Gargoyle, Up Close

Have I said lately how much I love my Nikon Coolpix?  No, I know I haven’t, because I’m so busy driving and working I don’t get to use it that much, but Saturday we got to work early and went out to take a couple of pix. Now this is what my SONY can do, and while it’s a great little camera, it can’t zoom in too far.

See that gargoyle up near the top on the right? Not really, right?

Well now we can! This was just a quick, hand-held shot. I’m in love.  With the Coolpix, not the Gargoyle.  They kind of scare me.

I still do like my SONY Cybershot so I can set it down into the grass to get macros of the little violets in my Mom’s yard:


But it’s nothing like my Coolpix for the zoom feature.

The Woman Is An Archivist

If you’ve been following my blog for, OMG, almost three years, you know I’ve taken archival courses, have been interested in the OHA archives, and have been a volunteer of OHA since February of 2006.  As of December of 2008 I became a part time employee of OHA, learning some other parts of OHA – their museum and their gift shop.  And as of just recently, I’m working there full time, and am now the archivist!  And man am I  busy, there’s so much to do, but it’s all good, it’s fun, and very invigorating!

Yesterday I was mentioned in the Syracuse Post-Standard by Dick Case who wrote an article here, but I will also quote it since it will go off the website, eventually.

Syracuse China owner donates china and paper archive to Onondaga Historical Association

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The magnitude of the gift is just beginning to sink in for Gregg Tripoli, executive director of the Onondaga Historical Association.

Details have been worked out for Libbey Inc., owner of Syracuse China Corp., to donate its entire archive of china and paper to the historical association, one of our oldest ongoing institutions. Syracuse China, with roots back to 1871, closed its Lyncourt factory, eliminating 275 jobs, last week. Libbey bought the Syracuse company in 1995.

Gregg has been negotiating for the collection since Libbey announced the closing in January. He called it “phenomenal” and “spectacular, a collection any institution would love to have.” The trove includes an estimated 25,000 pieces of china and an uncounted number of company records, photographs, documents and letters.

Gregg said Libbey agreed to pack the collection. It will be moved to the association’s downtown headquarters by OHA staff and volunteers, sometime before Libbey closes its outlet store on Court Street in June.

The association plans to store the china in the collection in a large “back room” exhibit on the fifth floor of its building at 321 Montgomery St. Eventually, the exhibit will be open to the public for tours by appointment for a fee. Gregg said the OHA will move its fifth-floor reading room and research center to the second floor, where new space is being created for an enlarged public room that will include a library. This will house the association’s large holding of books, which have been in storage since it moved from the original headquarters at 311 Montgomery.

Thousands of archival materials, which are part of the collection, will be kept separate from the OHA’s main archive. The archives are to be supervised by a new archivist, Pam Priest from Rochester, who has been hired and is working “behind the scenes” in the building, according to Gregg.

A few items from Syracuse China will be added to an existing, permanent exhibit devoted to the company. Gregg said some of the china in the company archives in Lyncourt will be shared with the Everson Museum of Art, including items decorated by ceramist Adelaide Robineau.

The archives at the plant were developed in recent years by a team headed by historian Cleota Reed, assisted by Stan Skoczen and Ruth Hancock, a member of the Pass family who owned the company until 1971. Stan, retired as quality control manager, is regarded as a world-class collector of Syracuse China. Ruth Hancock’s great-grandfather was Richard Pass, an English potter hired as superintendent of Onondaga Pottery, as the company was known until 1966. Her grandfather and father were presidents of Syracuse China.

Gregg said Reed, Skoczen and Hancock were part of a group of volunteers that supervised selection of the china pieces for OHA, under the supervision of OHA curators Tom Hunter and Dennis Connors.

Pottery in the collection goes back to 1841 and a Syracuse stoneware potter from Vermont named Williams Farrar, whose pot shop in Geddes is regarded as the ancestor of Onondaga Pottery Co.

Gregg said the gift includes pieces of furniture, such as shelves and cabinets, that will have to be moved by professionals. Examples of fine china encompass hundreds of pieces, including lines made for hotels, railroads, steamship lines, embassies and airlines. One line was decorated with paintings by Grandma Moses.

And we’re building a new research center and archives, and I’ve been documenting the weekly progress via photos.  Here’s part of the research center space as of last Saturday:


And according to the floor plan, my research center desk will be back near the wall, which will be covered with bookshelves, as will the whole room. Bookshelves, all over the place? Oh my, just like home!


