Fenton To Broadcast History Series In Distance Learning Labs

SINCLAIRVILLE-The history of Chautauqua County is about to be told through modern technological means.

The Fenton History Center’s adult education department has partnered with the Cassadaga Valley Central School distance learning lab and BOCES to broadcast its new education series in school districts throughout the county.

The six-week program is open to the general public, and will feature a variety of topics relevant to the county’s history as taught by local historians. While each individual lecture will be broadcast from Cassadaga Valley’s distance learning lab, the series will be available to be viewed at other distance labs; including Brocton Central School, Silver Creek Central School and Westfield Academy and Central School.

According to Joni Blackman, director of the Fenton History Center, this is the first time that the history center has employed this kind of technology in an education series.

“This is an underserved population as far as discussion of history goes,” said Blackman. “There are a lot of legends, a lot of stories and a lot of other things out there; so I never know what’s going to trip people’s triggers. This is a way, for those who can’t get out to different things that we might offer in Jamestown, to learn or at least refresh themselves on local history from respected historians that know their topics.”

The program series will take place on six consecutive Thursdays, beginning April 11. The first session will be presented by Jon Schmitz, archivist and historian for Chautauqua Institution, and will serve as an introduction to public history, historical sources and regional history. The second session will focus on the identity of the real first settler of the area, and will be presented by Vince Martonia, Hanover town historian, on April 18. The April 25 session will look at the earliest years of white settlement in the county, and will be presented by Michelle Henry, Chautauqua County historian.

Steve Johnson, a local re-enactor, will talk about the War of 1812 and its impact on Chautauqua County in the May 2 session. The fifth session will be a discussion on early commerce and the waterways, led by Norman Carlson, collections manager of the Fenton History Center, on May 9. The final session will look at the Underground Railroad movement in Chautauqua County, and will be presented by Wendy Straight, archivist for the Fredonia Baptist Church, on May 16.

The cost for the six-week program is $35, and each session will run from 6-8 p.m. To register, mail the fee and choice of location to Deb McAvoy, business administrator, to P.O. Box 540, Route 60, Sinclairville, NY 14782.