Band was stationed at the upper part of Steuben Park by Rutger Street. The band played exceptionally and until late in the evening as all the nearby residents enjoyed the festivities from their lit open windows. Standing high above the crowd and the heart of this perfect ceremony, was the decorative and beautiful Steuben Park Fountain. There were eight gas jets in the shape of lilies under the great basin which brightly illuminated the bottom portion of the fountain. Up above, from surrounding trees there were brilliant reflector lamps that shined light on the upper portion. What made the event even more festive, were countless Chinese lanterns hanging all around Steuben Park The second fountain at Steuben Park installed in the same place as the Lady of the Fountain - Picture courtesy of the Oneida County History Center.

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and the nearby houses which illuminated the entire area. This first fountain at Steuben Park had its share of repairs and did not come close to offering the same number of years of service as Neptune. In October 1906, Aldermen Davis ordered for repairs to be done to the Steuben Park fountain and in the meantime, he asked the City Engineer to draw up specifications for a new one as a replacement.

The Little Boy that Shined New Light on Steuben Park – Maybe Too Much Light?

On June 29th, 1907, it was announced that Steuben Park would get a new fountain as the “Lady of the Fountain” could no longer be repaired. Over the past year, she had a couple of falls and the last resulted in her demise. The remains of the fountain were broken up by the firm in charge of its removal and it is believed they were scrapped. By the end of the same summer, the new fountain was in place of the old one. The beautiful new artistic addition to Steuben Park was much different than the last; this time the fountain was a bit smaller and was a depiction of a boy figure instead of a woman. The boy statue stood 12-feet high including its pedestal and together it set in a 10-foot wide decorative octagon basin. The boy figure is holding a torch by his side while his other hand is wrapped around a pole topped with a lit globe. The electrically-lit

Steuben Park Today

I recently visited Steuben Park and took the picture shown on the next page. Guess what? There is a fountain! I am sure that our city’s ancestors would be pleased to see that this is a tradition we decided to keep. I am not sure what number fountain this newest one is; however, it is pleasing, and most importantly, it is spurting water. The grounds are well-maintained and kept green and clean. I have toured our parks many times to take pictures for Facebook and for use in our stories. Hats off to the people responsible for keeping them clean and beautiful, you truly are doing a great job! Is everything in our parks perfect? Of course not; they are very old but like a historic home, they have character and each are unique in their own way. Proctor Park fo-


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Picture of the boy fountain looking west. Some the homes in the background still stand today.

globe was intended to brightly light up the beautiful surroundings of Steuben Park. In fact, some felt the globe was too bright and drew attention away from the rest of the beautiful fountain. This centerpiece fountain would also have its share of good days and bad throughout its history. There were several repairs and reconstructions due to wear and tear, accidents and vandalism. The fountain fell victim to being hit by a car in 1932 and narrowly missed a second hit by a vehicle two years later. In May 1934, a car crashed into Steuben Park and ran through the grass before destroying benches and coming to rest on the base of the fountain. I could not determine an exact “end of service” date for the second fountain but it was recorded that there was little left of it by 1975. 1-800-819-2291 1-800-819-2291 1-800-819-2291 1-800-819-2291 1-800-819-2291




Steuben Park today.

liage is beautiful this time of year, and if you haven’t been there in a while, you don’t know what you are missing.

Daniel Batchelor In closing, this article would not be complete without bringing to light a local Utica merchant by the name of Mr. Daniel Batchelor. Batchelor was appointed superintendent of our public

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parks without pay on May 24th, 1872. Before Batchelor’s time as superintendent, both Chancellor Square and Steuben Park were surrounded by high picket fences, overgrown and inaccessible to the people. Batchelor was the first to bring our area, the beautiful parks with fountains you see pictured. During Daniel Batchelor’s time as superintendent, he had a perfect record of no citizen ever causing destruction to our parks.

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The Rome Historical Society - Recording History

by Joe Bottini Oneida County Historian

“Here one could discover Rome’s adaptation from wilderness fortifications (Fort Bull and Fort Stanwix) to a small town – Lynchville - to the thriving industrial city of Rome”.

History is important to a community. It builds a shared identity. It creates a pride in the community. It translates into a desire for growth and attention that an understanding of prized possessions generates. Young students ought to have the benefit of learning their past giving them reason to be excited about their future. At one time we were called, Oneida: America’s County; a county that proudly participated in all of America’s early struggles for independence, unification, wars and economic recovery. The present is a good time to join our county’s resurgence? It could begin with promoting the historic people; places and events that helped shape Oneida County, New York State and America. Government and community planning ought to include support for preserving the historic components of our collective story. Many organizations have been formed just for this purpose. They have spent years collecting, preserving and displaying artifacts of many kinds.

One very viable such organization is the Rome Historical Society. It received its charter from New York State in September 1936. Its stated goal was to foster the study of the historic city of Rome, New York and to share that history with others. Its mission remains the same today. Here one could discover Rome’s adaptation from wilderness fortifications (Fort Bull and Fort Stanwix) to a small town – Lynchville - to the thriving industrial city of Rome. This city was home to the production of one-tenth of the world’s copper and Griffiss Air Force Base, now Griffiss Business Park. The study of Rome in its many layers of growth is a study in microcosm the American development from colonial times to the present. In February of 1936, Edwin D. Bevitt of the Rome Area Chamber of Commerce asked representatives of various patriotic organizations and interested citizens to attend an organizational meeting at the Jervis Library. His interest was to plan an exhibition of approximately 2000 museum pieces in the Chamber’s possession. From this beginning, the Rome Historical Society was born. Attorney G. Linneman Prescott acted as society chairman. Samuel H. Beach, Sr. led a committee to draw up a constitution and by-laws. The committee was completed with: Mrs. Leon V. Jones, Dr. Louis J. Shelter, Edward P. Scheidleman and George A. Clyde Sr. One of the earliest pieces in the collection was said to be a field desk belonging to General Herkimer. With an enrollment of 32 members, initial fee of $2.00 and an elected board of directors, this 71 year-old organization began pre-




