Then and Now – Palmyra

Circa 1890

The village along the banks of the Erie Canal has been growing and prospering since 1789. As time has passed, many things in the community have stayed the same and many things have changed, but one thing is for sure – this quaint community has kept its history, its architecture, the beautiful homes, and unique 1826 buildings that serve as the five museums of Historic Palmyra.

After the urban renewal program, which many claimed actually hurt older communities, Palmyra has became a poster child for preservation and restoration. Keeping the old structures and adding some new ones keeps a balance of changes. One example is The Phelps Store. Today it is called the Phelps Restoration Property. It has not just remained but has flourished and remains one of the only, if not the only, original authentic Erie Canal-era store and home.

Parades and events happen throughout the year with the Canaltown Days Grand Parade and the Wayne County Fair Firemen’s Parade in August. Today there is still a Memorial Day Parade with a service in the Village Cemetery honoring those remembered for their great sacrifice.

Visit Palmyra and hear the stories of 230 years of history.

Trivia Time!

Where is the Palmyra’s church intersection listed as the only place in the world to find one church of a major denomination on each corner?
“Ripley’s Believe it or Not.”

What famous couple was married in the Western Presbyterian Church on April 5, 1849?
Clarissa and Leonard Jerome. They are the parents of Jenny Jerome, who was born in Brooklyn in 1854 and became the mother of Sir Winston Churchill.

Palmyra was part of what purchase in 1789?
Phelps and Gorham purchase as Township 12 District 2 and 3 by Captain John Swift.

Which community did not fall prey to urban renewal from 1964 to 1976?
Palmyra saved its original Main Street and on the north side from Main to Canal Street.

In what National Geographic magazine is Palmyra featured?
The May 1977 issue includes an aerial view of the entire village with a heading “Dreamers and Doers.”


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