First local history hunt wraps up in Clifton Park

Provided by the Town of Clifton Park History Collection. A scene showing the Emporium at Grooms Corners.Provided by the Town of Clifton Park History Collection. A scene showing the Emporium at Grooms Corners.

By Cady Kuzmich
Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK — Those who regularly pass through the more historic areas of Clifton Park may have noticed an uptick in the number of folks exploring those sites this month. The Clifton Park–Halfmoon Public Library has organized its first-ever History Hunt, which has highlighted some of the most interesting places that make Clifton Park unique.

Clifton Park’s local history librarian, Tenaya Bannon, explained how the project came to fruition and what hidden gems lie waiting to be explored in the southern Saratoga County town. She and another Clifton Park historian, Gail Winters, spearheaded the idea.

Q: What inspired the creation of this event?
A: Our assistant director, Jim Foster, heard about a history race that the Albany Public Library put on. We thought it was a great way to draw attention to Clifton Park’s history and to the resources we have in the Local History Room of the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library. Albany’s event was very successful, and inspiring, so we thought it would be a fun thing for us to try.

Q: Is this the first History Hunt in Clifton Park?
A: Yes, this is the first History Hunt for Clifton Park. If it’s successful, we hope to do it again, perhaps in a year or two, using different sites, of course. This hunt is focused only on Clifton Park, because our library houses the Town of Clifton Park History Collection. Halfmoon’s history collection is housed in Halfmoon. As this was our first time doing something like this, we tried to keep it pretty simple. However, after this hunt wraps up, we’ll be reaching out to the Halfmoon historian in hopes of doing something collaborative with Halfmoon.

Q: Can you explain what a History Hunt is?
A: Our History Hunt is a kind of photographic scavenger hunt. Participants must visit all seven of Clifton Park’s hamlets and take a photo at a specific site. There are 14 “missions” in the hunt, and participants need to complete 10 of them to be eligible for our prize drawings at our wrap party May 21 at Power’s Pub. Of course, people may take a packet and complete as many or as few of the missions as they choose, just for fun!

Q: How did you decide which places to include?
A: We really wanted to highlight some of the treasures in the town of Clifton Park History Collection, which is housed in the Local History Room of the library. So we chose sites that are of historic significance to the town, and of which we have good photographs. It was tough to narrow it down, but we wanted to keep the hunt small enough so people could complete it within a couple of hours.

Q: What are some of the highlights?
A: There are so many hidden gems in this town. Clifton Park has grown so much since the Northway opened up, that people may miss some of the older buildings sprinkled in among so many newer ones. Some of the highlights are the Grooms Tavern, which has been beautifully restored, the Amity Reformed Church, with its Tiffany windows, and the remaining arches from the Rexford aqueduct. Of course, the hamlets of Vischer Ferry and Jonesville are just charming to drive through.

Q: Where can people find more information on the event?
A: Packets are available at the Ask a Librarian desk at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, 475 Moe Road. The Hunt officially ends on May 21, with our wrap party. Registration for the party is required and closes on May 16. However, any leftover packets will be kept at the ‘Ask a Librarian’ desk after May 21, for those who are interested to explore at their leisure.