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serving history. At news of its founding - along with the first Rome History Days - artifacts and history material gifts were received. The third floor of the Jervis Library served as museum quarters. In 1958, Mrs. Alexander Rutherford gifted the Society with a building at 117 East Dominick Street that opened as the Fort Stanwix Museum. Urban Renewal chased it from this location into the former supermarket building at 112 Spring Street in 1970. A 1974 move took the museum to a residence at 113 West Court Street until 1980. At this time the society purchased the former Rome Post Office facility built in 1936 as a New Deal program. Following many renovations the museum was opened to the public in 1985 and remains today. This building has a 3,700 square-foot museum containing permanent and rotating exhibits. All of its holdings are stored in an 8,400 square-foot storage area. In addition, the society is proud of its William E. Scripture Research Library containing over 10,000 books, documents, photographs and



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paper records for use by history buffs and seasoned historians. Presently, the Rome Historical Society provides a wide variety of lectures, book signings and other events utilizing its 100-seat Stevens-Kingsley Foundation Auditorium. The auditorium houses a diorama entitled, “Our Goodly Heritage” giving a multimedia presentation on Rome’s long and rich history. The Society also maintains additional sites: The Lower Landing (Erie Canal), Fort Bull, and The Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers of the American Revolution. With a knowledgeable staff: Megan P. Postol, Executive Director; Patrick Reynolds, Educator; Mike Huchko, Photography Collection Supervisor; and Kevin Piatt, volunteer researcher - the friendly

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L-R Kevin Piatt enjoys a light moment with Director Megan P. Postol

confines of this history wonderland is open to serve the public. Postol is the newly appointed director, coming to the society from a position with the Boonville Herald newspaper. She previously served an internship with the Society through a National Park Service initiative entitled Active Trails Group. “Joe Kelly, proprietor/publisher of the Boonville Herald was very generous with giving me my first job out of college. I learned a lot working for him and am grateful to him.” She expressed her excitement in looking forward to the challenging work with the Society. One may contact the society at 315 336 5874 or on line at or visit at 200 Church Street in the heart of old downtown Rome.

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Patrick Reynolds Back Home Again by Joe Bottini Oneida County Historian

“Besides having the pleasure of learning and working with history, I get the benefit of sharing the enjoyment of others as I help them discover and learn,”

Patrick Reynolds loves history and enjoys sharing it with those who seek his help learning about an interest in local history. He is an historian extraordinaire with a genuine love for what he does and what he imparts to others. He came back to his adopted hometown to find his niche position in his own backyard. He came to Rome the first time, from Connecticut as a fifth grader (dad was an engineer transferred to Griffiss Air Force Base). After traveling to different places, and holding various positions following college and graduate school, Reynolds is now Educator and chief display coordinator with the Rome Historical Society. “I had no direction or understanding of what I wanted to do following high school,” he said. His mother, Mary Reynolds, was the Curator of the Erie Canal Village, a viable history venue in 1985, (now defunct) when she learned the Rome Historical Society was looking for a part-time assistant. She encouraged her son Patrick to apply and his journey in the work-world of history, museums and historical preservation was begun. This beginning was as a part-time Curatorial Assistant working with the documents collection.


The job actually began with the moving of the Society’s artifacts from the Court Street location into its new home, the old post office building on Church Street. Following a period of being trained in caring for paper documents, he spent the next two years (part-time) doing work cataloging the Jervis Collection - construction drawings of John B. Jervis of Erie Canal engineering fame. While working at this task, he met the consultant for the project, Dr. Larkin a history professor at SUNY Oneonta. One day he said to Patrick, “Come to my school.” Lacking any real plan Patrick took his suggestion and earned a BA with a major in history and a minor in anthropology. While at Oneonta, he worked at Hanford Mills Museum in East Meredith, NY. Of course, the next step was graduate school, which Patrick accomplished at Cooperstown earning a masters degree in Museum Studies. His first career position following graduate school was as Museum Curator for the Historical Society of Berks County, Reading, Pennsylvania where he spent four years. One day he received a phone call from a graduate school classmate informing him of an opportunity in Dearborn, Michigan at the Henry Ford Museum. The position was Project Manager & Museum Leader. This job grew and led to leader of the exhibit department. From this responsibility, Patrick was again promoted, this time to Senior Manager - Experience Design. For the next eleven years Reynolds experienced the excitement of working with people as he helped them find their enjoyment in new history discoveries. “Besides having the pleasure of learning and working with history, I get the benefit


of sharing the enjoyment of others as I help them discover and learn,” Reynolds said. Reynolds is serving, and is a vital member of, the Oneida County History Council. This past spring the Council sponsored a three-day celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Erie Canal in cooperation with the Oneida County History Center, Rome Historical Society, The Canal Society of New York State and Erie Canal Half Marathon. When asked to evaluate history preservation today, Reynolds expressed his belief that “history interest comes in waves.” He went on to explain, “During times of heightened patriotism, a bicentennial year or local history celebration of an historic event such as the Erie Canal Centennial Anniversary, people show a greater interest in their heritage and history. Events such as these provide a catalyst to produce a history interest.” Curious to learn his view of the atmosphere during the lull periods, I asked what could be done to encourage an interest when there is a dry spell. “In the meantime historians endeavor to make history relevant to those who think history is not useful,” he said. The use of special projects, specific presentations and events designed to interest the casual “history buff ” are important vehicles to accomplish this goal.” “Encouraging leaders to understand there are history


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things here to be used in planning new developments is important,” he said. Reynolds shared the greatest aspect of the job is “watching people connect with the past.” When asked to give his biggest lament he replied, “I have none. It is a waste of time to do so.” That was a huge outof-the-blue surprise because most folks I encounter have many laments. It was really refreshing given the often-heard negative attitude expressed about our region. It was an eye-opener that forced me to think, “What a great ambassador for our region this Patrick Reynolds demonstrating a light model of the Carrying Place (Rome) he made in his first year as an intern in 1985. It still works.

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man is and how important we make this attitude contagious as we continue to move the county forward. Of course, anyone who is as knowledgeable as Reynolds, about local history, understands the vast rich heritage we share in Oneida County. It took some prodding, but finally he did admit the lack of funds for history preservation efforts by many repositories, societies and history organizations is a problem to be addressed. Patrick Reynolds came home again. He is quietly making a difference in our community. Patrick Reynolds is an asset any Chamber of Commerce would love to replicate.



