County approves $3,000 from contingency for Cobblestone Museum

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 May 2021 at 9:42 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Elderberry Jam performed for a packed Cobblestone church on April 15, 2019. The church was built in 1834 and had 167 concert attendees for the event, the most in recent memory at the church on Route 104. The museum hasn’t been able to welcome larger groups during the Covid-19 pandemic.

ALBION – The Orleans County Legislature has agreed to give $3,000 from its contingency account to the Cobblestone Museum.

The Legislature has been approving that amount from contingency in recent years, normally in December at the year-end county meeting but didn’t do it at the end of 2020. The Legislature last week approved the $3,000.

The Cobblestone Museum has seen attendance significantly dwindle during the Covid-19 pandemic, but the museum has continued to work on programs and be a resource to the community.

The museum last year also acquired a property, the Vagg House, at the southwest corner of routes 104 and 98 and that house is decorated to showcase life in the 1920s, in a manner that includes early household appliances from the early days of homes having electricity.

The Cobblestone Museum isn’t a regular line item in the county budget and has been given $3,000 in recent years from the contingency. Legislator Don Allport, R-Gaines, opposed the $3,000 from contingency because he said legislators discussed the funding last year, and decided against the continued allotments from the contingency account. Allport said the group last year didn’t want to keep this as standard practice for the museum.

The museum, however, hasn’t been included in the budget as a line item. The agencies and organizations included in the county budget as line items for 2021 include: $240,000 to Cornell Cooperative Extension, $190,000 to Orleans Economic Development Agency, $92,500 to Soil & Water Conservation District, $10,000 to be shared among four public libraries, $5,000 to Mercy Flight, $4,000 to Sportsmen Federation, and $3,000 to GO Art!

In Genesee County, the County Legislature funds the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia at $33,554 a year. That site is only one building and is a National Historic Landmark.

Three of the cobblestone buildings – the church from 1834, the Ward House and a former one-room schoolhouse from the 1840s – were declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993 by the federal Department of the Interior. That designation, however, doesn’t come with federal funding. The museum also includes several other buildings on 104 and Route 98.