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Historical society offers Madison County Hop Tour

Posted 8/24/22

The Madison County Historical Society is hosting a special Madison County Hop Tour of 19th-century rural structures in Madison County on Sunday, Aug. 28.

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Historical society offers Madison County Hop Tour


The Madison County Historical Society is hosting a special Madison County Hop Tour of 19th-century rural structures in Madison County on Sunday, Aug. 28.

The rural structures on the tour are owned by Carl Stearns, of 3568 Stearns Road in Erieville. The tour begins promptly at 1 p.m and registration is required.

The first structure on the tour is a 19th-century cobblestone hop house formally owned by G.T. Forward that Stearns moved from the side of Scenic Route 20 in the town of Madison because the condition of the structure was threatened. The draft kiln was added to the hop house in the 1880s.

After the exploration of the hop house and its former processing, Stearns will take the visitors to the replica of a Shaker Garden shed which he moved to the property five years ago. The next building on the tour is an 1830 sheep barn, and an 1840 horse barn with a drive shed.

The ninety-minute tour will end at the Greek Revival house that Stearns moved from NYS Route 31 in Oneida Valley.

Stearns is a retired architect, and at heart, what NYS Parks calls a “Restoration Coordinator.” He has personally rescued from destruction six museum-quality 19th-century buildings at his Madison County family holding.

Stearns graduated twice from Cornell University, with a bachelor’s in architecture in 1967, and as the first MA graduate of the new Preservation Planning Program in 1977.

Following a stint at the NYS Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation, where he was the first registered architect to ever be hired by that office, he pursued his architectural career at Crawford & Stearns, Architects, and Preservation Planners. He continues to be involved in rural preservation and is living his dream of painting landscapes in acrylics. Stearns raised hops at Stearns Farm for several years, was the 2000 Madison County Hop King, and made maple syrup for 60 years.

Following the tour of Stearns’ property, Carl has planned for a guided tour of the Bineyard led by Chad Meigs who will demonstrate his large 21st-century hop processing operation located at 5753 Rathbun Road in Cazenovia.

Meigs was chosen as the 2021 Madison County Hop Fest King because of his promotion of hops to brewers across NYS and particularly Madison County, for presenting at Hop Fest and hosting tours, and for his dedication and continuous efforts to improve conditions for hop growers through leadership, education, lobbying, and marketing.

The tour of the Stearns property and the Bineyard will be held rain or shine. Attendees are asked to wear proper shoes as the ground is uneven. Registration is required and limited to 30 participants. Tickets are available for $20 with the proceeds supporting the educational programming at the Madison County Historical Society.

Visitors to Stearns property located at 3568 Stearns Road in Erieville are asked to park on either side of Stearns Road and walk up the driveway.

For more information and to register for the tour please contact Madison County Historical Society at 315-363-4136 or send an email to

The Madison County Historical Society is a nonprofit organization that operates both a museum and the Mary King Research Library located at 435 Main Street in Oneida. The society continues to preserve, collect, promote, and exhibit the history of Madison County and its 15 towns and one city through the development of programs that enhance Madison County’s heritage. The historical society’s headquarters are housed in an 1849 Gothic Revival Villa that is listed on the State and National Registry of Historic Places.


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