April 9 – On this day in 1867, Binghamton first became a city.
To celebrate its Birthday, here’s some interesting information on Binghamton Mayor Sherman Phelps, thanks to the Phelps Mansion.
Phelps was a banker and business man who moved into the Phelps Mansion in 1872.
Phelps built the mansion, which at first was going to cost him $70,000 but was later completed for $119,000. Three properties were torn down along Court Street to make room for the home.
Phelps was elected 5th Mayor of Binghamton in 1872, the same year he moved to his new home.
Occupying the house at that time was a widower Phelps, two teen-aged sons from his second marriage, a widowed niece who served as a social hostess, two farm girls who were also maids and freed slaves who were carriage drivers and cooks.
The Phelps Manison notes that back then, one of the highlights of Binghamton social life was New Year’s Day celebrations that took place at the mansion, particularly the one in 1876 for the American Centennial.
Phelps passed away on November 13, 1879 of Fells Disease.
He is buried in Spring Forest Cemetery next to his second wife.
Phelps’ sons and widow, Hattie, continued to live in the house until their deaths.
For more information about Sherman Phelps or Binghamton history, you can check out the Phelps Mansion.