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As any dog owner will tell you that, like people, each canine companion is a loyal member of the family having a personality all their own. However, like a child they can be easily distracted and express their emotions in ways that can be disruptive and frustrating to their owners. When this happens, owners and their dogs can both become discouraged, not knowing how to effectively connect with one another to correct the problem. In situations such as this, all hope is not lost thanks to a local father-son team dedicated to improving the lives of dog-owning families through effective obedience training. A few years ago, Bill and Tom Bryant were in transitional periods in their lives; Bill had recently retired and Tom was looking for a career change while moving back to the Greater Utica area. They were in distinct phases of life but each shared a love of dogs and a desire to turn that into a successful business. They always owned multiple dogs at the same time and Tom had spent a great deal of his life training the many family dogs and working with various animal shelters. In researching the best way to turn their passion into a business, they learned about Sit Means Sit, a successful dog training franchise, that could be tailored to the specific needs of the Mohawk Valley. After further research and discussions with other Sit Means Sit owners (including the one in Syracuse), they acquired a license and incorporated in 2015. Their primary focus is obedience training; where they help rectify the various behavioral issues that are common with many dogs including: on/off leash walking, jumping, barking, running away, chewing, digging, anxiety, aggression, house breaking and nipping to name a few. By using proven training techniques and positive reinforcement, they strengthen the relationship between you and your dog, eliminating the frustration you each feel when you are unable to effectively communicate. For the first few years, Bill and Tom worked out of their home office, providing training services at both their client’s homes and St. Stephen’s church in New Hartford. By successfully training dogs across the Mohawk Valley in a manner that is both effective and compassionate, Sit Means Sit quickly became a trusted name in our area. By the beginning of 2017, the business had outgrown their mobile model and needed a dedicated first-class facility from which to operate. So, last month, Sit Means Sit completed construction of a new building to offer their clients the best training experience in the Mohawk Valley. The dedicated 2600 sqft facility on 2 acres of land allows them to not only offer indoor and outdoor core obedience training, but also expand their services in the areas of agility, rally and therapy for dog enthusiasts wanting to take their dog to the next level. Tom is the primary trainer while Bill manages the business end, however both can fill in for each other as the need arises. They are well-versed and experienced in the latest tools and techniques needed to train each dog. These methods are then tailored and flexible in how they are applied to the owner’s unique circumstances. When calling upon Tom for consultation, the very first step is a one-on-one meeting between him and the potential client. After they describe their situation to Tom and what they would like to accomplish, he develops a customized training plan and thoroughly explains their options and how he recommends going about meeting their objectives. One of the great benefits of being an owner of a Sit Means Sit franchise is the access they have to an extensive network of well over 500 highly qualified professionals for sharing best practices and who can assist them if an unfamiliar circumstance arises. It assures clients that if Tom runs into a new or unique situation, there is someone a phone call away who has successfully addressed it before. What makes the process special is that it is not only meant to train the dogs, but to also teach the owner and dog to better communicate and work as a team to address their objectives. Owners notice an almost immediate improvement in their dog’s responses and behaviors. The most common feedback Bill and Tom receive from their clients is that their dog is now more controlled with consistently reliable behavior, even in highly distracting environments. Where they used to worry about things like company coming over to the house or going for a walk and seeing another dog, they have been given the proper tools to control the situation in an effective manner. One thing that Bill and Tom teach their clients is that training your dog is a lifelong process, it does not start and end with your sessions at Sit Means Sit. As such, they help guide you on a successful path and you can always count on them to provide free follow up support for the life of your dog. Sit Means Sit offers various levels of training in both private lessons to train the owner and dog in a controlled environment as well as group classes that improve the dog’s behavior and responses in highly distracting situations. Additional specialized classes for puppies, basic agility, rally and therapy training are offered on an as needed basis. For more info on Sit Means Sit, visit, call 315-570-3705 or visit their new location at 4550 Route 233 in Clinton.






What does it take to ensure that a family business is successful? To put it in the simplest terms; they must have strong family values that survive the test of time. It sounds very basic, but it is somewhat rare to find a business that has committed itself to the same set of principles for multiple generations. Often times, one’s interest in taking over the family business dissipates as future generations move forward, but every now and then, there are exceptions. Once in a great while, we come across a bloodline that takes pride and joy in continuing the tradition, even when they initially thought they were meant to follow a different journey. Sarah Engelbert Rushton, owner of Engelbert’s Jewelers Inc., had no intentions of joining her father’s company originally; but when the call came, something told her to go back home. Although her father, David was the sole owner of the business at the time, Engelbert’s Jewelers Inc. had been an established name in the local area for close to a century. By accepting her father’s offer to join him, Sarah realized she was taking advantage of a “golden” opportunity to keep the business in the family name for the foreseeable future. Because of her, an Engelbert has assumed ownership of the company for over 100 years. In 1907, Martin J. Engelbert (Sarah’s great grandfather), opened M.J. Engelbert and Co. at 104 West Dominick Street in Rome. With financial assistance from his fellow parishioners, Martin was able to purchase the Singleton Jewelry Store, where he opened the first Engelbert’s location and was joined shortly after by his brother, Adolf. In 1914, the store was moved to 164 West Dominick Street and in 1931, Martin’s oldest son, Clarence (Sarah’s grandfather) joined the firm. In 1958, the store continued to grow and moved once again to 178 West Dominick Street. The following year, Clarence’s son, Bruce, joined the business and he was joined by his younger brother, David (Sarah’s father) in 1965. In 1967, the business incorporated and changed its name to Engelbert Jewelers Inc., and opened a second location in Riverside Mall in 1974. Just one year later, the Rome store moved to its current location at 265 West Dominick Street and in 1987, Bruce and David opened their current location in the New Hartford Shopping Center. In 1995, Bruce retired from the family business after serving the company for nearly 40 years. For the next three years, David was the sole owner of Engelbert’s Jewelers Co. and was eager to keep the business within the family. He reached out to his daughter, Sarah, who was living in Park City, Utah at the time, in hopes that he could persuade her to return home. In 1998, Sarah moved back to the area and became the fourth generation of the Engelbert family to be involved with the company. Determined to bring an enhanced level of expertise to the business, Sarah attended the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in New York City. Upon the completion of her degree from the GIA, Sarah became a Graduate Gemologist; the most prestigious credential in the industry. Through the Graduate Gemologist program, Sarah gained the skills necessary to identify gemstones and evaluate diamonds by color, clarity, cut and carat weight. She is also able to make evaluations using the International Diamond Grading System and the Colored Stone Grading System. According to Sarah, there are several attributes possessed by the business that have kept it alive for 110 years, but its biggest asset is trustworthiness. That, along with the surge in support of local business from the community has made Engelbert’s one of the longest standing businesses in the Mohawk Valley. Sarah takes great pride in both her New Hartford and Rome staff members; some of which have been with the company for over 30 years and truly know the standard of service she expects. When it comes to filling the inventory at each location, Sarah knows no bounds as she has taken trips to Antwerp, Belgium and Johannesburg, South Africa to find some of the finest stones available for her customers. Her father always told her the key to surviving in their industry is to go the extra mile in terms of service, and never be afraid to take a risk. That is the formula the family has followed for over a century. For more information on Engelbert’s Jewelers Inc., visit, or stop at their locations at 265 West Dominick Street in Rome and in the New Hartford Shopping Center. To reach them by phone, call 315-337-3100 (Rome) or 315-797-5700 (New Hartford).



