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Sandstone Society has sellout for first local bus tour

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2018 at 11:06 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Michael Miano of Middleport takes a photo of the First Presbyterian Church of Albion on Sunday as part of the first bus tour of local sites that are in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

The Medina Sandstone Society organized the tour and had a sell-out with 30 people riding the bus through My Cowboy Transportation in Medina.

The Sandstone Society established the Hall of Fame in 2013. There are plaques of the inductees hanging inside the main meeting room at City Hall in Medina.

The group heads into Pullman Memorial Universalist Church in Albion which was included in the debut Hall of Fame Class in 2013.

The tour started in Medina and included Holy Trinity Parish (St. Mary’s Catholic Church), the former Armory (now the Orleans County YMCA) and then St. John’s Episcopal Church.

The bus then headed to Albion for stops at the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Mount Albion Cemetery. The group then went to Holley to see St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Hillside Cemetery, where the chapel has the only flying buttress in the county.

Bill Lattin, the retired Orleans County historian, welcomes the group into the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. Lattin described architectural features and the local efforts behind creating the landmark buildings.

The Pullman church was built in a Gothic Revival style to resemble an 11th century rural England church. George Pullman, the famed railroad industrialist, provided about $67,000 to build the church in Albion in honor of his parents. The church opened in January 1895 after some anxiety in waiting for the large Tiffany stained glass window of Christ the Consoler.

The church has always been electrified, with power coming from the hydroelectric dam in Waterport, Lattin said.

Dave Miller of the Sandstone Society welcomed nominations for the 2018 Hall of Fame Class. For more information, click here.

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Medina Sandstone Society seeks nominations for Hall of Fame

Photo by Tom Rivers: St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batavia is one of many churches in the region built of Medina sandstone. Last year, the Medina Sandstone Society inducted the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, the first building from Batavia to be enshrined.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 April 2018 at 1:29 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, started in 2013, will be inducting its 2018 class this coming October. Nominations for induction are now being sought.

People from anywhere can send their choices for induction directly to the Hall of Fame Committee of the Medina Sandstone Society by mailing the nomination to the Medina Sandstone Society, PO Box 25, Medina, N.Y., 14103. Or a nomination may be sent electronically by filling out the online form (click here).

The Hall of Fame Committee will consider nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 31.

The home of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame has been established in Medina’s City Hall, a structure itself made of the same brownstone quarried in the Medina area for over 100 years. The initial Hall of Fame class included 6 structures located in and around Western New York. The 2017 class included 4 more structures including buildings from Jamestown, Rochester, Albion and Batavia.

Hall of Fame Committee members Jim Hancock (chairman), Dave Miller and Don Colquhoun will research all nominations and make a site visit. Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness and architectural uniqueness.

If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

Four new inductees were added to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 19, 2017, including First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. Pictured in front from left: Cathy Vail, CFO for Holy Sepulchre; Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulcre; Tim McGee, elder at First Presbyterian Church in Albion; and Twyla Boyer, First Presbyterian’s pastor. Back row: Brenda Gagliano, Holy Sepulchre’s records coordinator; Dan Nagle, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Jamestown; Jim Jacobs, facilities director for Batavia City School District which owns and maintains Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia; Rob Conrad, director of Richmond Memorial; and Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

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Medina Sandstone Society will offer first bus tour

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2018 at 3:18 pm

Will stop at sites that are in Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Photo by Tom Rivers: The blossoms were in bloom by the front entrance of Mount Albion Cemetery in this photo from May 10, 2015. The front arch is made of Medina sandstone, one of many sandstone features in the historic cemetery.

The Medina Sandstone Society has sponsored many historic walking tours in Medina in recent years. The organization is planning another tour on April 29, but for the first time the Sandstone Society will take a bus to visit numerous sites.

The bus tour will highlights buildings and sites that are all in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. Bill Lattin, the retired Orleans County historian, will serve as tour guide.

The group will go inside some of the buildings on the tour. Some spots will just be a quick visit without going inside.

