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Medina will rededicate WWI cannon on Memorial Day

Photos courtesy of Chris Busch: The newly renovated WWI Memorial in Medina, featuring the fully restored BL 60 Pounder British field gun, will be rededicated at noon on Monday, Memorial Day.

Posted 21 May 2019 at 7:35 am

Press Release, Orleans Renaissance Group

There is new granite and a refurbished bronze plaque for the cannon.

MEDINA – Since 1935, a B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun has been the centerpiece of not only the World War I memorial in Medina, but also of the village’s annual Memorial Day observances.

This year’s observance will be a historic occasion as the British field gun has undergone 14 months of extensive restoration and arrived back home in Medina just a few weeks ago. The local landmark was removed in March 2018 to Seed Artillery Reproduction & Restoration in Altoona, PA, where it was completely stripped, disassembled, and rebuilt using newly repaired and remanufactured parts.

Local benefactor and businessman, George Bidleman, covered the entire cost of the work to the cannon, donating $40,000 for the job. Additional site improvements were made possible through donations to the Orleans Renaissance Group, Inc. Concrete for the project was donated by Orleans Ready Mix LLC. Beauman’s Garage, Inc. of Lockport donated services to hoist the huge cannon onto its new concrete pad.

The rare and historic artillery piece was manufactured by the Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, in 1916 and saw extensive service on the Western Front during World War I, firing a total of 4,342 rounds in combat action. It weighs six tons and is a 5 inch/127mm caliber gun. There are few left in the world today.

Three new flagpoles have recently been installed on site – one for an American Flag, signifying the soldiers of Medina who served and gave their lives in France during the Great War; one for a British flag, signifying the gun’s heritage; and one for a French flag, signifying the theater of service for the big gun and our local soldiers.

A new granite slant was installed, featuring a refurbished bronze plaque that was originally with the monument in 1935. New lighting to up-light both the cannon and flags will also be installed before Memorial Day.

The memorial will be re-dedicated as part of special expanded Memorial Day observance at noon in State Street Park, Medina, following the conclusion of the annual parade.

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Restored WWI cannon gets warm welcome from veterans, Medina community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 May 2019 at 2:42 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A World War I cannon is hoisted from a trailer this morning at State Street Park. The cannon returned to Medina following more than a year of restoration work by Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration, in Altoona, Pa.

The B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun was a fixture at State Street Park since 1935. It was hauled away on March 12, 2018 for its restoration work.

These veterans capture the moment of the cannon being lifted from the trailer. They include from left Ken Schaal, Larry Szatkowski and Dave Higgins.

Local veterans gather around the cannon after it was put back at State Street Park this morning.

The cannon was falling apart. Dave Seedenberg of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration was in Medina this morning to watch the cannon be put back in pace at the local park.

Seedenberg completely stripped and disassembled the cannon, and needed to fabricate some new parts. The big 15,000-pound gun was reassembled and painted with historic accuracy.

“It’s absolutely stunning,” said George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford who paid the $40,000 restoration cost. “It’s beautiful.”

Local veterans including Earl Schmidt (left), the County’s Veterans Service Agency director, push the cannon in place.

There are only 10 of the cannons like this remaining, with five in Europe and five in the United States, said Jim Freas, a past commander of the Butts-Clark Post for the American Legion in Medina.

“We have one of them,” Freas said. “It’s priceless.”

The cannon needed a little push to be centered on the concrete pad.

The Orleans Renaissance Group pushed to have the cannon restored. Chris Busch, chairman of the ORG, thought it might take a few years to raise the money. But Bidleman offered to cover the entire cost of the cannon restoration.

The ORG also raised $12,000 for three new flag poles, a new granite slant for a plaque about the cannon, and other site improvements. Orleans Ready Mix also donated the concrete where the cannon is displayed.

The new flag poles will carry flags for the United States, Great Britain and France. The cannon was manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England. It was used in battle in France and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

George Bidleman, left, is presented a photo of the cannon with local veterans by Glenn Whitmore, commander of the American Legion Post in Medina.

