In Gaines, a grand old building comes back to life

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 October 2013 at 12:00 am

Ray and Linda Burke turn site into “Fairhaven Treasures”

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The former Swiercznski homestead at the corner of routes 98 and 104 is planned to open on Nov. 29, the Friday after Thanksgiving. The site will be an art gallery and high-end craft co-op.

Ray Burke and his wife have spent about a year renovating and remodeling the 3,040-square-foot house, which was built in 1834.

“This old house was just sitting here,” said Burke. “We’ve tried to bring it up to some level of use and beauty.”

Burke is retired from DuPont in Rochester. The former machine shop foreman said several community members have helped work on the building and brainstorm uses for the site. He praised Gaines Town Supervisor Carol Culhane, in particular, for providing a vision for the site and also a lot of manual labor.

Culhane said the house will be a nice complement to the Cobblestone Society Museum, the Village Inn and other businesses on the Ridge.

“This is the historical crossroads of this community,” Culhane said. “It deserves to be showcased.”

The house has six fireplaces, including a heating pot and Dutch oven in the kitchen. Burke welcomes any historical photos and clues about the site’s past.

He has worked on the property almost every day since last Christmas.

“The more I work on it, the more I like it,” he said.