“This is something new we’re trying,” said Jim Hancock, president of the Sandstone Society.  “We have hosted walking tours around historic downtown Medina in the past, but this time we’re renting a tour bus and having a guided tour around Orleans County of beautiful sandstone structures which, incidentally, are inducted into our famous Hall of Fame.”

Lattin will point on the different architectural styles with the buildings, and show some of the different colors and sizes in the sandstone.

The tour starts at 1 p.m. on April 29 at Holy Trinity Parish (St. Mary’s Catholic Church) and West Avenue and then goes to the former Armory (now the Orleans County YMCA) on Pearl Street and then St. John’s Episcopal Church on East Center Street.

The bus then heads to Albion to see the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, First Presbyterian Church and Mount Albion Cemetery. The group then heads to Holley and St. Mary’s Catholic Church and Hillside Cemetery, where the chapel has the only flying buttress in the county.

The group is scheduled to be back in Medina at 5:30 p.m.

The Sandstone Society is charging $15 for members (stonecutters) and $20 for the general public to go on the tour.

Seating is limited and registration is required. A reservation and check payable to Medina Sandstone Society, can be sent to PO Box 25, Medina, NY 14103. For additional information, send an email to Sue Holland (shollan2@rochester.rr.com).

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4 sites inducted into Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2017 at 6:10 pm

Presbyterian Church in Albion, Batavia library, Rochester cemetery and Jamestown church join exclusive club

Photo by Tom Rivers: Four new inductees were added to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame this afternoon, including First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. Pictured in front from left: Cathy Vail, CFO for Holy Sepulchre; Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulcre; Tim McGee, elder at First Presbyterian Church in Albion; and Twyla Boyer, First Presbyterian’s pastor. Back row: Brenda Gagliano, Holy Sepulchre’s records coordinator; Dan Nagle, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Jamestown; Jim Jacobs, facilities director for Batavia City School District which owns and maintains Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia; Rob Conrad, director of Richmond Memorial; and Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame inducted four new members into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, bringing the number of inductees in the HOF to 24 since the first class was inducted in 2013.

The new inductees include the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown.

The Presbyterian Church is the ninth site from Orleans County in the Hall of Fame. Genesee has its first entry with the library in Batavia. Jamestown and Chautauqua County are also making their debut in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame with the First Lutheran Church. Holy Sepulchre is second site from Rochester to join the HOF.

The Hall of Fame Committee – Jim Hancock, David Miller and Don Colquhoun – make road trips to all of the nominees and do research on the buildings. Hancock, the Sandstone Society president, said he has developed a far deeper appreciation for the local quarried stone.

“We have been truly amazed over the years of the multitude of buildings that are still standing from a seemingly indestructible building material,” Hancock.

The Hall of Fame inductees all deserve praise for maintaining what are often cavernous structures, Hancock said. All of the inductees today shared stories of recent costly renovations, from mortar repointings to new slate roofs.

The following were inducted in the Class of 2016, with the descriptions courtesy of Medina Sandstone Society:

• First Presbyterian Church of Albion

Jim Hancock, right, reads the plaque about the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, which was represented by elder Tim McGee and pastor Twyla Boyer.

The First Presbyterian Church is a beautiful example of rose colored Medina Sandstone. The church commissioned famed architect Andrew Jackson Warner from Rochester to come up with a design for the new church.

It is rumored that the building committee told the architect they wanted a building like his First Presbyterian Church he built in 1871 in Rochester, but with a steeple taller than the Albion Baptist Church. The steeple was to be 175 feet, taller by 15 feet. Construction began in 1874 and completed and dedicated in 1875 and for over 140 years the bells in the majestic bell tower have been calling worshipers to service every Sunday.

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Boyer spoke during the Hall of Fame induction at Medina City Hall, where the plaques are on display. She said the Albion congregation has been a dedicated steward of the building.

“It is a beautiful church,” she said. “It is a pleasure to be there.”

McGee said the congregation has tackled a recent major interior renovation and last year had to fix the slate roof.

“We continue to make progress preserving the church,” he said. “It’s just beautiful inside.”

• Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia

Rob Conrad, the library director, praised the Batavia City School District for its ongoing maintenance of the historic site.

The Richmond Memorial Library is a beautiful example of light gray Medina Sandstone and red Albion stone. The style is Richardsonian Romanesque and was designed by Rochester architect James Cutler. The Richmond Library employs the style of two-tone sandstone in a random ashlar pattern with a battered foundation and a steep gable roof.

Mrs. Mary Richmond donated a piece of land at the rear of the family property and construction of a library began on July 11, 1887 and was dedicated on March 12, 1889. Mrs. Richmond donated $24,000 towards the cost and insisted on using local labor to build this magnificent building.

The library was named after her son Dean Richmond, Jr., who died in his youth. Mrs. Richmond, noted for her charity, then donated the library to the Union Free School District. The Richmond Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was registered on July 24, 1974.

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Rob Conrad, library director, said he and the staff are thrilled to see the library go into the Hall of Fame. He praised the Batavia City School District for its ongoing commitment to maintain the site. Conrad said he is impressed by the communities that rallied their dollars to build such impressive buildings in the region, using Medina Sandstone.

“You see the beauty of the buildings and their ingenuity,” he said.

• Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester

Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulchre, accepts the award for cemetery.

All Souls’ Chapel, designed by noted architect Andrew Jackson Warner, was built in 1876, and has become the centerpiece of the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. The small but graceful building features a steep slate roof, supporting hammer beams, and exquisitely designed stained glass windows featuring the 14 stations of the Cross made in Roermond, Holland.

A companion 100-foot bell tower built in 1886 houses a six crypt mausoleum, the final resting place for the Bishops of the diocese including Bishop Bernard McQuaid, the founder of the cemetery. The Chapel as well as the two gate houses and 1.36-mile stone wall surrounding the cemetery are all made of beautifully preserved and restored red Medina Sandstone.

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Holy Sepulchre is “synonymous with Medina Sandstone,” said Lynn Sullivan, the cemetery’s chief executive officer. The cemetery is committed to keeping up the historic chapel and bell tower.

“We love Medina Sandstone,” she said. “It’s what the cemetery is known for.”

• First Lutheran Church in Jamestown

The Rev. Dan Nagle is proud of the church in Jamestown, which has 1,100 seats and spectacular stained-glass windows.

First Lutheran congregation was organized by Swedish immigrants in 1856. The construction of their present beautiful cathedral made entirely of red Medina sandstone was started in 1892 and completed in 1901.

It is a magnificent structure and includes a 153-foot-tall bell tower which still functions today. The congregation takes great pride in maintaining the beauty of the church which dominates the city’s skyline.

Many internal and external improvements and restorations have occurred over the years. The interior includes a historic 1901 Hook and Hastings pipe organ rebuilt in 1955, two tiered seating, and numerous beautifully detailed stained glass windows.

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The Swedish immigrants who founded the church mortgaged their homes ensure the construction would move forward at the church, the Rev. Dan Nagle said.

He leads the church today and remains humbled by the sacrifice and vision of the congregation in the 1890s.

For more on the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, click here. (The plaques were are made and donated by Takeform Architectural Graphics in Medina.)

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Sandstone Trust has grants available for community projects in Medina area

Staff Reports Posted 12 October 2017 at 11:44 am

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Trust is making several thousand dollars available in grants to community organizations and projects.

The grants generally range from $200 to $500 and are awarded to qualifying not-for-profit organizations and/or programs in the Medina, Ridgeway and Shelby region.

Funding is intended to help programs that clearly benefit this community and that have favorable tax and regulatory status.

The community endowment has given out more than $25,000 over the past seven years. Some projects benefitted since 2011 include improvements to the veterans’ plot at Boxwood Cemetery, downtown Christmas lighting, Lee-Whedon Memorial Library, Medina Historical Society, Medina Business Association, The Arc of Genesee Orleans, YMCA, Orleans Renaissance Group, CAC pre-school, school-parent activities, downtown clock project, Medina Tourism Program, Parade of Lights, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Family Literacy, Millville Cemetery Association and other groups.