“When George stepped forward we couldn’t believe it,” Whitmore said. “His heart is bigger than he is.”

Bidleman shook hands with each veteran at the park today, thanking them for their service. He said he was happy to help with the restoration of a prominent local landmark.

Whitmore said the cannon will be rededicated during the Memorial Day celebration on May 27. He said it will be a big event, and he welcomed veterans of all eras for the observance, and then an additional celebration at the American Legion, which is marking its 100th anniversary this year.

“It’s something that’s not being taken away because we’re losing so much of our history every day,” Whitmore said about the cannon. “Memorial Day is going to be a big day for this village and county.”

WJW Associates in Syracuse delivered the cannon to Medina this morning. The trucking company picked up the cannon in Altoona on Tuesday and brought it to Salamanca last night, before leaving this morning for Medina.

Jeff Karol of WJW said he got a lot of friendly honks and waves bringing the cannon up on Route 219 to Buffalo and then the Thruway this morning.

George Bidleman, left, watches the cannon be delivered to its spot in front of State Street Park.

Ron Ettinger, left, of Lyons Collision in Medina helps steer the cannon in place while a group of people, including Medina Mayor Mike Sidari (center), help push the cannon back on the concrete pad.

Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration put a small plaque on the cannon noting the restoration efforts were completed this year. The cannon was rusty with rot in spots and was missing chucks that Seed recreated.

Jeff Lyons, left, of Lyons Collision works with John Beauman of Beauman’s Garage in Lockport to remove straps from the cannon. Beaumont’s Garage brought a crane with a rotator to remove the cannon from the trailer.

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World War One cannon arrives at State Street Park in Medina

Staff Reports Posted 1 May 2019 at 10:21 am

After 14 months of restoration work, the 6-ton British field gun that has been a fixture in Medina since 1935 arrives on a flat bed truck. The cannon will be placed on a new concrete pad today with new flagpoles and lighting.

 

The 6-ton cannon was completely stripped, reassembled and painted. George Bidleman paid the $40,000 restoration cost, with help from the Orleans Renaissance Group and Orleans Ready Mix. The cannon will be ready for this year’s Memorial Day observance on May 27.

Restored WWI cannon coming back to Medina on May 1

Staff Reports Posted 24 April 2019 at 4:09 pm

Provided photos: Parts on the cannon from World War I looks like new after more than a year of restoration work.

MEDINA – A World War I cannon will be going back to Medina on May 1 following 14 months of restoration work.

Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration stripped and disassembled the field gun, and created new parts. The gun was then reassembled and painted with historic accuracy.

The B.L. 60 Pounder British field gun was a fixture at State Street Park since 1935. It was hauled away on March 12, 2018 for its restoration work.

The cannon was falling apart. George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford, paid the $40,000 cost to have the cannon restored by Dave Seedenberg of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration in Altoona, Pa.

The field gun was completely stripped and disassembled, new parts were fabricated, and the gun was reassembled and painted with historic accuracy.

The cannon is expected to arrive back in Medina at State Street Park at 10 a.m. on May 1. The cannon will be placed on a new concrete pad with new flagpoles, lighting, and a new granite slate for the original plaque. Those were paid for with donations through the Orleans Renaissance Group with the concrete donated by Orleans Ready Mix.

The cannon, manufactured in 1916, was fired during World War I. There are few of these cannons left in the world.

Every Memorial Day for about 80 years, the Medina community has gathered by the cannon for the solemn ceremony. The cannon wasn’t there for Memorial Day last year. It will be back for the observance this Memorial Day, May 27.

The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width. The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917, and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

Photo by Tom Rivers: Veterans watch a World War I cannon be loaded up on a trailer on march 12, 2018. The cannon was taken to Altoona, Pa., the location of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration. George Bidleman, Orleans Ford owner, is second from right.

