ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM – TV) – The Chemung County Historical Society is stockpiled with rich history.
Located at 415 East Water Street, it is certainly a gem of an era long passed but ever present.
The museum is situated in the oldest commercial building in Elmira, which used to be the location of the original Chemung Canal Bank, which opened in 1833 and was the first bank in Elmira.
Originally the structure was only two and a half stories. It was a combination of Greek revival and Traditional Federal styling. The building was built out of brick, and a brick-built building was unusual at that time, as most buildings in Elmira at that time were wood.
In 1868, a third floor was added to the structure.
The first floor was a bank, the second floor had business tenants, the third floor consisted of rental apartments for single young men.
From 1976 forward, the building has been owned by the Chemung County Historical Society. The museum officially opened on May 15, 1982.
It is also significant to note that this was Mark Twain’s Bank.
In fact, the story that is commonly told is that he used to tell his wife Livy – that he was “going to town to do some banking” and then would simply end up at Klapproth’s Tavern for the afternoon.
The museum is home to a permanent exhibit on the history of Chemung County and a permanent Mark Twain exhibit.
There is a steady rotation of new exhibits through the museum on a regular basis, and, their education coordinator is kept busy entertaining and education school groups both within the museum’s walls, and traveling out to schools throughout the area.
The Booth Research Library is regularly utilized by people researching their families, the history of their homes and businesses, or just generally satisfying a curiosity about local history.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and closed Sunday.
Here are the prices:
$5 – adults
$3 – senior citizens – over 55
$1 – students
The museum is FREE if you are a member of the Chemung County Historical Society.
If you would like an opportunity to tour the museum for free, Hidden Landmarks is having a Free Museum Day event on Saturday, January 25th from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.