all well-defined places, Penn Yan is partly an accident of history and nature,
partly the considered design of its inhabitants. It began as the arbitrary
creature of land speculators, was acquired by a family of dynasts with their
own particular personality quirks, and because of its location drew other
settlers, each with individual dreams and ambitions.
Like all such places,
the village has developed and retained a distinct personality of its own.
I hope to trace here some of the ways this personality has changed over
time and yet retained its individuality, just as when a woman ages she remains
the same person even through profound changes wrought externally and internally.
The boundaries of the
modern village extend over parts of three towns. The heart of the villageís
National Register historic district encompasses a part of one corner of
a single town, and thatís what this history will concentrate on. There will
be many references, of course, to areas outside the district and even outside
the village, but to set an arbitrary boundary around Lot
37 in the 7th town, first range in the Massachusetts Pre-emption
seems a good way to keep the narrative to a reasonable scope, at least at