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World War I cannon heads to Pennsylvania for restoration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 March 2018 at 11:54 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – A cannon from World War I that has been a fixture at State Street Park for about 80 years is leaving Medina for several months. A group of local veterans gathered at the park this morning to watch it be loaded on a flatbed owned by Automotive Solutions.

The cannon, manufactured in 1916, was fired during World War I. The cannon was moved from the front of State Street Park on Friday by the Medina DPW to back of the park so it could more easily be loaded up for a five-hour trip to Altoona, Pa. That is the location of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration.

“It’s a piece of history,” said Jim Freas, commander of the VFW in Medina.

Steve Johnson is commander of the American Legion in Medina. His grandfather also served in World War I a century ago.

“This cannon is part of our heritage,” Johnson said. “We have to preserve our history.”

George Bidleman, owner of Orleans Ford, is paying $40,000 to have the cannon restored. Bidleman started at Orleans Ford as general manager in 1987. In 2002, he became the owner. He said the cannon is a prominent memorial, a reminder of the sacrifices of veterans.

“They all risked their lives,” he said about veterans.

Bidleman, center, is pictured with local veterans and Eileen Banker, chief of staff for State Assemblyman Steve Hawley.

The cannon was manufactured in 1916 and was fired during World War I. Every Memorial Day for about 80 years, the Medina community has gathered by the cannon for the solemn ceremony.

The cannon, however, has become badly deteriorated and will be restored for $40,000. George Bidleman of Orleans Ford is raising the funds for the project.

The cannon will be stripped down. The parts will be repaired and re-manufactured if necessary. The gun will be primed and painted with epoxy primer and finished to match the original WWI paint scheme.

The Orleans Renaissance Group first pushed for saving the cannon about two years ago. The VFW and American Legion both supported the effort. The ORG raised $12,000 that will be used for site improvements for when the cannon comes back, which could be in time for Veterans’ Day in November.

Local veterans including David Kusmiersczak and Glenn Whitmore watched the cannon be pulled to the road in the park, so it could be put on the truck.

The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width. The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917 and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

Chris Seefeldt, left, of Automotive Solutions works with owner Shawn Callard, right, to secure the cannon on the truck for the trip to Pennsylvania.

The cannon is strapped down for the trip.

Automotive Solutions heads down State Street with the cannon.

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Medina’s WWI cannon at State Street Park heading to Pa. for restoration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 February 2018 at 9:45 pm

Provided photos: A cannon that was used in World War I about a century ago will be removed from State Street Park in Medina on March 12 and taken for restoration work in Altoona, Pa.

MEDINA – A cannon used in World War I that has been a prominent memorial at State Street Park will get much-needed restoration work beginning next month.

The cannon, manufactured in 1916, was fired during World War I. Every Memorial Day for about 80 years, the Medina community has gathered by the cannon for the solemn ceremony.

The cannon, however, has become badly deteriorated and will be restored for $40,000. George Bidleman of Orleans Ford is raising the funds for the project.

The Orleans Renaissance Group first pushed for saving the cannon about two years ago. The VFW and American Legion both supported the effort.

“She is in dire need of being restored – not just the paint but the whole body,” said David Kusmiersczak, a member of the Legion.

The cannon has become badly deteriorated. It will be refurbished and should last another century.

The cannon will be moved on March 12 and taken to Altoona, Pa. That is the location of Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration.

The cannon will be stripped down. The parts will be repaired and re-manufactured if necessary. The gun will be primed and painted with epoxy primer and finished to match the original WWI paint scheme.

Seed Artillery will try to have the project done in time to be back in Medina for Veterans Day in November, said Steve Johnson, American Legion commander in Medina.

The cannon will return to a concrete base and landscape improvements. The Orleans Renaissance Group also is working to add new flagpoles and an interpretive sign at the site.

The cannon is a British Heavy Field Gun known as a B.L. 60 Pounder, manufactured in 1916 by Elswick Ordnance Company, Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

It weighs 6 tons, is a 5 inch/127mm caliber, 21 feet in length and 6 feet in width. The gun was originally issued to battery in France, April 1917 and fired 2,871 rounds during its first tour. It was returned to England in 1917 for repairs and reissued to battery in France, September 1918, firing an additional 1,471 rounds.