To apply for a grant, organization leaders need to fill out a Sandstone Trust Application form and mail to Sandstone Trust, Post Office Box 25, Medina, by the application deadline, Nov. 17.

Application forms can be obtained as follows: In person at Medina Parts Co. (NAPA) 345 N. Main St. or Michael Zelazny, CPA 511 Main St.; By regular mail request sent to Sandstone Trust, PO Box 25, Medina, NY 14103; or online from the Sandstone Trust web page, www.sandstonesociety.org.

Questions may be sent by email at sandstonesociety@gmail.com or calling Michael Zelazny, CPA at 585-798-1006.

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Nominations sought for Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Posted 20 June 2017 at 9:14 am

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse was built nearly 200 years ago in 1822. It is one of the oldest Medina sandstone structure of significant size. The 40-foot-high lighthouse tower is the oldest surviving lighthouse on the south side of Lake Ontario. The lighthouse is one of many notable Medina sandstone buildings that is yet to make the Hall of Fame.

Press Release, Medina Sandstone Society

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, started in 2013, will be inducting its 2017 class this coming October. Nominations for induction are now being sought.

People from anywhere can send their choices for induction directly to the Hall of Fame Committee of the Medina Sandstone Society by mailing the nomination to the Medina Sandstone Society, PO Box 25, Medina, N.Y., 14103. Or a nomination may be sent electronically using the online address: www.sandstonesociety.org/hof-nominations.

This year’s class will include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 30.

The home of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame has been permanently established in the City Hall of Medina, a structure itself made of the same brownstone quarried in the Medina area for over 100 years.

The initial Hall of Fame class included 6 structures located in and around western NY. The 2016 class included 4 more structures including one from Buffalo, one from Watertown, NY, one from Canandaigua, NY, and St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Holley.

Jim Hancock, chairman of the Hall of Fame Committee, along with Dave Miller and Don Colquhoun will research all nominations which will include a site visit. Criteria for consideration shall include age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness, and architectural uniqueness. If possible nomination information should have full background and documentation, and, at the very least, should give a name and phone number to be contacted for further information or a website.

It took 14 years to build the Million-Dollar Staircase in the State Capitol. The big steps, all 444, are made from Medina sandstone. The staircase is 119 feet tall and was completed in 1897. Governors, state legislators and other power brokers have all used these steps. The Staircase has been nominated previously for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

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Sandstone Heritage: Dunkirk built church edifice of Medina sandstone a century ago

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2017 at 8:45 am

DUNKIRK – A century ago, when Dunkirk was booming from the railroad industry, a congregation built a large church edifice at 601 Washington Ave.

The church shows the wealth of the congregation and the small city in Chautauqua County at the time. Besides using high-quality Medina sandstone, the church has three very large stained glass windows, and numerous smaller windows.

The First United Methodist Church in Dunkirk has large, striking stained-glass windows. The one on the left depicts the The Ascension of Christ, which shows the apostles watching in awe as the resurrected Christ ascends to Heaven. The window on the right shows Christ as the Good Shepherd.

I stopped by the church on Easter. I was in the area visiting my parents and other family. I saw this church a few months ago when I was home scouting for the Civil War Memorial in Dunkirk. There is a stone statue of a soldier in a park next to the church.

Greg Cole, husband of the church’s pastor Judy Cole, gave me a brief tour of the church after the 11 a.m. service on Sunday. I told Cole I was building a database of Medina sandstone sites, and would pass the photos along to the Medina Sandstone Society. I told Cole I also like to feature the sites on the Orleans Hub, showing that our local stone has been used in important community buildings all over the state – and beyond.

Mr. Cole said people stop by periodically for tours. They want to see the inside of the church with the enormous stained-glass windows. Many have commented the church was built with Medina sandstone. “You’re known all around the world,” he said about Medina sandstone.

