There is a town in the Southern Tier of New York called Elmira. It has quite a rich history, even though it isn’t as interesting these days. Elmira New York used to have great industry, and many things to do and see. Some of its inhabitants grew up to be very famous people!
1. Eldridge Park
Eldridge Park was one hell of an amusement park in its heyday and had a fantastic wooden roller coaster that could scare the hell out of the best of ’em!
2. Elmira College
Elmira College started out in 1855 as an all female college that was the first college in the country to offer a degree program equal to that of men!
3. Mark Twain
Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) married an Elmira Native, Olivia Langdon, wrote many of his famous stories at Quarry Farm and is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery. His Study, where he wrote “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and many other stories is located at Elmira College.
5. Eileen Collins
Former astronaut Eileen Collins, an Elmira native, was the first female pilot and first female commander of a space shuttle.
6. William Henry Reynolds
Film editor William Henry Reynolds, an Elmira native, was nominated for an Academy Award seven times and won twice, for “The Sound of Music” and “The Sting.”
7. The Arctic League
During Christmas it was a fun and moving experience to volunteer with the Arctic League to bring Christmas cheer to needy children and families.
8. R.T. French & Sons
The first mass-produced mustard was created by Elmira coffee, tea and spice merchant Robert Timothy French, who moved to New York City in 1880 and formed R.T. French & Sons with Elmira-born son George Jackson French. The mustard debuted at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.
9. Dunn Field
You may have seen Babe Ruth hit a home run, a triple and a single in an exhibition game at Dunn Field in Elmira on Oct. 17, 1928.
10. The People’s Place
You shopped at The People’s Place which was Tommy Hilfiger’s first clothing store before he went off to become a fashion designer.
11. Carousal At Eldridge Park
You rode the carousal at Eldridge Park and tried to grab a ring!
12. Donn Zimmer
You may have witnessed Don Zimmer while playing for the Elmira Pioneers, marry his high school sweetheart at home plate at Dunn Field in 1951.
13. Classic Movies
You watched “Our Gang” and “Little Rascals” as well as movies with Laurel and Hardy knowing Movie producer Hal Roach was born in Elmira and is buried there.
14. Ernie Davis
You may have gone to school with Ernie Davis, who had played baseball, basketball and football at Elmira Free Academy, became the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.
15. Brian Williams
The NBC News Anchor Brian Williams lived in Elmira as a boy. He might have been your playmate!
16. Baseball Legends
You may have seen many baseball greats play at Dunn Field during their minor league years, including Wade Boggs, Curt Schilling, Jim Palmer and Paul Blair.
17. Vaudeville Circuit
Elmira was a frequent stop on the vaudeville circuit for many years and brought many different actors to the area.
You might have learned to roller skate at Joycrest!!
19. The Highschools
You either went to Elmira Free Academy or Southside High School and enjoyed the rivalry between the two schools. It’s one of the most familiar things about Elmira New York!
20. The Domes
You had fun ice skating at The Domes!
Elmira was originally called Newtown but is supposedly named after a young girl who was lost and the city leaders heard her mother calling her name and decided that is what the new name for the city shall be!