Caledonia 1892

This exhibit is based upon an 1892 bird's eye panorama created by Burleigh Litho of Troy, NY. From an overhead viewpoint of perhaps 1,500 feet—a location that wasn’t accessible in this era before airplanes—we look down upon a somewhat simplified and idealized portrait of Caledonia. Below the illustrated map, its legend provides us with a snapshot of the village recovering from a major fire in 1891. Forty-eight numbered points included railroad stations, churches, the public school, and even Seth Green’s fish hatchery in nearby Mumford. The majority of named locations, however, were commercial enterprises serving as a likely base of customers to purchase copies of the completed map: if you subscribed, your business became a location. This exhibit includes a section about the 1891 fire and its consequences; one upon panoramic maps, and the Burleigh Litho company in particular; a tour of the bird's eye map; a section offering more detailed information about most of the individual businesses; and a gallery of similar maps from western New York. Together, they show Caledonia rebuilding itself at the century’s turn using the swiftly evolving medium of advertising and its imagined worlds, an appropriate counterpart to this idealized village as seen from the clouds above.


Ken Cooper. Thanks to: Leah Root, Tom Tryniski / Fulton History.