With Jerry Kraus HAPPY 89TH BIRTHDAY TO THE STANLEY THEATER! The Stanley Theater recently celebrated its 89th birthday! On September 10th, 1928, The Stanley Theater officially opened in Utica. Our theater was one of 300 ‘Playhouses’ owned by The Stanley Company of America (which later became Stanley Warner). The company was founded by Stanley V. Mastbaum, whose name adorned our theater and many others in the company. The opening night featured the silent movie Ramona. Happy 89th Birthday to our beautiful, historic Stanley Theater. Coming up this month Sunday, October 8th, The Stanley Theater stage hosts the finale in the 2017 M&T Bank - 92.7 The DRIVE ‘Fine Food & Craft Beer Pairing Dinner’ series at 4pm. Enjoy dinner on The Stanley Stage prepared by Chesterfield Restaurant's Executive Chef Sal Borruso and his team of outstanding cooks. Each course will be paired with a beer from the 16 Stone Brewpub. Tickets ($75) are on sale at The Stanley Box Office and by-phone 315-724-4000. Music by The Opus Black String Quartet. Monday, October 9th- (Columbus Day) As part of its 2017 national tour, “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band will perform at 7pm. The concert is free and open to the public. Thursday, October 12th: The Boilermaker Road Race, in conjunction with the Stanley Theater, will host a Roast and Toast of Tim Reed, outgoing President of the Boilermaker Road Race. The event starts at 6pm and is open to the public. The program will include a cocktail hour, followed by the roast and toast segment and conclude with coffee and dessert. Tickets are available at The Stanley Theater Box Office and the Boilermaker Road Race headquarters at 805 Court Street in Utica. For more information visit or

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Saturday, October 14th: The Octoberfest Family Food Truck Festival is from Noon until 3pm, in the parking lot next to The Stanley- featuring live music from The Cathie Timian Band, The Old Main Duo and more! Plus food trucks, fun for the kids and free tours of The Stanley Theater. Thanks to Adorino Construction.

Also: Oct. 1st -6pm: The 35th Family Rosary Crusade ‘Dine &/ Dance’ with a buffet dinner, Steve Falvo’s Easy Money Big Band and The Mark Bolos Band Oct. 3rd- 7pm: Concert with In This Moment, Of Mice & Men and Avatar with KROCK Oct. 19th- 6:30pm: Peppa Pig’s Surprise Oct 24th & 25th- 7:30pm: A Gentlemen’s Guide to Love & Murder presented by Broadway Utica Oct 28th- 7pm: The Rocky Horror Picture Show- Movie and Rocktail party Save The Date- 2nd Annual ‘Support our Stanley’ Basket raffle: Sat. Nov. 4th, 1pm-5pm KENNY G – in concert to benefit The Stanley and Valley Health Services: Sunday, Nov. 5th at 7:30pm

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Perhaps the biggest financial decision we make in life is purchasing or selling a home. While the process is fun and exciting, it can also provide a great deal of stress if you do not have the proper guidance. Most of us do not know the intricacies of the business and we depend on a Realtor to help us move in the right direction. It is so important to choose the right person who understands that this decision can change the course of our lives. Someone who knows what’s best for us and will prevent us from making the wrong choice; that person who is going to get the job done the right way from start to finish. Pondra Bowen of Pondra’s Homes and Hearth Realty has brought a unique perspective to the real estate industry for almost 30 years. Born and raised in Clinton, Pondra spent 20 years of her life in the health care field, where she learned how to serve people in their most personal moments. As much as she loved nursing, Pondra decided it was time for a change. With a combined love for homes and working with the public, Pondra began her career in real estate in 1989. After spending more than a decade working as an agent with a number of franchise companies, she became a broker. Her wish was to be as close as possible to her children’s school in Clinton, so in 2000, she occupied her current space at 9 College Street. For 17 years now she has been running her own business and has accumulated a trusted staff that includes her 94 year-old father, Fred, who recently painted the entire outside of her office…by himself. Together, Pondra and her experienced agents have formed a family that looks out for each other and their customers. Covering Oneida, Herkimer and Madison counties, Pondra’s Homes and Hearth Realty has a staff made up of individuals from various professional backgrounds that make for a perfect combination. Specifically, Pondra’s experience as a nurse has given her the level or thoroughness and empathy necessary to optimize customer experience. With a versatile group of Realtors, one of the strengths of Pondra’s agency is that she is able to pair her customers with an agent that suits their personality. According to Pondra, “This business has never been about sales to me, it’s about matchmaking. It’s trying to make your journey in life a little bit easier.” Included in the services provided by Pondra and her staff are: Comparative Market Analysis of your property, home preparation for open houses, marketing of your home through media sources, pre-qualifying purchasers, assistance with selection of attorneys and more. One of the benefits of working with Pondra’s agency, is that they have reputable ties with businesses in all real estate-related services. They pride themselves on being by your side from start to finish – and beyond to offer guidance and advice. Anyone familiar with Pondra’s agency knows that they are very involved in community affairs. For years, she has been very active on the Board of Realtors and has been a teacher of Realtors for numerous agencies in the area. One of the biggest things she stresses to her students and staff members is to follow a strong code of ethics when dealing with customers. She says the last thing she wants is a negative stigma attached to the profession she loves most. Pondra’s office is also a drop-off point for pet shelter donations; items donated by visitors are given to an array of organizations that help animals. Pondra invites real estate professionals and the concerned public to attend the Mohawk Valley Association of Realtors’, “Smart Growth for the 21st Century” course at Harts Hill Inn on October 10th. At the course and luncheon, the group will discuss action that can be taken by folks of the community to help provide homeowning opportunities for as many of our people as possible. For more information on Pondra’s Homes and Hearth Realty, visit, call 315-853-7251 or stop by their office at 9 College Street in Clinton.


