When Asa Bement, Jr. built this house in the mid 1790’s, he was among the first settlers in Newark Valley. He brought his young family from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in the 1790’s to settle here on the banks of the east branch of Owego Creek. His 350-acre farm included tilled fields, pastures, and woodlands. Asa and Abigail Brown Bement built a saw mill, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, and barns on their property. The mills and blacksmith shop served the needs of neighboring farms as well as his own. The Bement farmstead was one of the most prosperous in Northern Tioga County.
Fun at the Farmstead Tri-Fold
It had a kitchen, ante-room, pantry, bedroom, and a sleeping loft for the children. A formal parlor in the Federal style was added in the 1820’s. In 1843 Asa’s son, William, extended the house to include a second story, new parlor, and two more bedrooms on the first floor. These rooms and the exterior of the house reflect the Greek Revival style popular in the early-to-mid-1800’s. In the 1880’s the summer kitchen was added to the north end of the house.
In later years, the property was owned by the Ford family, and then the Billings family. In 1977, Mrs. Myrtie Louise Billings Hills deeded the house to the NV Historical Society to be preserved as a living history museum. In 1997 she gave us 90 acres of the original farm. Today the house is furnished as it was in the early 1800’s. Additional structures include a reconstructed blacksmith shop, the Herrick threshing barn, a wood shop, a carriage shed, and a Welcome Center.
Costumed interpreters demonstrate 19th century skills and trades such as blacksmithing, open-hearth cooking, spinning and weaving, and woodworking as they were done in Asa’s day.
Black Powder Range
Located on the east side of Route 38, Old Hickory Long Guns Guild members and guests shoot muzzle loaders each Wed. 6 PM until dusk, May until October. ($1 per target, 3 target shoots each week.) Black Powder Range is also open at times for Public Shoots
10 AM-Noon. Call Joe Cavanaugh: (607) 723-8405 for more information.
According to old maps, the Bements built their threshing barn across the road from the house. It was destroyed by fire many years ago. The barn we have now was built in the early 1800's by the Herrick family of Candor, New York. It was disassembled and reconstructed on the farmstead property in the late 1990's. The frame was re-erected at a traditional bam-raising during the 1999 Spring Festival.
The Trails at Sycamore Bridge
Welcome to the trails at Sycamore Bridge There are three loop trails that begin and end at the west end of the bridge. The total length of the trails is approximately 1 .5 miles.
Bement-Billings House Tours
Open Noon- 4 PM on weekends from July through September. Private group tours can be arranged on any day of the week. Adults $2, Students $1. Call (607) 642-9516. For more information see “School Tours” page.
In the 1790’s, Asa Bement and his young cousin, John Rewey, built a log blacksmith shop as part of the Farmstead. Here they made and repaired iron implements such as sled runners, chains, kitchen utensils, household hardware, farm tools and horseshoes. Their shop served the needs of the surrounding area as well as the farmstead. Our reconstruction of the log blacksmith’s shop rests on the site of the original structure. Today you can watch our blacksmiths hammering red hot iron into useful tools like those made by Asa and John in the early 1800’s.
The Gift Shop in the Bement-Billings House is open on summer weekends from 12-4 PM, and during festivals. It holds hundreds of items including pottery, old-fashioned candy, traditional toys, books, T-shirts, candles, baskets, colored glassware, tin punched items, miniatures, and note-cards.