Search Results for: medina sandstone

No new inductees this year for Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 September 2020 at 11:25 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee members Jim Hancock, left, and Don Colquhoun unveil the four new inductees into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 17, 2019. The Hall of Fame has 29 inductees. It was established in 2013 and is located inside Medina City Hall.

MEDINA – October has been a highlight in recent years for the Medina Sandstone Society. The group inducts honorees into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, which is located in the main meeting room of Medina City Hall.

The Sandstone Society created the Hall of Fame in 2013 and has inducted 29 sites in New York and Pennsylvania. Last year it recognized a mansion in Erie, and churches in Palmyra, Geneva and Rome.

This year there won’t be a Hall of Fame induction due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Jim Hancock, one of the Hall of Fame Committee members, said the group didn’t go visit nominated sites due to Covid concerns.

The Sandstone Society has received 59 nominations since 2013 and welcomes more.

“We weren’t able to do traditional travel to inspect and do research,” Hancock said today.

The Sandstone Society will resume the Hall of Fame induction in 2021, and Hancock said the committee looks forward to getting back on the road to visit the sites. Don Colquhoun and David Miller are also on the committee.

The Sandstone Society is looking to do a special recognition for some of the grand residences in Orleans County made of Medina Sandstone. Those sites wouldn’t be inducted in the Hall of Fame, but Hancock said the committee wants to recognize some of the homes that have been diligently maintained for over a century, some since the 1840s.

“It will be a different type of citation for beautiful and long-lasting homes,” Hancock said. “We haven’t decided how we want to do. It’s a work in progress.”

For more on the Hall of Fame, click here.

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Medina Sandstone Trust approves grants for 8 local projects

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 10 February 2020 at 9:24 am

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Trust is thanking the community for its years of support, which have allowed the Trust to honor requests for annual grants.

The community endowment just completed its ninth year of making small grants to local programs, projects and organizations, which during that period total nearly $40,000.

Members of the grant selection committee for the past nine years have been Kelly Kiebala, Mark Kruzynski, Cindy Robinson, Cal Tuohey and chair Mike Zelazny. They met in November and have announced this year’s eight grant recipients.

The Arc of Genesee/Orleans plans to rebuild the nature trail at Camp Rainbow to make it wheelchair accessible. St. John’s Episcopal Church’s grant will assist in the restoration of a stained glass window sill and frame. Orleans Recovery Hope Begins Here will purchase a pop-up shelter, table and chairs for community education programs. Boxwood Cemetery Commission’s grant will enable them to rehab the tombstone of the first Medina resident. And the Medina Historical Society will use their grant for their monthly speaker series.

In addition, the grants contributed to some larger programs. Orleans County Adult Learning Services (OCALS) grant will partially fund a new community outreach program. Orleans County YMCA’s grant will help with the cost of their Before and After School Enrichment Program, while P.Raising Kids Child Care Center will use the money to help upgrade their kitchen.

“Scores of worthy projects have been supported since 2010 and the grants have covered a wide range,” Zelazny said.

Grants run from $200 to $600 or even, in some unusual cases, $1,000. Zelazny gave examples of typical grants in past years. These include money for the local library to digitize historic hometown newspapers, dollars for stonework repairs and interior upgrading at the YMCA, placing of historical plaques downtown, help for installation of a downtown sound system, an annual scholarship for a graduating Medina High School senior and much more.

During the past nine years, about 75 grants have been approved the citizen selection committee.

“Late each autumn, we invite grant applications and even though the amounts given are modest, they are genuinely helpful to many projects which benefit our community, Zelazny said.

The Medina Sandstone Trust was created in 2009 as an endowment, managed by the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. CFGB was established 100 years ago and has a rock solid reputation for financial management, and over the years has managed 900 such endowments. That management has been trustworthy, according to Sandstone Society treasurer Craig Lacy. The original $18,000 in seed money has grown steadily each year, he said.

Sandstone Society board members Lacy, Margaret Schreck, David Miller and James Hancock manage annual investments in the trust.

