Medina residents, Mike and Cheryl Wertman, highlighted by Buffalo News for work uncovering Drake House Ruins at Golden Hill

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 9:02 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman: This photo taken last October shows the Drake House Ruins site at Golden Hill State Park in Barker. The sign describes the history of the site. This spot is the front of an area that was uncovered last summer.

BARKER – Mike and Cheryl Wertman are well known in Orleans County for their decades of work highlighting local sports, first for The Journal-Register in Medina and now for Orleans Hub.

The couple from Medina also enjoys camping at the Golden Hill State Park, and they have become dedicated volunteers helping to uncover the “Drake House Ruins” at the eastern edge of Golden Hill in Somerset.

The restoration effort, which was sparked about two years ago at an “I Love My Park Day” held annually in early May, has seen volunteers uncover a long stone wall highlighted by cobblestone features, several large stone posts and a long lake stone sidewalk which ends at a large cornerstone believed to be part of the foundation of the Drake house. The home was demolished in 1962 when New York State acquired the property for inclusion into the state park.

Contributed Photo – A gathering of Newell Shirt Factory employees at the Drake House in 1922.

The Wertmans have been dedicated volunteers at the site, and they were highlighted on Wednesday in The Buffalo News in an article entitled, “Mysteries abound as couple unearths ruins of Lake Ontario estate.” Click here to see the article.

The Wertmans have removed vines and brush, and dug down in the dirt to help uncover some of the ornate features from an elaborate estate that had been forgotten.

“We, right now, want to make sure the site never becomes overgrown again,” Cheryl Wertman told The Buffalo News. “We would like to see groups come in and maybe redo some new gardens, make some repairs to the cobblestone wall and the pond. And mainly have it become an integral part of the park so it remains maintained. Most of that can be possible without a grant by dedicated volunteers who come to love the site as much as we do.”

Dr. Douglas J. Perrelli, director of Archaeological Survey and clinical assistant professor of Anthropology at the University at Buffalo, would like to see the state fund a cultural landscape study and see the site brought back to its former glory.

Volunteers are welcome to help at the site. This year’s I Love My Park Day is set for May 6.

For more on Golden Hill, click here.

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