A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from October 14, 2015
Binghamton: Parlor City (nickname)

Binghamton, the county seat of Broome County, New York, has had the nickname “Parlor City” since August 13, 1873, when the Scranton (PA) Daily Times called Binghamton the “Parlor City of the Southern Tier.” The editor of the Scranton (PA) Daily Times (who probably wrote the item) was Aaron Augustus Chase (1839-1917).

As explained in The Capital (Washington, DC) on September 5, 1875:

“The readers of the New York Daily Graphic will remember the fine pictures of the locality of which I write in the Binghamton supplement in the spring, and will believe me when I tell of the Parlor city, as this one is called. It is so called because it resembles a handsome parlor carpeted with green velvet, its walls covered with the most magnificent landscapes by the Great Artist.”

Other Binghamton nicknames include “Bingo” and “Carousel Capital of the World.”

Elmira was called the “Queen City of the Southern Tier” in the 1850s.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, began to be called the “Parlor City (of Iowa)” in 1890 and 1891. Monroe, Louisiana, was called the “Parlor City (of Louisiana)” in 1890. Bluffton, Indiana, has been called the “Parlor City” since at least 1900.


Wikipedia: Binghamton, New York
Binghamton /ˈbɪŋəmtən/ is a city in, and the county seat of, Broome County, New York, United States. It lies in the state’s Southern Tier region near the Pennsylvania border, in a bowl-shaped valley at the confluence of the Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. Binghamton is the principal city and cultural center of the Binghamton metropolitan area (also known as Greater Binghamton, or historically the Triple Cities), home to a quarter million people. The population of the city itself, according to the 2010 census, is 47,376.
(...)
Nickname(s): The Parlor City, Carousel Capital of the World, Valley of Opportunity

9 July 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
BINGHAMTON DAILY TIMES.-- This sheet is growing. It has added a column to each page and fills them all well. When a paper grows in quality as well as in quantity, as the Times has, there must be merit. We seize none of our exchanges with more eagerness, nor peruse any with more pleasure than we do the Binghamton Daily Times. We congratulate you, namesake.

13 August 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 3:
FAR TOO NICE.—Binghamton is a pretty place. Everybody says so. We can account for it. The people are so nice that they can’t bear to see things mussed up. It became necessary to make a small hole in the pave the other day, and ‘twas left out of doors all night. Some cautious man very properly put a barrel over it, and ‘twas several hours before anybody discovered that the crime of hole in the street was lurking in the midst of that tidy town. The next day the reporters all gathered about it and a scathing reprimand appeared in all the daily journals. This is entirely too nice. We couldn’t live comfortably in Binghamton, this Parlor City of the Southern Tier. We should be on nettles all the while. The city government ought to have door-mats at the street crossings, and a row of slippers at the depot. Some pleasant day we’re going up there to look—shan’t touch anything that’s delicate—won’t get anything out of place—just look around and admire things. We’d like to do this soon, for some repairs may be needed up there after a while, and repairing is such a littering nuisance.

16 August 1873, Binghamton (NY) Daily Times, “City Notes and News,” pg. 3, col. 1:
“The Parlor City of the Southern Tier,” as an appreciative Scranton paper calls Binghamton, should not forget its Canal, Academy of Music, Depot, and Shanties on the Point. 

18 August 1873, The Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, PA), pg. 4, col. 1:
THE Scranton Times calls Binghamton the “parlor city” of the Southern tier. 

20 August 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
BAKED APPLE TREE.—The Parlor City of the Southern Tier, besides the visit of the Shah, has a new attraction: a tree upon which may be found baked apples of a very fine quality. So says the P. C. Times.

28 August 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
APPROPRIATE.—The Parlor City has a market that rejoices in the title of “Epicurean.” No other than a Binghamtonian could have thought up such a nice name for elevating a grocery store into the regions of classic refinement. “A rose, by any other name, would smell as sweet,” etc.

5 September 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
PROMENADE.—Yesterday the chief of police was exhibiting considerable attention toward a colored gentleman who recently arrived from the Parlor City and who had gone into the polishing business here on his own responsibility, and had the finest outfit of anybody in his line.