This year the Medina Sandstone Trust celebrates its 10th year of awarding grants and scholarships to enrich the Medina area. To mark that anniversary, the Medina Sandstone Society is planning special events and fundraising projects.

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4 more sites added to Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Photos by Tom Rivers: Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee members Jim Hancock, left, and Don Colquhoun unveil the four new inductees into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Thursday afternoon. The Hall of Fame now has 29 inductees. It was established in 2013 and is located inside Medina City Hall. The plaques are made courtesy of Takeform in Medina.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2019 at 10:09 am

Mansion in Erie, churches in Palmyra, Geneva and Rome, NY added to distinguished list

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame inducted a mansion in Erie, Pa. and three upstate churches into the shrine for spectacular sandstone structures.

Since the hall of Fame was established in 2013, the inductees now include 29 sites and 59 nominations.

Representatives from the four new Hall of Fame sites attended an induction program on Thursday afternoon at Medina City Hall, where the Hall of Fame is located in the main meeting room.

David Miller, president of the Sandstone Society, thanked the buildings’ owners for their care of the structures, which were all built before 1900. The group is sitting by a wall with photos of past Medina mayors.

Jim Hancock, David Miller and Don Colquhoun are all members of the Hall of Fame Committee. They travelled 700-800 miles to visit the sites.

“You have all lovingly taken care of these wonderful sandstone buildings,” Hancock said. “I can guarantee none of you were there when they were built.”

The new inductees have tackled ambitious restoration projects to keep the buildings going for years to come.

“We’re very proud of you for maintaining your buildings,” Hancock told them honorees.

The 2019 Hall of Fame Class includes (with the writeups from the Sandstone Society):

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 149 Genesee St., Geneva, NY

Anchoring the south end of Geneva’s Genesee Park Historic District, the massive St. Peter’s Episcopal Church is a Medina sandstone, Gothic Revival style church designed by the prominent architect Richard Upjohn. This elegant stone church was constructed during 1868-1870 with funds raised locally by voluntary contribution.

The church features a steeply sloped gable roof, and a rose window above the Gothic-arched entrance which is framed with gray limestone trim. Twenty years later in 1878, Upjohn’s son, Richard M. Upjohn, designed a massive, four-story, square bell tower at the northwest corner of the church. The Gothic inspired bell tower features tall, arched louvers with stone trim; bold corner buttresses; a polygonal bastion on its northwest corner and an octagonal spire pierced by turrets.

In 1986, the parish began a restoration of the buildings to restore the original Gothic splendor of the church. Today the interior of the church survives virtually intact with carved trusses supporting the paneled ceiling; original pews arranged around a center aisle; and delicate stenciling.

Representatives from St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Geneva include Joseph Marino, the Rev. Jim Adams and Charles Bauder. Marino and Bauder are long-time members of the church.

Zion Episcopal Church, 120 East Main St., Palmyra

The Zion Episcopal Church congregation in Palmyra, Wayne County, was founded in 1804. The present church was built in 1872 by one of the leading East coast architects, Emyln T. Little. It was designed in the Late Gothic Revival style, an architectural movement popular in the Western world that began in the late 1740s in England.

It is built of Medina sandstone with limestone trim. It’s roof features polychrome slate shingles. The congregation is justifiably proud of the care that has been taken over the years to be true to the original design and structure of such a beautiful edifice.

Located on a prominent street corner in the heart of the historic village of Palmyra, the church was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. In 2009, it was included in the Palmyra Village Historic District, and draws many visitors to the local thriving community.

The Zion Episcopal Church in Palmyra was represented at the induction ceremony by church members, from left: Cindy Lehmkuhl, Elaine Bonafede and Diane Peters. Bonafede and Peters are members of the vestry. Lehmkuhl serves in the church’s archives committee with Bonafede.

St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church, 200 North James St., Rome

With a history of worship beginning in 1837, St. Peter’s Parish erected the present church and laid the cornerstone on May 21, 1895 and it was consecrated on Oct. 24, 1897. It is extremely rare for a new Catholic church to be consecrated on the date it is ready for services, giving St. Peter’s a most unique history.