I love this building. This building makes me feel happy. This is the 1906 New York Telephone Building. My Dad, who worked for the New York Telephone Company didn’t work in this building, but his work occasionally brought him to this building.

Letchworth State Park – The Nature

Since we were parked near the Portage Bridge, we decided to walk down along the Upper Falls on the Gorge Trail. Have you guessed that I love bridges? So please bear with me, here’s a couple of photos of the Portage Bridge, taken from beneath the bridge.


I love the symmetry of bridges.


Here we are looking down on the Upper Falls, and a sheet of ice on the east side of the falls:


There’s interesting rock along the trail. I have to investigate this.


This is part of the trail down. We had to really watch our steps, because the stairs are uneven, and in some places are missing:


There are cool smaller falls that feed into the Genesee River:



Here’s part of the ice on the east wall I mentioned above:

We’re looking back at the Upper Falls, the Portage Bridge and the ice:

I was on the search for Bloodroot, but saw tons of Skunk Cabbages along the west bank:



I also saw an area with Coltsfoot (Tussilaga farfara), which is so exciting to see after winter!

We had lunch down near this CCC Statue (sorry the statue doesn’t show up, but I was freezing after eating outside in the cold wind) and didn’t feel like getting out of the car at this point to get a better photo:

After eating we went to the Glen Iris Inn to the gift shop to buy their new self-guided driving tour book:

And to see the Middle Falls:

This fountain:

was spraying on the evergreen, causing it to ice up:
(yes, it’s still cold in NY!)

We then hiked up the Mary Jemison trail and saw a downed Eastern Hemlock tree (wah!). Even though I was sad, I loved looking at the wood:

I love the grain, and it smelled good, too:

As my brother said, “this is pleasant,” and it truly was:

Letchworth State Park – The Train

Yesterday we went to Letchworth State Park.  It was cold but the sun was shining.  It felt really good to get away from the burbs to relax and clean out my lungs with some cool, fresh air!  While we were waiting for other people to arrive, we saw a train go over the Portage Bridge.  Not that I’m at Letchworth that much, but I’ve never seen a train go over this bridge.  It was cool, yet kind of scary, too, being so close to it.  I love the sound of trains on every level.




Too bad the box cars have to be subject to the people who think graffiti is so cool.


Can you hear the train in your head?


Well, you don’t need to try to imagine what it sounded like.   Here’s a video I took.

Thanks to my Dad for my love of trains.  For family outings when I was a child, one of the places he used to take us was to the DeWitt train yard.  Really.  It was very cool there.

More on Letchworth later!

In Honor of The Man That Was My Dad

Two years ago today my Dad was taken from us and actually saved from having to endure these tough economic times that would have probably driven him crazy.  While I’m thankful for him that his life on this earth is done, I’m still very sad for my family and myself.  I will *never* get over not having him to talk with anymore, and to get a teddy bear hug from.

While I wished I could have been with my Mom while she visited where he’s buried today, it would have just made me more sad.  Work does help to forget what’s going on in my personal life, thankfully!

Everyone would kill me if they knew I posted this photo, but the story is a beautiful homemade pie was made for my Dad on Father’s Day who was a major pie lover, but we forgot to bring plates.  So I said just use the plastic bags and napkins and eat it with your hands.

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He always wore the SU hat I bought him when I graduated, because he was proud I got my engineering degree.

My Dad loved life. Seriously. He embraced it like there was no tomorrow. He went to the Gambrinus Brew Fest with me at OHA. He loved OHA, he loved going there with me. He loved talking to the guy that brought his Franklin car for the Fest. Like I wasn’t even there. But I photographed the moments. And I’m glad I did.

He and my Mom asked me to climb this bank to see if you could still walk behind the falls at Tinker’s Falls. And they were enjoying the beauty of the place while I did:
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Yesterday my Mom gave me the rest of his photo albums from when he was growing up. And I haven’t been able to look at them yet. I will after this week is done with.

My Dad: He dearly loved his wife and his children, and we all still dearly love him. And that’s just the way it is.  Gotta love those styles from the seventies, huh?

Morning at the Museum

I was walking through the museum in the dark Sunday morning to go take some photos, and saw the really cool pattern the EXIT sign makes on the wall in the dark.  Now, I know I need a tripod, but how do I carry one around in my back pocket and work, too?  That is a problem.  Oh well.  So this is fuzzy, but you get the idea.


And the guy carrying the boards of cups is a representation of what it was like to work at Syracuse China, a company that has just recently shut down in Syracuse and moved overseas.  Don’t get me started.