Sandra Scott Travels: Discover Croghan’s Three Museums

The museum is in a former school.

The museum is in a former school.

Last week I asked: What is there to do in Croghan, NY?

Visit the Maple Museum.

A 'sugar devil' display inside Croghan's Maple Museum
A ‘sugar devil’ display inside Croghan’s Maple Museum

The little village of Croghan, population 700, has three, yes, three museums.

Truly amazing.

The Maple Museum, located in a former school, is the place to learn about a product that is unique to North America.

It is open year round, but not necessarily every day of the week.

It pays to check the web site of any museum or historical site before visiting.

The museum is in a former school.
The museum is in a former school.

While Vermont bests NYS in production of Maple Syrup, NYS has the largest resource of tappable maple trees within the United States with more than 2,000 maple sugar makers.

The museum is the place to learn about maple syrup production then and now.

Not all maple trees are suitable.

The sugar maple is preferred as its sap has a high content of sugar and while other trees can be tapped their sugar content is about half that of the sugar maple.

The flower garden near the Mennonite heritage farmhouse.
The flower garden near the Mennonite heritage farmhouse.

For successful sugaring there must be cold freezing nights and warm days in the spring for the sap to flow.

That describes Northern NY State.

The Maple Museum preserves the history and evolution of the maple syrup industry which started with the Native Americans.

When I was a youngster, I remember seeing maple trees in the spring with buckets collecting the syrup.

Now, plastic tubing is used.

The state-of-the-art Mennonite heritage farm archive room.
The state-of-the-art Mennonite heritage farm archive room.

There are three floors of displays including a replica of a sugar house and the American Maple Hall of Fame.

I found the sugar devil interesting.

It is jammed into a large maple sugar block and twisted to break it into small granules.

Since Maple Syrup production and logging are related the third floor has displays of logging tools and a replica of a lumber camp kitchen and office.

How things were done in the early days of maple farming.
How things were done in the early days of maple farming.

I would love to return in the spring for Lewis County’s maple weekend so I could visit a working sugar shanty.

John and I also visited the Mennonite Heritage Farm just outside the village of Croghan.

It was the “Moser Homestead” and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The house was built in 1845 and was home to several generations.

At one time it was used for worship services.

Mennonites originated in the 1500s in Alsace-Lorraine.

Mennonites are Christians who follow a simple lifestyle but do not forgo modern conveniences like the Amish.

The name comes from one of the early leaders, Menno Simons.

the Railroad Museum
The Railroad Museum

Brothers Joseph and John Moser emigrated in the 1830s as indentured servants and after earning their freedom they brought over other members of their family.

The flower garden near the farm house honors the various families by inscribing their names on rocks around the garden.

The Heritage Farm maintains artifacts of the local Mennonite community and is a place to learn about their heritage.

Besides interesting early household items a state-of-the-art archive room is something historians dream of.

The best time to visit is during their annual Zwanzigstein Festival.

The name means “Twenty Stones” and refers to the twenty families that settled in the area.

A frosty root beer float at Good Ol’ Wishy’s.
A frosty root beer float at Good Ol’ Wishy’s.

During the festival visitors can learn about rural life of years past through stories, exhibits, tours, demonstrations and fundraising venues such as foods and crafts.

The third museum, the Railroad Museum, wasn’t open.

The station is beautifully restored and there is an “iron horse.”

Nearby we noticed “Good Ol’ Wishy’s,” an old fashion soda fountain where we enjoyed a root beer float.

Who would have thought Croghan would have so much to offer!

Travel Trivia Tease™: What is unique about Montour Falls? Look for the answer next week.

Sandra and her husband, John, have been exploring the world for decades, always on the lookout for something new and unique to experience. We have sailed down the Nile for a week on a felucca, stayed with the Pesch Indians in La Mosquitia, visited schools in a variety of countries, and — to add balance to our life — stayed at some of the most luxurious hotels in the world. Let the fun continue!


  1. I knew about the museums, but not the Zwanzigstein Festivale, When is it? You didn’t mention the Croghan Meat Market, where they make Croghan Bologna. The business has been in the same place, in the same family for 3 generations or more. My Mom grew up there. When we visit, we never miss picking up a couple of rings of Croghan Bologna. It is not like any you have ever had before. Go back and get some next time. You won’t be sorry, a ring bought on Monday or Thursday (production day)and wrapped in butchers paper, tied with a string is best.

  2. The Fest is always held the first Saturday in July. Next year’s annual event (27th) will be July 1, 2017. The website is, which has more information.

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