There are about 40 people attend Sunday services. The church hosts monthly dinners for the community, including one on Tuesday. It also has a ministry for people who are homeless, offering a clothing closet, food pantry, household items, laundry facilities, showers and a place to rest, along with a meal. The church also offers temporary overnight emergency shelter.

A cornerstone indicates the church was built in 1916, replacing one from 1845, but inside a sign says it the church was finished in 1918. Mr. Cole said it took about two years to build the church, with construction starting in 1916.

Jesus is portrayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, where he prayed before he was betrayed and would be crucified. This is one of three large windows depicting Jesus. Mr. Cole said the windows were created by the Pittsburgh Art Glass Company.

This close-up shows Jesus as the Good Shepherd.

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Batavia is home to 2 grand churches made of Medina sandstone

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 October 2016 at 10:31 am

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102316_batbaptist1Photos by Tom Rivers

BATAVIA – In 1890-91, a towering church made of Medina sandstone took shape at 306 East Main St. in Batavia.

First Baptist Church used rough-faced gray Medina sandstone and Albion redstone to build one of  Batavia’s most striking landmarks.

The two types of sandstone in gray and red “create decorative patterns,” according to The Architectural Heritage of Genesee County, an impressive book on the inventory of Genesee’s most striking residences, churches and public buildings.

The Genesee County Landmark Society published the exhaustive book in 1988. The Baptist Church is on the cover.

The book lists Pierce and Dockstader of Elmira as the architects and John Shaefer as the local contractor. The structure has many characteristics of Richardson Romanesque with rounded windows. (Click here for more on Richardson Romanesque, first used in Buffalo in 1870 with the Richardson Olmsted Complex.)

“The extraordinary elongated round tower is actually a chimney stack,” according to Architectural Heritage of Genesee County. “The typical wide rounded arch forms the top half of the stained glass window facing Main Street.”

Catherine Roth headed the book project for the Landmark Society. In the book’s preface, she said the Landmark Society created the book to encourage the recognition of architecture as an art form that should be maintained and enjoyed.

“The Landmark Society feels architecture is a heritage that should be cherished and handed down through the generations as moments in history that cannot be preserved in any other way,” Roth wrote.

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102316_batstmarys2St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Fifteen years after First Baptist opened, Catholics completed their own church made of Medina sandstone. St. Mary’s Catholic Church was completed in 1906 at 20 Ellicott St.

The church was made of rusticated Medina sandstone and is the oldest Catholic church building in use in Batavia.

The church was designed by John Copeland of Buffalo and John Pickert of Batavia was the contractor.

“Pointed arched windows including ones of stained glass depicting the life of Christ, small side projections suggesting buttresses and a crenellated bell tower are all Gothic design elements,” according to Architectural Heritage.

I was concerned St. Mary’s might close with the recent downsizing in the Catholic diocese. The parish in Batavia also had St. Anthony’s, a more recent building near Richmond Memorial Library (also a spectacular Medina sandstone building.)

The parish opted to keep St. Mary’s open. St. Anthony’s has been acquired by City Church and, after months of renovations, will have its first Sunday service at St. Anthony’s on Nov. 13 at noon.

The parish about a decade ago did extensive renovations to St. Mary’s, especially inside the building.

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This is the only church I’ve noticed where the letters are protruding, and not etched into the stone. It is a magnificent achievement by the stonecutters from more than a century ago.

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This church is a showcase of the red sandstone.

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4 sites added to Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Photo by Tom Rivers: The new inductees of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame are pictured today after an induction ceremony at Medina City Hall, where the Hall of Fame is located in the main meeting room. The inductees include from left: Emma Flower Taylor Mansion in Watertown, owned by Katherine and Richard Pyne; Hillside Cemetery Chapel in Clarendon (Erin Anheier in front and Melissa Ierlan from Clarendon Historical Society); Sonnenberg  Manor in Canandaigua (David Hutchins, executive director of Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, and Deborah Kelly, program manager); and the First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo (Christina Banas, front, is the church business manager and Elena Delgado in back is the church pastor). Takeform Architectural Graphics in Medina donated the plaques for the Hall of Fame.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 October 2016 at 7:52 pm

2 mansions, a towering church, and a cemetery chapel all recognized

MEDINA – Four exceptional structures made of Medina sandstone were inducted today into the fourth class of the Hall of Fame for the Medina Sandstone Society, with two mansions, an enormous church and small cemetery chapel all recognized for their enduring significance to their communities.

