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Friday, February 28, 2014

The Evolution of Elmira's City Hall

Original county courthouse log cabin, Sullivan Street
at East Church, School #1 in the background.
Image courtesy of the Barnes Library.

By Diane Janowski, Elmira City Historian
from the Elmira Star-Gazette 2/28/2014

In January 1793, Newtown (now known as Elmira) built a “justice building” as a seat of regional government as required by Tioga County (now Chemung County). They built a two-story log cabin on the corner of Sullivan and East Church Streets that housed a jail and a home for the sheriff on the first floor. A room for holding court or public worship was on the second floor. Behind the cabin was a small cemetery. This building served the county for nearly thirty years.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

John Hendy, An Early Settler of Elmira

By Diane Janowski, Elmira City Historian
Printed in the Star-Gazette 2/15/2014
The Hendy Cabin in today's West Elmira

Elmira is 150 years old in 2014. But, isn’t Elmira older than that?

Cartographer Guy Johnson drew the first map of our area in 1771, called “Country of the Six Nations.” Chemung County was still a blank space. General John Sullivan destroyed the Indian village of Kanaweola (near today’s Kennedy Valve) in 1779. Four years later in 1783, Matthias Hollenback opened the first local trading post near today’s Holiday Inn on East Water Street. A few settlers arrived after the 1786 Treaty of Fort Stanwix that, theoretically, made our region safe for white settlers. The Iroquois were to remain in western New York. The villages of Newtown, Wisnerburg, and Dewittsburg combined into “Village of Newtown” in 1790. The name changed from “Village of Newtown” to “Village of Elmira” in 1808. Finally, the “Village of Elmira” became the “City of Elmira” in 1864. Therefore, although we are celebrating Elmira’s Sesquicentennial, white people have lived here about 231 years.