The Stone Church was built by a German Reformed congregation in 1823. Quite a few of the area’s farmers back then were “Pennsylvania Dutch” emigrants, Reformed and Lutheran, and now, almost two hundred years later, many local farmers are again Penna. Dutch emigrants, but from a different offshoot of the Reformation, the Amish and Mennonite.
In 1859, this place had a tailor, shoe store, carriage- and harness-makers, a sawmill, and three churches. And two taverns, convenient to the churches. I don’t believe there is currently a single business operating in the hamlet.
Apparently that merry gang in Wash.,D.C. is again talking about privatizing and shrinking the Postal Service. There’s no longer a grocery store, so the post office is about the only place to run into your neighbors during the week.
38 thoughts on “Walks Around The Finger Lakes. Fayette, New York, January. ZIP code 13065”
The snow seems so blue in the shadows.
I looked on a map to see where Fayette is and found that It’s close to Union Springs, as the crow flies. However, the lake intervenes, and I don’t recall ever passing through the hamlet. Wikipedia mentions a historical connection: “In Fayette on April 6, 1830, Joseph Smith, who was from nearby Palmyra, New York, organized the Church of Christ in a log home owned by Peter Whitmer Sr. Whitmer and four others besides Smith who [sic] were the initial six members. Of the Latter Day Saint movement started by Smith, the largest of those would later be known as The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).”
About a third of the village of Waterloo (the part south of the Cayuga-Seneca Canal) is in the town of Fayette, and this hamlet is a few miles SE. The LDS has recreated the Wittmer cabin, and has a visitor center there. I believe there’s a LDS connection to this German Reformed church, but I don’t recall what it is, probably some of the early converts. I may have inadvertently boosted the blue cast to the snow, when I increased the contrast (?) to make the tombstones more legible.
I don’t know if you had time to stop in/photograph the historical society in U. Springs – – I’ve always admired their building, a former Presbyterian church, a very handsome Greek Revival, quite a contrast to this church.
No, I didn’t visit that building in Union Springs.
I can see winter has hit your NY region just as hard as our neck of the woods. But beauty can be found even in winter, I especially liked the tombstones almost buried in snow, Robert.
Thank you, Peter. I think not quite as much snow as usual, but winter will probably catch up in February! 🙂
Interesting to see this hamlet that time is passing by. We live in a hamlet that has been gone for decades. There used to be a store and a school and a church. But now there is only the name as the buildings are all gone replaced by farmers fields and forest. There is still a graveyard however and the name of the hamlet survives……Glasgow!
Even the school and the church have disappeared? Wow.
To be honest I have no idea how long ago they were there. You have inspired me to do a bit of research.
I immediately assumed it was founded by Scots, but you never know — there is a little town near mine called Montezuma! With a complicated story behind it, which I’ve forgotten, but I know they weren’t Aztecs. 🙂. Well I’ll be interested to learn about Glasgow when you’ve dug up its history.
Evening, Robert. I grew up in NY state, but have hardly ever been in the Finger Lakes. I have a feeling I’d enjoy exploring that part of NY.
You should, Neil, I think you’d like it.
I have always meant to visit the Finger Lakes Region but so far haven’t done so. We lived in Syracuse for a few years when I was a child but never did a family trip there. That was a nice walk you took us along on. I haven’t had a Coke in 12 years after being relatively addicted to it.
Thanks Steve. Well, I kept driving through the Berkshires, when I worked in Boston, but never had time to stop, other than a couple of meals in Stockbridge, I think, but it’s definitely on my list. 🙂
Sometimes there needs to be something else that brings us to a spot of interest and then we wonder why we waited.
Great post, Robert! I grew up in the tiny hamlet of Salisbury Mills, NY. (Most people outside of NY that I’ve met have never even heard of a hamlet haha). It’s only 60 miles north of NYC, but at times – it felt like a million miles away. It was close enough for my dad to commute into the City but far enough to really experience NYS rural life. These small places scattered around the country have certainly seen better days, and the way our economy is shifting and where people are moving, it wouldn’t surprise me to see so many hamlets, villages and towns just vanish. And that is sad. Such great people with an interesting history and unique architecture. Not trying to be Debbie-downer haha. Just an observation I’ve made over the years. Hopefully, I am wrong and these awesome rural places will thrive for years to come.
