A close-up example of a wall from a siltstone house.

LHS dinner features Derrick Pratt

LYONS — The public is invited to attend the Lyons Heritage Society’s 11th annual dinner, which will feature a presentation by Derrick Pratt of the Syracuse Canal Museum Sept. 29 at Wayne Hills Country Club.

Pratt will present “Pathway of Resistance: The Underground Railway and the Erie Canal.” After a social hour beginning at 5 p.m., followed by a sit-down dinner at 6 p.m., Pratt will detail the role of the canal in spreading the abolitionist movement and creating networks on the Underground Railway. As the educational director of the Canal Museum and former educational director of the Chittenango Boat Museum, Pratt is a canal historian who has given talks throughout the Central and Finger Lakes regions.

Tickets for the event, which includes a silent auction, are $35. Buy them by calling Carol Bailey at (315) 946-4379 no later than Sept. 20.

Tour siltstone houses on Sept. 24

OVID — From 1-4 p.m. Sept. 24, the public will have the opportunity to get inside three of the 10 known siltstone houses in the towns of Ovid and Lodi in southern Seneca County. Sponsored by the Ovid Historical Society, at a cost of $10 per adult, people will see what these rather unique stone houses look like inside, as well as driving by and stopping to take close looks at the exteriors of the other seven known siltstone houses in the area.

Tickets are purchased the day of the tour at the Ovid Historical Society Museum, 7203 S. Main St. (Route 414), starting at noon. To guarantee a spot on the tour, advance tickets can be arranged by contacting Dave Eastman at (607) 592-7785. This is a self-driving tour — no transportation will be provided by the Ovid Historical Society. With each purchased ticket, a brief informational brochure will provide the addresses of all the siltstone houses, with a suggested driving route.

Also available for purchase the day of the tour will be a new book titled “Siltstone Houses in Ovid and Lodi” authored by Seneca County Historian Walt Gable. The book is filled with many visuals and provides much detailed information about the nature of siltstone houses, the main features of the 10 known siltstone houses in Ovid and Lodi and some history of the people who built these houses. Gable will be available to autograph the books purchased. The book costs $10.

Siltstone houses are built of cut pieces of siltstone, which is a special form of mud rock with a low level of clay content. Siltstone is unlike shale, which can easily flake into thin pieces or layers. Siltstone can be in different colors, but usually is gray, brown or reddish-brown. The siltstone that exists in the Ovid-Lodi area was caused by glaciers.

The last such glacier was about 12,000 years ago. These glaciers were about a mile deep of ice, causing such tremendous downward pressure on silt that the silt was compressed into a sedimentary rock. There is an east-west band of a layer of siltstone that extends through southern Seneca County and the Taughannock Falls gorge. With the siltstone layer so close to the ground surface, it was easily quarried and cut into pieces to use for building the exterior walls of houses.

Siltstone houses are sometimes confused with cobblestone houses. While cobblestones are used in their naturally gathered-up sizes and shapes, siltstones are cut pieces of siltstone quarried from underground.

Proceeds from this tour will used by the Ovid Historical Society to defray costs in upgrading its technology.

Genealogy session planned for Sept. 27

NEWARK — On Sept. 27, join the Wayne County NY Genealogical Society for an informative program titled “Beginning Genealogy: How to Research Your Family Ancestors.”

Presented by Society President Barbara Hill, this program will begin at 7 p.m. at the Newark-Arcadia Museum, 120 High St. All are welcome.


  • Siltstone
  • Geology
  • Shale
  • Layer
  • Ovid Historical Society Museum
  • Derrick Pratt
  • Ticket
  • Walt Gable

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