8 September 1873, Binghamton (NY) Daily Times, “City Notes and News,” pg. 3, col. 1:
“Somebody has dubbed Binghamton the ‘Parlor City.” Strange as it may be, the people are tickled over it. They even name their cigars and favorite drinks ‘Parlor City.’”—Elmira Advertiser.
Well, suppose somebody has dubbed Binghamton the Parlor City, and admitting that the people are tickled over it; what then? If to be the handsomest and most cleanly city in the Empire State entitles a city to that designation. Binghamton richly deserves the appellation. And is not this fact and the consciousness that to her own enterprise and public spirit it is by great measure due, a proper subject for gratulations? We say yes, decidedly.—Ithaca Journal.

What more can be said? We trust these nice compliments will not make our people forget a few little blemishes, which might easily be removed with a little perseverance, city ordinance and chloride of lime.

17 September 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
THE PARLOR CITY “TIMES,” speaking of the coming of Harry Robinson’s Minstrels, says:
("P. C.” and “P. C. T.” used.—ed.)

16 October 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 3:
INGRATITUDE.—The Parlor City offers a reward of $15 for the detection of the miscreant who goes about that place dropping poisoned meat for the purpose of destroying dogs, cats, and other carnivorous animals.

28 October 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
THE BINGHAMTON Times, than which we acknowledge no better authority, in opinions journalistic, thus compliments us:

“The go-ahead Scranton TIMES, which was enlarged to an eight column paper a short time since, now issues a Sunday edition. The TIMES is the largest paper in northeastern Pennsylvania, and, judging from the abundant success it is meeting with, we should say it was also the most prosperous one.”

13 November 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 3:
LUCKY CHARMS ("charms" is illegible—ed.).—These Parlor City editors. Just see what’s happened there, according to the Parlor City Times:
(...)
Happy P. C.! Why can’t such things happen in Scranton?

1 December 1873, Scranton (PA) Daily Times, pg. 4, col. 2:
PARLOR CITY.--A recent visit to the Spaulding House, Binghamton, convinced us of the fact that this well known hostelry is not losing any of its popularity, but steadily growing in favor, and justly so.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
10 December 1873, Broome Republican (Binghamton, NY), “City Market,” pg. 8, col. 5:
Those industries, from the bay and beer wagons to the peanut roasters, are all right, and go to make up the substance and contribute to the happiness of life, but when they come in such numbers as to block up the streets and interfere with travel, it is evident the Parlor city should have a kitchen, and that the time has come to provide for one.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
6 February 1874, Waverly (NY) Advocate, pg. 3, col. 1:
We take but one of the best Binghamton daily papers—the Times—but if the others are any where near a match for that they have got a pretty lively set of dailies in the “Parlor City.”

NYS Historic Newspapers
6 August 1874, Mexico Independent and Deaf-Mutes’ Journal (Mexico, NY), pg. 2(?), col. 3:
Letter from Binghamton.
BINGHAMTON, Aug. 3, 1874.
EDITOR INDEPENDENT:—Have you ever visited Binghamton? Then you have seen what people here delight to call the “Parlor City.” You have seen a city surrounded by the most beautiful natural scenery, with hills and valleys, and rivers (for there are two), and, above all, you have undoubtedly seen the Inebriate Asylum.

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
6 August 1874, Utica (NY) Daily Observer, pg. 3, col. 4:
The boys will get a kindly reception in what somebody elaborately calls “The Parlor City of the Southern Tier.”

24 November 1874, Daily Gazette and Bulletin (Williamsport, PA), pg. 1, col. 1:
The advantages to be derived from the construction of the railroad, which will, at no distant day, unite Williamsport with the Parlor City (Binghamton—ed.), are pointed out.

16 May 1875, Cincinnati (OH) Enquirer, pg. 1, col. 5:
BINGHAMTON.
Where People Go When Their “Sprees Begin to Run Into Each Other”—How Drunkards Are Reformed.
Special Correspondence of the Enquirer.
BINGHAMTON, NEW YORK, May 7, 1875.
Binghamton, one of the prettiest little cities it has ever been my good fortune to see, is located at the confluence of the beautiful Susquehanna and Chenango Rivers. It lies in a lovely valley, and is almost entirely surrounded by a range of hills that very nearly approach the dignity of mountains. The city has 15,000 or 18,00 people, and by its wide, well-kept streets, handsome public edifices, and tasty private residences has well earned and well deserves the sobriquet of “The Parlor City.”

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
2 June 1875, Broome Republican (Binghamton, NY), “County Correspondence—Port Crane,” pg. 1, col. 1:
Mr. Fred Sterling moved to Binghamton last week. We are sorry to lose a good citizen, but we know that our loss is the “Parlor City’s” gain.

