Notables from our little city include; Mark Twain, Hal Roach (Producer of the Little Rascals, Our Gang, and many Oliver and Hardy movies) Eileen Collins (Space shuttle pilot and mission commander), NBC news Anchor Brian Williams, Fashion Designer Tommy Hilfiger, and Ernie Davis (The first African American to win the Heisman Trophy)
|A postcard of Rorick's Glen showing the swing ride, |
and the foot-bridge across the river
Elmira once had 2 amusement parks. The first was Rorick's Glen. It was at its' height in the very early 1900s, and finally closed around 1912. Seated on the south bank of the Chemung River, that bisects the city, and accessed by a foot-bridge, It featured a flying chairs ride, a roller-coaster, electric gardens (Remember this was before 1915!) and an open air, summer-stock theater that would seat 1200 people. It also had numerous walking trails, cabins, and picnic spots. Subsequent floods have all but erased any traces of this grand old park. The land was owned by the Boy Scouts for many years, and now I believe it is privately owned. It is my hope to be able to explore this area some time in the near future, and write an article dedicated to it.
|The Speedway! Ready for a ride on the wooden coaster |
at Eldridge Park?
Notable industry in out fair city has included things like American LeFrance, who made fire trucks here in Elmira from 1871 until 1985. Remington Rand, who made typewriters and other mechanical equipment, Bendix, who produced coaster brake hubs that went on practically every bicycle made in the first half of the 1900s And Kennedy Valve that makes Fire Hydrants to this day.
This was supposed to be a really short write-up on Elmira's 150th birthday, so If I've jumped around a bit I apologize. It's late and I was writing whatever came to me. What I hope is that I've sparked your interest in Elmira, or the history of your home town. What's the story?! Why not stop by your local historical society and see what's to be found. Let it be a start of an even bigger adventure. GO explore your town. I'm on my way to check out mine! I'll tell you about it as I do.