FROM PAGES PAST: 1921: Keuka College opens as women's college

Yates County History Center
Ball Hall, the main building of Keuka College.

The Chronicle-Express 

Consolidation, Jan. 1, 1926, of the Yates County Chronicle (1824) and the Penn Yan Express (1866); the Rushville Chronicle (1905) and the Gorham New Age (1902)

The Yates County History Center’s volunteers have gleaned these entries for your enjoyment from their digitized newspapers. You can access them at the free site For more information about the YCHC, visit

150 Years Ago

August 31, 1871

Drought Abates – A good heavy rain on Sunday last, a smart shower again on Tuesday, and other droppings from the sky have moistened the long parched earth to a very comfortable degree.

New Grist Mill – The old saw mill about a half mile below this village, long owned by B.W. Franklin Esq., and more recently by Joseph St. John, has been taken down and a grist mill is being erected in its place.

New Steamer to be Built – Mr. Springstead will commence next week the construction of Capt. Wood's new boat for Lake Keuka. The engine (a beam) and most of the lumber are contracted. The model is made, and can be seen at the Chronicle office, for a sidewheel steamer, a trifle smaller than the Youngs. It is to be of light draft, full power, and in style, finish, and furnishing second to none this side of the Hudson River. It is to be completed for business by the first of June next. Capt. Thayer and Capt. Warner, of Cleveland, Ohio, take shares in the new steamer, and are to run the boats, while Capt. Wood will be promoted to the post of Commodore and general manager. With such a steamer run in connection with the Youngs, one from each end of the Lake in the morning, tickets good on either boat, the wants of the people will be fully supplied, and Capt. Wood permanently secured in the business he has built up, and to which his industry and enterprise entitle him.

100 Years Ago

Aug. 31, 1921

Michaels-Stern to Expand – Last Thursday the Michaels-Stern Clothing Co. purchased the residence of Wm. M. Taylor on Liberty Street, Penn Yan adjoining their property on the north. The contracts, it is understood, permits the clothing company to begin building operations September 1st and take possession of the house October 1st. It is the intention of the Michaels-Stern Co. to erect another building similar to the one built for them by the Penn Yan Chamber of Commerce. When the new plant is complete, it will be used for making overcoats.

Keuka Becomes Women's College – The trustees have announced the opening of Keuka College as a college for women on September 21, 1921. An able faculty of experienced, highly trained and successful teachers has been secured, and a large freshman class is now registered. There are to be 12 departments, namely: Ancient foreign languages; biology, chemistry and geology; Christian leadership and social science; English language and literature; history; home economics, drawing and design; mathematics, physics, and astronomy; modern foreign languages; music; philosophy and education; physical education and expression; secretarial science, library, and economics. The entering classes are to be limited to 50 students. The Ball Hall Memorial Dormitory, containing 110 rooms, has been remodeled at a cost of $50,000.

'Wild Bill' Returns from Racing Circuit – William Albertson has just returned from racing at Middletown, N.Y., Flemington, N.J., and Kutztown, Pa., where some very fast time was made. He came in second in all the races in which he entered. Ira Vail, the dirt track champion of Brooklyn, won first, driving an eight-cylinder Duesenberg special. "Wild Bill" drove a four cylinder.

75 Years Ago

Aug. 29, 1946

Governor Dewey Visits Penn Yan Fair – For the first time since its organization in December 1940, when the first cow in Yates County was artificially bred by Dr. Lyndon Potter, members of the Yates County Artificial Breeders Association have entered livestock in the 4-H and open classes at the Penn Yan Fair. A photo on the front page showed New York Gov. Thomas Dewey looking over David Troy's calf, which won first place in the 4-H class and second in the open class. Ralph Welker, inseminator for the Artificial Breeders Association, was also in the photo. The 2-month-old calf was the result of artificial breeding. The mother is a heifer from the Ledgerwood herd and the sire is Elmwood Farms Leader's Rex. Before visiting the fair, the governor attended a luncheon hosted by the Yates County Republicans at the Benham Hotel, where he was introduced by State Sen. Fred Hollowell.

Girl Killed on Railroad Track – Vivian Inez Strong, 15, daughter of Guy Strong Sr., of Himrod was struck by a train on the Fall Brook line of the New York Central Railroad about a half mile south of Dresden Aug. 24 and killed instantly. Yates County Sheriff Jay Fitzwater happened to be driving along the Geneva-Watkins state highway which parallels the railroad track for a short distance south of the bridge over the Lake Keuka Outlet. He saw the girl running in front of the work train, then stumble and fall directly in its path. The train continued on its way without stopping. Not until the train arrived at Rock Stream, 13 miles south of Dresden, where it was stopped did any of the crew realize there had been an accident.

Keuka Freshmen Arrive – One hundred and eighty freshmen and new students are slated to arrive at Keuka College on Sunday, Sept. 1 for New Student Week, a four-day period of activities designed to acquaint the new students with campus surroundings before the formal opening of the college on Wednesday, Sept. 4.

50 Years Ago

Sept. 2, 1971

Family Dog Dies in Barn Fire – A family pet dog lost its life in a fire of suspicious origin at 4:30 Thursday morning. Destroyed was a 20 by 30 foot, one story, wood frame barn located at the Norman Ammerman residence at 199 Sherman St., just outside the eastern limits of Penn Yan. The fire was discovered by Ammerman's 12-year-old son, who was awakend by the reflection of flames on his bedroom window. The Penn Yan Fire Department, under Chief Karl Nielsen, responded to the alarm, but firemen were unable to save the building.

Local Acts to State Fair Talent Hunt – "The Five of Us," a Penn Yan singing group, will participate in the New York State Fair talent hunt Thursday at Syracuse. The group was first place winner in the county contest held at the Yates County Fair in July. Members of the group, pictured on the front page, were Jocelyn Good, Kathy Elwell, Sue Giles, Cindy Johnson, and Mary Beach. Second place winner Mark Tomion of Ferguson Corners, and The Jensen Trampoline team, fifth place winners, will also participate.

Sebring Elected to State Association – Clarence Sebring, Superintendent of Buildings & Grounds at Dundee Central School, was elected president of the New York State Association of Superintendents of School Buildings & Grounds at the 17th annual convention held at Cortland recently. Sebring has distinguished himself at DCS by the efficient manner in which he and his staff have provided maintenance, often performing services ordinarily requiring professional workmanship. He has instituted many innovations in acquiring government surplus goods at great savings to the district.