My Geneva Is….

November 5th, 2020

By John Marks, Curator of Collections

In “Geneva Historical Society world,” 2020 is over (yay!) and we’re planning for 2021. In particular, we’re recruiting people, with their photos and memories, for the late January exhibit My Geneva Is… It’s based on the concept that there isn’t just one Geneva. Unless we have jobs that take us all over the city every day or every week, there are parts of Geneva that are more familiar to us than others.

Growing up in Penn Yan, I only knew the names of a handful of streets, including downtown. They were streets where my friends lived or something important, to me, was located. I had paper routes for a few years, but even then I knew how to find my houses but didn’t remember the street names. To this day, I can’t tell you where Florence or Myrtle Streets are.

Brick Building With Raised Steps And White Door

Geneva History Museum

Everyone has their own Geneva.  If you could capture your Geneva in just one photo, what would it be? A favorite restaurant or store? A place from your childhood? An individual or group of people? A street? A place connected to favorite memory?

I’ll share two photos to get the ball rolling. The first is the Geneva History Museum. I’ve spent five days a week for the last 20 years here, so it’s definitely part of my Geneva. In the words of the 1970s US Navy slogan, “It’s not just a job, it’s an adventure!” Also, it brought me back to the Finger Lakes and I was near my parents in the last 15 years of their lives.

Crowded Bar With Slide Screen At One End

History Happy Hour at Lake Drum Brewing

The second is Lake Drum Brewing at 16 East Castle Street. I love the beer, the pressed tin ceiling, the lack of television, the huge collection of albums, and the pre-pandemic free popcorn. It never fails to cheer me up when I go in. Owners Victor & Jenna Pultinas host the Historical Society’s History Happy Hour once a month. It’s an experiment in reaching people in new venues, one we look forward to continuing when large groups can gather again.

The My Geneva is … exhibit will be made up entirely of photos submitted by community members. Along with a photo, include several sentences about why the photo captures your Geneva. Some submissions to My Geneva is… will become part of the Historical Society’s photo collection.  The deadline for submissions is January 4, 2021. You can send digital submissions or questions to our Archivist, Becky Chapin, at

My Geneva is …. will be on display at the Geneva History Museum from January 25 through June 26, 2021.

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