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GENEVA 125TH: From 1897 until 2022, 125 years of history

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1897 was a different time than 2022, but on this date, April 23, they are connected — at least in the city of Geneva.

It was on this exact date 125 years ago that Gov. Frank S. Black, the state’s 32nd governor (Kathy Hochul is the 57th, by the way), put pen to paper and signed a bill that transformed Geneva, N.Y., from a village into a city. So, as we celebrate the city’s quasquicentennial, it’s interesting to look back on how the news was reported in the days when the primary form of social media was sharing a pint of ale at the local tavern.

The Geneva Daily Times — itself only 2 years old at the time and the forerunner of the Finger Lakes Times — ran the story on its back page the next day, on Saturday, April 24, 1897. Yes, the BACK PAGE! In a one-column, 216-word article under the headline “NOW A CITY,” the monumental news was announced and received, according to the story, “with thanksgiving by every one.”

Cannons boomed, folks “congratulated one another” and were happy — there was “much pent up joyousness in the breasts of the people” — and a large, befitting celebration, a “blowout,” was being planned for the next week.

The paper reported that “older citizens were disposed to put on frills over living to see Geneva a city” while “the younger element felt more at ease as being now residents of an up to date community.”

Of course, nowadays I don’t know about cannons, frilly clothes and pent up joyousness, but news like that would be on the top of the front page in 2022, splashed all the way across with a big, bold headline. The story would contain about 800 or so........

© Finger Lakes Times

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