The town of Farmington recently released “Driving through Historic Farmington,” a self-guided tour book featuring historic sites and local attractions such as Hosey Swamp, the photography of Charles Gardner and the point at which three counties and four towns meet.
The publication was written and designed by town historian Donna Hill-Herendeen to highlight 33 stops on a route that traverses Farmington and the hamlets of Pumpkin Hook, Mertensia and Brownsville.
The tour takes travelers past historic structures that remain standing — such as 1816 Quaker Meetinghouse and Jacob Smith House — and by the sites of homesteads and community gathering places which are no longer standing and only recognized today by historical markers.
“Farmington is known as the ‘Gateway to the Finger Lakes,’” Hill-Herendeen said. “Our publication serves to welcome and invite lifelong residents, new arrivals and visitors to explore our town with an eye toward our rich history. This driving tour provides a route that includes areas of tremendous growth of residential homes and businesses that has occurred here
within the past decade, and many of the historic locations and homes in which Farmington residents established their town and charted the growth of the U.S. at the national level.”
The tour starts at Farmington Town Hall, 1000 County Road 8, and passes Farmington Quaker Crossroads Historic District, the site of the 1816 Quaker Meetinghouse — a microcosm of national fervor involving African American, Native American and women’s rights.
“Those taking the tour will learn about U.S. Sen. Elbridge G. Lapham and see his home in the hamlet of Mertensia,” Hill-Herendeen said. “You may even glimpse the bluebells of Mertensia, in season!”
Farmington native Lapham was born in 1814 and worked as a lawyer. He served four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1881. Lapham, whose homestead is on County Road 41, was an advocate of the Red Cross and assisted Clara Barton in having legislation passed in the U.S. Senate.
“This tour booklet certainly brings together a wealth of Farmington history in one convenient and informative publication,” said Peter Ingalsbe, town supervisor. “I’m sure that even many of our longtime residents will learn much more about our history. It is interesting to know the stories of so many homes and locations that we may pass every day without realizing the role which so
many families played in the history of Farmington.”
The full-color publication includes historical and current photographs, addresses and GPS coordinates for each stop. A short narrative provides historical background and context on every page. A reproduction of the 1874 map of Farmington from the Atlas of Ontario County appears in the center of the book with stop numbers highlighted in red.
The publication costs $5 and is available at Farmington Town Hall.