The Medina Sandstone Society created the Hall of Fame in 2013 to recognize outstanding sites made of the local stone. The Hall of Fame is located inside Medina City Hall in the main meeting room. City Hall is a prominent Medina sandstone building on Main Street.

The initiative has proven an eye-opener for the Hall of Fame committee, which has travelled throughout Upstate New York, and even to Erie, Pa. to see some of the nominated sites.

“There are really some gorgeous, gorgeous buildings,” said Hall of Fame Committee member Jim Hancock during today’s induction ceremony.

He is on the committee with David Miller and Don Colquhoun. They travel together to visit the nominated sites. They look for architectural significance and uniqueness, overall beauty, longevity and maintenance.

The following were inducted in the Class of 2016 (Descriptions courtesy of Medina Sandstone Society) :

• Hillside Cemetery Chapel in Clarendon

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Located just outside the village of Holley, Hillside Cemetery is an active town cemetery established in 1866 and developed between 1866 and 1938 at 4065 Holley-Byron Rd. An elegant Gothic Revival style chapel was built in 1894 for $3,350 and is a primary feature of the cemetery.

Originally constructed for burial services at the cemetery, the 20-by-32-foot chapel was designed by Rochester architect Addison Forbes and features Medina sandstone construction, a slate roof, and decorative glass windows. The chapel and cemetery was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

In 2014 the Landmark Society of WNY selected the chapel for inclusion as one of their Five to Revive properties. In 2015 the Town of Clarendon was awarded $126,210 from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council to help fund much-needed repairs to the cemetery chapel.

The Clarendon Historical Society was praised for pushing to raise awareness of the chapel and secure the funding for repairs. Erin Anheier, one of the Historical Society members, said the grant documents were signed today and she expects much of the work to happen next year.

She is hopeful the chapel will be used for community events, including art shows, musical events and even small weddings.

“They’ve brought the chapel back to life,” said HOF Committee member David Miller.

Anheier thanked town officials, and local residents for supporting the efforts to save the chapel.

• Emma Flower Taylor mansion in Watertown

102016_mshofwatertownBuilt in 1896 as a wedding present to his only surviving child by then NYS Governor Roswell Pettibone Flower, the Emma Flower Taylor mansion in Watertown is an outstanding example of the Queen Anne architectural style, one of the most recognizable of the Victorian styles. It is located at 241 Clinton St.

It is a massive 2 ½ story mansion constructed of rock faced, random course Medina sandstone. The home was designed by Charles Rich of the NYC firm of Rich Lamb, which also designed Sagamore, the home of Theodore Roosevelt on Oyster Bay, Long Island.

It has many distinguishing features including a porte-cochere, tiled roofs, a wrap-around porch on the first floor, second floor porches, rounded corner turrets, large overhanging gables, an asymmetrical footprint and surfaces, and widow bays. Its most unique feature is the use of Medina sandstone which was quarried in Medina, moved to the site by rail, and cut on site.

The mansion was converted to eight apartments in 1940 after Mrs. Taylor’s death. The Sandstone Society said it is a magnificent structure which was built and maintained in the classic Victorian tradition both externally and internally. The present owners, Richard and Katherine Pyne, have stayed true to preserving this architectural gem in its original Queen Anne style. The Pynes have owned the mansion for 13 years. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002.

“This is a labor of love owning these structures,” Mrs. Pyne said. “We look after it with love year after year.”

• First Presbyterian Church in Buffalo

102016_mshofpres2The First Presbyterian Church of Buffalo, New York was established in 1819 and was the first organized church in Buffalo. The current building, made of beautiful Medina sandstone, was designed by Green & Wicks and was built by Jared Hyde Tilden. In addition to this wonderful church, a 163-foot tower was completed in 1897. In both cases the style is Richardson Romanesque. Upon the completion of this tower, the congregation formally dedicated the sanctuary on May 6, 1897.

