Cobblestone Museum honors 5 for their efforts to advance historic site in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 7 November 2022 at 11:54 am

Museum expects to start work on $800K visitors center in mid-2023

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The Cobblestone Society & Museum held its annual meeting on Saturday and recognized these five people with awards for their contributions to the museum. Pictured from left include Dick Remley, Camilla VanderLinden, Arlene Taylor, Brad Ryan and Patricia Morrissey.

Remley, the museum’s vice president of the board of directors, was presented with the Proctor Award for his “extraordinary leadership” with the fundraising campaign for the new Cobblestone Museum Visitors Center.

The museum set a $750,000 goal and surpassed that. It is at $800,000 in contributions so far. It has already used $250,000 from the donations to acquire the brick house at the corner of routes 98 and 14. The other funds will pay for a 2,500-square-foot building next to the brick house and pay for more parking and other improvements at the site, including a new entrance to the brick house.

Remley said construction costs are up from the initial estimates for the project. He expects construction will start in mid-June for the Thompson-Kast Visitors Center. Design documents are being developed with current construction costs.

The donations for the project have come from 122 people with 13 large contributions for naming rights at the visitors center. There are six naming opportunities still available.

“The museum holds a lot of value to people in the county,” Remley said. “It’s our only National Historic Landmark. They’re happy to see activity and functions at the museum.”

The Cobblestone Museum has met its initial fundraising goal of $750,000 to acquire the 1824 brick house and build a 2,500-square-foot building on the property for a visitors center.

The project will allow for year-round access to the museum, and add a kitchenette for caterers and small receptions, a multi-purpose room, new exhibit space for Orleans County history, and room to partner with the Orleans County Tourism Department. There will be display space to distribute materials for other local attractions, including the Medina Railroad Museum, Erie Canal, Point Breeze Lighthouse, camp grounds, marinas, bed & breakfast sites, sportsfishing, agri-business, wine trail and other venues.

Arlene Taylor was presented with the “New Business Partner Award” for her work as an architect with a complete set of conceptual drawings for the visitors center. Her efforts saved the museum several thousand dollars.

Taylor has a long connection to the museum. Her grandparents were charter members of the Cobblestone Society in 1960. Her grandmother, Hannah Thompson, was the society’s first treasurer and her grandfather, Charles Thompson, was a key society member who pushed for acquiring the cobblestone school on Ridge Road. Taylor also was married in the cobblestone church in 1991.

Camilla VanderLinden was presented with the “Community Partner Award.” She has helped oversee the Dunn Martin Internship Program, which has now paid for six interns to help the museum in recent years with several projects.

This year interns gave tours and made an online database available of nearly 35 years of Bill Lattin’s weekly columns when he was county historian. Those columns are on the museum website and are available by clicking here.

Cobblestone Museum Director Doug Farley, right, presents a certificate of appreciation to Brad Ryan for his five years of service as the museum’s maintenance worker.

Brad Ryan was honored for his five years as the museum’s maintenance employee. He is retiring from the position. Ryan was praised by museum director Doug Farley for working “tirelessly behind the scenes.” He kept the museum grounds well kept, and well manicured, Farley said.

Patricia Morrissey was presented with the Frances Folsom Award for her “outstanding dedication to the Collections Committee of the Cobblestone Museum.” Morrissey has decorated the Ward House and helped the museum with many events, in addition to her service on the collections committee.

Bill Lattin leads the attendees at the annual meeting in a toast to the Cobblestone Society founders and “to the history-minded people and architectural preservationists in our sphere and to all who have labored for the cause of our museum.”

The Cobblestone Society held its annual meeting on Saturday afternoon at Gaines Carlton Community Church. There were 53 people in attendance.

The board’s officers for the coming year include Erin Anheier as president, Richard Remley as vice president, Matt Holland as vice president of development, Maarit Vaga as secretary, Kevin Hamilton as treasurer, Grace Denniston as corresponding secretary, and Gail Johnson as membership secretary. The officers are the same as 2022 except for Holland in the development role.

The board has two new members with Laura Bentley and Gloria Nauden. They were elected to three-year terms along with Mark Bower and Diana Flow.

Other board members include Chris Capurso, Camilla VanderLinden, Bill Lattin, Joyce Riley, Marty Taber, Brenda Radzinski, Chris Sartwell and Wendy Kirby.

Christine Hunt was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting. She lives in the nearby town of Sweden in the home formerly owned by David Bruce, a noted artist and taxidermist.

The Cobblestone Museum has more than 30 taxidermy birds from David Bruce. They are in cases that were once in the home of E.K. Hart of Albion and then in the Albion Middle School. Hunt is shown discussing one of the cases of birds.

Bruce trained Carl Akeley of Clarendon, who went on to become one of the country’s most acclaimed taxidermists. The museum has a fox that was an early work of Akeley as a taxidermist.

Bruce was well known from 1880 to 1900 for his butterfly collection. He was also very adept at collecting butterfly eggs. Those eggs would turn to larvae that could be fed. The butterflies that would emerge were in perfect shape to be exhibited at butterfly museums, Hunt said.