The Erie Canal Village, Rome, NY, Part 2

You can read about Part 1 here. After wandering around the historic houses and marveling over the advances in modern technology (like, uh, washing machines and light bulbs!), we made our way over the the Cheese Factory Museum. I have to admit, I know very little about the history of cheesemaking. I don’t even eat cheese very often!

Cheese Factory back

Cheese Factory

The cheese industry in New York was the top in the nation for a while, even surpassing Wisconsin. Cheese was an important meat substitute for the diets of early Americans. Livestock was not eaten nearly as frequently as it is now.

Cheese Sign 1

The kids had a lot of fun exploring the various hands-on displays.

Cheese Barrel

Cheese Tavern

1840 Kitchen 3

Cheesemaking and selling was a highly competitive and volatile market. Toward the beginning of the 20th century, cheesemaking in the United States was on the decline, and Canadian cheese rose to be the cream of the crop, so to speak. Domestic cheeses in New York State remained popular, until the Legislature passed a law forbidding taverns to offer free meals to the patrons. This essentially killed the cheese industry in the state. Figures. Stupid Legislature, still up to their old tricks!

Churning Butter

Windlass in Cheese factory

After our cheese education, we wandered over to the town tavern for a drink. Free lemonade!

Tavern Building

Inspecting the Tavern Kitchen

We explored the building a little. Here’s a real trundle bed.

Tavern Trundle Bed

And a little barber’s shop on the second floor.

Tavern Barber Shop

The third floor was all open space. Lovely!

Tavern Attic

The Harden Museum was a huge barn full of old buggies, carriages, and sleighs. These vehicles were the main form of transportation for hundreds of years until the automobile.

Harden Museum entrance



The boys were more interested in what was in this little tunnel.

Sleigh Mystery

Nothing, it was just a display of a bridge that sleighs crossed.

We even saw an old hearse!

Hearse Carriage

After this escapade, we went to see the old schoolhouse and Methodist church.

School House Building

School House Sign

School House Room

It is amazing how simple the school is. And the education far surpasses that what is done today. The Methodist church was beautiful in its simplicity, too.

Methodist Church

Methodist Church Interior 3

Methodist Church Interior 1

It was almost time for the Packet Boat ride! I’ll have more on that— and a video– very soon!

About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (4)

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  1. lala says:

    lol…I used to live next door to some Rome boys in Charlotte, NC. They were like “small town boys come to the big city” and they were WILD (ditching cabs without paying and nightly wrestlemania in their living room)! Really good guys, lots of fun to hang out with, but WILD! The city proved to be too much for them and they all moved back to Rome.



  2. Rob says:

    Loved the article. I’m no cheese expert, but I have had fun sampling local cheeses in upstate NY and Vermont. It’s a great way to introduce yourself to some of the local culture and people. Small time cheese makers usually know about other local goodies like organic honey and local wineries, too, as well as where to find a good restaurant.
    Thanks for the post.

  3. lala, thanks for visiting. The wild boys returned now, eh? I think they are serving in county government now….

    Rob, thank you kindly for your comments. I’m no cheese expert, but your words make me wonder if I should be! I love to rub elbows with the locals! 🙂

  4. lala says:

    lol…You’re joking about that I know, but the one guy was going back because he was getting a job in the Mayor’s office…hahaha…