From 2006: On Our Iconic "Tiny Town" Image with story about where it was taken

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By Franklin Crawford

Former Writer and Consultant for The Cornell Chronicle

Ithaca, NY, 2006 – Morgan Smiley Baldwin, Cornell Class of 1915, is buried in France where he died from wounds received during the Battle of the Hindenburg Line, the last major offensive of World War I.

Baldwin, who was killed about a month before the war ended, was a member of Delta Phi fraternity, and his fraternity pin and ribbon were among the items discovered Sept. 26 in a sealed copper box nested in the base of a pier on the parapet of the Baldwin Memorial Stairway on University Avenue just below Delta Phi's Gothic fraternity (Llenroc).

On Nov. 11, 2006, at 1 p.m., Baldwin's Delta Phi effects and other Cornell memorabilia from the box -- as well as some new items -- will be re-interred during a Veterans Day ceremony with full military honors, held at the site. The event is an 81-year-old echo of the original placement ceremony that occurred on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, 1925, the year the stairway was erected.

It's no secret that the Baldwin Memorial Stairway is a monument to one of Cornell's fallen sons. But institutional memory needs repeated prodding: In 2006, no living person was aware that a time capsule lay within its stoneworks. In September of that year, Cornell masons replacing and repairing the shale stone on the stairway's overlook tapped into what at first appeared to be tin flashing or a hidden drain. Worked stopped. After some effort, a metal box was removed. So began a series of excited calls to supervisors, facilities managers and university librarians.

At 1:30 p.m. that Sept. 26 afternoon, a Cornell tinsmith from the Humphreys Service Building carefully unsealed open the well-soldered container. As the Cornell alma mater tolled from McGraw Tower (mere coincidence, but a nice touch), a group of university staff, including librarians, trades people and administrators, stood witness.

Elaine Engst, university archivist, then removed each item from the metal coffin, exposing them to the light of day for the first time in 80-plus years. Inside were perfectly preserved copies of the Cornell Daily Sun, Nov. 10, 1925; a copy of The Ithaca Journal; original blueprints of the stairway designed by Bryant Fleming, Cornell Class of 1901; pictures of the construction; a Freshman Handbook, 1925; Cornell Class of 1892, 33rd anniversary class book; lists of Cornellians killed during WWI (265; Cornell had provided 4,598 commissioned officers, more than West Point) and Tompkins County war dead; Baldwin's Delta Phi pin, fraternity ribbon and a directory; memorial programs; and other items.

The stairway was a gift to Cornell from a grieving father, Arthur J. Baldwin, Class of 1892, to memorialize his son. Donald R. Baldwin, Class of 1916, Morgan's brother, helped to lay the stairway cornerstone. The box was placed by George S. Tarbell, president of Delta Phi fraternity, of which all the Baldwins were members.

Engst said all the university's older buildings contain cornerstone boxes with similar materials to those found in the stairway -- and these are indicated in the building plans. A container was found when Roberts Hall was demolished in the late 1980s and another when Sage Hall was renovated (1996-98). But the Baldwin time capsule was lost to memory.

A new box made of stainless steel has replaced the container. Among the items in it: More recent letters from the Baldwin family and a copy of the Cornell Chronicle bearing this story and photographs.

Photo: Frankie14850 stood on the Baldwin Parapet's Southwest Corner to take the above image. It was later "tilt-shifted" using a Photoshop editing tool, by co-founder, Rigel Stuhmiller, a.k.a. Belinda Cho.


Last Updated on Thursday, 05 March 2015 18:29

Tiny Town Teaser No. 74, Vol. 6

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1. With 4 Across, bogged down
4. See 1 Across
5. Fr. holy woman
1. They don't get many happy returns
2. Fruitcake
3. Had something
DEGREE OF DIFFICULTY: Like almost knowing all the answers

Last Updated on Sunday, 01 March 2015 10:29

Homage to the Hyperborean Month of February 2015

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Dim lights Embed Embed this video on your site


All images with the exception of two by Frankie14850: Image of Man on Lake Ice by Dave Burbank; Water-Tower against blue sky space ship, Robert Aceto

Music by tinytowntunes Inc., subsidiary of, all rights reserved ...


Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 11:57

Tiny Town Teaser No. 73, Vol. 6: And Big News for the TLP X-Word Tourney!

