Dryden Town Historical Society, Tompkins County, New York

Current Events

(Programs and Exhibits)


Wednesday, January 17, 2018 6:30PM

14 North Street, Dryden

plenty of parking in lower lot and drive

January is cold and dark. Let’s have some fun. Join us Wednesday evening, January 17, 2018, at 6:30 PM at Southworth Homestead to share winter stories. Nothing formal – just tell or listen to stories about skating, ice fishing, ice making, ice surfing, winter storms. Whatever means winter to you. Maybe we’ll talk about making ice candles… or snow plowing. This could be the beginning of a regular monthly evening of sharing history.



“DRYDEN FOOTLIGHTERS: Local Theater Group”

We are looking for your HELP. DTHS Archives contain a sizable collection of Dryden Footlighters items, consisting of organizational records, programs, posters, albums, photographs, and many boxes of VHS tapes. There is even a trunk of costumes that may have been used in productions awaiting confirmation. DTHS would like to make the Footlighters material in the collection accessible. This community group presented a huge number of productions, over a lot of years, involving many, many people. To prepare for the 2018 Spring DTHS exhibit and program, we really need assistance. Before being transferred to DVDs, a selection of the tapes need to be reviewed.

If you were once active in the group in any way during its 30 year history, you can HELP by contacting former Footlighters members, looking over the videos, or helping plan the exhibit and program and add important information about this well regarded local theater group. If you can help join the pursuit, contact any DTHS exhibit committee member – Trish Sprague, MaryLou Taylor, Gina Prentiss.


Spring DTHS exhibit “Things Change: 1917 – 1919″

Change was sweeping this country and Dryden, too, felt change. World War I saw local women active in the war effort. Many local men were sent into battle over seas. Women were employed for the first time in the bottling department at Bordens Milk Plant. Milk strikes were threatening at every distribution point. Women received the right to vote in NYS. The influenza epidemic took many lives, but also ushered in new medical advances. The famous Dryden Agricultural Fair held its last fair in 1917. This exhibit will use information, documents, photographs and objects from DTHS historical collection. For an overview of this time period in Dryden, we turned to the book, Dryden’s Second Hundred Years* by Elizabeth Denver Gutchess. * This book can be purchased at DTHS.

Photograph of Helen Hines. Helen worked at Bordens Milk Plant during WWI from Ray Rockefeller's photograph Album, DTHS historical collection.

Photograph of Helen Hines. Helen worked at Bordens Milk Plant during WWI from Ray Rockefeller’s photograph Album, DTHS historical collection.

New Mini Exhibit

“History Underfoot in Military Lot 59″ on loan from David and Cynthia Waterman

David and Cynthia Waterman live in Military Lot 59 in the town of Dryden at the foot of Beam Hill. This mini exhibit features 8 bottles, an old kitchen drawer and two examples of patent medicine packaging, now framed, but originally found under boards in the walls of their barn. David presented a DTHS program in April 2014 about his discoveries and research. This mini exhibit gives us an opportunity to see the results of history underfoot.


New Dryden History Research Released

Many retellings of the story of Dryden’s first settler, Amos Sweet, have been produced. They are all based on the same series of articles published in 1857, which, it turns out, is inconsistent with census data. David Waterman has researched this issue, applying online genealogical resources and historical references to a search for the true Amos Sweet family, in order to tell its story. A booklet detailing his research, speculations and conclusions, entitled, “Who Was This Amos Sweet?” is now for sale at the Southworth House. This Amos Sweet narrative adds much fascinating new detail to our understanding of Dryden’s earliest history. (illustration by David Waterman)

Waterman Illustration