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Memorial Day events are planned in Orleans County communities

Photo by Tom Rivers: The World War I cannon was brought back to Medina on May 1 after spending more than a year getting refurbished. It will be rededicated at noon on Memorial Day at State Street Park.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 May 2019 at 3:52 pm

Here is the list for Memorial Day parades and events in Orleans County for Monday:

• Albion – Parade starts near the Orleans County Court House on Main Street at 10 a.m. and proceeds to the Albion Middle School front lawn where there will be a service near the Vietnam Memorial. Former State Assemblyman Charlie Nesbitt is the featured speaker. He was a helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War.

• Holley – A ceremony will start at the American Legion Post at 9 a.m. and proceed to the VFW Post and then to Holy Cross Cemetery.  Nesbitt is also speaking at that ceremony.

• Lyndonville – The parade will start at 9 a.m. at the Catholic Church and end near the library.  A ceremony will be held there and includes music by the Lyndonville school chorus and band. For the third year, the Yates Community Library arranged to have many flags in the school front yard.

• Medina – The parade will start at 11 a.m. at the Olde Pickle Factory building and proceed to the State Street Park where a ceremony will be held.

At noon, the World War I cannon and memorial will be rededicated at State Street Park.

• Kendall  – The town has its Memorial Day observance on Thusday, May 30. Kendall alternates the location among three cemeteries. This year Memorial Day will be observed at Morton Union Cemetery at 7 p.m.

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38 banners of Hometown Heroes will be up in Medina for Memorial Day

Photos by Tom Rivers: Mary Woodruff, coordinator of the Hometown Heroes effort, is pictured with banners of showing the late Vincent Cardone and Mitchell Mason, who is currently serving in the Navy.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 May 2019 at 12:54 pm

MEDINA – Mary Woodruff saw the banners for the first time on Monday. She cried.

She has worked the past four months for a display of “Hometown Heroes,” large banners of soldiers who have served in the U.S. military from Medina.

She has 38 banners of soldiers, from World War II vets to current enlistees. The vinyl banners are double-sided and 5 feet tall by 2 ½ feet wide.

“I was extremely pleased,” she said when she saw them on Monday. “I had goosebumps.”

The banners will be publicly unveiled on May 19 during a reception at the former Medina Armory, where many of the soldiers trained. That facility on Pearl Street is now the Orleans County YMCA. The banners will all be displayed during that reception from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

They will be on utility poles and street lights in time for Memorial Day on May 27. There will be 32 banners placed on Main Street between Starr Street through the downtown to Glenwood Avenue near the American Legion Butts-Clark Post. Another six banners will be on East Center Street.

They will stay up until just after Veterans Day in November. Woodruff expects they will last about three years.

She would like to add more next year, and will be going before the Village Board to seek its approval for additional banners in 2020.

“I want people to feel patriotism and restore pride in the USA,” she said today at the Village Clerk’s Office in Medina. “When you see a vet, say thank you.”

Mary Woodruff shows the banners of Sgt. Todd Draper who served in US Army 2004-05, including time in Iraq; and of World War II vet Sandino Stornelli Sr. Draper currently works as a lieutenant with the Medina Police Department.

Woodruff, a retired social studies and math teacher at Roy-Hart, pushed to start the Hometown Heroes effort in Medina after seeing a similar one in Alfred, where her late father-in-law Willis Burr Woodruff is featured on a banner. He served in World War II. He later ran the local Agway plants in Knowlesville and Batavia.

She was given permission by the Medina Village Board to pursue the project in January. She had 38 families step forward by a Feb. 15 deadline and pay the $200 cost for the banner and hardware to go on the poles. The Medina DPW agreed to install the banners. The Village Clerk’s Office handled the money for the project.

The banners have red and blue borders with a portrait of the featured veteran, as well as the vet’s name, time of service, branch of military, and honors. It also states who sponsored the banner.

