Free Hollow to Forest Home
Free Hollow is a little town
With hills of green all scattered ’round
It is in the town of Ithaca too
Many roads lead into it, both old and new.
from a poem by Clara Slocum (Albert Force’s mother)
When you ride from the garden of roses
To beyond the Comstock Dome
You’ll find a mile of beauty
We know as Forest Home.
from a poem by Prof. Charles Chupp
In the early 1950’s Albert Force wrote The Story of Free Hollow for his friends and neighbors. Early in 1970 he agreed to edit this account, together with a map, drawings, and photographs, for publication. His unforeseen death intervened on February 24, 1970.
I had expected to have the assistance of Cynthia Bouldin in carrying out this project, but circumstances prevented this and Liese Bronfenbrenner took over. She spent six months interviewing the residents of Forest Home. She sent a questionnaire to every former resident and homeowner she could locate. In addition to Albert’s Story of Free Hollow, we were fortunate in having two transcribed tape recordings of interviews held in his home on January 27 and March 8, 1967. The interviewer was Gould P. Colman, then director of the Oral History Program at Cornell University. Mrs. Bronfenbrenner searched through much source material, as a glance at the bibliography will show. In many cases the written accounts, legal documents, old maps, and memories are inaccurate, confusing, and often contradictory. However, she was able to organize a vast amount of data into an orderly whole. She prepared the fine map. Those of us who live or have lived in Forest Home are grateful to her.
E. B. W. [Elizabeth Baker Wells]
Many people have made possible this revised edition of Albert Force’s The Story of Free Hollow, and I am deeply grateful to all of them. I want to thank all the residents, former residents, and friends of Forest Home, who took the time to answer the questionnaire, were willing to be interviewed, and wrote long, informative letters. I apologize to the many who sent in interesting anecdotes and bits of information that could not be worked into the book because of space limitations. I would like to give special thanks to my co-author, Elizabeth Wells, and to Ferris Cronkhite, Dorothy Chase, and Eleanor Wheeler, who read the ocmpleted manuscript. Thanks also go to the Forest Home residents, who gave me long interviews or read the first draft of the manuscript: Cynthia Bouldin, Gracie Bush, John and Martha Hertel, Clarence and Adda McCurdy, Lily Ann Newberry, and Glenn Palmer. I am grateful also to the staffs of the Tompkins County Library, the Cornell University Archives, the Map Room of Cornell’s Olin Library, the Fine Arts Library at Cornell, and the County Clerk’s Office of Tompkins County, as well as to Lorraine Sharpe, who assisted with the typing.
The quotes from Albert Force’s manuscripts are reproduced in the original language. Any explanatory remarks have been placed in brackets. The small black and white illustrations in this section have been taken from the Dover Pictorial Archives series, mainly from Pictures and Stories from Forgotten Children’s Books by Arnold Arnold, Dover Publications, New York, 1969. The contemporary photographs of Forest Home buildings were taken by the author.
I hope that readers of this history, who have additional and new information or corrections, will contact me so that I may keep the Forest Home history files up to date for the next historian of Forest Home, whoever that may be.
L. P. B.
Editor’s note. This is a transcription of Liese Price Bronfenbrenner’s original book. Wendy Petti converted the text except Chapter 3 and the Appendix. William Arms converted the remaining text, using optical character recognition, and scanned the images.
© 1974 Liese Price Bronfenbrenner, reprinted with permission