New York State’s Arts and Cultural Affairs Law requires every county and municipality to have an appointed historian to document, preserve, interpret, and share the history of their communities. State leaders made this commitment over 100 years ago to ensure public access to quality educational experiences enriched by cultural heritage resources. There are almost 1,600 local government historians in New York State.
The Town historian's role is to assist in researching official town records related to the history of the town and to educate the public about these records. Mr. Ketzer is available for these purposes but is not authorized to perform historical or genealogical research for individuals in his capacity as historian.
Access to historic records must first be obtained through the Town Clerk, who is the designated records management officer for non-police records and registrar for the Town.
There are many wonderful resources available for anyone interested in Bethlehem’s rich history. A sampling of these is listed below. The works of Mr. Ketzer’s immediate predecessor Susan E. Leath are still in print and available in stores, while others can be found used online, or in print and digital formats through the Bethlehem Historical Association or the Bethlehem Public Library.
The historical website pages have been made available through a grant from the New York State Education Department, State Archives, and the Local Government Records Management Improvement Fund grant for historical records which provided funds for personnel and creation of this section on the town’s website.