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of them may have been deprived of a “traditional childhood”, a work ethic and strong sense of discipline was built as well as the acquisition of applicable skills. Erastus Dow Palmer was born in Pompey, New York (southeast of Syracuse) on April 2nd, 1817. Palmer, the second of nine children, grew up on his paternal grandfather’s farm, spending his significant developmental years learning how to use a variety of tools. Palmer would watch from a workbench as his father, Erastus Sr., would display his skills as a carpenter (which was his living) and mechanic. Palmer was no different from any other young boy, he aspired to follow in his father’s footsteps and began applying what he learned from his observations. Palmer’s mother, Laurinda is said to have been an exceptional sewer and “very clever at making things”. The combination of both of his parents’ talents were the perfect balance of technical and creative ability that would make Palmer a legendary artist. Palmer was as young as seven years-old when he began putting his tools to work. He carved a horse out of wood that stood nine inches tall and built a working model of a sawmill at age eight. Although completing these artistic works was merely a young boy’s hobby, Palmer’s passion and excitement for the craft seemed to come naturally. At age four, his love for music inspired him to build a fiddle out of a cigar box. In May of 1826, when he was nine years-old, Palmer’s parents, Erastus Palmer and Laurinda Ball moved the family to Utica, New York. In the modern era, most nine year-olds are preparing to enter fourth grade, but it was decided that Palmer would forgo school to be his father’s apprentice. The family relocated to Hartwick Village in Otsego County and in May of 1832, Palmer’s father passed away at the age of thirty-eight. Palmer

Erastus D. Palmer by Brad Velardi

If you are a local history lover with a strong imagination, it can be fun to envision our city streets filled with thousands of commuters on wagons as opposed to cars. But one could argue that the most interesting aspect of history is contrasting the lifestyles and upbringings of people from the past and the present. For example, it is difficult for a person from today’s world to relate to someone who lived every day without electricity. If you took just a few minutes to speak with someone from a previous generation, it would likely take them less than ten minutes to think of one-hundred differences between their world and yours. Many of the subjects of our historical stories share a similar upbringing to Erastus Dow Palmer, regardless of where their birthplace lies. The one similarity that many of them have, is that they grew up on a farm, and the farm life is what set the foundation for their future. In previous generations such as Palmer’s, children were given a greater deal of responsibility as their families were dependent on their productivity. While many




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was just fifteen years-old when his father died, but he was welltrained as a carpenter and blessed with a certain level of natural ability. He built a reputation of good performance and set off on his own in 1834. Palmer began his career in Dunkirk, New York that same year. Although he was a carpenter by trade during this time, some of his works, including a circular staircase within a church, displayed the artistic beauty he was capable of creating. Some of the work Palmer had done on his own home was also noteworthy. Palmer was in need of a new beginning after spending just five years in Dunkirk as he had lost his wife, Matilda and his son, Edward. They both died in 1839, Matilda from complications with childbirth and Edward soon after. In 1840, Palmer resettled in Utica, where his days of apprenticeship had begun fourteen years prior. He would expand his skillset by also becoming a pattern-maker. Throughout the 1840s, Palmer continued to build on his already respected career and was being hired by some of the wealthiest individuals Utica had to offer. Anyone who knows the history of Utica recognizes the level of prominence that some of its citizens possessed. With that in mind, one would conclude that Palmer’s skills were likely comparable to the best in his field. The turning point of his professional life came in 1846 when Palmer decided the make a wooden sculpture in the basement of his Genesee Street home, a home he built himself. While working on the mansions of wealthy Uticans, he had the opportunity to admire some of the sculptures within them and was inspired to create one of his own. By channeling his childhood love of sculpting, Palmer carved a cameo of his wife, Mary Jane Seamans (m. 1843). He was understandably hesitant to share the completed work with any outsiders. We have all experienced this level of uncertainty and insecurity when opening ourselves up for criticism. At the time, Utica was home to some of the most accomplished lawyers in the state, if not the country, one of them being Thomas R. Walker. Very few individuals held the stature that Walker did within the city and he was a man known for his love of art. Palmer mustered up enough courage to bring the cameo to Walker’s office, the lawyer studied the piece as Palmer waited in anticipation. Walker said, “This, is beautiful; you have extraordinary talent.” These words brought a tear to the eye of Palmer, who now had a wealthy sponsor to aid the beginning of his art career.


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Palmer’s next work would be a cameo of Thomas R. Walker himself. With no formal education or schooling as an artist, it had appeared that Palmer was already an elite cameo sculptor. Walker had believed so much in Palmer’s abilities that he encouraged him to make an advancement to large-scale sculpting. Walker not only provided encouragement, but also the finances to send Palmer to New York City for tools and materials to get him started in September of 1846. Walker, along with his brother-in-law (and developer of the first telegraph) Samuel F.B. Morse wrote letters of recommendation for Palmer to an



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Above: Painting by Tompkins H. Matteson (1857) of Palmer’s studio.

individual who could help supply what was needed. Palmer returned to Utica where he would continue his work until 1847 when he traveled to Albany. In an attempt to educate Palmer and broaden his horizons, Walker introduced him to Edward Salisbury in 1847. Salisbury, a cousin of Walker’s wife, had an extensive collection in New Haven, Connecticut that featured some American neoclassical sculptures. Palmer returned to New York City in

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1848 and carved a cameo, “Virginia”, that was recognized with favorable reviews in the New York Commercial Advertiser. Palmer was a rising star but began experiencing issues with his eye sight, which discouraged him and he returned to Utica. In 1849, Palmer completed his first full-length piece, “Mariner’s


