Additionally, national prominent freethought lecturer Robert Green Ingersoll lodged at the Benham, accompanied by his two daughters, in September 1889. It was Ingersoll's only return to the county of his birth. On Tuesday, September 24, the Ingersoll party visited the nearby village of Dresden, beholding his birthplace and the former church where his father preached. On Wednesday, September 25, Ingersoll gave a free lecture to some 8,000 spectators at the Yates County, New York, County Fair in Penn Yan. It would be Ingersoll's only return to the county of his birth.
The Building and Site. he structure had various owners for more than a century. In 1960 it was razed, to be replaced by the bank branch that occupies the site today. More information on the building and its site are available here.
Thanks to Richard MacAlpine for research assistance.
This clipping from the Penn Yan Express of September 25, 1889, documents the Ingersoll party's arrival at the Benham House the previous day. After receiving the visitors described in the clipping, Ingersoll and his daughters traveled to Dresden to view his birthplace and the former church where his father had preached. Ingersoll delivered his County Fair speech on September 25. Image courtesy of Richard MacAlpine.
During the years he lived at the Benham House, Charles Elmendorf enjoyed a very short commute. This photo, taken from the location of his dental practice at 124 Main, looks one block down Main Street. The bank branch now occupying the Benham site is partly visible, in front of the red brick Post Office with fan top windows.