Eddie Brennan on Beak & Skiff: Family Orchard to Tourist Destination

The Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library are delighted to announce our April 2021 event, an evening with Eddie Brennan, President and Co-Owner of Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards. Mr. Brennan will share the story of how this fifth-generation business evolved from a small family farm into regional producer of award-winning ciders, spirits, and wine, and, finally, to a polished, publicly-acclaimed tourist and event destination. Beak & Skiff’s transformation is at the heart of all that makes Central New York agriculture great, and is a shining exemplar of Central New York’s entrepreneurial ethos. A brief Q&A will follow Mr. Brennan’s discussion.

This event will be held on Thursday, April 8th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUqfu2gqzovGdS_NJqXGc-WN3bPJ-O9ljVN

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Beak & Skiff

Beak & Skiff has been growing apples for over 100 years. The operation began in 1911 when George Skiff, an onion farmer on the North Side of Syracuse, and Andrew Beak, a dairy farmer, met at the farmers market and decided to join forces and enter the then emerging apple business. They found that the hillside area along Route 20 provided the perfect conditions for growing apples and began planting that very year.

For most of the 20th century, Beak & Skiff was strictly a wholesale apple producer, selling apples to grocery stores such as Victory and A&P. It was throughout this first phase of the business that they developed the culture of creativity and innovation that would set the stage for where the business is today. At first, this culture manifested itself in technological innovations around protecting and increasing the yield of their apple crop. In 1975, the business turned outward for the first time, opening its doors to the public as one of the nation’s first pick-your-own orchards. This was followed a few years later by the conversion of an old dairy barn into the Apple Hill Country Store and the beginning of Beak & Skiff’s foray into cider production. It was during this time that a visit to the orchard first became a fall tradition for many Central New York families.

In 2001, Beak & Skiff launched their 1911 Established line of Hard Ciders, catching a nascent cider revival that was soon to sweep the country. Before long, 1911 Established ciders were available in stores, restaurants, and bars across New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The success of their hard cider line led to a jump into wine and the spirits business via the launch of 1911 Spirits small batch premium vodka and gin and later brandy and bourbon. In 2013, Beak & Skiff renovated their Apple Hill Campus, transforming it into a major regional agrotourism destination and event venue.

Today, Beak & Skiff is in their fifth generation of family ownership and continuing to innovate. Early on in the COVID-19 pandemic, the 1911 Spirits distillery switched over to the production of hand sanitizer which was ultimately sold and donated across Central New York. 2020 also saw the launch of Beak & Skiff’s industrial hemp and multi-product CBD business

Samuel Gruber on Famed Syracuse Architect Ward Wellington Ward

The Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library are delighted to announce our March 2021 event, an evening with Samuel D. Gruber, Ph.D., which will be cohosted by the Arts & Crafts Society of Central New York. Dr. Gruber, who is president of the Arts & Crafts Society of Central New York, will present an illustrated lecture on the famed Syracuse architect Ward Wellington Ward. No other architect has left such a variety of high-quality houses in Syracuse as Ward Wellington Ward, the region’s most accomplished architect of the Arts & Crafts Movement. In a relatively brief career in Central New York (1908-1929) he designed scores of houses, a great many of which remain occupied and in excellent condition throughout the city. No one walking tour can visit more than a handful of Ward houses at a time, so we’ll take advantage of the virtual world to Zoom around from neighborhood to neighborhood to see and evaluate Ward’s output and contribution. A brief Q&A will follow Dr. Gruber’s Lecture.

This event will be held on Thursday, March 11th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYoceqvrDkvGNaev7kkKm5rqXUSqbLkf6S9

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Samuel D. Gruber


Samuel D. Gruber, Ph.D, an accomplished researcher, author, curator and consultant, is the founder and managing director of Gruber Heritage Global (GHG) – a cultural resources consulting firm. He holds M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in architectural history from Columbia University, a B.A. from Princeton University in Medieval Studies, and a certificate in surveying and measured drawing from Cornell University. He is recognized internationally as an expert in many aspects of the architecture and historic preservation of religious properties. For many years Dr. Gruber organized the historic house tours in the Westcott neighborhood, where he also developed and offered eight newly researched neighborhood walking tours. He has served on many local community and not-for-profit boards and committees, including the Preservation Association of Central New York from 1996 through 2010, which he served as Executive Director (1999-2000) and president (2004 through 2009). Since 2018 he has served as president of the Arts & Crafts Society of Central New York.

About Ward Wellington Ward

Ward Wellington Ward was born in Chicago in 1875. As a young architect interested in the Arts and Crafts movement, he moved to Syracuse, in part, because of the presence of Gustav Stickley, a leading figure of the “Craftsman” style. He designed more than 250 buildings during his career, some 120 of which still survive. Included among them are 26 homes in Syracuse that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are at least 8 Ward Wellington Ward homes in Strathmore.

