Sunday, February 14, 2010

Randolph and Kenyon Store-Greene block: What professor Binns ate in the 1900's

One of the most interesting pieces of architecture in Alfred is the terra cotta building known as the Greene Hall that is adorned with winged cherub faces. I have always wondered about this building and what used to be there. It is interesting to think about the past and to consider that while a building may have been around for a hundred years, what it house has probably changed over and over again. I learned that in 1896 what used to be housed in this building was the Randolph and Kenyon store operated by David Randolph and Walter D Kenyon. I don’t really want to focus too much on the building itself, but it is made of terra cotta and this is because of the terra cotta factory that was still in existence at the time right down the street. The function of the Randolph and Kenyon Store was to be a local convenience store to serve the local community and I think it can be contrasted with Kinfolk in the current Alfred. The social application is that it was a community-based store that revolved around the system of IOU’s based on the founding members of the community having tabs. Records of these tabs still exist for instance on Sept. 9 1900 Professor Binns for 2 boxes of peaches at the price of 20 cents. Truman Crandall purchased pie and figs for 10 cents, 3 bananas 5 cents, 3 oranges 5 cents, 6 tangerines 10 cents. It is interesting to be able to know what people who have buildings named after them at Alfred University had to eat in the 1900’s. It is also interesting to note that Kinfolk operates on the same system of having a written tab and that there is probably a record of what certain local professors at Alfred University have been eating for the last year. It would be a good opportunity to create a map showing the eating habits of local Alfred professors for the Alfred Luck project.

Work cited

The Alfred Historical Society and Baker’s Bridge Association. History of Alfred, New York. Dallas Texas: Curtis Media Corporation, 1990.

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