Why Binghamton Is Called ‘The Parlor City’
I grew up in a couple of small towns in Western New York, Campbell and Monterey. Yes, Campbell, not to be confused with Campville, N.Y., and Monterey N.Y. definitely not to be confused with Monterey, California.
So, I was used to small-town living, and when I got a job offer to move to Binghamton, it was a jump to a (don't laugh at me) big city. Sure, Binghamton is considered a medium-sized city, but to someone who grew up in the country or a small town, it was a big city move.
And I learned the hard way from the start exactly how to pronounce and spell Binghamton. I initially spelled the name with a 'p' as in Binghampton. I never made that mistake again. And it's not "Bing-Hampton" either. Lesson learned.
As I explored more and more about Binghamton, I learned that the city is nicknamed 'The Parlor City.' I had no idea exactly what that meant. So, I did a bit of research to find out why.
I found an interesting clipping from the Newspapers.com website that explains the 'Parlor City' nickname. It seems the name came from a reporter from a Scranton, Pennsylvania newspaper, who coined the team back in 1874 according to an article by Tom Cawley of the Binghamton Press in a January 17th, 1964 edition of the paper.
The article goes on to explain that this person from a Scranton, PA newspaper had visited our fair city for a firemen's convention, and after an enjoyable stay, went back home and wrote an article about Binghamton, giving it the 'Parlor City' nickname.
Apparently, that nickname didn't sit well with some Binghamtonians, thinking it was less than flattering, but a campaign to stop it, failed. The Parlor City name was referring to the city being "pretty, clean and surrounding in excellent taste" according to the visiting reporter from Scranton, PA.
Or was it named the 'Parlor City" because Binghamton had many massive mansions with huge parlors where people would gather and spend time together? I tend to believe the Press article from 1964.