Museum will use grant funds for work on historic Cobblestone School

Photos by Tom Rivers: The historic Cobblestone School, built in 1849, will get a new roof, paint and repaired masonry with two grants for about $30,000 covering the cost.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 September 2018 at 9:39 am

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum is the owner and caretaker of a schoolhouse from 1849 that is one of three cobblestone buildings on Ridge Road designated as a National Historic Landmark.

The schoolhouse will soon get a new roof, repaired masonry and fresh paint on the window trim and soffits near the roof.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation approved a $21,000 grant for the work at the schoolhouse through the Lloyd E. Klos Historical Fund. The Elizabeth Dye Curtis Foundation in Orleans County will contribute $8,800 towards the schoolhouse, with the funds targeted for the roof replacement.

Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Museum, shows where the foundation in the school has cracks and deterioration. That corner will likely have to be removed and rebuilt.

The upcoming projects are the latest attention in preserving the historic building. Last year the bell tower was repaired and the bell rededicated.

This year, the wooden windows were removed and restored through a seminar with the Landmark Society of Western New York. The windows were repaired as part of a workshop teaching others how to fix and preserve wooden sills and frames that are about a century old.

A window specialist taught how to evaluate old windows, removing sashes from the window opening, removing putty and paint, installing new sash cords, weather-stripping old windows and other skills for preserving windows.

The upcoming project will fill some of the cracks and gaps in mortar at the school.

The window project made the museum aware of additional needs at the schoolhouse, including a deteriorating foundation, especially in the northeastern corner.

Museum Director Doug Farley and Erin Anheier, a trustee for the museum, applied for a grant through the Rochester Area Community Foundation. The organization approved $21,000 for the foundation work. The northeastern corner may have to be taken out and rebuilt.

The grant will also pay for exterior repointing of mortar. There are several gaps and cracks that need attention, Farley said.

The Rochester Area Community Foundation also provided a $23,000 grant about two years ago for work on the Cobblestone Universalist Church and the next-door Ward House. The grant covered the costs of painting the exterior of windows and the bell tower at the church, replacing rotted window sills and repairing a retaining wall in front of the church. The Ward House also had some of its masonry repointed, the front steps repaired and downspouts fixed to improve drainage.

The school – the Gaines District #5 Cobblestone Schoolhouse – is a short walk east of the Route 98 intersection on Ridge Road. The school was closed in 1952. The building was acquired by the Cobblestone Museum in 1960 – the year the museum formed.

In 1993, the U.S. Department of Interior named the school, the Ward House and Cobblestone Universalist Church as a National Historic Landmark, the highest historic designation from the federal government.

The interior of the school is largely unchanged from when the school was closed in 1952.

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