Boating and boatbuilding have a rich history in Geneva and many other communities of the Finger Lakes. Benjamin and Alonzo Springstead of Geneva built many of the steamboats that traveled the Finger Lakes in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Fay and Bowen Engine Company, which produced boat motors and high-quality wooden motorboats, was based in the city from 1904. Seneca Lake has hosted boat races since the mid-19th century, from competitive rowing to hydroplane motorboats. This history is the subject of the Geneva Historical Society's summer exhibit, Boats of the Finger Lakes, which opens with a reception from 5-7:00 p.m. on Friday, June 11.
This exhibit was created in collaboration with the Finger Lakes Boating Museum, which was chartered in 1997 to collect, preserve and display examples of the many boats designed and built in the Finger Lakes region of New York. The Museum will be loaning five boats for this exhibit: two “troutboats” (a rowboat design that is unique to this area), a child's sailboat, a canoe, and a Fay Bow Middy motorboat. All are beautifully restored examples of the hand-made boats crafted during the early years of the last century. The exhibit also includes displays of boating memorabilia from Geneva Historical Society's permanent collection, including racing trophies, photographs, and paintings.
Boats of the Finger Lakes will be in the Museum's Hucker Gallery and will run through October 30, 2004. The reception is free and open to the public. 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.