History of the Gilboa History Society
Our association was founded in 1997. At that point, the small group of people were focused on both the old village of Gilboa and the fossils that had been found there (the village was in a Schoharie Creek valley like those in Fulton, Middleburgh, and up to the Mohawk Rive, and the fossils were from the Devonian period (350-million years ago) and were seen as an essential step in the evolution of competitive, land-based ecologies.
In our first decade, we acquired a decommissioned town hall to use as a fossil museum, and our collection included owned or loaned Gilboa Fossils, artifacts, and photos of the village.
The second decade saw our society really bloom with outbuildings for farm equipment, a museum addition doubling our display space, and an expansion of our charter to fully include our cultural history as well as natural history.
Now, starting our third decade, we have added a large covered pavilion for outdoor events. We have grown to be a full-blown repository of rural history in upstate New York and a tourist attraction for southern Schoharie, western Greene, and northeast Delaware counties.
Facilities at the Gilboa Historical Society Campus
The Gilboa Museum and the Nicholas J. Juried History Center and are 2 parts of a dynamic learning center for natural and cultural history, while the large open porch and the Dorothy Cox Juried Pavilion is home for larger outdoor events like GilboaFest, the GHS Ice Cream Social, and the Psychic Fair; it is also available for public use with permission. (links for italics to come)
The Campus is located at 122 Stryker Road, Gilboa, NY 12076. Map to GHS Campus~
Note: Thanks to Hurricane Irene, Stryker Road no longer connects Route 30 at Nickerson’s Campground to our campus. Coming from the north, you have to continue on Route 30 to State Route 990V, turn left, and pick up Stryker Road just to the east of the Schoharie River bridge.
Activities at the Gilboa Historical Society Campus
(activities might well be moved onto a separate calendar-based page)
The campus is open noon–4:30 Saturdays and Sundays from Memorial Day through Labor Day and Columbus Day weekend. Throughout the year, we host private tours for individual and student groups ( firstname.lastname@example.org or call 607 588-9413), and we are starting a ToursOnCall to provide individual tours for small groups or a family. For more information on impromptu or planned small group visits throughout the year, click here (link to come).
The society meets at 7:00 pm on the third Wednesday of each month, March through December. In the event of snow or ice, our meetings would be moved to the Gilboa Town Hall, located at 373 State Route 990V, Gilboa, NY 12076 (across from the DEP station).
We have a program and speaker at every meeting except for July (field trip car-pooled to a selected area attraction) and August (ice cream social with live music).
(addresses, names, etc might well be moved onto a Who We Are page)
P.O. Box 52
Gilboa, NY 12076-0052
What is there about the Gilboa area that attracts
both local tourists and international researchers?
Historically, Gilboa and Conesville have three major attractions that are highlighted in both permanent and rotating museum displays as well as our popular programs:
- Gilboa Forest (http://www.gilboafossils.org/) was the first land-based complex ecosystem 385-million years ago on Earth’s only continent, Pangaea. The first exploration of this petrified forest was made in the 1920s by Winifred Goldring, and since that time, scientists have found Gilboa Fossils throughout the world in Venezuela, Ireland, and Eastern Europe. The Gilboa Museum has a permanent exhibit on Gilboa Fossils, and rotating exhibits on the evolution of scientific theory, new discoveries about these ancient relics, and fossil games for children.
- New York City’s Schoharie Reservoir: In 1916, the Gilboa valley became the projected sight for the northern-most reservoir in the New York City water supply. This resource is one of the smallest NYC reservoirs west-of-the-Hudson, and yet is fed by one of its largest watersheds. This combination of early public works, environmental importance to the city, and having a compact area makes it ideal for historical and educational research.
- The Village of Old Gilboa: The center of Gilboa in 1916 was a large hamlet of several hundred homes, a large business and industrial center, and adjacent to 4 square miles of rich Schoharie valley farmland. Within a decade, this cultural center had been documented, photographed, and culturally archived before it was razed and the valley filled with water. Just as Vesuvius transformed Pompeii into a study of ancient life, Gilboa is locked in time, providing insights to turn-of-the-century life in rural America.