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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Owego in Tioga County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Two Rivers Greenway

Owego Segment

 
 
Welcome to Two Rivers Greenway Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, October 26, 2019
1. Welcome to Two Rivers Greenway Marker
Inscription.  
Welcome to Owego
The Village of Owego affords all the pleasures of small-town life to its visitors and locals alike. Situated on the banks of the picturesque Susquehanna River, Owego has scenic natural views from the Court Street Bridge and two waterfront parks, Ahwaga Park and Draper Park, and the River Walk that connects them. You may spot the bird of Tioga County, the Great Blue Heron, or America’s National bird, the Bald Eagle, soaring above the river. Its buildings are historic, from stately homes lining the main residential streets to the charming stores of the Historic Owego Shopping District and the grand Tioga County Courthouse.

In the bustling Shopping District. An array of gift shops, galleries, antique shops, restaurants and other independently-owned businesses offer exceptional goods and services. Explore Owego’s roots as an early American settlement at the Tioga County Historical Society.

Celebrate at the many festivals and events that take place throughout the year, and watch the surrounding hills change from green in the summer to a vibrant blaze in the fall. Every time of the year holds its
Close Up of Two Rivers Greenway Marker image. Click for full size.
By Steve Stoessel, October 26, 2019
2. Close Up of Two Rivers Greenway Marker
own remarkable experience in Owego!

Owego Heritage
African Methodist Episcopal Church
An historic marker indicates the site of The African Methodist Episcopal Church at 116 Fox Street, in Owego. It was commonly known as the Bethel Church and established in 1842. Church activities included special concerts, camp meetings, picnic suppers and fund-raising. It was a well-respected church that included many of the white population of the village. The church population declined over the years, and though there attempts to reinvigorate it, it eventually closed in the 1950’s.

For some time it was used for storage, but then stood empty, unused and was not maintained. By the early 1970s the roof caved in and when the owner refused to repair it, the village of Owego had it removed.

Today, an historical marker erected by the bequest of John H. Jones denotes its history.

Dr. Helen Dean King
Owego native Helen Dean King is ranked among the most eminent biologists of the 20th century. Dr. King was part of a team that bred the Wistar Rat, the first rat developed to serve as a model organism in scientific studies. Today, more than half of all laboratory rat strains are descended from the original colony established by Dr. King and her team.

Dr. King’s accomplishments received considerable recognition during
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her lifetime, both in the press and from her peers, and although few people know of her now, she is ranked among the most eminent biologists of the 20th century.

Endicott Johnson in Owego
Endicott Johnson Shoe Company was established in Johnson City in the 1890’s. A large shoe manufacturer that employed thousands of workers throughout the Triple Cities area, it operated a retail store and two factories in Owego. One produced women’s shoes and was located on McMaster Street, and the other made infant’s shoes and was housed in a former corset factory on Depot Street.

Tobacco Farming
For years, tobacco farming was a big business in the town and village of Owego. On Elm Street, an 80 acre area was once the Armstrong-Pumpelly-Howe tobacco farm. Operating from 1919-1925, sixty workers operated six machines and produced 25,000 cigars a day. They sold to firms in Illinois, Missouri, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Troy, N.Y. and Ohio.

Another tobacco farm, located on Marshland Road in Apalachin, was operated by Frank B. Tracy. Due to unpredictable weather, the tobacco industry in this area came to a close.

Rafting Days
When the early settlers first came to this area, the territory was a vast wilderness of virgin forests and it was necessary for them to clear the land of trees to build their homes and farms. The
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timber that was left over was burned or left to rot until they learned of a constant demand for lumber by large cities in Pennsylvania and all the more populous ports on the Susquehanna. More importantly, it gave the farmers the opportunity to make a profit on trees they didn’t need.

Because there were no canals or railroads until the mid 1800s, the river provided them the means of transporting the logs. The farmers would stack them on the river banks in the fall and winter. Just before the ice broke up in the spring, they would construct huge rafts, and with all their might, shove them into the freezing cold water and pole them downstream. An average raft would be approximately 200 feet long and 16 feet wide and many went as far as the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Photo Captions (starting top left and going clockwise):
Tioga County Courthouse and Court Street Bridge.
The Owego River Walk.
The Village of Owego.
Winter in Owego is magical! The many shops are filled with spectacular decorations, and Owego sparkles with holiday lights and seasonal streets.
The Village of Owego.
At EJ’s peak, it employed approximately 800 workers and produced as many as 7,000 pairs of shoes a day. It closed its shops in Owego c. 1993.
A Tioga County tobacco farm in the 1920’s.
The Tioga County Fair is held annually in July
The Great Blue Heron, the bird of Tioga County
Center: Dr. King was the only woman at the turn of the century to hold a professorship in research work other than Marie Curie of France.
 
Location. 42° 6.08′ N, 76° 15.761′ W. Marker is in Owego, New York, in Tioga County. Marker is at the intersection of Front Street and Parkers Lane, on the left when traveling west on Front Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Owego NY 13827, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Former Residence (within shouting distance of this marker); The Bridges of Owego (within shouting distance of this marker); Fishing the Susquehanna (within shouting distance of this marker); Steamboats and Docks (within shouting distance of this marker); Routes of the Armies (within shouting distance of this marker); Ithaca-Owego RR (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Tioga County Memorial (about 400 feet away); 1849 Great Fire (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Owego.
 
Also see . . .
1. Helen Dean King. (Submitted on October 29, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
2. Endicott Johnson Corporation. (Submitted on October 29, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York.)
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on October 30, 2019. This page originally submitted on October 29, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. This page has been viewed 38 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 29, 2019, by Steve Stoessel of Niskayuna, New York. • Michael Herrick was the editor who published this page.
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