Woodruff has a file for each of the 38 soldiers featured in banners.

“I feel like I know all of these soldiers,” she said today. “I’ve read about them and talked with their families.”

The debut of the banners comes at a time when Medina is celebrating the restoration of the World War I cannon at State Street Park and also has welcomed a new bronze statue of a soldier as part of a memorial at the former Armory.

“The timing is perfect,” Woodruff said.

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‘Great community effort’ brings bronze statue home

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 April 2019 at 11:05 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The bronze statue of a soldier, resembling a doughboy from pre-World War II, was mounted atop a monument today in front of the Orleans County YMCA. Cody Dix of the Medina DPW is at right.

That building has been a Y for more than three decades. But for 76 years it was the Medina Armory, a site used to train soldiers for battle.

The new statue looks to be right at home by the former Armory.

The statue is taken out of the YMCA, where it spent the winter inside. The statue was finished in November and made its public debut in the Parade of Lights on Nov. 24.

The Armory opened in 1901. In 1977, it was closed by the National Guard.

Bill Menz trained at the building in 1953, when he joined Company C of the 174th Armored Infantry. He was promoted to corporal before transferring to active duty in 1956 to the US Army National Guard. He would come back to Medina and work about 40 years in construction as a plasterer/mason.

The Menz family is pictured with the statue and monument after the installation today. Pictured include Menz’s wife Betty, second from left, and their four children, from left: Timothy Menz, Mary Beth Germano, granddaughter Alyssa Germano, Lynne Menz (in back) and Tam Menz.

When the Armory closed, Bill Menz was on the committee that helped it find a new use as a YMCA. Menz, who died at age 86 on July 16 last year, wanted the community to know the building’s historical role in preparing soldiers to fight on behalf of the country. He teamed with his friend John Fuller to create a sandstone monument in front of the Y that listed 550 soldiers who trained at the Armory and were then deployed in wars. Menz and Fuller cut the stone and built the monument.

But it wasn’t done. Menz wanted a bronze statue of a soldier on top. He pushed for nearly a decade to raise the $65,000 for the statue. He was able to see it in pieces at the foundry before his death. His daughter, Lynne Menz, included some of her father’s ashes underneath the statue’s base, just before it was mounted today.

Mary Beth Germano, center, is one of Menz’s four children. She takes a photo of the statue being moved out of the former Armory, down Pearl Street and to the front lawn of the building.

Germano thanked the local residents and many veterans’ organizations for supporting the project with donations.

“It’s emotional seeing it,” she said after the installation this morning. “It’s a great community effort.”

Her father was unwavering in pushing the project in the community.

“When he had his mind set on something, it was full-speed ahead,” Germano said.

Ben Lacy, right, of the Medina DPW was off from work today but wanted to help with the statue installation. Lacy grew up next door to Menz. Lacy said he admired Menz’s determination in working on the monument and memorial for the local soldiers.

“Bill was dedicated to get this done and I wanted to help today to get this up and done,” Lacy said.

The statue was created by sculptor Brian Porter and the University of Buffalo’s foundry director Chris Serano.

Mayor Michael Sidari was among the onlookers watching the statue installation today. He said the statue is great addition to Medina.

“It’s a great tribute to the members that served our country out of the Armory,” Sidari said. “Many came back and many did not. Those that did continued to serve their community.”

Medina next month will also welcome the return of a World War I cannon. It had been a fixture at State Street Park for about 80 years. It has been gone since March 2018 while the cannon has been refurbished in Altoona, Pa. at Seed Artillery Reproduction and Restoration. It is coming back to Medina on May 1 and will be rededicated on Memorial Day.

The statue is expected to be formally dedicated during a ceremony in September. That will give time for landscaping work and some changes to be made to the plaques on the monument. Some lights may also be added to the site.

For more on the statue and monument, click here.

