Thursday, June 16, 2011

Jello and Plows

   We have a number of day vacations planned for the summer.   Exploration of interesting museums, sites and attractions within a day's drive is on our agenda.   Yesterday we were off to the Jello Museum in LeRoy, New York.    It was beautiful day to drive through rural central New York of the Fingerlakes area.   I enjoyed observing the newly planted fields and the rural scenery of lakes, hay fields and pastures.
   We had a tasty lunch at the Depot Restaurant which was housed in the old LeRoy railroad station.   Train destinations were posted in German as part of the decor and a round model train track was fastened to the ceiling.   All in all  a striking ambiance with excellent food and service.
The Deport Restaurant
   After lunch we were off to the LeRoy House and the Jello Museum on the main street of the village.  The LeRoy house had been built by one of the founders of the village and purchaser of the triangle tract of land of 96,000 acres stretching from LeRoy village up to Lake Ontario.   The point of triangular tract was near LeRoy.   It is a magnificent period home that had grown as the family grew to 10 children.   We exited from the LeRoy house to the rear gardens and on to the adjacent Jello Museum.
Entrance to the Jello Museum
   I can't imagine anyone that doesn't like Jello!   The story of the invention of Jello and the fate of it becoming a ubiquitous dessert was well illustrated in the museum.   The details slip my mind now but it is fascinating that this product has become a world wide icon.    Several giants of entertainers have been spokespersons for this product.   Many geezers will remember Jack Benny introducing his radio show with the opening phrase, "Jello everybody".   And Bill Cosby has been a commercial representative for Jello for over 32 years.   Apparently Cosby's run is the longest in history.   Jello ads have graced numerous major magazines and the art in these ads is known worldwide and even includes illustrations by Norman Rockwell.
   Perhaps the greatest surprise of the day for me was visit to the transportation history display in the basement of the Jello Museum.    As I entered the display I was stunned to see a plow display for the Leroy Plow Company.   Since I recently have been lecturing on the evolution of the plow and working with antique plow models I am tuned into the role of the plow in the development of our nation.   It was an amazing find to view the LeRoy Plow Company history and learn that this LeRoy, New York company had manufactured as many a 25,000 plows a year and remained in business even through World War II.  
   I expect that I will be delighted to find more interesting things in the remainder of our day vacations.  It is nice to know that we can discover wonderful things near to our home.

LeRoy PLow Company Shovel Plow


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