We at Historic Palmyra honor and thank you. As a Blue Star Museum, all active military and their immediate family are welcome as our guests. Please take this opportunity to come and see the history of our Palmyra and vicinity.
Speaking of the museums, we have been having residents from the local and surrounding areas recently arrive at the Palmyra Historical Museum door. The first thing said is that we had no idea that Historic Palmyra had one museum, let alone 5. With a heartfelt welcome and some getting-to-know-you exchanges, the tours begin.
Let’s take a tour of Historic Palmyra’s five museums at one destination.
First, the Alling Coverlet Museum opened July 4, 1976, with hard work, generous people, committed visionaries and those on a mission decided that urban renewal would not hurt the village of Palmyra. Saving the north block between Market and William streets was the job at hand and work began. Thanks to Mrs. Agnes McLouth Griffith, Spencer and Sheldon Knapp, Paul and Nancy Rubery, Dr. Agnes Griffith, Mrs. Merle Alling and Historic Palmyra President Jackie O’Connell. The rest of the names are many, and the Alling team began work. Today, we have over 500 coverlets, a small room full of local quilts, two large display floors showing this amazing American art form in weaving, a rug sample from Sarah Hall Bonesteel and a wonderful library filled with books. Samplers have been brought over and hung on the walls as well as three looms and much necessary pieces. This location is celebrating 41 years and is saved for all to enjoy.
Second, the old St. James Hotel was in jeopardy of being torn down as well as the north side of Main Street. This couldn’t happen, so this 23-room building featuring an original 1826 two-story business with an added expansion of three large rooms downstairs including a large bar room was moved to Market Street. It was an undertaking to be sure and took almost a week. Today, all 23 rooms are open and themed with “Palmyra and Vicinity” artifact, archives and histories from 1789 to today. Each room is full of things from the past. Everything for this building has been donated. The people of Palmyra raised $8,000 to move this huge building to its new home on Market Street.
Next, the Phelps Restoration Project comprises two buildings and two storefronts. Come on down and experience the only totally original Wm. Phelps General Store and home that has survived from 1826 to today as original and unchanged. Come see the 1940 eggs and the old door with so many hand prints for 191 years. The Phelps home prior to 1868 was a boarding house with two parlors, a dining room, a kitchen and an amazing second floor door where boarders entered on a high stairway asking for a room for the night. Original furniture, flooring, paint and so much more brings you back to 1826 and 1868 when the Phelps bought this property living there for 108 years. This location is a wonder.
Now, two more museums have been added. One is the Palmyra Print Shop with printing presses made and built in Palmyra by the John M. Jones Co. on West Jackson Street. From 1856 to 1923, these behemoths of forged iron and steel were molded into 20 brands of printing presses. We have type from 1820 up to 1972; type blocks advertising every business and store from Palmyra to Rochester, Pittsburgh and Syracuse; military stamps; card stamps; and modern advertising stamps promoting Pearsall’s Dress Shop, Edwards Shoes, Collies Men’s Shop and so many more.
Next is our newest Erie Canal Depot, which opened in 2011 with Erie Canal materials, trunks and seating along with a magnificent diorama featuring Macedon’s Lock 60. It is truly a work of love by Roger Hotel. This great new museum was donated this year to celebrate the 200th year of the Erie Canal.
Heritage Weekend is June 15-17 at the museums, along with an amazing garage sale and our famous Ice Cream Social on June 15. Come meet Rhoda Swift and Mrs. Wm. Howe Cuyler. Hours for Garage Sale are 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Heritage weekend runs from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Ice Cream Social is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Market Street will ice cream sundaes available at the Alling.
For questions and additional information, please call the Historic Palmyra Office at 315-597-6981 or visit historicpalmyrany.com.