Thanks for the great comment, Kevin. And here I thought you were a sophisticate from the metropolis of Washingtonville. 🙂 The area around Fayette now has quite a few wineries, and there’s more motels every year, along the Thruway and 5&20 corridors, but none of that activity seems to revive some of the nearby rural communities. There’s quite a few Amish families now, and it’s great to see farmland, especially dairy farms, back in production, and a lot of roadside pie & quilt stands, etc. but it doesn’t contribute a lot to the tax base. But on a happier note, some of the big old houses are now B&B’s for the winery traffic, and there’s more local hops-growers, cideries, microbreweries, etc. all the time.
So true — Washingtonville is a cultural, academic and entertainment hub. I was truly blessed to have it as my neighboring village. I’m pretty sure NYC and LA modeled themselves after the ‘Ville. And, of course, Salisbury Mills sounds kinda like Solsbury Hill by Peter Gabriel. So, we always had that going on for us…haha Great to hear about the area using its natural beauty and resources to revive the region. 🙂
Similar picture over here in many places. It’s called “progress” apparently. #CognitiveDissonance
Progress has brought us, without exaggeration, 100 wineries, cideries, distilleries, microbreweries, etc. in the Finger Lakes region, and lakefront properties become more expensive every year without fail. But not much of the money seems to “stick” to the locals in between the lakes, and the population continues to slowly decline & age. But I’m happy to see the number of Amish farmers continue to increase, so land is brought back into use. And wherever I go to take a walk, I’m sure to pass one of their farm stands, which always have pies for sale – – pretty essential for a long walk I think.
Absolutely! Good to hear there’s something to celebrate. Actually, I have witnessed the microbrewery revolution in the States. When I visited in my late teens, everywhere sold Bud or Michelob. Whenever I’ve been over recently, there is always an appetising array of tasty local brews. The UK was in danger of going in the same direction thirty years ago (insipid corporate fayre gracing every bar). Glad to say we too have re-embraced one of our finer traditions, and fine local ales are very much back in fashion. One of the only happy side effects of climate change is that we now how a handful of decent wineries over here. They tend to specialise in sparkling whites but the quality (and sadly the price) is high. We’ve a long way to go to rival you on that score though, and frankly, I hope we never do as that would have terrible implications for climate.
Rising property prices is a big problem here in Cumbria, and the fact that far too many properties are sold as holiday homes, while locals can no longer afford them. In days gone by, money earned locally was spent locally, which made for thriving local economies
It really is such a beautiful area, isn’t it? I hope to explore it one day. Have you moved back there?
Thanks, Melissa. No, just visits to check in on the old folks, I’m working & taking classes at UW-Milwaukee, just started toward a masters. But still a lot of photos of upstate to post whenever I’ve got time.
Oh, good for you. What is your Master’s going to be in? And where do you see it taking you?
It’s a very long title: “MS in Cultural Foundations of Community Engagement and Education” and I hope it leads to working with community-based organizations.
That sounds like what we need a lot more of.
Your comment about shrinking postal service reminds me of a local controversy. It seems they’re using the zip code area of our little chunk of the city for a pilot program. It seems like the main effect has been making us guess if or when the mailman will show up. Use to be you could damn near set your watch by one. It’s not just a small town problem.
I particularly like the tombstones in the snow picture. The fact they’re so old really sets them off. Looks a lot of them predate the Oregon Territory…
The mailman for our street in my hometown just retired, after 25 years, nice guy, and we all realized we only knew him as “Tom”, none of us knows his last name. He was the clockwork variety, I think he got to the house within 5 minutes of the same time all those years.
My favorite photos are of the snow surrounding the fence and the grave stones — they really are beautiful. The church photos are nice, too. I love all the details: the red door, the small-paned windows, the brickwork. Around here, if a church has a red door you can bet it’s Episcopal or Lutheran, but apparently that’s not so up there.
I worked in a rural Texas town of about 300 people for five years. It had a post office, a Texaco station, Catholic and Lutheran churches, a five-grade school, and a community hall that was rebuilt in 1962 after being destroyed by Hurricane Carla. It was a happening place, let me tell you — and the post office was the center of it all. Well, except for the Texaco station. The post office was about the size of the one in your photo, or a little larger, but it was brick, because of being rebuilt. When I first got there, the post office, the gas station, and the Lutheran church all were on the same party line.
Congrats on getting started on your Master’s! It sounds like the perfect degree and perfect field for you. I hope you can find some way to use your humor and writing talents in the process. If you end up with a prof named Butterbrot…. well….
Thank you, Linda.