5 September 1875,The Capital (Washington, DC), “Letter from Miss Grundy,” pg. 7, col. 1:
The readers of the New York Daily Graphic will remember the fine pictures of the locality of which I write in the Binghamton supplement in the spring, and will believe me when I tell of the Parlor city, as this one is called. It is so called because it resembles a handsome parlor carpeted with green velvet, its walls covered with the most magnificent landscapes by the Great Artist.

2 August 1876, The Daily Graphic (New York, NY), pg. 3, col. 3:
THE PARLOR CITY.
THE NATURAL BEAUTIES AND VARIOUS IMPROVEMENTS OF BINGHAMTON—GOSSIP CONCERNING THE ASYLUM AND OTHER INSTITUTIONS—SOME DISTINGUISHED RESIDENTS.

Chronicling America
5 August 1880, Mower County Transcript (Austin, MN), pg. 1, cols. 6-7:
A Beautiful New York City.
Binghamton, N. Y., known as “The Parlor City,” claims to be the cleanest town in America. Each residence has its own lawn and ornamental flower beds. There are no fences between these homes or on the streets, so that the eye roves over an unbroken line of smooth-shaven grass and carefully-tended flower beds, these extending from one square to another. Between the sidewalks and the trees there is a narrow strip of grass, which is kept as neatly and well-rolled as the plots next the houses. Outside are the rows of trees, and in many streets there is a double row, one inside, and the other outside of the sidewalk.

OCLC WorldCat record
Resources and industries of Binghamton, N.Y. : a résumé of the commercial and manufacturing progress of the Parlor City, together with a condensed summary of its material development and history, its advantages of location, plan of city government, its churches and schools, literary and social life, its railroad connections and its public conveniences, its industries and general features of attraction to capitalists and manufacturers : illustrated
Author: C H Possons; Binghamton Board of Trade.
Publisher: [Glens Falls, N.Y.] : [C.H. Possons], 1888.
Series: Genealogy & local history, LH3194.
Edition/Format: Book Microform : Microfiche : Master microform : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Parlor City march : two step
Author: G M Roth
Publisher: Binghamton, N.Y. : G.M. Roth, ©1899.
Edition/Format: Musical score : No Linguistic Content

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
22 April 1899, Elmira (NY) Daily Gazette and Free Press, “A Little of Everything,” pg. 5, col. 1:
It is interesting to know how Binghamton came to be dubbed the Parlor City. It all came about through a Scranton newspaper man. A delegation of firemen from that city visited Bingo. They were shown a good time and when the Scranton editor returned to his native heath he wrote a glowing description of the visit, and dubbed the town the Parlor City. The name has stuck to the village down through the ages.

The Binghamton Chronicle today publishes a number of interviews with its prominent citizens on the question of the city’s sobriquet in which the majority seem to be of the same opinion, that Binghamton ought to change her name. It quotes one resident as follows:

“The name ‘Parlor City’ has not and could not in any way serve to increase the population, prosperity or success of Binghamton. In fact, neither outside capital nor labor would be induced to take up a residence in the city whose name suggested that the inhabitants thereof were parlor ornaments.

“If it was a new Jerusalem with streets of gold: if it was strictly a residential city where all was quietness and beauty, then we might hope for a large increase in our transient population by those who wished to take their last glimpse of earth from such a vantage ground before departing for the Eternal City.”

25 April 1899, Scranton (PA) Republican, “People and Projects,” pg. 4, col. 4:
A writer of “A little of Everything” in the Elmira Gazette says: “It is interesting to know how Binghamton came to be dubbed the Parlor City. It all came about through a Scranton newspaper man. A delegation of firemen from that city visited Bingo. They were shown a good time and when the Scranton editor returned to his native heath he wrote a glowing description of the visit, and dubbed the town the Parlor City. The name has stuck to the village down through the ages. The Binghamton Chronicle today publishes a number of interviews with its prominent citizens on the question of the city’s sobriquet in which the majority seem to be of the same opinion, that Binghamton ought to change her name. But, alas, Bingo isn’t a new Jerusalem, its streets are not paved with gold, but rather with asphalt well worn and full of holes. It is a quiet village nestling among the hills, with an insane asylum that does much to increase the population. If Binghamton really needs a new sobriquet I would respectfully suggest one short and to the point, viz. ‘Bumpy Bingo.’”

