Someone at a gathering Ruth & I attended on Easter Sunday said there was nothing to do in Binghamton, NY. I disagree. It’s the home of the multi-purpose Bundy Museum of History & Art, a 5 Compass destination. Local citizen Tom gave us a wonderful tour during which he shared his recipe for Guinness Chocolate Cupcakes. Tom recently made 240 of them for a relative’s wedding.
The Bundy House is not just another dwelling to tour. It is, in my opinion, one of the best period-furnished family homes I’ve ever been in, and the house itself is only part of what the Bundy experience has to offer any visitor. The Bundy home was built and lived in by Harlow E. Bundy and his wife Julia. His name might not mean anything to you unless you already know about his unquestioned place in business and Binghamton history. Julia had money and provided the funds to build the Queen Anne Victorian mansion that they lived in with their growing family for 14 years. Today, it would probably cost about $2,000,000 to build and furnish. This mansion is deservedly on the National Register. The current very Victorian furnishings were not owned by the Bundys, but the fireplaces, staircase, windows, and carefully selected decor provide a genuine glimpse into Victorian Era splendor. There’s even a brief glimpse of some wallpaper originally used in the house. Harlow was, by reputation, not well liked but he did have a business mind. For example, he made a crafty deal with the organizers of the famous 1893 Chicago Columbian Expo to exhibit his products. They were a hit.
Harlow and his brother Willard, a local jeweler, founded the Bundy Manufacturing Company. This company made accurate and dependable time keeping devices, among them were clocking-in time-keepers that were useful in an era when local industries were growing. The Bundy Manufacturing Company owners created a complimentary company called International Time Recorder. By 1924 their business acumen evolved into a company called International Business Machines, more commonly known today as IBM.
The Bundy home is far more than just an elegant Victorian mansion that has become the main museum part of the Bundy experience. Its 3rd floor has been transformed into an art gallery and locally popular facility attracting photographers. In the Annex and Carriage House is a radio station, a clock exhibit, a theater, and the Rod Serling Archive. Rod Serling was host and contributor to an early, very popular TV show called The Twilight Zone, which ran for 5 years. Serling was from Binghamton. His roots influenced his work, and this, surely the world’s main Rod Serling exhibit, explores his life and career with film props, memorabilia, and more. Jordan Peele of Get Out and Mad TV fame, has revived The Twilight Zone in 2019.
Please let me re-emphasize. The Bundy Museum of History & Art is far more than just a period mansion that travelers can visit. It’s a valid reason to go to Binghamton, New York, when you’re in the area.