Gaines Basin cobblestone schoolhouse goes from verge of extinction to historic designation
Governor approves site for State and National Register of Historic Places
GAINES – A cobblestone building constructed in 1832 and used as a schoolhouse until 1944 was on the verge of falling down, until a a group of volunteers put on a new roof and stabilized the building.
The Orleans County Historical Association has given it new life as a meeting place.
This week Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the schoolhouse was headed for the State and National Register of Historic Places. It is one of 20 sites around the state headed for the lofty status.
“The history of the Empire State is the history of this nation,” Governor Cuomo said. “These designations will help ensure the storied sites and places that dot every corner of this state, will be preserved for future generations of New Yorkers.”
The State and National Registers are the official lists of buildings, structures, districts, landscapes, objects and sites significant in the history, architecture, archeology and culture of New York State and the nation. There are more than 120,000 historic buildings, structures and sites throughout the state listed on the National Register of Historic Places, individually or as components of historic districts. Property owners, municipalities and organizations from communities throughout the state sponsored the nominations.
Once the recommendations are approved by the state historic preservation officer, the properties are listed on the New York State Register of Historic Places and then nominated to the National Register of Historic Places, where they are reviewed and, once approved, entered on the National Register.
State and National Registers listing can assist property owners in revitalizing buildings, making them eligible for various public preservation programs and services, such as matching state grants and state and federal historic rehabilitation tax credits.
For the past two years, the Orleans County Historical Association has worked to save and stabilize the building at 3302 Gaines Basin Rd., just north of the Erie Canal.
The 913-square-foot building hasn’t been used much since it was closed as a school in 1944. Nor had there been much upkeep of the building until 2015.
Al Capurso, the Gaines town historian, pushed to save the building from collapse. The site received a new historical marker in October 2015.
He thanked Erin Anheier of Clarendon for writing the nomination for the schoolhouse.