According to Sarah Bradford's 1862 history of Geneva, mid-century residents of the village were “Happy to have escaped the shower of Greek and Roman titles, which were sprinkled throughout the land…” Surrounded by communities like Hector, Ovid, Romulus and Ithaca, Geneva is one of the few communities with a European name not classical in origin. Why were so many towns, cities and villages on the New York frontier given such weighty and historical names?
Historian and educator William R. Farrell will address this question in a lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 20, at the Geneva Historical Society. Mr. Farrell taught Latin and Social Studies at Fayetteville-Manlius High School until his retirement in 1995. Since retirement, he has spent much of his time researching New York State place names and has published a book on the subject, Classical Place Names in New York State: Origins, Histories and Meanings. A second volume, New York State Place Names: Origins, Histories and Meanings, is slated for publication in 2004. In these books he has researched and written about more than 2,000 place names in New York State.
Mr. Farrell will sell and sign copies of his book after the lecture. Admission to the presentation is free and is funded in part by the Samuel B. Williams Fund for Programs in the Humanities.
For more information about the lecture, call the Geneva Historical Society at 789-5151. The Geneva Historical Society Museum is located in the Prouty-Chew House at 543 South Main Street and is open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and 1:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free. The Geneva Historical Society receives major funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Institute for Museum and Library Services, the New York Council for the Humanities and the Town and City of Geneva.