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Top: Indian Girl, or The Dawn of Christianity - Picture Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art. Left: Flora - Infant Ceres - Picture Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Wife”. It was believed that he would remain in Utica but during the spring of that year, Palmer made a permanent residence in Albany. He was convinced by future Governor of New York and Utica resident, Horatio Seymour, to settle in the state capital after Palmer had completed a cameo of him. It was clear when viewing some of these works that Palmer had been significantly



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Top: The White Captive - Picture Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art.

influenced by the neoclassical style he had seen in Salisbury’s collection. He would begin to gain a larger audience with such three-dimensional busts as “Flora” or the replica of his daughter titled “Infant Ceres”. The 1850s were arguably the most pivotal decade of


Palmer’s career. In 1852, he built his art studio in Albany where he employed a number of artists that helped him take on even more projects. The studio was far more than just an office for Palmer and his team to complete commissioned works, it became an artistic hub in Albany. Up and coming artists of the area learned from the example set by Palmer and were free to express their opinions and share their visions. Palmer made many good friends in the art community during this time and even became a member of the National Academy of Design in New York City. During this time, the National Academy of Design would hold their annual exhibitions that were attended by many distinguished art collectors. Palmer submitted multiple works to these exhibitions and reached his highest level of recognition as a result. Palmer’s 1853 sculpture “Indian Girl” was his first fulllength free-standing statue and one of the pieces that propelled his career to new heights. It was commissioned by then New York State Senator and former governor of New York, Hamilton Fish. “Indian Girl” shows a Native American woman looking curiously at a crucifix that she discovered, which is why this piece is also referred to as “Dawn of Christianity”. It received such critical acclaim that Fish and a group of others asked Palmer to hold an exhibit that included “Indian Girl” and eleven other pieces completed by Palmer. The exhibit opened doors of opportunity for Palmer like never before and earned him some significant commissions.

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One of those commissions, again by Hamilton Fish, was Palmer’s most famous work, “The White Captive”. It took Palmer from 1857-1859 to complete this statue and when it was displayed in a New York gallery in 1859, it became one of the most well-received works in the city that year. As Webster states in Palmer’s biography, Palmer’s career would slow down immensely in the 1860s due to the developments of the Civil War. He did however, complete a magnificent statue of an angel for his family’s burial plot entitled “Angel of the Sepulchre” in Albany Rural Cemetery. In 1873, Palmer was commissioned by the State of New York to complete two bronze statues of Robert R. Livingston (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States) for Statuary Hall in the Washington D.C and New York State Court of Appeals in Albany.

As highly-touted and heavily demanded as Palmer’s works were, nothing could stop the natural progression of art. As is the case with music, sculpture and any other art form, times changed and the style and materials that Palmer’s generation used were fading away. The art community was moving in a different direction and there was no place for Palmer’s approach any longer. With that being said, Palmer’s fingerprint was forever planted on the history of American art and he will always be remembered not only for his talent but his incredible story. He is often referred to as a “self-taught” artist as he never attended a school or acted as an apprentice to anyone with experience. Erastus Dow Palmer passed away on March 9th, 1904.

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Palmer’s work was influenced through observation and inspiration rather than education. Meaning that, no one ever told Palmer how to approach a piece, he took what he liked from other artists and applied some of their principles to things that were meaningful to him. Palmer had a vision and a desire that he combined with a technical gift that he had been given. The events of his life seemed to perfectly fall into place in the creation of an artist’s journey. He experienced growth, pain, rejuvenation and happiness on the long path to his true 50 AUERT AVE NORTH UTICA purpose. He displayed a SHOPPING CENTER UTICA, NY level of courage that most people struggle to exude; he gave up the craft that he was TRAINED to perform, for the craft he was BORN to pursue. LARGE PIZZA & 3Lbs. of (Some information courtesy JUMBO WINGS $34.50 of “Erastus D. Palmer” by J. SMALL PIZZA & 2Lbs. of Carson Webster)









In the case of a local business, especially a medical practice, it can be quite difficult to form a successful partnership. It requires a common goal and vision between two people; but also, a separate set of skills that play well off one another. After building a strong report as co-workers for the same facility, Richard Panetta and Ray Alessandrini found that they shared a mutual love for helping other people. Over the past four years, the two Utica College graduates have put their minds together to form Inertia Wellness Center; a private practice that prides itself on assisting its patients reach their desired level of functionality. As a native of Marcy, Richard Panetta worked for his family’s furniture store for ten years before deciding it was time to find his calling. When his uncle suffered multiple injuries from a motorcycle accident, Richard accompanied him at physical therapy sessions; where his interest was piqued. After witnessing first-hand the healing abilities of PT, Richard applied for his first job as an aid at Faxton-St. Luke’s Hospital in 1984. While working his first job in the medical field, Richard received his two-year degree from MVCC before earning his four-year from Russell Sage College in Troy. After returning home to the area, he worked a number of different jobs; including one at Utica College, where he earned his doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2007. Ray Alessandrini was born and raised in the City of Utica. As a young man, like most others, he was not sure exactly what profession to which he would dedicate his life. One day, his mother made an acquaintance with an Occupational Therapy student and suggested that Ray may want to pursue that line of work. Shortly after, Ray visited Utica College to learn more about their OT program and decided to enroll. Ray eventually received his bachelor’s degree from UC after years of hard work and devotion to his craft and started a career with Slocum Dickson that spanned over 20 years. He then went on to become a director of rehabilitation at another facility where he hired Richard to open outpatient Physical Therapy services at that facility and the two developed a mutual respect as professionals as well as a friendship. When Richard asked Ray if he had ever considered opening a private practice, Ray was originally against the idea. When he realized that he and Richard shared the same principles and philosophy on the profession, they spent their lunch breaks searching for a potential location. Richard had always loved the Beacon Press building on Roberts Street in Utica, and one day, they noticed a “for sale” sign in front of the structure. By making the purchase, they would not only be setting up their practice in a building they were passionate about, but they would also be providing care in an underserviced area. Despite the vast amount of needed renovations, Richard and Ray moved forward and bought the building. After a year and a half of construction work performed by the men themselves, Inertia Wellness Center was opened in 2013. Although their two fields have their differences, there is a big overlap in the way Richard and Ray practice. One of the special traits of Inertia is that patients are always treated on a one-on-one basis; meaning, they receive the full care and attention of Richard and Ray at each visit. As a result of this approach, they are able to create specified therapy regiments that are catered to help each individual patient reach their goals. There is no “one size fits all” approach at Inertia, each patient’s program is carefully crafted to fit their needs. As a physical therapist, Richard’s specialties include; Neuro Rehab, Aquatic therapy, Spinal Therapy, Functional Capacity Evaluations and Orthopedic Rehab. As an occupational therapist, Ray’s specialties include; Hand therapy, Lymphedema Treatment, Custom Splinting, Functional Capacity Evaluations, Job Site Analysis, Work Hardening, Ergonomic Training and Neuro Rehab. Whether you are a victim of a stroke, suffer from a disability or have sustained an injury of any kind, Inertia strives to provide the intervention their patients need to return to their desired lifestyle. They will help you get back to the job you need to support your family or simply achieve the level of independence you wish to enjoy. Although they do not depend heavily on technology, Inertia is one of the only local practices that offers a pool for aquatic therapy. Inertia Wellness Center is more than just a place of therapy, they have also hosted a variety of classes from Zumba to tai chi, to adaptive yoga. They are always on the lookout for ways to improve the services offered at their practice. On top of the services they offer at Inertia, Richard and Ray have also started a non-profit organization, Momentum Community Wellness, which is “committed to the realization of everyone’s right to affordable, accessible, and appropriate health care information and wellness services.” The main goal of Momentum is to link health care and wellness providers to underserved or underprivileged individuals who otherwise do not have access to the care they need. This initiative is proof that Richard and Ray have a genuine interest in the wellness of the community. They each have had a strong impact on aspiring PT and OT students as both men are currently professors at their alma mater, Utica College. For information on Inertia Wellness Center, log on to, call 315-790-5392, or visit their office at 505 Roberts Street in Utica.