Designed by the famed architect, Archimedes Russell of Syracuse, this church is a wonderful example of the use of Medina sandstone. The architectural style is Victorian Gothic. The exterior is Medina sandstone of the kind known as rock-face ashlar, laid with broken joints. The trimmings are of brown sandstone.

This beautiful church has stood the test of time for almost 125 years and will continue to be a beacon in the community for decades to come.

Representatives of St. Peter’s Roman Catholic Church in Rome thanked the Hall of Fame Committee for the recognition. Father Sean O’Brien praised the church’s parishioners and a previous priest for a big restoration project at the church in 2005. Father O’Brien is joined by the church’s maintenance director, Mark LaGasse, and office manager, Sharon Hansen. Jim Hancock is at right.

Watson-Curtze Mansion (Thomas B. Hagen History Center), 356 West 6th St., Erie, Pa.

This massive, three and one-half story Medina sandstone mansion and it’s adjacent carriage house were built in 1891-1892 by Harrison Watson, the founder of the Watson roofing paper company.

Architects Green and Wicks of Buffalo designed a unique, 24-room, Richardsonian Romanesque home with ornate stone exterior, short corner towers, rounded conservatory and decorative porte cochere.

The home was sold to Frederick Curtze, a prominent banker and patron of the arts, in 1923. After his death in 1941, the mansion was donated to the Erie school district which established a museum and planetarium.

Later, merging with the Erie Historical Society, the mansion became a regional history museum and in 2014, a major repurposing and renovation of the buildings created the Thomas B. Hagen History Complex that the community enjoys today.

Surrounded by lovely “Millionaire’s Row” homes, the mansion was, and still is, the most impressive and beautiful on West 6th Street.

Since the Hall of Fame was established in 2013, 29 sites have been inducted and 59 have been nominated.

Other sites nominated in 2019, but not yet inducted, include: Eberhardt Mansion in Buffalo, Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church in Buffalo, Trinity Episcopal Church in Buffalo, Old Stone Warehouse/Skalny Building in Rochester, St. Ann Catholic Church in Erie, Pa.; and St. Paul Catholic Church in Erie, Pa.

Jeff Sherry, museum educator at the Historical Society of Erie County, accepts the award for the Thomas B. Hagen History Center, a new member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame. He is congratulated by Don Colquhoun of the Sandstone Society.

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4 new Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame inductees will be recognized Oct. 17

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 September 2019 at 5:36 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The top of St. Louis Catholic Church in Buffalo is an open work lattice spire that reaches 245 feet high. It is the tallest open-work spire ever built completely of stone in the United States. This church was inducted into the 2014 Class of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

MEDINA – A new class of buildings will be inducted into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 17 during a 2 p.m. ceremony at Medina City Hall.

The Medina Sandstone Society will induct four members into the Hall of Fame, which was created in 2013. The Sandstone Society has inducted churches, public buildings, private buildings and other ornamental buildings/structures, such as the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery.

There are currently 27 structures into the exclusive club. There are plaques for the inductees inside Medina City Hall at the main meeting room.

A Hall of Fame Committee – David Miller, Jim Hancock and Don Colquhoun – researches all nominations and t5hey make a site visit.

Criteria for consideration includes age, beauty, longevity, structural soundness and architectural uniqueness.

Representatives of the four new inductees are expected for the ceremony on Oct. 17, Colquhoun said.

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Nominations sought for Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

Photo by Tom Rivers: Jim Hancock, a member of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame Committee, speaks during the Oct. 18 Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Medina City Hall, where the Hall of Fame is located in the main meeting room.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 June 2019 at 4:15 pm

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame is seeking nominations for prominent buildings made of Medina Sandstone that are well-maintained and architecturally significant.

Since the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame was created in 2013, the society has inducted churches, public buildings, private buildings and other ornamental buildings/structures, such as the Civil War Memorial at Mount Albion Cemetery.

The Hall of Fame has inducted 27 structures into the exclusive club. There are plaques for the inductees inside Medina City Hall at the main meeting room.