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Editorial: Albion library should keep Civil War flag and promote it as part of bigger heritage destination

Photos by Tom Rivers: Hoag Library may vote to sell this flag for an African-American unit that fought in the Civil War. The flag has 35 stars. That’s how many stars were on the flag for two years from 1863 to 1865.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 March 2019 at 3:00 pm

ALBION – Hoag Library doesn’t want to be a museum. Library leaders say that isn’t the mission for the organization.

The library has an interesting situation. It owns a Civil War flag for a Colored Troops regiment. It was in the attic of the former Swan Library for probably a century. It was unearthed when the library moved to a new building, which opened in July 2012.

Swan functioned as a caretaker of community artifacts. An impressive collection of World War I posters, nearly 100 in near-mint condition, were stashed away in the attic. Some of those are on loan and on display at the Cobblestone Museum.

The Mount Albion tower is a Civil War memorial to 463 Orleans County residents who died in the Civil War.

For decades it has displayed a collection of bird eggs and nests from Stuart John Flintham. He collected them in 1896 to 1899. They are in two displays as you enter the library.

Hoag has been going through some of items that were put in a back room of the new building.

Library leaders aren’t positive how the Civil War flag ended up at the former Swan Library. Without a certain local connection, the board of trustees is leaning towards selling the flag. An auction house from Texas estimates it will fetch $20,000.

The board will meet at 6:30 p.m. today at the library, and selling the flag is on the agenda.

I urge the library to keep it. Hoag is a good home for the flag. It is a well-maintained building and well-trafficked so people can enjoy seeing the flag. Yes, there will be some costs to have it properly preserved and protected. It’s amazing it has endured so long. Someone, decades ago, was smart to have the sense to put it in a frame. That has extended the flag’s life.

The library doesn’t need the money. Just last year, Maurice and Courtenay Hoag, the namesakes for the library, sent another $250,000 to the library. It was an unexpected gift. They have now donated $700,000 to Hoag.

I saw the flag for the first time about two weeks ago. I generally don’t feel an emotional stirring from objects, but the flag fired up feelings in me. Right away, it casts a spell. It looks different with the 35 stars. That’s how many states we had near the end of the Civil War.

The emblem for the 26th Regiment United States Colored Troops also is sewn into the flag. When you know the back story, that this was carried by one of three Colored Troop regiments from New York, you get goosebumps.

County Historian Matt Ballard believes it has a strong local connection. Ballard said the flag likely was in possession of a Barre man, who was a commissioned officer with the 26th USCT.

Charles H. Mattison of Barre was a 1st Lt. and adjutant for the regiment. He enlisted with the 151st NY Infantry to start, but turned down a commission with the 151st. He instead took a commission in 1864 with the 26th USCT. The Colored Troop regiments were led by officers who were white.

The GAR marker for Christopher Drake was recently repainted, along with about 160 others that were rusty.

“It would make sense that a commissioned officer and adjutant would have a regimental flag,” Ballard said.

Mattison is buried at Mt. Albion and his wife died in 1910. Ballard thinks Mattison’s wife left the flag to the library, which was becoming “a defacto repository for local historical artifacts.” Swan opened in 1900.

This bit of history could be shared as part of a display about the flag.

The flag could be part of a bigger Civil War Heritage Trail in Albion. The community is home to the county’s Civil War memorial, located at Mount Albion Cemetery. That memorial at the Mount Albion tower has a spiral staircase where people can climb up about 70 feet through a tower made of local Medina sandstone.

The bottom of the tower holds marble slabs with the names of 463 county residents who died in the Civil War. This is a powerful display and an unusual one. Most of the counties erected bronze statues that celebrated the highest-ranking officer to serve from the community. In Orleans County, every life that was lost in the Civil War is given equal treatment.

The cemetery is the final resting place for about 250 Civil War veterans and about 160 GAR markers remain on those plots. You can feel the sense of sacrifice and loss just by taking a stroll around the cemetery.

The local Civil War vets joined the Grand Army of the Republican, a fraternal organization for the vets. They met at a GAR Hall on Main Street, at the top floor of the Day building at 116 North Main St.

