November 4, 2014
OSWEGO -- The Oswego County Historical Society will host the sixth lecture of the 2014 season on Sunday, November 9th at 1:30 p.m at the Richardson-Bates House Museum, 135 East Third Street in Oswego. The event is free and open to the public.
Guest lecturer Dick Drosse will present a program entitled "Great Bear Springs - 110 Years of Spring Water." The presentation will focus on the history of the current Great Bear Recreation Area, which is comprised of nearly 500 acres of land on County Route 57 in the town of Volney. It is beautifully situated along the Oswego River. The majority is owned by the city of Fulton, along with the state canal corporation, town of Volney and private owners. There are eight miles of public trails that are maintained by volunteers of the Friends of Great Bear.
Drosse is a former Deputy Fire Chief for the city of Oswego, an award winning photographer, a coordinator of Oswego County Earth Week and active member with the Friends of Great Bear.
The presentation will cover the formation of the original Great Bear Spring Company by prominent Oswego businessman Frederick Emerick in 1894. Among many enterprises, Emerick had also been invested in the Fulton Water Works that supplied water to Fulton. The natural water from the Great Bear Spring Farms was bottled and sold commercially.
The highlights of the program will include the early days of the well known spring farm and orchards to its present day supply of water to the city of Fulton. The slide show presentation will also describe how the property has become a popular non-motorized recreational green space.
"The Great Bear Recreation Area is hidden gem of the Oswego River valley and has an amazing history that few know about," said Justin White, president of the historical society."Frederick Emerick was a prominent businessman and civic leader in the late 19th and early 20th century. His connections with the formation of the spring works will be very interesting to learn more about." Emerick also owned the land that is now Battle Island State Park and donated it in 1916 to New York State for the future preservation of the land along the Oswego River in the town of Granby.
The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich history of the county. The society maintains and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum, a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The museum is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday form 1 – 5 p.m. and other days by appointment. For more information visit the museum during regular hours at 343-1342.
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