The Sandstone Society accepts nominations each year. So far, 54 places have been nominated. Don Colquhoun, one of the Hall of Fame Committee members, said many other prominent sites worthy of induction have yet to be nominated.

People 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 could include nominations from previous years not already selected, and any new nominations received by July 31, Colquhoun said.

He is on the Hall of Fame Committee with Dave Miller and Jim Hancock. They 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.

St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Batavia is one of many churches in Western New York and beyond made of Medina Sandstone. Batavia is home to one Hall of Fame structure: the Richmond Memorial Library.

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Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame adds 3 more sites

Photos by Tom Rivers: Three buildings were inducted into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Thursday. Representing the James Prendergast Free Library in Jamestown includes Tina Scott, library director, and Ned Lindstrom, a member of the library’s board of trustees; Representing St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Springs is Andrew VanBuren, the church's rector; Representing Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church/Lafayette Lofts in Buffalo are Paul Meyer, a member of the Session, and Diane Poleon, a member of the church.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2018 at 7:35 am

Buildings inducted from Jamestown, Buffalo and Clifton Springs

MEDINA – Three buildings that were built in the late 1800s from local Medina Sandstone were inducted Thursday afternoon into the Medina Sandstone Society’s Hall of Fame.

The new inductees include the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church/Lafayette Lofts in Buffalo, St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Springs and the James Prendergast Free Library in Jamestown.

The Medina Sandstone Society started the Hall of Fame in 2013 and has now inducted 27 structures into the exclusive club. There are plaques for the inductees inside City Hall at the main meeting room.

The Sandstone Society accepts nominations each year. So far, 54 places have been nominated. Don Colquhoun, one of the Hall of Fame Committee members, said many other prominent sites worthy of induction have yet to be nominated.

Colquhoun and Jim Hancock, president of the Sandstone Society and chairman of the HOF Committee, said there will be new inductees for many years to come.

“We’re not even close,” Colquhoun said about honoring all of the awesome Medina Sandstone sites.

The Sandstone Society wants to recognize well-maintained buildings and other sandstone sites that are unique and architecturally significant. The society has inducted churches, public buildings, private buildings and ornamental buildings/structures.

“We have truly been amazed at the multitude of buildings from this seemingly indestructible building material,” Hancock said.

The new inductees include:

• Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church/Lafayette Lofts in Buffalo

Paul Meyer, left, is a member of the Session at Lafayette. He listens to the citation from Don Colquhoun about the church and its loft apartments.

The Lafayette Presbyterian Church had the building constructed at the corner of Lafayette and Elmwood avenues in 1894.

The church is a sterling example of the use of Medina Sandstone in the Romanesque Revival style with a large cruciform floor plan and an attached rear chapel. Lafayette was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2009.

More recently, the rear of this historic church building was repurposed into the Lafayette Lofts, offering a number of modern living spaces, culinary center, the office and meeting spaces without compromising the original architectural design and beauty.

“It is a great example of historic preservation at its best,” said Don Colquhoun, a member of the Hall of Fame Committee.

 

• St. John’s Episcopal Church in Clifton Springs

Andrew VanBuren, rector at St. John’s, said the congregation takes great pride in the church building.

Construction of this church on Main Street in this Ontario County village was completed in 1883, after the cornerstone was laid in 1879.

The church’s Belgian Gothic style makes this edifice remarkably unique. The Medina sandstone was brought by barge from Medina along the Erie Canal to Port Gibson and transported by wagon or sleds to the build site.

“If you visit Clifton Springs and drive down Main Street, heading east and look up, you’ll see this beautiful Medina Sandstone church silhouetted on the horizon, welcoming you to this historic village,” Hancock said.

Andrew VanBuren, the rector at St. John’s the past 3 ½ years, said the church of 35-40 attendees faced a $50,000 project to repoint stones. The congregation raised the funds and is determined to not let the building fall into disrepair.

“It’s important for us to have a structure that welcomes people,” he said.

He praised the generations before him that have worked so hard with the building.

