The Fenton History Center is offering an opportunity for area residents to experience a new appreciation for the city of Jamestown.
This is because, for the second consecutive summer, the museum is hosting weekly walking tours in different areas of the city.
On Saturday, a group of residents went on a tour of the old northside of Jamestown, now known as the greater downtown area. The tour was hosted by Julie Hull, museum teacher and docent, who has been with the Fenton since 2000.
Pictured at left, Julie Hull, Fenton History Center museum teacher and docent, discusses the history of the Ahrens Mansion on Fifth Street in Jamestown.
P-J photo by Gavin Paterniti
According to Hull, the walking tours offer an opportunity to learn something new about a city that is often taken for granted by its residents.
"If you grew up here, you just don't get downtown very often. You're in your car, you drive through. You've seen it so many times but you don't really know the backstory," she said. "But by just walking through, slowing down a little bit and taking the time to remember (personal stories) that took place at these locations, it gives you a newfound appreciation for where you live."
The old northside tour began and ended at the museum parking lot, and covered the area contained within the first 1,000 acres of land originally purchased by the city's founder James Prendergast - from the Chadakoin River to Fifth Street, and Washington Street to Prendergast Avenue.
"If you grew up here, you just don't get downtown very often. You're in your car, you drive through. You've seen it so many times, but you don't really know the backstory."
Fenton Museum teacher
Information was given on several people, businesses and homes that thrived in the area from the early 1800s to the 1950s. Stopping points along the tour included: the Arcade building; the Union Gospel Mission, formerly the Hotel Everett; the Fenton building; Little Theater; the Broadhead worsted mills; City Hall; First Congregational Church, now the Spire Theater; Robert H. Jackson Center; the First Church of Christ, Scientist building; the Prendergast Library; the Thurston block and terrace; Alexander Prendergast's house; the Ahrens Mansion; the Tew Mansion; the Marvin House; the Tew House; the Dow House; St. Luke's Episcopal Church; Stanton's Garage, formerly the stables of Almet Broadhead; the YMCA building; and the old telephone company building.
"I try not to talk too much about the buildings that are no longer there, because there's nothing to look at," said Hull. "It's nice when you can actually see the buildings or the houses (on the tour)."
This year, the Fenton is offering five types of tours. In addition to the old northside tour, the other tours include: the southside of Jamestown, a look at the houses along Lakeview Avenue, the industrial footprint of Jamestown and, new to this year, Jamestown's hidden alleys.
The tours take place each Saturday from 1-3 p.m., and will run on a rotating basis through Sep. 28. Participants are asked to dress appropriately for the weather and wear comfortable footwear. The fee is $10 for potential Fenton History Center members, and $5 for members. Admission for children up to age 18 is free with a paying adult, though there is a two-child limit per adult.
For more information about the Fenton History Center's walking tours, call 664-6256 or visit www.fentonhistorycenter.org.