Welcome to the
Endicott Visitor Center
The Endicott Visitor Center combines an historical museum, a gift shop, Community Meeting Hall and Banquet Facility. The Visitor Center, once popularly referred to as “Old Colonial Hall” was restored in the late 1990’s. The cooperative efforts of the New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and the Historic Preservation, the New York State Heritage Area program, local donations, money raised by the United Service Clubs of Broome County and an enormous community volunteer effort made the renovations possible.
The graceful mansion now houses exhibits that reflect the origins of Harpur College, the corporate leadership of the Endicott Johnson Shoe Company, IBM and the strong influence the college and industries had on the development of Endicott, Johnson City and Binghamton.
When You Visit…
When you visit the Center you will enjoy touring the 3-story, 16 room family residence originally owned by Julia and Alphonsus Bowes. Mrs. Bowes served as George F. Johnson’s Executive Secretary. The building remained a private residence for thirty years.
Following World War II, the home was renamed “Old Colonial Hall” and was acquired by Syracuse University. The fledgling institution of higher learning evolved and expanded to become Harpur College and then Binghamton University.
After the college moved to Vestal in the mid 1950”s, “Colonial Hall” served as administrative offices for the Union Endicott School District and then by a neighboring church.
The Village of Endicott purchased the building in 1994 to create a Visitor Center, museum and Community Meeting Hall, which extends the building’s tradition as a place of community service and education.
The George F. Johnson Room
Endicott…Home of the “Square Deal”
The George F. Johnson-Endicott Johnson Shoe Company exhibit explains the early years of Mr. Johnson’s life and experiences that helped to form his business philosophy; subsequently referred to as the “Square Deal.” Mr. Johnson believed that if you offered workers decent pay and treated them with respect, they would return the loyalty. Under his leadership, E-J grew to employ over 20,000 workers making it one of the largest shoe companies in the country. Johnson and his family donated land, buildings, and money to provide housing, health care and recreational facilities for the entire community.
The Thomas J. Watson, Sr. Room
Endicott…Birthplace of the Computer
The T. J. Watson-IBM Room examines his professional career as well as the development of the IBM Corporation. As a young man, Watson took the reins of the Computing-Tabulating-Time Recording Company. He stressed research, education, and continually developed new machines. He also instituted a strict corporate culture and promoted marketing techniques based on listening to customer needs. On display are several early business machines produced by companies that eventually evolved into the industrial giant, IBM.
· Gateway Gallery displays a lighted replica of the E-J Workers Arch and interactive displays depicting the growth of Greater Binghamton through time.
· Continuous film clips show actual footage of life in the “Square Deal” towns, factory activities and the construction of E-J worker homes.
· Visuals of the diverse cultural groups drawn to the community.
· “Colors of Blue and White,” demonstrated how the two manufacturing giants, Endicott Johnson Shoe Company and IBM operated nearly side by side, but had very different cultures. The “heavy smokestack” industry of E-J was a magnet for blue-collar immigrant labor. Work in the factory was often hard, but the pay and benefits were good. The company took an active role in the development of the entire community. The engineers of IBM lived a white-collar life with the company at its center. Strict codes of dress and personal behavior tempered the generous wages and benefits.
· The “Rivers of Time” timeline contrasts important events as they occurred in the community and around the world.
The Endicott Visitor Center Gift Shop specializes in
carousel gifts and Endicott logo items. We stock local
history books , CDs, postcards, jewelry, T-shirts,
key straps, mugs, tote bags, ceramic tiles and
MORE…all at modest prices.
Many of our music boxes are of high quality...from
the San Francisco Music Box Company.
Find the perfect gift or souvenir here!
The Visitor Center gratefully accepts donations of artifacts, print materials, photographs and memorabilia relevant to the history of Endicott, Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company, IBM and Harpur College. A large portion of the collection is on display for public enjoyment in the Center’s second floor library. Larger items are utilized in rotating exhibits. If you believe you have items of historical interest and wish to donate them to the Visitor Center, please contact us at 607-757-5355.
Visitor Center Hours Change Seasonally:
Please Call 607-757-5355 For Current Hours or to Arrange Tours.
Endicott Visitor Center
300 Lincoln Avenue, Endicott, N.Y. 13760
Directions to the
· From NY-Route 17 East or West;
67N toward Endicott .
.Take the RT-17C/Main St. Exit. Follow RT-17C (East Main St.) West 0.4 miles to the intersection of East Main St. & Lincoln Ave.
right on Lincoln Ave. Proceed
1 block North to the intersection of Lincoln Ave. &
The Visitor Center is on the corner of Lincoln Ave. & Park St.