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1. Satisfied response
4. Satisfied response
5. Series ender
1. Limit
2. Might
3. VHF unit
Degree of Difficulty:


Tompkins Learning Partners (TLP) of Ithaca announces the word-lovers’ event of the season, the Third Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition on Saturday, March 7th, 2015 from 2-5:30 pm. This event is an important fundraiser for TLP, a LiteracyNY affiliated non-profit organization, which provides literacy tutoring, free of charge, for over 100 adults in our community.

Tompkins Learning Partners invites you to join your friends and neighbors and compete right here in your own backyard in the Finger Lakes’ only regional crossword event.  All proceeds from the tournament will support adult literacy here in Tompkins County.

You could play as an individual or be part of a team. This fundraiser for TLP is a unique event scheduled for 2-5:30 pm, Saturday, March 7th, at the Boynton Middle School Cafeteria, 1601 N. Cayuga St., Ithaca. There will be 3 levels of competition: Easier, Trickier, and Toughest. These 3 levels of unique puzzles will be created by our very own “Puzzle Master,” Adam Perl, creator of numerous crosswords published in the New York Times, and owner of Pastimes Antiques in the Dewitt Mall.  Prizes will be awarded to the individuals and teams who complete a perfect puzzle in the shortest amount of time.  Whether you are a casual, serious or advanced puzzler, you are invited to be part of the fun! There will also be a silent auction for gift certificates to local restaurants, personalized crossword puzzles, a fabulous crossword tie personally signed by Will Shortz, a 50/50 raffle with a chance of winning a large cash prize and a "Guess how many pennies are in the 5 Gallon Jug” Contest.

All crossword winners will receive:

1) Name on brass winners' plaque at TLP

2) Personalized Winner's Certificate (suitable for framing)

3) Signed Adam Perl's Tiny Town Teasers Book

4) Signed Merl Reagle Crossword Book and

5) The unique and highly coveted TLP Fingerlakes Crossword Champ Bracelet (FCC), not to be confused with The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet which is considered the most coveted non-monetary prize a poker player can win.

Joining TLP again this year will be special guest Rex Parker, the online king of crossword bloggers, AKA Michael Sharpe, professor of English literature at Binghamton University, and "63rd Greatest Crossword Solver in the Universe."     <>

Individuals may play for $40.00. The cost for a team of four is $150.00. Thanks to generous sponsors, some complimentary spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis. If interested in underwriting or sponsorships, call Dave Smith at Tompkins Learning Partners, 607-277-6442, for more information.

You can also find information, and a registration form, at Just click on the "Crossword Tournament" button for information, rules and online and printable registration forms. You can also call Sharon (9 am-1 pm) at Tompkins Learning Partners (607-277-6442) to register yourself, or your team, and select your puzzle’s level of difficulty.

Additional registration forms may be picked up at Tompkins Learning Partners office at 124 W. Buffalo Street, Ithaca, or at Pastimes Antiques in the DeWitt Mall – so invite your family and friends to join you!  To be guaranteed a spot, team and individual registrations should be submitted by February 27th.

This year's event is made possible by the generosity of the following underwriters: Chemung Canal Trust Company, CFCU Community Credit Union, Tompkins Trust Company, Cornell University Press, and Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes. Our media sponsor is the Ithaca Times.

We also appreciate these generous local merchants who donated gift certificates and items to our silent auction:  Puzzle Master Adam Perl (Customized Crossword Puzzle), Agava, BoatYard Grill, Ciao! Of Ithaca, Falls Restaurant and Tavern, Hangar Theatre, Hazelnut Kitchen, Island Fitness membership, John Thomas Steakhouse, Just a Taste Wine & Tapas Bar, Kitchen Theatre, Lucas Vineyards, Maxie’s Supper Club & Oyster Bar, Mercato’s Bar and Kitchen, Moosewood Restaurant, Northstar House, Taste of Thai, and Will Shortz (autographed Crossword tie).

To add to the festivities there will be live music and a short discussion of a new book about American Folk Music by retired Cornell professor Richard Polenberg. There will also be drawings for free signed first editions of his book.

Since 1976, Tompkins Learning Partners has been providing tutoring services, free of charge, to local residents who need help reading, writing, or speaking English. These services are provided through dedicated volunteer tutors who give their time to make a difference in student's lives. The knowledge that students gain allows them to achieve their personal goals, such as obtaining or improving their employment, continuing their education, or gaining citizenship. Tompkins Learning Partners is a not-for-profit governed by a board of directors of local residents committed to the cause of literacy in our community.


"Good luck to everyone at the 3rd Annual Finger Lakes Crossword Competition!" --Will Shortz

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