NORWICH – The Chenango County Historical Society begins its 2010 programs at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 15, with a preview gallery walk of its summer exhibit, “The Artist George E. Cook and the Cook family in Chenango County.” There will also be a short presentation on George Cook by the exhibit’s curators, Jim Flanagan and Diane Hamblin.
All but forgotten in the early 21st Century, George Eastman Cook, was a respected and talented artist born in 1867 in Norwich. A graduate of the Norwich Academy, Mr. Cook and his family spent their summers in their family homestead known as Thornbrook Hall in the town of Plymouth. The Cook family, headed by David Cook, first came to Chenango County in the early 19th Century and began building Thornbrook Hall at that time. Walter Abail Cook, David’s grandson, married Mary Adaline Eastman of Waterville, who was said to be related to George Eastman who established the Kodak Company. Walter and Mary Adaline had four children: Walter, George, Mary Adeline and David. While his father had other hopes for George’s professional future, it was George’s dream to become a portrait and landscape painter. He moved to Boston in the late 1880’s where he studied under the well known artist, Arthur Pope and earned a living giving art lessons.