5 historic sites on 98 join for ‘Museum Crawl’ on Saturday

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2014 at 12:00 am

Provided photo – Three of the five museum leaders are pictured for the Museum Crawl from Batavia to Point Breeze on Saturday. Pictured, from left, include Amy Vlack from the Elba Historical Society Museum, Jeff Donahue from the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia, and Sarah Karas from The Cobblestone Museum.

Five historic sites along Route 98, from Batavia to Point Breeze, are joining for their first “Museum Crawl” on Saturday. Participants can buy one ticket for $5 and get access to all five sites.

The museums all tell an American story, from the birthplace of Western New York at the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia to sites that showcase architecture, home life, agriculture, a schoolhouse and even outhouses from more than a century ago.

“I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to partner with some of the local historical organizations in our community,” said Sarah Karas, co-director of the Cobblestone Museum. “It is a great way to support each other.”

The Cobblestone Museum includes several historic structures. The museum has been declared a National Historic Landmark. The Holland Land Office Museum also has that lofty designation.

The DAR House in Albion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That site will be included on the Museum Crawl, and so will the Elba Historical Society Museum and Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum.

Karas highlighted some of the features from each site:

The Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum, completed in 2010, is the first lighthouse built on the Great Lakes in 100 years.

The Cobblestone Museum preserves the unique cobblestone masonry style and life during the 1800s.

The Orleans County Chapter DAR House is a Greek revival building with period furnishings and contains early Orleans County artifacts.

The Elba Historical Society Museum is full of local artifacts and information, including the designation as the location of the first rural mail route in the country.

The Holland Land Office Museum, which occupies the historic Holland Land Office Company Building, contains a rich history of how Western New York was settled.

Photo by Tom Rivers – The Cobblestone Museum is a National Historic Landmark, the only site in Orleans County with that status from the U.S. Departent of the Interior.

“Each museum brings their own unique charm to the tour,” Karas said. “None of them are the same, so you will be learning something new at each one.”

The crawl runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, with the exception of the DAR House, which will be open from 12:30 to 5 p.m. for the event. (The DAR House will be open at 11:30 a.m. for a presentation on the Clarendon Historical Society and Cobblestone Museum’s efforts to restore a red fox that was stuffed 134 years ago by famed taxidermist Carl Akeley when he was only 16. The Cobblestone Museum owns the Akeley fox.)

“This will be a great opportunity to learn about local history,” said Diane Palmer, vice regent for the DAR and also a board member for the Cobblestone Museum. “People can stop by places they may have intended to visit but haven’t taken the time.”

The Cobblestone Museum is also hosting children’s author Cynthia Cotten for a book signing. Her book “Window Across Time” will be available for purchase at the museum. Cotton lives along the canal in Lockport. Her book spans almost two centuries, and consists of eight stories linked together by a cobblestone house in a fictional small town on the Erie Canal. Through the eyes of the young people who live there, readers get a look inside (or a window to) both large and small moments in the history of the house, Western New York and the United States.

Photo by Tom Rivers – The DAR House, at the corner of Route 98 and Linwood Avenue, will be open to the public from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the Museum Crawl.

Passbooks for the Crawl are $5 per person or $10 per family. They can be purchased pre-sale or day of the event at each museum and two local participating businesses: Bindings Bookstore in Albion and Chap’s Diner in Elba.

Participants will have their passbook stamped at each museum. Once all five stamps are collected, a certificate will be given that can be redeemed at one of the five local restaurants offering special promotions for Crawl participants. The restaurants participating this year include Oliver’s Candies, Chap’s Diner, The Crooked Door, Tillman’s Village Inn and the Black North. Crawl finishers will also be entered to win a souvenir basket from each museum.

The museums can be visited in any order at any time throughout the day. However, organizers suggest starting at either the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum or the Holland Land Office Museum and working your way through the museums in a linear fashion.

“It is a great way to get out and support your local museums, culture, and history while also having a good time.,” Karas said. “We hope to expand it out next year to make it even bigger and better.”