Historic plaques set by Yates Heritage Tours Project

John Christensen
Jim Schnitzler of Radio Shack, Sue Lange of Yates Heritage Tours Project, and Chris Gary of Top Dog Design Studio flank the historic plaque just installed on Schnitzler's building at 103 Main Street in Penn Yan

The Yates Heritage Tours Project (YHTP) is adding to the public knowledge of Penn Yan's history with the intallation of informational plaques in the village's historic district. To date, plaques are installed at 101, 103, 131 and 130 Main Street in the downtown business district.

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."

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

"The plaques that are up are just the first four," 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, such at the Riedman Building at 100 Main or the Pinckney Hardware building at 24 Main. 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 is made up of 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. Some of their 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.