It was probably nice working in a place that size? We don’t have Texaco up here, but every once in a while, my mother will start singing “You can trust your car to the man who wears the star.”
Mom is kinda weird.
I didn’t appreciate it as much as I would today. For one thing, I moved there from inner city Houston, where I’d been living la dolce urban-vita life, and the culture shock was substantial. But there were wonderful people there, and since I lived in a larger, nearby town, I had the best of a couple of worlds. On the other hand, when I left it was time to leave and go on to other things, so I didn’t regret leaving, either.
That makes me sad about the post office. Love the serene photos. We haven’t had any real snow here in Southeastern PA yet so I’ll get my fix here.
Thank you, Kristen, kind of an unusual winter so far. My great-uncle in the Poconos reports 0 snow on the ground there, too, and he’s predicting there’ll be a reckoning in March.
I don’t know for sure that they’ll close any post offices, just rumor so far. When I was in high school, they told us our street was going to become like a “rural route,” and we needed mailboxes on posts, instead of delivering to the house, even though we were within walking distance of the post office) and then rescinded that. We’d already bought a new mailbox, so I nailed it to a tree to make an army-style birdhouse, but I don’t think anyone has ever moved in.
Gorgeous photographs, Robert – they make me happily recall upstate NY. I had to look it up on the map, and what a pleasure it is seeing the string of place names…Lodi, Ovid, Romulus, Hector, Trumansburg – so evocative of days spent wandering around upstate. The cemetery brings back good memories too – I always have loved seeking out old cemeteries and slowly reading the headstones – and they’re beautiful in the snow. The first photo is amazing for all the different architectural details in that one view, whew! Very nice. The blue background was a good choice too, it enhances the wintery experience. The fence is beautiful, the old Coke machine is very real and well done, and it’s interesting to have the old map to look at too. The PNW doesn’t have the history that upstate does but the changes here can be every bit as stunning, I think. We moved to a Seattle suburb in 2012 – not long ago. Kirkland’s Totem Lake post office was a tiny, odd affair with no official veneer at all. It was a little gift shop tucked between bigger stores; in the back, there was a counter where you could leave a package that would be tossed somewhere in the day-care free-for-all that was the back room. It was all very informal. There wasn’t much for sale, just odd trinkets, maybe a bit of candy. The owners knew everyone, but not really because things were already heating up with Microsoft, Google & Amazon nearby. It’s all gone now, turned into a massive retail-housing complex that is thoroughly generic and soulless. Horrifying. We’re glad we got away from there and we hope it won’t ever happen up here. I don’t know which is more depressing, now-empty old towns that once thrived or the booming centers of commerce that replace some other, luckier (?) small towns.
Thank you, Lynn, and I love hearing about Kirkland’s P.O., that’s a great description. I think Fayette is pretty safe from being swamped by large-scale development, that all seems to hug the Thruway corridor.
Moving from a pretty rural area to Milwaukee, it’s been interesting seeing some parallels, and some big differences, in revitalization issues. The city has a nice pedestrian “Riverwalk” now – lots of brewpubs, Teslas, and cool apartments (but out of my price range. 🙂 ) And then not far away there’s neighborhoods with a horrible eviction rate, and they struggle to keep the homicide rate below a hundred/year.
Because the post was just a few snapshots from the center of the hamlet, it exaggerated the decrepitude – I didn’t show the successful wineries within ten minutes drive, and there’s over thirty of them in the county now, and a few microbreweries. Three miles south, there’s a new Mennonite bulk food store that carries some fresh produce, etc. But it’s no exaggeration to say these rural areas have a lot of problems – an aging population with limited public transportation, kids with drugs and suicides. Albany has contests to win revitalization grants, which sometimes result in great projects, and sometimes just window-dressing.
Yes, I love the place names, too, tons of classical ones. My dad was born in Trumansburg (which is great that the founder’s name was Treman, but they just got used to spelling it wrong) and that town is doing great, some interesting artists & bands in the area and of course Donna The Buffalo, a band that’s been going on forever I think.
The all-but-deserted town centers, the popular wineries….it’s interesting, isn’t it? The whole planet needs revitalizing! 😉
I say lucky you who have gotten some winter. At my longitude we have hardly seen any snow yet. So for me it’s an extra pleasure to look at your beautiful photos. I like the blue theme you have (mostly) made them into.
Thank you, Otto, winter definitely brings beauty along with the frostbite. ❄️⛄️