Google Books
The Biographical Encyclopedia of the United States
Chicago, IL: American Biographical Publishing Company
1901
Pg. 340:
AARON AUGUSTUS CHASE.
Aaron Augustus Chase, lawyer and editor, Scranton, Pa,, was born in what is now Benton township, Lackawanna county, Pa,, on the 28th of March 1839. Since 1863 he has been a member of the legal profession, but has acquired his greatest prominence as editor and proprietor of the Times, in which capacity he fearlessly attacked the corporations for their attitude toward strikers. In 1871 and 1877 several laborers were shot, and their killing he branded as murder. From 1872 to 1885, which covered the period of his control of the Scranton Times, Mr. Chase was twice imprisoned because of his refusal to retract the statement.

OCLC WorldCat record
Binghamton, the parlor city.
Publisher: Binghamton, N.Y. : C.S. Woolworth & Co., ©1906.
Edition/Format: Print book : English

10 February 1917, Pittston (PA) Gazette, pg. 4, col. 3:
FORMER NEWSPAPER OWNER AND POLITICIAN DIES IN FLEETVILLE
Aaron Augustus Chase, aged 78, old-time editor, newspaper owner, politician and lawyer whose dominant personality made him a commanding figure in the early days of Lackawanna County, died suddnely of heart trouble at his home at Fleetville, near Scranton, some time on Wednesday night, being found dead in bed Thursday morning.

5 February 1919, Scranton (PA) Republican, pg. 8, col. 3:
Charles Murray, at one time one of the most widely known men in Scranton’s printing fraternity, died yesterday at this home on Jefferson avenue, Dunmore. He was a printer and later pressman for the late A. A. Chase, when that gentleman was the editor and publisher of the Scranton Times.

17 January 1974, The Evening Press (Binghamton, NY), Tom Cawley column, pg. 17, col. 1:
JOHN A. MacLACHLaN, the retired editor of the Sidney Record and the Bainbridge News, has a small, nice compulsion himself. He is an inveterate clipper of newspapers and a savor of clippings.

Mr. MacLachlan dug down in his treasures and came up with a 65-year-old clipping from the old Bainbridge Republican, which reveals that a newspaperman from Scranton, of all people, was the one who dubbed Binghamton the “Parlor City,” back in 1874.

Turns out this Scranton editor came here to a firemen’s convention and had a ball, went home, hauled off and wrote a piece calling Binghamton the “Parlor City.”
(...)
TOM MacLACHLAN’S CLIPPING from the April 26, 1899 Bainbridge Republican says:

“A discussion is now in progress in the Binghamton Chronicle as to the propriety of changing or retaining the soubriquet ‘Parlor City’ to that very lively town of 40,000 inhabitants. In the arguments, pro and con, published in letter form, is the origin of the term ‘Parlor City’ as applied to Binghamton.

“A delegation of firemen from Scranton were entertained in Binghamton some twenty-five or more years ago, and the hospitality enjoyed was so handsomely given, the city was so pretty, so cleanly, and the surroundings in such excellent taste—probably in contrast to Scranton—that one of the visitors, a Scranton editor, wrote a complimentary notice of the trip, speaking of Binghamton as the ‘Parlor City.’ The Binghamton papers took up the name, which has clung to the city ever since.”
(...)
WE MIGHT HAVE KNOWN somebody from Scranton hung this one on us.

OCLC WorldCat record
Binghamton : building the Parlor City
Author: Brian Frey; Bill Gorman; Greg Keeler; WSKG TV (Television station : Binghamton, N.Y.); WSKG Public Telecommunications Council.
Publisher: Binghamton, NY : WSKG Public Telecommunications Council, 2003. ©2003.
Edition/Format: DVD video : English
Database: WorldCat
Summary:
“In 1786, William Bingham, a wealthy banker and land speculator from Philadelphia, purchased 10,000 acres of land in Upstate New York. Bingham had a vision of building a model village that would rival any in New England. Bingham would never live to see the city that would bear his name, but by the end of the 19th century, Binghamton would become one of the industrial centers of the Northeast. Binghamton: building the parlor city chronicles the history of Binghamton and its rise from an Indian village through its industrial heyday"--Container.

Posted by Barry Popik
Nicknames of Other PlacesNew York State • Wednesday, October 14, 2015 • Permalink