Monday, December 28, 2020

Your Favorite Things

by Susan Zehnder, Education Director

Whitman Mission on the Oregon Trail

What does the Oregon Trail, a member of the inaugural Girls Professional Baseball League, and souvenirs from a doomed arctic expedition have in common? Each was a Chemung County Historical Society Blog post in 2020.

Since February 2012, we’ve published a new blog almost every week. This year despite various disruptions, we continued and were able to add 53 new blog posts. This brings our blogs-to-date total to 468: that’s four hundred sixty eight different topics!

For the last nine years, these blogs have been written by a staff member or invited guest, with all topics connecting to Chemung County’s history. They may be stories of people, or events, information on artifacts and documents, or explore a story behind another story. Despite posting weekly, we still can't predict which topics will resonate with our readers.

Taking stock of 2020 - and in case you missed any - here are this year’s five most popular blog posts in descending order. See if you find any thread of commonality.

1. On May 11th we published Chemung County's First Fatal Automobile Accident a blog which tells the story of the Voorhees family from Elmira whose 1914 summer afternoon drive resulted in tragic death and loss.

2. Back in January 17th Lost in the Mail profiled a mishap that occurred one snowy day in Wellsburg, March 195, and mail that was never delivered.

3. On March 23rd, shortly after the 2020 pandemic ground things to a halt, the blog titled The First Quarantine shared how the county shutdown for 19 days in response to the 1918 pandemic.

4. Less than a month later on April 17th, another blog titled Typhoid and Thatcher GlassManufacturing Company highlighted local contributions to public health. (Note we have an upcoming exhibit highlighting the Thatcher Glass Manufacturing Company going up in early 2021.)

5. On August 24th a blog shared the story of The Wellsburg Fire of 1912, a devastating fire that wiped out much of the town of Wellsburg in one single afternoon.

Up to this point, statistics show the blogs with the fewest visitors are some of our most recent. We never take blogs down, so it’s likely they’ll pick up additional viewers in 2021. In case you’re curious, the blogs with the fewest views to date are:

1. December 7th’s A Fall Tradition goes Virtual publicized our necessary switch from our usual in-person fund raiser event to one that was virtual.

2. December 14th’s blog Souvenirs from a Doomed Voyage shared objects in our collection from Ross Marvin, a local arctic explorer and The Greely expedition, an expedition that took place in 1881-1884.

3. Esther B. Steele: A Woman of Her Word, on November 30th profiled a well-known philanthropist who still makes an impact on the county today.

4. Our November 9th blog The Bachelor Governor highlighted the life of the 29th governor of New York State and the political connections he had.

5. Win with Wilkie, the blog published on November 2nd just before the presidential election was a little bit of lost history about a 1940 presidential campaign visit to Elmira.

Our continually growing collection of CCHS blogs is a great resource we encourage everyone to share, just be sure to give us credit if you do.

Researching facts and information on objects, people and events from the county gives us an opportunity to look at things in new ways. It also comes in handy. We used a series of blogs ourselves this past summer to create a unique walking tour of Elmira’s Heritage District that wove together over fifteen relevant blogs.

For fun, see our quiz posted on our Facebook page to see what facts from this year that you remember, the reader with the most correct answers will win a complimentary year's membership.

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