Ghost Walk brings cobblestone characters back to life

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 8 October 2018 at 1:23 pm

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum had its second annual Ghost Walk on Sunday with a cast of about 40 people portraying characters from the community’s past, as well as a few people who were out of place, including explorer Leif Eriksson (Roger Beam of Gaines), who is credited with being the first European to reach North America, about 1,000 years ago.

He is shown at the Farmers Hall, waiting for the next tour group. There were about 100 people on the Ghost Walk, which was organized by Brenda Radzinski, Sue Bonafini and Marty Taber of the Cobblestone Museum.

Roger Beam, right, joined Joe Nowicki of Hilton, who was Carl Akeley, the renown taxidermist from Clarendon. The Cobblestone Museum has a red fox that Akeley mounted when he was 16 in 1879. The museum recently had the fox restored.

Akeley is known as the Father of Modern Taxidermy. He devised a method for fitting an animal’s skin over a meticulously prepared and sculpted form of the animal’s body.  The process included the animal’s musculature and details such as wrinkles and veins and produced a very realistic result.

Akeley made many trips to Africa to collect specimens and created the African Hall at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Akeley also liked to place the mounted animals in settings that reflected their native habitat.

Judy Larkin of Ridgeway and Bill Ott of Lockport both portrayed Joe Vagg, a blacksmith. Larkin and Ott are both members of the New York State Designer Blacksmiths.

Erica Wanecski portrayed Emily Hale teacher, a teacher from 1849 when the Cobblestone Schoolhouse opened on Ridge Road.

Keira Zambito, 10, and Aubrey Bruning, 7, are students. The school was built in 1849. It served District No. 5 for 103 years before it was closed in 1952 after the centralization of Albion’s school district. In 1961, it was sold to the Cobblestone Society Museum for $129.

Elliana Nowicki, 9, Hilton gets her makeup on. She also was a student at the Cobblestone Schoolhouse.

Sandy Wilson Wheeler, a student at the school in the late 1940s, stopped by on Sunday and rang the school bell.

Al Capurso portrayed the Rev. Stephen Smith who gave the dedicatory address at the opening of the Cobblestone Universalist Church in 1834.

Sue and Kevin DeHollander of Knowlesville represent members of the congregation.

A group of girls play “Ring Around the Rosie” at the Liberty Pole on the museum’s grounds. The nursery rhyme actually has a morbid meaning, referring to the Black Death from the Great Plague of London in 1665. The girls sang, “ashes, ashes, we all fall down.”

The girls include, from left, Liana Flugel, Autumn Flugel, Ella Trupo, Julia Knight, Madalyn Ashbery and Mallory Ashbery.

Provided photo: Tom Rivers, the Orleans Hub editor, portrayed the tightrope walker George Williams, who attempted to walk across the Erie Canal on Sept. 28, 1859 in Albion. The event became one of the community’s worst tragedies with 15 people dying, including 11 children, when the Main Street bridge collapsed. Rivers did a few tricks over Proctor Brook in a buildup of the fateful walk.

Debbie Atkinson portrayed one of the victims of the bridge collapse, and Gina Sidari was an assistant for the tightrope walker.

Gerard Morrisey portrayed Rufus Brown Bullock, the former Georgia governor who grew up in Albion and moved back to his hometown after his career. The museum owns Bullock’s outhouse and it is on display behind the Ward House. Patrick Hargrave, 12, of Lyndonville is a garden ghost.

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