HISTORY & Excellence

E. J. Herrmann Cross Country Invitational by Brad Velardi

Above: E. J Herrmann ready to give the signal for the beginning of the race. Picture courtesy of

Sam Paniccia

How a special group of individuals turned a small cross country race into one of the community’s most celebrated and longstanding events. Those of us who were raised in this community understand why we love it so much. Outsiders sometimes enjoy having fun at our expense; pointing out our flaws while overlooking the true essence of the area. Unless you are a part of this Utica/ Rome area family, it is quite likely you just don’t get it and maybe you are not interested in trying. But I have to tell you; if that is the case, you are truly missing out on one of the most special places in the entire world. When the term “more than meets the eye” was coined, the man or woman who first uttered the phrase must have had a place like this in mind. What we possess is far more valuable than any material item can bring us; more than any industry or enterprise can put into our pockets. I know this because I was born and raised here, not only by my family, but by the countless peers and elders who have looked out for me my entire life. Coaches, teachers, teammates, classmates and the list goes on. In times when our family had hardships, this com-


munity never turned its back, but instead, extended its hand. As I put these words to print, I can see the faces of the selfless individuals I have been lucky enough to call my compatriots. I can place myself in some of the most influential moments of my life that took place on our soil. So, what is it that makes this area so great? It’s simple really; the people, places and things. Luckily for us, there are still happenings that encompass each of those three qualities which define us; one of them being the E.J. Herrmann Cross Country Below: Another race started by E. J. Herrmann with Proctor High School as the backdrop. Picture courtesy of Sam Paniccia


Invitational. At the Herrmann race, the “thing” is the event itself, which has now been in existence for 75 years and counting. The “place” is T.R. Proctor Park; a place that has provided cherished memories for our people since its inception. The “people” are those who are honored at the meet each year, and those who devote their time and effort to keep such a wonderful event going. When discussing this invitational, to not emphasize the sterling character of the man it was named after, would be doing the event a great disservice. Edward J. Herrmann was an educator and leader of young people throughout the city of Utica. He was born and raised in Dunkirk, New York and graduated from St. Mary’s Academy in 1923. After receiving his certification in Physical Education from Cortland Normal School, Edward taught physical education at various Utica city schools; Wetmore Elementary, Brandegee Elementary, and Thomas R. Proctor High School. On top of his duties as a teacher at Proctor, Edward also coached cross-country, baseball, volleyball, golf, swimming, and tennis. In 1940, a meeting was held in a hotel room between Edward and fellow physical education teacher, Phil Hammes. Together, these two-gentleman decided that Utica should play host to an annual cross-country meet, and in 1941, the inaugural Proctor Invitational Cross-Country Meet was held. In its first year, just two teams (Proctor and Eastwood High School of Syracuse) ran in the meet; which took place on the streets surrounding Proctor High School. The home team secured the very first victory in event history. From that year until 1969, Edward Herrmann was the director of the steadily-growing invitational. After retiring from teaching and coaching, Edward was named the Athletic Director at Proctor High School. He hired one of his assistants, Santo (Sam) Paniccia as the new cross-country coach/physical education teacher at Proctor. For nearly 60 years, Sam has been coaching in Utica city schools and is beloved and remembered by students from several generations. Although he was excited about the opportunity to coach and teach at the high school level, his newfound responsibility of directing the Proctor Invitational was a bit intimidating. “I told Mr. Herrmann, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’ He told me, “You’ll figure it out.’ That’s the kind of guy he was.” In Sam’s days as a high school student at Proctor, Edward was his physical education teacher and was an inspiration to the young man. He describes Edward Herrmann as a man who coached and taught with great conviction without having to

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Far right, Santo (Sam) Paniccia shares a laugh with his team at Proctor High School. Picture courtesy of Sam Paniccia exert much emotion. Sam had great success as a cross-country coach, he claims to “You would swear he didn’t have a bit of passion inside have never counted his wins and losses. Losing never made him his body.” says Sam laughing. “But the opposite was true.” He upset with his kids, but rather, he was disappointed for them as continued. “He was all about making sure every kid had an ophe knew how hard they worked. Still, Sam instilled a competitive portunity to have fun.” spirit in his runners and repeated to them his two favorite say Over the course of Sam’s coaching and teaching career, ings: “Never be afraid to fail.” And “Losing isn’t important unless the lessons he learned from Ed Herrmann never left him. While you are prepared to win.” Those who were coached by Sam never

