The Lodi Historical Society

Lodi Historical Society

Lodi Historical Society

The Lodi Historical Society is one of the main cultural organizations in Lodi, and does more than just the name suggests. The Lodi Historical Society aims to preserve the history of our town, but also organizes events, concerts and is the social glue of the community to a certain extent.

When I was young we would always participate in Lodi Historical Society events with my grandma, as she was heavily involved in the organization. Some of my fondest Lodi memories are of the “Dish-to-Pass” suppers in the Lodi Historical building where people would come together with their signature potluck dishes and the food and conversation would flow. My grandma would often bring a large slab cake and jello with fruit and/or vegetables in it: nectar of the gods!

The Lodi Historical Society events are a large part of their year-round activities in Lodi. Concerts by the Finger Lakes Chamber Ensemble occur a few times a year, and the annual art show and artisan show are very popular as well.

The Lodi Historical Society building is a gorgeous former church with a raised stage, seating for hundreds and a fully restored Hook Tracker Organ, as well as reception areas for more casual meetings. It’s a great venue for weddings in the heart of Finger Lakes wine country and frankly a steal at $400!

In the interest of full disclosure I should explain that my dad is the co-president of the Lodi Historical Society but I can assure you my opinions stated here are completely unbiased. And let me tell you, the perks of being the daughter of the co-president of the Lodi Historical Society are numerous… to numerous to go into here, really…

The Lodi Historical Society is a great example of a volunteer-run organization that has been around for many, many years that keeps the life of our little town going with recurring activities that are both for Lodinians as well as being a way to attract new visitors to Lodi.

To become a member of the Lodi Historical Society, visit their website to learn more.


Oh Lord…

Creedence Clearwater Revival

Creedence Clearwater Revival

You know the song, right? The chorus goes “Oh Lord, stuck in Lodi again.” It’s catchy, it’s recognizable and somehow it always seems to express the sentiment applicable to being in Lodi, whichever Lodi you may be describing.

When I mention that my family’s from Lodi or my cottage is in Lodi people often respond with a blank stare or a furrowed, confused brow, which is fair enough. Sometimes this is followed swiftly by a glimmer of recognition and a recollection of an old tune from the 60s. “Oh yeah! Like the song!” they might say.

The song, simply called “Lodi”, is by Creedence Clearwater Revival and isn’t necessarily as well known as some of their really big hits like “Bad Moon Rising” and “Down on the Corner”. It does make it on their Greatest Hits compilations, however, and has certainly worked its way into popular culture.

As it turns out, the song was written about a Lodi in California, not our Lodi. The song is about a young musician who is trying to make it in the music business but unable to raise enough money to leave this town which doesn’t seem to have a whole lot going for it.

As it also turns out, there are a lot more Lodis in the U.S. than you might think. I once counted at least 13 Lodis in the US atlas. I’ve been through Lodi, New Jersey and perhaps whizzed past another Lodi at some point on a road trip.

Our Lodi is probably amongst the smallest with a population hovering around 350. In that there are not many businesses or much commercial infrastructure you can see how someone might express resentment about being stuck here. You could almost see how they could write a song about it. In that is is the beginning of the gorgeous Seneca East wine trail, home to stunning historic architecture and a thriving, supportive community atmosphere you can see how it wouldn’t be too bad to be stuck here, really.

Hurd’s of Lodi, a prominent local business and hardware store located on Lodi’s Main St. for many years used to sell a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “Lodi, NY: Where it All Happens”. This sentiment seems to go hand in hand with that of the CCR song. We love to poke fun at the places we come from or get stuck in from time to time.

What do you think? Do all Lodis inspire the statement “Oh Lord, stuck _here_ again?”

The Infamous Eagle Hotel

Eagle Hotel

Originally uploaded by j-co

Lodi is a small town with a population under 400 year-round. If you’re travelling on Route 414 in the North-South direction you don’t even have to stop at any point as you travel through Lodi. Many people don’t even slow down much.

