May 30, 2016

Exploring Mexico, New York

Travelers venture near and far but many have never visited the
great places near home.  It is the same all over the world.  Many times I have asked the receptionist at a hotel to suggest local places to visit and they respond with, “I hear “such-and-such” is great but I have never been there.” The same is true locally.  I do many presentations and am amazed how few people have explored places near their home – or even in their hometown.

For such a small community, Mexico, NY,  has some wonderful places to visit. Within walking distance there are three interesting places to visit.  The beautiful high school is home to "La Guerre d'Independence," an impressive scenic wall mural that depicts America's War of Independence. The historic mural was made in France and is purported to be the only place where the complete mural is on display. The White House in Washington and Fraunces Tavern in NYC have some of the panels. 

The Star Clark Tin Shop and Underground Museum on Main Street
was a pivotal stop on the Underground Railroad.  Starr Clark aided runaway slaves and planned their onward movement from the tin shop. Clark saw to that they had housing either in his Tin Shop, his home, or in the homes of other local antislavery families. He also arranged schedules for forwarding "the goods" and provided transportation to the next station. Helping runaways was illegal so records are hard to find
but in one well-documented case a runaway named George was aided by Clark on his way to freedom in Canada. Mexico was also instrumental in helping Jerry McHenry make his way to Canada in what became a “cause celebre.”  Just a short walk from the Tin Shop is the Mexico Museum dedicated to preserving the history of Mexico.  There are changing displays. 

Mexico was the sometime home of Audrey Munson, considered to be “America’s First Supermodel.” New Haven has a newly erected sign designating her burial site in their cemetery. Munson posed for about 100 statues currently in New York City and many elsewhere.  A new book, “The Curse of Beauty,” relates the life and times of Munson. It recently hit the bookshelves. It is an interesting read and has all the elements needed for a great movie. 

The Town of Mexico has the only free park on Lake Ontario. Mexico Point Park has a small beach with lifeguards, picnic tables, grills, and unique life-size hand-carved statues of people associated with the park.  There are two short trails; one has an accompanying brochure describing aspects of the trail.  The other trail leads to an historic marker designating the burial site of Silas
Towne, Mexico’s Paul Revere.  Towne warned the colonists at Fort Stanwix that the British, with a contingent of Native Americans, were on the way to attack the fort.  Fort Stanwix was readied and withstood the assault which was instrumental in the thwarting the British plan to conquer New York and the rest of the colonies.  The park is home to the unique Casey’s Cottage, a carriage house that was turned into an 11th century manor house.  The hand caved walls, ceilings, and beams are of special note.  Mexico Point Park hosts weddings and a variety of events.