Fancher Memorial approved for State Register of Historic Places

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 June 2022 at 5:24 pm

Site will now be reviewed for National Register

Photo by Tom Rivers: Richard Christopher of Albion places a commemorative wreath by the monument in Fancher during a rededication ceremony of Aug. 14, 2021. The monument is a memorial to 10 10 men from the Fancher area who died in World War II. Richard is the son John Christopher, who was killed on November 26, 1943 when the transport ship carrying his unit was struck by a German glider bomb and sunk off the coast of Algeria. He was laid to rest at the North Africa American Cemetery in Tunis, Tunisia.

MURRAY – The Fancher Memorial, a monument at “The Curve” on Route 31, has been approved for New York State Register of the Historic Places.

Daniel Mackay, deputy commissioner for Historic Preservation and Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, notified Murray Town Supervisor on June 27 that a state review board “following a detailed review” recommended the site be included on the New York State Register of Historic Places and that recommendation has been approved.

The Fancher Memorial also has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places where it will be reviewed by the federal agency.

The designation is lofty statue for a site that was deteriorating just over a year ago. A $10,000 donation by former resident Fred Fiorito spearheaded many upgrades for the memorial, which was rededicated on Aug. 14, 2021.

The monument, made of Medina sandstone with a green mortar and four clock faces, was originally dedicated on Aug. 14, 1949 as a monument to 10 young men from the Fancher community who were killed in World War II.

John Christopher, Joseph Christopher, Cosmo Coccitti, Floyd Valentine, John Kettle Jr., Leonard Licursi, Martin Licursi, Camille Nenni, Richard Merritt and Richard Vendetta left the hamlets of Fancher, Brockville and Hulberton and went off to war and didn’t return.

The monument was in disrepair with mortar crumbling, the clock often not working and the landscaping unattractive.

The monument’s improvements last year included new mortar, new movements and electric wiring for the clocks (which will now automatically fall back an hour and spring an hour ahead during the time changes), a new replica bronze plaque on the north side of the property, and a repainted flag pole which now also includes a World War II flag below the American flag. There also are sandstone steps on the north side with the stone donated by Town Supervisor Joe Sidonio and set in place by the Town Highway Department.

Sidonio thanked Erin Anheier for writing the nomination packet for the Fancher Memorial to be included on the state and national registers.

He said a big community effort made the upgrades possible for the monument. About 200 people attended the rededication last August.

The monument is a powerful tribute from a small community to the sons who perished in war, Sidonio said. He is proud that the community hasn’t neglected the site.