During much of the 1800s, wave after wave of new religious movements spread across Central and Western New York, earning it the title The Burned Over District.
The region became the birthplace (Palmyra) of Mormonism, while Jemima Wilkinson, an evangelist and one of the first American-born women to found a religious movement, eventually settled in what is now the Town of Jerusalem near the Keuka College campus. And while Methodism wasn’t founded in Western New York, it certainly thrived.
“At one time there were 19 Methodist churches in Yates County,” said Mike McKenzie, associate professor of philosophy and religion.
McKenzie combined his writing and research skills with the videography and editing talents of Troy Cusson, instructional design manager in the Wertman Office of Distance Education (WODE) to create a 60-minute DVD that takes viewers on a tour of many of the exact spots where these religions either go their start or caught fire.
The Burned Over District: Religions of Central New York doesn’t cover the entire district–McKenzie and Cusson traveled throughout Yates County and into Wayne and Seneca counties–but uncovered plenty of material nonetheless.
They discussed the video with Executive Director of Communications Doug Lippincott on WFLR in Dundee.
Keuka College Today airs the fourth Thursday of every month from 8:30 – 9 a.m. on WFLR (1570 AM and 96.9 FM).