When this church was first thought to be sited, the congregants and trustees wanted to be in the midst of the expanding population in Buffalo. As the city grew, so did First Presbyterian and its desire to grow their mission. As a result, they assisted in the formation of thirty-nine other congregations.

Today, almost 200 years after its formation, First Presbyterian and its beautiful sandstone edifice are examples of truly outstanding longevity, both in spirit and structure, HOF member Jim Hancock said.

The church is located at 1 Symphony Circle across from Kleinhans Music Hall. Houghton College uses the church for classes. The Village Church also has services at First Presbyterian.

Elena Delgado, the church’s pastor, said First Presbyterian is challenged to maintain “the brick and mortar” of the property due to a declining membership and aging congregation. The church has welcomed the other organizations to use the site.

“It’s an extraordinary jewel of architecture,” she said. “It’s very majestic and it means so much to the community.”

• Sonnenberg Manor in Canandaigua

102016_mshofsonnebergFrederick Ferris Thompson, a prominent banker in NYC, and his wife Mary Clark Thompson –whose father, Myron Holley Clark, was governor of NYS in 1855 – purchased the Sonnenberg property in 1863, keeping the name which means “sunny hill” in German.

In 1887, they replaced the original farmhouse with a 40-room Queen Anne style mansion at 151 Charlotte St. The mansion was designed by Francis Allen, a noted Boston architect. Allen also designed and oversaw the remodeling of the mansion approximately 15 years after it was constructed.

The mansion’s facade is rusticated Medina gray and red sandstone. After Mary Clark Thompson’s death in 1923, the property was sold to the Federal Government who built a veteran’s hospital The government used the mansion to house doctor’s families and some nurses. In 1972 the mansion and its grounds were transferred from the Federal Government to a local non-profit organization formed to restore and reopen the property. It was opened to the public and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. The property is now under the New York State Parks System.

“Not only is the building magnificent, but the grounds and the gardens are as well,” said Hancock, the HOF committee member. “You have to go visit.”

David Hutchins has been the site’s executive director for 11 years.

“It’s an incredible place,” he said. “I’m honored to be there and proud to be part of its legacy of preservation.”

For more on the Hall of Fame, click here.

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New Sandstone Hall of Fame sites to be inducted Oct. 20

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 September 2016 at 8:04 am
Photos by Tom Rivers: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown is a sprawling and towering church edifice constructed from 1892 to 1894. The site includes a tower with a clock on four faces, as well as the city’s only chime bells. It is among the past nominees considered for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

Photos by Tom Rivers: St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Jamestown is a sprawling and towering church edifice constructed from 1892 to 1894. The site includes a tower with a clock on four faces, as well as the city’s only chime bells. It is among the past nominees considered for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society will be inducting the fourth class of impressive Medina Sandstone buildings on Oct. 20 during a ceremony at City Hall at 1 p.m.

The Medina Sandstone Society has inducted 14 structures into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame since it was started in 2013. The honorees are recognized with plaques inside City Hall, which is an impressive sandstone structure on Main Street.

The building’s owners have all attended the induction ceremony so far, including the leaders of an Episcopal church in Erie, Pa.

The Sandstone Society wants to recognize great buildings made of the local stone. Towering churches, ornate mansions, impressive war memorials have all been inducted, with additional nominations, including eight this year.

The Sandstone Society considered the eight new nominees, plus about 20 holdovers from previous years. The Hall of Fame selection committee includes Jim Hancock, David Miller and Don Colquhoun.

The new nominees for this year include: Emma Flower Taylor Mansion in Watertown, the Lafayette Lofts (Lafayette Presbyterian Church) in Buffalo, Christ Church in Rochester, Old Federal Building (Rochester City Hall) in Rochester, First Presbyterian Church in Buffalo, St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, Zion Episcopal Church in Palmyra and St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Sanborn.

For more on the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, click here.

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