The building’s owners, Michael Bonafede and his wife Judith Koehler, discovered the GAR emblem remains on the wall. It had been covered with wall paper.

Mattison, the regiment leader, very likely was part of the GAR in Albion. It doesn’t seem farfetched to think of him bringing the flag to the GAR Hall on Main Street.

The Civil War flag would offer another stop on a Civil War Trail, if Albion was interested in promoting this history. (It could be extended to Medina with the Bent’s Opera House which opened in 1865. Kendall also has a cannon from the Civil War at Greenwood Cemetery on Route 18.)

The Civil War flag could be tied into a bigger story in Albion with other sites that are on either on the National Register of Historic Places or deemed National Historic Landmarks. They include the Courthouse Square, downtown Albion, the Erie Canal, Cobblestone Museum and Mount Albion Cemetery. Having five nationally recognized historic districts in a small community is highly unusual. There are also several local homes on the National Register.

The new Hoag Library, while not “historic,” can be a focal point of telling the community’s story.

The cannon in Civil War section of Mount Albion is pictured Nov. 5, 2016. About 250 Civil War veterans are buried at Mount Albion.

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Public welcome to bring worn flags to ceremony Thursday at Lyndonville

Staff Reports Posted 13 June 2018 at 7:55 am

LYNDONVILLE – The Houseman-Tanner Post 1603 in Lyndonville will be holding a flag retirement ceremony Thursday at 6 p.m. at Lynhaven Cemetery, located behind the Presbyterian Church at 107 Main St. The location will be near the cannon next to the flagpole.

Anyone who has a worn or tattered flag is welcome to bring it to the ceremony where we will ensure it receives a dignified disposal, said Steve Goodrich, commander of the Houseman-Tanner Post. Thursday is also Flag Day.

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Kendall community honors the sacrifice of soldiers

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 May 2018 at 10:28 pm

Town holds its Memorial Day observance on May 30, which was the official date of the holiday from 1868 to 1970

Photos by Tom Rivers: Boy Scouts and veterans hold a large American flag during a Memorial Day observance at Greenwood Cemetery this evening. The flag would then be folded 13 times, with the meaning of each fold read by Marietta Schuth. Brian Shaw, a Boy Scout in Troop 94, is in back center, holding the flag.

John Patt of Troop 94 carries the American flag on Route 18. The processional started at Kendall Elementary School and ended at Greenwood Cemetery.

Sarah Kelly plays the flute in the combined Holley and Kendall marching band.

Town Supervisor Tony Cammarata said Memorial Day should be a time to reflect on the sacrifice of soldiers. “If it wasn’t for these brave individuals, our lives and our way of life would definitely have been different,” he said.

Kendall holds its Memorial Day observance on May 30, which was the official day for the holiday until it was changed to be the last Monday in May. Kendall has decided to continue to hold its Memorial Day ceremony on May 30. Memorial Day used to be known as Decoration Day. The holiday was celebrated on May 30 from 1868 to 1970.

A Civil War cannon is at Greenwood Cemetery on Route 18, across from the new Dollar General store. Kendall rotates the Memorial Day service at three cemeteries.

Daniel Lauritzson, director of the chorus at Kendall, leads the group which sang, “Anthem.”

Kendall High School students Michela Hanlon and Allen Tonas read names from the “Roll of Honored Dead,” local veterans who are buried in Kendall cemeteries.

Members of the Kendall Fire Department salute the flag while the Kendall school band played the national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

This is the same scene with the salute during the national anthem except the focus is on the flute player.

David Warren, a member of the Kendall Community Band, plays “Taps” with his trumpet near the end of the Memorial Day service at Greenwood Cemetery. The Community Band also played, “God Bless America” and “Armed Forces Salute.”