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forgot those quotes as they are not only useful in athletics, but life as well. Needless to say, with passion for kids and the sport of running, Sam was the perfect man to take over as director of the invitational. He and his wife, Sandy, practically organized the race by themselves for many years and helped it grow to a level that even Ed Herrmann had never imagined. “If he were here today, he would just be in awe of what’s taken place.” said an emotional Sam. By simply speaking of his former mentor, I could see how moved Sam was by Ed Herrmann. It is no surprise that in 1972, he decided to rename the “Proctor Invitational Cross-Country Meet”, to the “E.J. Herrmann Invitational Cross-Country Meet” in honor of the event’s creator. From 1969 to 1989, the Herrmann race became one of the biggest events held by the Utica city school system as high schools from all over the state became involved. Part of its growth was achieved in 1975 when the Herrmann race included both boys’ and girls’ cross-country races. In the mid-1980s, Sam came up with the idea of moving the meet to T.R. Proctor Park and the Herrmann race became the first annual organized sporting event to be held there. When a new coaching regime was hired in 1989, Sam was no longer in charge of the Herrmann race and his presence was greatly missed. As the season progressed, it became clear to the school system that the proper measures were not being taken to make the meet a reality. Just weeks away from the event date, they called Sam in hopes that he could salvage what chances were left to organize the race, but it was far too late. For the first time in 48 years, the E.J. Herrmann Invitational was cancelled, leaving the hearts of Sam and the many supporters of the race, broken. It appeared that the meet would never return again. With one of its most successful events on the verge of extinction, school administrators realized that the Herrmann race needed to be revived. Proctor’s newly hired athletic director asked his good friend, Sam Paniccia, if he would retain his role as the director of the Herrmann race, but Sam still had a bad taste in his mouth. “I told him, ‘I simply won’t do it.’” said Sam. “I was pretty hurt by the way things went.” He continued. “When I was at home, I talked to Sandy and she said, ‘Why don’t you organize it through the East Utica Optimist Club?’” As though a light bulb had been turned on, Sam now


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Oneida County History Center October 2017 Events **Programs and events are open to the general public** Wednesday, October 4 at 5:00 PM– Oneida County Historical Hall of Fame & Living Legends Awards Banquet Join the OCHC at Hart’s Hill Inn for our 17th annual awards banquet. Ten individuals will be honored for their years of service as community leaders and for furthering the region's industries, culture, and educational opportunities. Tickets ($40 -$55) can be purchased in advanced by calling 315-735-3642.

Saturday, October 7 at 2:00 PM– Recollections of East Utica Come reminisce with author Mario G. Fumarola and friends. You’ll hear readings from Fumarola’s historical fiction trilogy about Italian-Americans from East Utica with excerpts from Wasn’t it Only Yesterday, Immigrants All!!!, and Last of the First. Light refreshments will be served. FREE

Area kids competing at a E. J Herrmann Cross Country Invitational at Proctor Park. Picture courtesy of Sam Paniccia

had a reason to, once again, become director of the meet. He and Sandy had long been members of the East Utica Optimist Club, which was struggling, at the time, to raise the funds needed to survive. Established in 1975, the East Utica Optimist Club has honored students at all levels in the Utica City School District by providing scholarships, taking children to sporting events and performances at the Stanley Theater, sponsoring reading programs and contributing to childhood cancer research. Sam realized the popularity of the Herrmann race could keep this honorable cause alive and he was inspired to return. From 1990 moving forward, the Herrmann Invitational blossomed more rapidly than ever before. For the next 14 years,

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WWW.GUMAGAZINE.COM Sam and Sandy continued to organize the event themselves, constantly adding new facets. Starting in 1990, E.J. Herrmann Scholarships have been given to some of the participants in the race; the scholarship money has totaled up to $2,000 and is provided by the family of Edward Herrmann. In 1998, Sam and Sandy began the honoree program in which a group of individuals are awarded for their contribution to the Herrmann race or the sport of running. They felt it was necessary to recognize these people for all that they do for the youth of the community. Sam himself was an honoree in 2006. To put in perspective the progression of the E.J. Herrmann Invitational, let’s examine the participating schools. The inaugural event had just two teams involved, in 1989 (the year the race was cancelled), there were 25 teams signed up for the meet. For the 2017 race, an incredible 60 different schools signed up; some coming from as far as New York City, Rochester, Albany and Binghamton. In the past, the Herrmann race has even attracted teams from Canada to compete. Because the race is affiliated with the city school system, it counts toward sectional eligibility and is sanctioned by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association. When I asked Sam to describe what the Herrmann experience is like, a smile came over his face. “It’s festive.” said Sam. “There’s music playing, there’s

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kids everywhere, the concessions are going crazy.” He continued. “The first few years Sandy and I ran it, you basically got off the bus, ran the race, got back on the bus and left. But now, it’s huge; just about every school in our area has and continues to support this event.”

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It’s true that the race has changed greatly since Sam ran it himself as a student during the mid-1950s, but its spirit has remained pure. Like any sport, cross country means a great deal to both the kids, parents and coaches who participate. The Herrmann race is an event that invites runners from the past, present

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and future to share something that bonds them all together. In 2004, Sam and Sandy realized that organizing the race largely by themselves was not going to be possible at that stage in their lives. They called upon former runners and students they knew who would have the same passion and dedication it took to make it what it is today. “The fact that they have taken this thing over just means the world to me.” said Sam. “I could’ve never done what they have accomplished.” For 13 years, there has been a large group of individuals, starting with the members of the executive committee, who have given this great gift to our community’s families. These folks have helped the race improve its presentation and technology, which in turn, has led to more schools signing and participating. Before the executive committee and the rest of the staff were formed, Sam could always count on help from his trusted assistant coach, Ted Chwazik. Today, Ted’s brother, Gerald, manages the website for the Herrmann meet, another factor that has played a role in the growth of the race. For the Herrmann race to last, the kids who run or have run it in the past must carry the torch. They must remember the feeling they had when they arrived at Proctor Park on the last Saturday in September. Remember what it was like to hear the music as they felt the fall breeze and heard cheers from the crowd. Remember what the sport itself offered them and how it helped them succeed in life. Most importantly, never lose sight of what the race is all about; discipline, perseverance, hard work, competition and Edward Herrmann’s favorite aspect of youth sports…fun.

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Greater Utica October 2017  

2 Parks to Remember - Chancellor Square and Steuben Park - a look into the history of these parks including their fountains. E. J. Cross Cou...