There isn’t much commerce on Main St. in Lodi. There’s a Post Office, an ice cream stand, a printing shop and a den of ill repute: the infamous Eagle Hotel.

The Eagle Hotel is a building with an incredible amount of history–it’s been around as long as Lodi itself. The Eagle is a bar with a dining room that’s open on Fridays and Saturdays but those two areas are worlds apart, as far as I can tell.

I have been to the dining room a few times for the Friday Night Fish Fry which was great. The ambiance is set with a woman playing old-timey music on the piano as you enter the building. The rest of the experience is just about as old-timey; the food is good and the service friendly.

I have never–and proabably will never–set foot in the bar portion of the Eagle Hotel. This is the kind of place that has regulars, a horseshoe pit out back and neon signs blinking incessantly. There is no really good reason that I couldn’t go in there, except for the fact that I’m not sure it’s really my kind of place. It’s just that I can’t imagine what my grandmother would say if she knew I’d done such a thing (she passed away 15 years ago).

My grandma was Temperance Union and abhorred alcohol in her house (sorry Grandma, that rule’s been broken!). The Eagle Hotel represented a repository of all that was unacceptable in my grandmother’s eyes–or at least that’s how I remember it from when I was little. You could often, and still can, hear the Eagle’s loud, pulsating music from our house a block away and hear the revellers getting into all sorts of mischief. It all just seemed like a *bad* thing when I was little.

Often when my friends come to visit they really want to go to the Eagle to get some local flavour and enjoy a cheap beer. My brother’s had the same experience. But if they are able to get up the nerve to go we refuse to go with them. I just can’t! I can’t bear to think of Grandma’s reaction, looking down from wherever she might be!

Main Street, Lodi

Lodi Museum on Main Street

Lodi Museum on Main Street

We have some friends from Lodi visiting us in Ottawa this weekend and it was great to show them the sights like the Tulip Festival and the Parliament buildings. But it’s also great to catch up on everything that’s going on in Lodi from thier perspective, to get the news and hear about what’s been going on recently.

Now there’s always lots going on in a small town, but what’s funny about Lodi is that there is not much in terms of commerce on our Main Street so you don’t neccessarily see the activity on of the town on the Main Street. Apart from the post office, there aren’t a lot of chances for people to meet in town to see each other and chat, like a coffee shop or a diner or a grocery store.

Over the years there have been lots of different businesses that have come and gone on Main Street of Lodi of course. My dad remembers when he was little and there was a large dry good store and hardware store on Main St. I remember when I was little there was always a little corner store on Main St. where you could pick up milk, bread, the newspaper etc. Actually, when I was little the main things I was getting at the store were Atomic Fireball candies and Italian Ices.

There are curently no businesses on Main St. except for the Post Office and the Eagle Hotel, which is a bar and serves a fish fry on Friday nights and other dinner items on Saturday nights. The bar and the dining room are in different areas of the building, and in fact the hotel portion is no longer in operation, but it’s one of the oldest establishments in Lodi. There are several other store fronts, one of which is now occupied by the Lodi Musuem, which was opened last year. It’s a lovely little building stuffed with local lore and artifacts.

There is a building that was recently purchased which we all beleived was being turned into a microbrewery. They did a lovely job of redoing the facade but it has sat empty for a few years now. We were speculating as to the reasons, but no one knew for sure what’s going on there. It would be so cool to complement the great wineries in the area with a microbrewery and to draw more people to Main Street.

Tonight we all agreed that locals could really benefit from having a small grocery store or corner store. The nearest store is at least 5 miles away, which is not far, but a bit of a pain nonetheless. It would also be lovely to have a little coffee shop or bakery, maybe a gift shop where you could pick up Wine Trail information… so if there are any budding entrepreneurs out there, think of Lodi as a prime spot, ready for some local businesses!