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16 graduate from LPN program at BOCES

Provided photo: The following graduated from the LPN program at the Orleans/Niagara BOCES: front row, from left: Keiona Cannon, Gabrielle Smith, Kelli Tubinis, Sonja Vasiliou, Amy Lagace, Kassidy McFall, Patricia Rinehart and Mary-Lyn Adkins. Back row: Robert Seyler, Hannah Kinkaid, Alexandra Mante, Sarah Matthews, Brittany Falcone, Renne Leonarczyk, Shannah Bosley and Brittany Bennett.

Posted 16 May 2018 at 1:45 pm

Press Release, Orleans/Niagara BOCES

MEDINA – A huge congratulations to the 16 students who graduated from the Orleans/Niagara BOCES Practical Nursing Program. Successful completion of the program entitles the graduates to apply to take the New York State Licensing Exam.

Mary-Lyn Adkins, Brittany Bennett, Shannah Bosley, Keiona Cannon, Brittany Falcone, Hanna Kinkaid, Amy Lagace,  Renee Leonarczyk, Alexandra Mante, Sarah Matthews, Kassidy McFall, Patricia Rinehart, Robert Seyler, Gabrielle Smith, Kelli Tubinis, Sonja Vasiliou were recognized at a ceremony and received their nursing pins to commemorate their journey to become a nurse.

Karen Kwandrans, Orleans/Niagara BOCES’ Health Occupations coordinator, said she is very proud of the graduates and the program.

“We recently received word that we were ranked the number six program out of 61 by Annual PracticalNursing.org!”

The Practical Nursing Program is currently testing for the next class beginning July 2018. Go to www.onboces.org for more information.

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400 lace up sneakers for Mr. Ed’s Super Bowl run

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 4 February 2018 at 5:35 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

MIDDLEPORT – Runners take off at the start of the 29th annual Mr. Ed’s Super Bowl Warm-Up, which attracted about 400 participants today in Middleport. The race draws devoted runners from Western New York and Canada.

The race starts and finishes near the lift bridge.

Don Heschke, center, is the race organizer. He waits for the signal to fire the small cannon which lets out a big boom. The cannon has been featured on race shirts and is one of the unique parts of the Mr. Ed’s race.

Many runners showed their football allegiances, including an Eagles fan at left.

This paved section of the towpath provided a break from the mud.

Jason Smith, center, rounds a bend in the race. Smith, the superintendent of Lyndonville Central School, has been a regular at Mr. Ed’s in recent years.

After the 5-kilometer race, runners enjoy chili and a party at the Middleport Fire Hall. Valerie Wood serves the chili. She was among the many volunteers who put on today’s race.

Proceeds from the race go towards scholarships for Roy-Hart grads pursuing careers in law enforcement or emergency medical services (firefighting or EMTs). Race organizers this past June were able to award five scholarships for $1,500 each.

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Veterans speak of love for ‘military family’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 November 2017 at 12:54 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – David Kusmierczak of Medina stands with the color guard during the Veterans Day observance at the County Veterans Service Agency, 13996 Route 31 West. Veterans and community members stood in the freezing cold to remember and honor the sacrifices of veterans.

The program today included short speeches by veterans who have served in wars since World War II. This photo shows Vietnam War veteran Ray Smeal at the podium.

The 105 mm howitzer in front of the Veterans Service Agency office was used in the Korean War. That cannon was dedicated at the site on July 27, 2003, the 50th anniversary of the end of the Korean War.

Nancy Traxler of Waterport served 27 years in the Air Force, including a tour of duty in Afghanistan. She said she enjoyed working with other soldiers on missions.  She works as a veterans service officer in Orleans County. Trailer said her current role keeps her active with veterans and connected to the “military family.”

Steve Goodrich, commander of the American Legion Post in Lyndonville, also served 10 years with the U.S. Navy as a corpsman. During Desert Storm he worked out of a Naval Hospital in South Carolina, and collected and sent 2,400 units of blood to the battlefield.

Joshua Fleck of Holley served 20 years in the military including a tour in Iraq. He said soldiers and veterans look out for each other.

“I miss it everyday,” he said about his time in the military.

Matt Passarell, right, and Mike Donahue were part of the Honor Guard at today’s ceremony in Albion.

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