County Historical Society to Host Lecture Featuring Exhibit on Oswego Bicycle History

OSWEGO — The Oswego County Historical Society will host the next lecture of the 2019 season on August 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the Richardson-Bates House Museum, 135 E. Third St.

The event is free and open to the public.

The Oswego County Historical Society will host a lecture August 11 at 1:30 p.m. in the Richardson-Bates House Museum. Pictured is guest speaker and artist Don Gillespie who will give a presentation entitled “Oswego’s Cycling History.”

Fulton native Don Gillespie will present a detailed PowerPoint presentation entitled “Oswego’s Cycling History.”

This is in collaboration with a new exhibit opening in the museum’s local history gallery entitled “Bicycles in Oswego.”

Gillespie is a successful aerospace and multi-media artist, who is a current resident of Florida.

He has been researching the life of his great-grandfather, Williams Shayes, who was a prominent professional photographer with an art gallery business in Oswego during the late 19th century.

He learned that Shayes played a significant part in the formation of the first Oswego Bicycle Club in the 1880s and was an organizer of bicycle races.

Oswego was one of the first communities in New York State to promote bicycling and races.

“Through his family history research Don was excited to learn about the bicycling connection, which he also enjoys. He also rediscovered the amazing legendary story of David Horton, the celebrated champion one-armed racer that had lived in Oswego,” said Oswego County Historian Justin White. “It was a serendipitous moment to learn that one of the famed races Horton participated in began and ended in front of the Richardson-Bates House in 1895.”

Gillespie has been recreating the momentous occasion with an oil painting based on his extensive research about Horton, bicycling history and details of the race.

The painting entitled “Oswego’s One Armed Rider” will be unveiled during the lecture.

It will be featured in the new exhibit on the history of Oswego bicycling, which will be open from August to December.

Gillespie also recreated the missing 1896 masterpiece “At the Mercy of Neptune” by noted Oswego artist Charles. H. Grant.

This is on permanent display at the H. Lee White Maritime Museum in Oswego.

Maxwell Richardson, who built and lived in the Richardson-Bates House, also had a connections with the infancy of bicycling in Oswego.

He gifted to his young nephew Norman Bates the first Columbia high wheel bicycle in Oswego.

“As a teenager Norman had the first high wheel bicycle in Oswego and was a community sensation to spectators and crowds who would follow him wherever he stopped,” said White. “Bicycling created a new way of independence with the ability to travel quickly and comfortably. It was an exciting time with a new sport arising.”

For the first time in many years a special addition to be displayed in the new exhibit will be the Columbia high wheel bicycle.

The exhibit will highlight the infancy of bicycles in Oswego.

This includes legal challenges it faced with the local city government and the travel freedom it provided women.

The Oswego County Historical Society is a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the rich history of county.

The society maintains and operates the Richardson-Bates House Museum, a historic landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum is open to the public Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 1-5 p.m., and other days by appointment.

For more information, call the museum during regular hours at 315-343-1342.