As most folks in Binghamton are aware, the mansion was built by Sherman Phelps in 1872, and he and his family lived in it for a number of years. He and his family were certainly colorful characters who helped to establish Binghamton as a center for business and trade. Later residents also helped to shape the fabric of the Southern Tier in their own ways, including G. Harry Lester, who operated a very successful shoe manufacturing operation. While his business operations were quite successful, his personal life was … colorful. The mansion was often the center of heated political discussions during the late 1800’s. Changes were happening, and the residents of the mansion, like everyone living in Binghamton, had their opinions.
During the course of the evening the History Happy Hour guests will have a chance to meet and talk with these characters from the past. Each of the costumed guides will share the story of the mansion from their own unique perspective. The tours will focus less on the material items in each room and more on the individual’s understanding of their changing world. Following the tours, the guests will return to the ballroom for a period of questions and answers as well as more tastings from Water Street.
The Phelps Mansion Museum is located at 191 Court Street (next to the library). The museum offers a wide array of historical and arts-related programming throughout the year. The museum is a member supported non-profit educational institution that aims to help visitors better understand the importance of the Gilded Age (1870-1893) in the growth of the Southern Tier and beyond. Individuals who are not able to attend the Happy Hour but who would like to help support the efforts of the museum are encouraged to visit Phelpsmansion.org to learn more about how you can help keep history alive.