Welcome to the History Corner!
Celebrating the rich history of Port Byron, New York, an old Erie Canal village in the Town of Mentz. This site is dedicated to the legacy and heritage of our community as well as a variety of regional historical tidbits. I hope you enjoy your visit and will stop by again.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Family History Seminar April 24th

Military Records: Unlocking Your Family History

Port Byron and Mentz Historian Dawn Roe will be hosting a training seminar at the Port Byron Library on Saturday April 24th at 11:00 AM. The class will highlight how to obtain the various records from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War. Emphasis will be placed on the importance of pension applications, equipment claims and land bounty applications. These files often contain hidden clues to help you unlock mysteries in your family lineage. Examples of prior mysteries that were solved with the use of military records will be presented.

Computers are available after the class. Library card is required. Don’t have one? Fill out a free application.

Date: April 24, 2010
Time: 11:00 AM
Class Length: 1 Hour (approx)
Location: Port Byron Library
Address: 12 Mentz Drive, Port Byron, NY 13140
Contact: Dawn Roe
Email: beatatune@tds.net

Cost: FREE

Friday, February 12, 2010

Heritage Days 2010

The 2010 Heritage Days Festival events to be held on Saturday July 31st are well underway. Living history performer Eileen Mae Knapp Patch will be portraying her Great Grandmother in 1880's dress, as she reads letters received from a civil war soldier in her family. While the soldier is not from Port Byron, he faced many of the same hardships and struggles in common with our residents that served in the war. It is a rare look into the civil war from the soldiers viewpoint. Admission will be $1 which will be given to our performer to offset her expenses, since she is driving from Endwell, NY to be a part of the this years civil war theme at Port Byron.

We will also be having a military encampment by the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. They will be in period uniforms and bringing much of the equipment that our soldiers would have used during the war such as cooking equipment, rifles and even a canon!

Yours truly will be hosting a cemetery tour, visiting some of our soldiers at rest. Histories of the soldiers and/or regimental histories will be shared. It is encouraged that attendees bring binoculars for a special surprise during the tour. I will be bringing mine to share for those that may not own their own.

These are all new events taking place at this years Heritage Days. A full calender of events for Friday 7/30 and Saturday 7/31 will be available on the Town of Mentz Website in the near future.

Time for all events will be announced at a later date.

Monday, February 8, 2010

State Quilt

The Public Historians of NYS are submitting a State Quilt to the New York State Museum in Albany and it will include a block for every town and village across our State as submitted by each local historian.

Made by Clara Rooker McIver and her daughter Anne.

I would like to thank both of them for taking the time to create and donate the block so that our community can be represented in the New York State Quilt that will display in Albany when completed.

Our quilt block is an image of what we know today as the Port Byron Hotel. This structure is listed as one of the sites in the National Underground Railroad Network To Freedom Program. See Page 255 from the attached link:

Port Byron Hotel's role in the Antislavery Movement

This is a brick structure and was built by Samuel Lytle in 1835. Many of you may have had a chance to see the brick core during the recent renovations to the building this past summer.

The hotel would undergo a series of name changes. By 1844 Steward Kendrick called it the National Hotel. As of the 1884 Sanford map it was listed as the Palace Hotel but the name was not to last. The hotel would resume its name as the National Hotel by 1890. Another name change would occur by 1900 when it would be known as Hotel Carey. Then around 1908/1910 it became the Park Hotel which lasted until 1933 when it would be renamed Hotel Port Byron with a final change to Port Byron Hotel.

Here is a list of some of the prior owners of the hotel:
Phebe Lamkin, widow of Harry Lamkin
1855 Richard Dyer
1863/64 Levi Stevens
1868 Elijah B. Buck
1873 D.E. McBurney
1874 Jeremiah H. Krom
1875 William G. Gallt (Galt)
1889 Edwin T. Parmalee
1900 D. Carey & Son
1908/1910 E.R. Parker
Charles and Grace Higgens
1914 Bell J Scott
1916 Orlando Family
1933 Fred Hartwell
1936/45 Arnold Corwell
Laneharts, Harry Rayburn
1947 Anna and Wallace Strohm
1952/84 Walter Piotrowski
Carole N. Blauvelt Bajanen and her husband Maynard
1995 Robert F. Holbrook, Jr.
2004 Gary Cole
2009 Glenn S. Martin

Sources: Hotels of Port Byron by Penny Helzer 2005 and Uncovering the Freedom Trail in Auburn and Cayuga County, New York sponsored by City of Auburn Historic Resources Review Board and the Cayuga County Historian's Office.