PAGES PAST: 1871: Rowing Regatta on Lake Keuka

Yates County History Center

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

1871: There was a fine gathering at the Ark on Tuesday afternoon, to witness the Rowing Regatta which came off on that occasion.  The champion prize was won by G.F. Gibson.

150 Years Ago

Sept. 7, 1871

Rowing Regatta on Lake Keuka – There was a fine gathering at the Ark on Tuesday afternoon, to witness the Rowing Regatta which came off on that occasion. Much interest was manifested and the races were plucky and spirited. There were three separate races. The course was a distance a little short of two miles. In the first class, the entries were Rufus Scofield, J.H. Smith, James Conklin, Abram Shearman, G. F. Gilson, and John Gibson. The first prize, consisting of a silver tea set of six pieces and a champion prize of a silver pitcher, was won by G. F. Gibson in 15 minutes and 32 seconds. The second, a field glass, by R. Scofield; and the third, a pair of silver goblets, by John Gibson. The fourth in was Abram Shearman, and the fifth, James Conklin. J.H. Smith broke his oar on the start and fell out.

Pick-pocketed in Elmira – Mr. John C. Fitzwater, a substantial farmer residing on Bluff Point, had his pocket rifled of his wallet containing one hundred dollars at the Elmira station on Friday afternoon, Aug. 25. A gang of pickpockets surrounded him as he was entering the car to return home. One of the rascals grabbed at his carpet bag, and while jostling him about, his pocket book was taken. He did not miss it till he had taken his seat in the car, and then concluded to make no ado about it. Probably it was hardly worthwhile to attempt the recovery of the money, but the police should have been sent in quest of the thieves.

1,000 Acres of Vineyards – It is reported that over 1,000 acres of land on the west shore of Seneca Lake between Watkins and Dresden is let out to vineyards. This shows that our lake region is assuming the proportions of Crooked Lake in grape culture. A large wine cellar is to be constructed this fall near Big Stream.

100 Years Ago

Sept. 7, 1921

Yates County Fair – The Yates County Fair last week enjoyed fine weather. The exhibits were excellent. There was a large crowd on Thursday, it being estimated that 7,000 were in attendance. Drs. B. I. and Barbara Strait, assisted by Drs. Stevenson, Hallstead, and Sampson, acted as judges for the baby contest.

Peach Orchard Bounty – The peach orchards in this vicinity are a sight worth seeing these days. The trees are full of large red-cheeked peaches and the orchards and driveways are full of cars and people, coming in some cases from long distances to get the fruit. Most of the people living within ten or fifteen miles of the orchards make is a sort of pleasure trip, driving along the beautiful lake roads to the orchards to pick their own supply of fruit.

Another Fatal Accident on 'Dead Man's Curve' – Another accident, said to have resulted from too fast driving around "Dead Man's Curve," between Dundee and Reading Center, occurred Sunday. This curve has been the scene of more than one hundred accidents during the past four or five years. One woman is said to have suffered a broken back and was taken to a hospital in Montour Falls. It was reported Tuesday that her injuries had proven fatal.

75 Years Ago

Sept. 5, 1946

Largest School Enrollment Ever – Penn Yan Public Schools opened Tuesday with the largest attendance in the record of the schools, exceeding by five the all time high of 1,310 registered on opening day last year, according to the superintendent of schools, Clayton E. Rose. Registration figures break down like this: at Liberty Street school, 475; at the Junior High school, 390; at Penn Yan Academy, 344; at Chestnut Street, 54; and at Hutton Street, 52. There were 77 very small youngsters in the kindergarten classes Tuesday, but the teachers know that there will be more, expecting at least 84, which will up that registration total again. Registration on the opening day at Dundee Central School was 773, according to Principal Gordon Depew. This is 54 more than last year and the largest number of children enrolled since before the war, at least. Almost half of these new youngsters are kindergarten age, 25 more names appearing in this department than were listed last year.

Dundee Fair to Resume – Wartime conditions prevented the holding of a Dundee Fair last year, but officials are not sparing the horses in an effort to build up a three-day exhibition for this year that will live up to the high reputation the event has earned through half a century of annual shows. Dates are Sept. 10, 11, and 12. For the first time, there will be a horse pulling contest.

Clambake Air Show – A combination clambake and airshow will be sponsored by Penn Yan Flying club at the local airport Sunday, Sept. 15. It is a gala celebration worthy of Penn Yan and Yates County, and the Flying Club itself, for the airport has been expanded, a new 1,800 foot runway added, and general operations have been moved to new quarters. The airshow program features noted pilots, outstanding events, contests open to all visiting planes and passenger rides in Waco Stinson, Cub, and Aeronca planes. Ray Hulan of Rochester will fly a Boeing to thrill with his outstanding exhibition of aerobatics. Eddie Knitter, also of Rochester, will fly a Waco acrobatically to please the crowds as he has in past events.

50 Years Ago

Sept. 9, 1971

Grape Harvest Begins Late – Grape harvest in the Finger Lakes area is starting this week (Sept. 7-11), but will not be in full swing until about the middle of the month. The grapes are maturing more than a week later than last year, but a full crop of good quality is on the vines. Because of the delay, the 1971 harvest season will be a busy one with a critical need to maintain scheduled deliveries to processors and to complete picking before the first fall freezes in October. Although a major part of the 1971 crop will be harvested by machine, there will be a substantial need for hand pickers, and opportunities for all who may wish to pick grapes for pleasure and profit.

Volunteer Ambulance Service to Begin – The Penn Yan village board and supervisors representing Milo, Benton, Torrey, and Jerusalem townships took initial action Tuesday night to form a volunteer nonprofit ambulance service for Penn Yan and the four townships.

Jr. Golf Championship at Lakeside – Winners in the Lakeside Country Club Junior Golf Championship were pictured.  Girls: Kathy Stork, first place; Paula Allison, second place; Sue McComas, third place; Cindy Worrell, first place little girls; Diane Worrell, second place little girls; and Deb Jensen, third place little girls. Winners in the boys flight, Junior Club championship, Keith Pedersen, first place; Donald McComas, second place; and Steve Stork, third place.