Cobblestone Museum awarded $47K grant for repairs to 1836 cobblestone home

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 30 December 2022 at 8:55 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: The historic Ward House at the Cobblestone Society Museum will get much needed restoration, due to a $47,080 grant from the Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grant Program.

CHILDS – The Cobblestone Society Museum’s director Doug Farley has announced the receipt of a $47,080 grant from the Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization Grant Program.

The funding will go towards projects at the Ward House, which was built in 1836 as a parsonage. It is next door to the oldest cobblestone church in North America, built in 1834. The church, Ward House and cobblestone one-room schoolhouse on Route 104 have been declared a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior.

The grant request was completed by Erin Anheier, president of the Cobblestone Society board of directors, in which she explained the work to be funded by the grant marks the continuation of addressing concerns identified in a 2013 condition report of the Ward House by architect Andrea Rebeck.

This grant will address masonry concerns, particularly in the basement, window restoration, some exterior trim repair and replacement of a rusting gutter. Work is expected to begin in the summer of 2023, said Doug Farley, the museum’s director.

Future projects, now in the planning stages, will restore shutters and the front door.

Photo courtesy of Cobblestone Museum: The Ward House and two other sites at the Cobblestone Museum are listed as a National Historic Landmark.

The news of the grant was announced by the Landmark Society in partnership with the New York State Office of the Governor of New York State and Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. They stated that 12 historic rehabilitation projects in rural Western New York will be supported by more than $470,000 in federal grants and local matching funds.

This is the second round of funding, which will support such projects as structural repairs and restoration work of historic commercial buildings, ADA compliance upgrades to public spaces and window improvements for a creative arts center. The first round was announced in September 2021 and included more than $300,000 to five awardees.

“These business owners, nonprofits and local government units are deeply connected to the economic health of their rural communities, and all have historic assets that need support,” said Erik Kulleseid, commissioner of the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. “We are thrilled that these projects aim to increase accessibility and sustainability through preservation efforts and welcome the opportunity to demonstrate that investments in local historic resources can have a powerful impact for New York’s rural communities.”

Genesee Valley Rural Revitalization is supported by a $750,000 award made to the Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation through the Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Fund as administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. Another $43,250 in matching funds were provided by the Rochester Area Community Foundation, Letchworth Gateway Villages and the Landmark Society of Western New York.

“The Landmark Society is thrilled to be assisting OPRHP in administering this grant program,” said Wayne Goodman, executive director of the Landmark Society of Western New York, which is co-administering the GVRR program. “This grant program has shed light on the need for this type of funding in our rural communities around the Genesee Valley.”

Goodman said they are currently working with Round 1 awardees and seeing the impact this funding has on their ability to complete important preservation, restoration and repair work, and are looking forward to starting the projects awarded in Round 2.

In addition to the Cobblestone Society, grants in this second round of GVRR funding were issued to Cracker Box Palace, a Shaker First house and animal shelter in Wayne County; Village of Nunda for upgrades to the village hall; Dierdre Stevenson/the Sutton Company, a historic c. 1800 store building; town of Phelps for repairs and upgrades to the c. 1849 Phelps Town Hall; Livingston Integrated Management Associates for the Ellis Block; Romulus Historical Society for the chief engineer’s house; Friendship Free Library for upgrades; Rolling Hills Asylum in Genesee County for roof repair and replacement of the east wing of the main building; Architectural Rescue in Allegany County for the Wellsville Creative Arts Center; Genesee Library in Allegany County to update the 1903 building’s heating system and address water and flooding issues; United Methodist Church of Sodus for a boiler and elevator lift replacement, as well as funding for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.