Suzanne Mettler on “Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy”

The Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library are delighted to announce our February 2021 event, an evening with political scientist and Cornell University professor Suzanne Mettler who will discuss her latest book Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy, which seeks to understand the tempest currently embroiling the nation’s institutions by placing it within a broader historical context. Many Americans subscribe to the belief that American democracy is eternal—an impervious object that no ideology, social, cultural, or political movement, and certainly no individual could ever tear asunder. Yet as Professor Mettler observes in Four Threats, America’s democratic experiment is anything but imperturbable. Four distinct pressures—political polarization, racism and nativism, economic inequality, and excessive executive power—menaced the republic in 1790, during the Civil War, in the Gilded Age and Great Depression, and most recently during the Watergate scandal. While American democracy resisted these threats in the past, there is no guarantee it will weather the current storm. What makes the here and now unique and alarming, Professor Mettler argues, is that all four of these threats are active at once. A brief Q&A will follow Professor Mettler’s talk.

This event will be held on Thursday, February 11th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJYuceqqqTMiH9MEWFQflmR-Q2E5z6uTkUiq

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Suzanne Mettler

Suzanne Mettler is the John L. Senior Professor of American Institutions in the Government Department at Cornell University. Her research and teaching interests include American political development, inequality, public policy, political behavior, and democracy.

She is the author of six books, including, most recently, Four Threats: The Recurring Crises of American Democracy, co-authored with Robert C. Lieberman. Her short essays and op-eds have been featured in popular outlets including the New York TimesLos Angeles TimesChronicle of Higher Educationand Washington Monthly. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the recipient of Guggenheim and Radcliffe Fellowships, and serves on the boards of the Scholars Strategy Network and the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences

About her latest book

Information about purchasing a copy of this book can be found here: https://us.macmillan.com/books/9781250244420

An urgent, historically-grounded take on the four major factors that undermine American democracy, and what we can do to address them.

While many Americans despair of the current state of U.S. politics, most assume that our system of government and democracy itself are invulnerable to decay. Yet when we examine the past, we find that the United States has undergone repeated crises of democracy, from the earliest days of the republic to the present.

In Four Threats, Suzanne Mettler and Robert C. Lieberman explore five moments in history when democracy in the U.S. was under siege: the 1790s, the Civil War, the Gilded Age, the Depression, and Watergate. These episodes risked profound―even fatal―damage to the American democratic experiment. From this history, four distinct characteristics of disruption emerge. Political polarization, racism and nativism, economic inequality, and excessive executive power―alone or in combination―have threatened the survival of the republic, but it has survived―so far. What is unique, and alarming, about the present moment in American politics is that all four conditions exist.

This convergence marks the contemporary era as a grave moment for democracy. But history provides a valuable repository from which we can draw lessons about how democracy was eventually strengthened―or weakened―in the past. By revisiting how earlier generations of Americans faced threats to the principles enshrined in the Constitution, we can see the promise and the peril that have led us to today and chart a path toward repairing our civic fabric and renewing democracy.

Hyatt Green on COVID-19: Predicting the Next Outbreak

The Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library are delighted to announce our January 2021 event, an evening with SUNY ESF professor Hyatt Green, whose novel approach to wastewater monitoring is currently being used as an early warning system for the next major outbreak of COVID-19 in Onondaga County. Battling COVID-19 requires rigorous testing. Testing, if it is to succeed, requires the close coordination of microbiologists, public health officials, and operational technologists. Professor Green’s cutting-edge wastewater monitoring project unites these fields. Its blend of microbiology and biotech provides local governments and public health officials with a non-invasive method for detecting the prevalence of COVID-19 in our community—a method that may just be able to contain the next outbreak before it spreads. You won’t want to miss this incredibly topical event. A brief Q&A will follow Professor Green’s presentation.

This event will be held on Thursday, January 14th at 7 pm on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJUrdeyqrTIuHdAtO64QbJTKanSoJNNbhthH

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Hyatt Green

Hyatt Green is an assistant professor at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. He holds a PhD in Microbiology from Oregon State University, and has been published in numerous scientific journals, including Applied and Environmental Microbiology and Environmental Science and Technology. His research looks at molecular microbial ecology, water quality and microbial source-tracking, microbial dark matter, and eDNA and molecular ecology.

In April 2020, Professor Green and his research team began developing a method to monitor wastewater for evidence of COVID-19. The New York State Department of Health awarded Professor Green $500,000 in funding to pilot a statewide coronavirus transmission early warning system. They are currently monitoring wastewater systems in 11 counties across New York State, including Onondaga County.

Authors Liz Petrone and Ed Griffin-Nolan to Speak

The Strathmore Speakers Series and Onondaga Free Library are delighted to announce a December 2020 event featuring authors and Strathmore natives Liz Petrone and Ed Griffin-Nolan as they discuss their new books, The Price of Admission and Nobody Hitchhikes Anymore. This event will be held on Thursday, December 10th at 7 pm virtually on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public, but RSVPs are required.