• James Prendergast Free Library, Jamestown

The Prendergast family donated the money to build a library in Jamestown in memory of James Prendergast, son of this Chautauqua County city’s founder. Architect A.J. Warner of Rochester was given $65,000 to design and build a 127-foot by 100-foot structure that was completed in 1891 after 11 years of effort.

Tina Scott, Prendergast library director, accepts the award.

This sturdy-looking building was built of rock-faced Medina sandstone in the Richardsonian Romanesque style.

The use of contrasting gray and red sandstone, curved arches over the entrance and a lovely turret on the southeast corner give the library a uniquely enchanting appearance.

In the 1960s, an expansion and modernization project added 16,500 square feet to the library, but the Medina Sandstone south side entrance and interior rooms remained largely unchanged and still retain all the charm that the Prendergast family would have appreciated.

Tina Scott, Prendergast library director the past 10 years, said the sandstone building is so sound it was once used as a bomb shelter. She loves the marble floors inside and the alternating sandstone colors, the red and gray.

The building is a source of pride in the Jamestown community, she said.

“It was built to last,” she said. “You don’t see them built like that these days.”

Scott said she didn’t known there has a Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame until recently when she was notified the Jamestown library would be inducted. She praised the organizers for their local pride and for recognizing the outstanding sites.

“It’s awesome because you’re keeping the history of your town alive,” she said.

Jim Hancock, president of the Medina Sandstone Society, gives the welcome message during the Hall of Fame program. He stands in front of a revamped display of all the inductees since 2013.

Takeform Architectural Graphics in Medina has donated all of the plaques in the Hall of Fame. The local company also did a redesign of the display, which was running out of room for new inductees. The new display has room for another four or five years, Hancock said.

Bill Hungerford, president of Takeform, has been a Sandstone Society supporter and member since the group started in 2004.

For more on the Hall of Fame, click here.


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New class of Medina Sandstone buildings will be inducted into Hall of Fame Oct. 18

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 September 2018 at 9:32 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Pullman Memorial Universalist Church is pictured recently in Albion. The church was inducted into the first class of the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame in 2013.

MEDINA – A new class of magnificent Medina Sandstone buildings will be inducted into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 18.

This will be the sixth class to go into the Hall of Fame, which is located inside City Hall in Medina. The Medina Sandstone Society is planning an induction ceremony from 1 to 3 p.m. on Oct. 18.

The new class includes three inductees.

Since the Hall of Fame was established in 2013, 24 buildings have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame with sites across New York State and one in Erie, Pennsylvania.

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

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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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New class of spectacular Medina Sandstone sites to be inducted Oct.19

Posted 3 October 2017 at 8:35 am

File photo by Tom Rivers: This stone carving of a face is part of the Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, a Medina Sandstone building that was completed in 1889. It has been nominated for the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame.

Press Release, Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Society will induct its Class of 2017 into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame on Oct. 19.

The new class will be honored with a reception in Medina City Hall, 600 Main St. at 1 p.m.

In attendance will be representatives of the four award-winning sandstone structures located in four Western NY counties  Orleans, Monroe, Genesee and Chautauqua.

Also attending the award presentation will be local dignitaries and members of the Sandstone Society called “Stonecutters” who provide financial support and assistance.

The 2017 Class is the fifth Hall of Fame Class to be inducted since the original class in 2013. Selections to the 2017 class included six new nominations received this past year, as well as over 20 previous nominations not yet inducted.

The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame reflects the century from 1830 to 1930 when Medina Sandstone was a favored building material of famed builders and architects, and was used in countless churches, homes and public edifices, not to mention long spans of city streets and curbing. It was used all over America, overseas, and remains largely intact today.

Structures chosen for the Hall of Fame are outstanding buildings made of Medina Sandstone. The Hall of Fame Selection Committee made trips around the state and contiguous areas to research and photograph the buildings nominated.

Selection criteria include architectural uniqueness, beauty, preservation efforts, and functional status. Each inductee is presented with a handsome plaque to display within the structure. A companion plaque is then shown in the Hall of Fame itself.

For additional information about the Medina Sandstone Society and the Hall of Fame please visit their website at: www.SandstoneSociety.org.

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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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