Broome County is located in the southern part of New York State and boasts a rich history full of fascinating stories. Here are seven interesting facts about the county's history.
1. Home to Binghamton, the "Parlor City"
Binghamton, the county seat of Broome County, is known as the "Parlor City" due to its wide streets and well-kept homes. The city earned its nickname in the late 1800s when it became a popular destination for wealthy families from New York City seeking refuge from urban pollution.
2. The discovery of salt led to the county's early growth
In the early 19th century, salt was discovered in the marshes of what is now Broome County. This discovery led to the development of the area's salt industry, which in turn fueled the growth of the region's economy and population.
3. A famous literary figure once called Broome County home
Famed American author and poet, Rod Serling, best known for creating The Twilight Zone television series, was born in Binghamton in 1924. The city still honors the local legend through the Rod Serling Memorial Foundation, which offers scholarships and encourages creativity in young people.
4. The county played a role in the Underground Railroad
During the 1800s, Broome County was an important stop on the Underground Railroad, a network of secret routes used by slaves to escape to freedom. The abolitionist movement was strong in the area, and many safe houses were established, including one on the outskirts of Binghamton that still stands today and is open to visitors.
5. The county has ties to the early days of aviation
Broome County was home to the Curtiss Aeroplane and Motor Company, founded by Glenn Curtiss in 1915. Curtiss was a pioneer in the aviation industry and the recipient of many awards, including the first U.S. pilot's license. The company produced numerous aircraft, including the famed "Jenny" biplane, which was used for training military pilots during World War I.
6. The county was once home to a thriving cigar industry
In the early 1900s, the city of Binghamton was home to a booming cigar industry, with over 80 factories producing millions of cigars annually. The industry thrived until the Great Depression, when cheaper machine-made cigarettes became more popular with consumers.
7. The county is home to a unique library
The Broome County Public Library, located in downtown Binghamton, features a unique collection of books and artifacts related to the history of the local area. The library's Local History & Genealogy Center houses over 25,000 items, including historical maps, photographs, and genealogical records, making it an invaluable resource for historians and researchers alike.
These are just a few of the interesting facts that make Broome County such a fascinating place to explore. From its role in the Underground Railroad to its ties to the early days of aviation, this county has played an important role in both American and New York State history.
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