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Who's on First?: More Interesting Facts About the Finger Lakes

¶ the first sundae was served at the Platt & Colt's Red Cross Pharmacy in Ithaca (Tompkins County) in 1891. It was a concoction that consisted of vanilla ice cream with cherry syrup topped with a cherry.

 

¶ the first commercially produced soft toy, a pattern of an orange cat that was sewn together and stuffed, was designed by Charity and Celia Smith in Ithaca (Tompkins County) in 1892. The orange cat was based on Caesar Grimalkin, the Smith's feline companion.

 

¶ the first McCormick reaper was manufactured by the Globe Iron Works in Brockport in 1846.

 

¶ the first U.S. pilot's license was issued to Glenn Curtiss of Hammondsport (Steuben County) in 1911.

 

¶ the first U.S. Navy seaplane, called the "Triad," was built by Glenn Curtiss in Hammondsport (Steuben County) in 1912.

 

¶ the first bonded winery was Great Western of Hammondsport (Steuben County) in 1860.

 

¶ the first successfully marketed adding machine was manufactured by William Seward Burroughs in Auburn (Cayuga County) in 1892.

 

¶ the first steel plow was made by Jethro Wood in Moravia (Cayuga County) in 1819.

 

¶ the first silent movie was made in Ithaca (Tompkins County) in 1915.

 

¶ the first women's rights convention was held in Seneca Falls (Seneca County) in 1848.

 

¶ the first women's pants, called "Bloomers," were worn by Amelia Bloomer of Seneca Falls (Seneca County) in 1849. Although Amelia Bloomer got the credit for the outfit, the Turkish-style pantaloons and skirt were actually adapted by Elizabeth Smith Miller, a cousin of Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Bloomers were worn by many of the leaders in the women's rights movement.

 

¶ the first issue of Joseph Smith's The Book of Mormon was published in Palmyra (Wayne County) in 1830.

 

¶ the first female physician in the U.S. was Elizabeth Blackwell (1821-1910) who graduated first in her class from the Geneva Medical College in Geneva (Ontario County). The administration of the college decided to leave the decision of her admission to the college up to the all-male student body. Thinking it was a joke, they voted to admit her. When the college, students, and townspeople realized she was serious, she became an outcast and was kept from classroom demonstrations, which were thought to be inappropriate for women. Blackwell later opened a dispensary in the New York City slums. In 1868 she opened the Women's Medical College in New York City. In 1875 she was appointed professor of gynecology at the London School of Medicine for Children.

 

¶ the first observance of Memorial Day took place in Waterloo (Seneca County) in 1866.

 

¶ the first degree in electrical engineering was awarded by Cornell University (Tompkins County).

 

¶ the first School of Hotel Administration was established by Cornell University (Tompkins County).

 

¶ the first School of Industrial and Labor Relations was established by Cornell University (Tompkins County).

 

¶ the first on-land bathtub race took place in Moravia (Cayuga County) in honor of Millard Fillmore, the first U.S. President (who just happened to be from Moravia) to install a bathtub in the White House. (Actually, Fillmore didn't install the first bathtub in the White House. That was Franklin Pierce. Fillmore, established the White House library.) The race is part of Fillmore Days, which takes place each year on the last weekend in July.

 

¶ the first student of the Cornell University School of Architecture was William Henry Miller, who became a nationally recognized architect. Miller built the Deke House at 13 South Ave. in Ithaca, the first fraternity at Cornell. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. Miller's home, built in 1880, is now the William Henry Miller Inn at 303 N. Aurora St. in Ithaca. See more information about the Deke House. See more information about the inn.

 

¶ the first American-born woman to found a religion was Jemima Wilkinson (1752-1819) who started the Universal Friends Society. She and her followers moved to Jerusalem (Yates County) where they established a utopian community that espoused pacifism, abolitionism, and plain dress. The community dwindled after Wilkinson's death.

 

¶ dentist Dr. Josephus Requa (1833-1910) of Rochester invented the first practical machine gun, a rifle with several barrels in a row. The "Requa Rifle," as it was called, was used in the Civil War.

 

¶ the 24-second shot clock was used for the first time at an NBA scrimmage on November 10, 1954 at Blodgett Vocational High School in Syracuse. Although the idea for the clock was thought up elsewhere, it was Danny Blascone, president and founder of the Syracuse Nationals, who helped devised the formula for the clock by dividing the number of seconds in a 48-minute game (2,880) by the average number of shots per game (120), coming up with the number 24. The original clock is now at LeMoyne College. 

 

¶ the first female mayor of a village in New York State was Katherine Wykle. She was elected to tht position by the Village of Clyde in the Town of Galen (Wayne County) first in 1937 and again in 1941. A historical mural containing her photo stands in a pocket park between Glasgow Street and the Clyde Fire Department in the village.

 

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