The Nature Of It: Tanglewood History Part One

The Nature of It

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – For years the Tanglewood Nature Center has provided a first hand look into nature to the community.

The original location of Tanglewood was on West Hill Road in Elmira. Rufus Stanley, a resident of Elmira back in 1885, was the one who alerted the community about the need for reforestation.

“One of the people interested in reforesting decided to have a project where the school children in Elmira would plant trees in the area that became Tanglewood on Arbor Day,” said Ralph Moore.

In 1973 the Tanglewood Community Nature Center was formed. This included 16 acres of land for the Tanglewood Forest and 65 acres for the Tanglewood Farm.

The “Original” Tanglewood had three functioning hiking trails. A unique staple to Tanglewood was the development of a sensitivity trail. This trail included Braille signage and ropes to help guide the visually impaired through the forest.

“The Elmira Jaycees started working on installing a sensitivity trail for the blind, and the Braille signage was developed with someone who was visually impaired,” said Bridget Sharry, Community Relations Manager at Tanglewood Nature Center.

The original Tanglewood Center building was constructed in 1976 and built in two parts by students at BOCES. Students complete the building in 1977 and it became fully operational in May of 1980.

A unique staple of the recreational building was the chimney. The chimney was built of local field stone that was harvested in the area.

“The families that founded this place would bring over fieldstone and make sure that this was a real local groundswell of support for the education building,” said Sharry.

This building made it easier to host educational programs for the community and gave board members a place to have their monthly meetings.

In 1978 Dorothy Smith suggested the idea of having a Christmas Party for the birds at Tanglewood. Children and members of the community participated by leaving gifts of food under a tree for the birds and animals.

Towards the latter portion of the 1990’s the members of the board recognized the need to construct a larger building to support the growing interest of the center.

Come back next week to learn more history of Tanglewood and how the building we know today came to be.

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