Historic plaques set by Yates Heritage Tours Project

John Christensen
One of the historic plaques was installed at the home of Rose II Freedom by the Heritage Tours Project, and Chris Gary of Top Dog Design Studio.

The Yates Heritage Tours Project (YHTP) is adding to the public knowledge of Penn Yan’s history with the installation of more informational plaques in the village’s historic district. This second round of plaques were installed April 11 at Longs’ Cards and Books and the Fox Inn on Main Street; at Rose II Freedom’s home at 129 Clinton, built by Samuel Curtis and a stop on the Underground Railroad; Kayo Hull’s home at 224 Clinton, the former Guertha W. Pratt Home for Ladies; and at the home of Dennis Karalow and Melanie Steinberg at 302 Clinton, built by successful local banker Oliver Stark.

Spearheading the plaque drive is YHTP member Sue Lange, who says, “We publish books and tours focused on history of the area. We felt that having a plaque program would create more awareness of the history of the village and perhaps bring more people into the shops.” Plaques were previously installed at 101, 103, 131 and 130 Main Street in the downtown business district.

YHTP worked with Chris Gary of Top Dog Design Studio 14128 Rte. 54, Hammondsport, to ensure the design and construction of the plaques are accurate, attractive, durable, and affordable at only $64.80, including installation. Gary says they are PVC board laminated with a digital print, including a highlighted photograph and a brief history of the building or site.

“Homeowners or businesses who are interested in having a plaque can visit www.YatesHeritageTours.com,” says Lange. “Anyone who meets the criteria and would like to apply can contact me for an application at YatesHeritageTours@gmail.com or by calling 315-536-2493.” She adds, “Plaques will be produced in batches so as to keep the cost down. So how often they go up depends on how many people apply and when.”

To meet minimum eligiblity, the property must be located within the Penn Yan’s Historic Preservation District, the building or site must be of historic significance, and it must be in good repair. Lange says, “There may be a new building on the site, but the site itself may have historic significance. A committee reviews all applications and determines what copy should be on the plaque, though of course, property owners may suggest the historic details they would like to see mentioned.”

The committee includes Village Historian Fran Dumas, a representative from the Village Historic Preservation Commission, a representative from the Yates County Genealogical & Historical Society, and members of the YHTP, made up of Jerry & Sue Lange, Steve Knapp, and Sid Mann. Recent publications about Penn Yan are “Architecture in a Small Town” and “A Walk Along Penn Yan’s Main Street,” by Sue Lange, and “Penn Yan & How It Got That Way” by Fran Dumas.