Travel, both personal and socio-cultural, is the theme of the night. First, blogger, analyst and survivor Liz Petrone will speak about her moving, humorous, and inspiring memoir, The Price of Admission, which follows her journey through the dark valleys and sunny uplands that constitute the landscape of our lives. Then, stick out your thumb and hail a ride across America with Syracuse New Times columnist and reporter Ed Griffin-Nolan as he tries to uncover the reasons why Nobody Hitchhikes Anymore. A brief Q&A will follow the discussion.

You can register for this event here: https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJMocO2oqjspGtXevSsaPYFYxi9MLgYuFh_7

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Note: We have removed the need for a password to access this event. We apologize for any confusion that may have been caused by this requirement in the past.

About Liz Petrone

Liz Petrone is an author, blogger, speaker and survivor. Her work has been featured on sites like The Huffington PostThe Mighty, and Erma Bombeck’s Writer’s Workshop. A true believer in the healing power of storytelling, Petrone writes stories that speak to the lessons learned in survival and recovery. Her readers gather to speak openly and honestly about their own struggles. The nationally renowned blogger is also a programmer analyst for a Syracuse corporation. She is a resident of the Strathmore neighborhood, where she lives with her husband and four children. Her columns are available on the web at lizpetrone.com, on Twitter at @lizziepetrone and on Facebook at @lizpetroneblog.

About Ed Griffin-Nolan

Ed Griffin-Nolan first came to Syracuse in 1978 on a cross-country hitchhiking trip. He returned to town a few years later and raised his family on Parkway Drive, in the house where his son Daniel now lives. A long-time columnist and reporter for the Syracuse New Times and contributor to other publications, Ed is additionally a massage therapist and the owner of The Spa at 500 on West Onondaga Street.

Missed our last event? Watch the video!

The Strathmore Speaker Series and Onondaga Free Library are excited to announce that our virtual events will now also be accessible after the event in video form.

Missed Michael Streissguth and his presentation on City on the Edge: Hard Choices in the American Rust Belt? Watch the video below!

Announcing a New Partnership and a Fall Event!

The Strathmore Speakers Series is excited to announce a new partnership with our friends and neighbors at Onondaga Free Library! The Speaker Series and the Library will be working together to bring you the same great content you’ve come to expect… virtually!

We are delighted to announce that this partnership will launch with an event featuring journalist, professor, filmmaker, and longtime Syracuse and Strathmore resident, Michael Streissguth, as he discusses his most recent book City on the Edge: Hard Choices in the American Rust Belt. Following the stories of five Syracuse residents—a young survivor of the streets, a refugee from Cuba, an urban farmer, a community activist, and a city elder—City on the Edge offers insight into the reasons why individuals chose to remain in a struggling metropolis. In this lecture, professor Streissguth will examine these motivations and will take us on a deep dive into the social, political, and cultural challenges confronting Syracuse today. A brief Q&A will follow professor Streissguth’s discussion.

This event will be held at 7:00 pm on Thursday, November 12, 2020 on Zoom. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

You can register for this event here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcofu-rrj8qHtVIu9g5XUvijcp1WDf_Ckpt

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

About Michael Streissguth

Michael Streissguth is a professor in the Communications and Film Studies Department at Le Moyne College, where he teaches courses on Mass Media, Film, Writing and English Literature. His work has also been featured in numerous publications, including the Washington Post Magazine, Salon, Rolling Stone, and the Irish Times. He is the author of eight books, including Johnny Cash: The Biography, and the producer of two documentary films, Record Paradise and Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison (2008).

Dr. Colin Beier on Climate Change

The Strathmore Speaker Series is delighted to announce our November 2019 event, an afternoon with Dr. Colin Beier. Dr. Beier will explore the science and evidence behind our changing climate. He will discuss near and long-term solutions for managing this change and the implications of failing to manage it.  This event will be held on Sunday, November 10th at 2 pm at the Onondaga Park Firebarn. Like all Strathmore Speaker Series events, this presentation is free and open to the public.

About Colin Beier

“My work recognizes that humans are integral parts of the Earth system, capable of both inducing rapid and irreversible changes, yet also providing careful stewardship that fosters the adaptive capacity of the Earth’s ecosystems.” – Colin Beier

Colin Beier, PhD, is a father, a husband, a student and teacher of the natural world, and an associate professor at SUNY ESF.  He is a broadly trained ecologist interested in the fate of forest ecosystems and landscapes – including people and our economic, political, and cultural institutions – in a rapidly changing world. His current work is focused on monitoring ecosystem impacts of climate change in the Adirondacks, developing a statewide forest carbon inventory and monitoring program for New York, and leading a new ESF initiative in ‘Pathways to Net Zero Carbon’ that will integrate science and design to address our critical challenges and opportunities at the nexus of land use, energy systems, and climate change.