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Orleans County Historical Association celebrates a busy year

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 December 2018 at 11:33 am

Provided photos: Jim Bonafini (left), president of the Cobblestone Society and Museum, was honored on Saturday by the Orleans County Historical Association for making the wooden sign for Beardsley Creek on Route 104 in Gaines. Bonafini accepts the “Friend of Orleans County Historical Association” award from Al Capurso, president of OCHA which organized a ceremony on July 28 for the sign unveiling.

GAINES – The Orleans County Historical Association held its annual meeting on Saturday and celebrated a busy year.

The group also picked a new president. Matt Ballard, the Orleans County historian, will succeed Al Capurso.

The outgoing president said it was an active year for the organization, especially with its efforts to preserve a former cobblestone schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road.

“Progress has been made in the restoration of our 1832 Gaines Basin Schoolhouse,” Capurso said. “The electric service is in. The subfloor and ceiling are done. The exterior has restored trim and has been painted. The rubble wall has been secured. Last year the facade wall was repaired on all sides. Several pine trees have been planted and metal stakes placed marking the property line.”

Capurso praised Bill Lattin, retired county historian, for his “countless hours” of work in restoration, planting trees and providing technical assistance to workers at the schoolhouse.

John Flanagan also worked on the school for his Eagle Scout project, fixing the trim and painting at the site.

Capurso also noted that Dan Flanagan gave a 1830’s-period door for the schoolhouse. Rick Ebbs and Lattin restored the schoolhouse’s swing set and set up the schoolhouse’s privy. Ebbs also has kept the property neatly mowed, Capurso said.

Larry Albanese, president Of The Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum, served as guest speaker on Saturday during the annual meeting for the Orleans County Historical Association.

“The remaining major work is plastering the walls, refinishing the woodwork and laying the finished floor,” Capurso said. “We have applied for a Curtis Foundation Grant to assist with the plastering project. It takes vision, organization and money to conduct historical preservation of this magnitude. The result of doing nothing would have been another example of architecture destroyed and lost forever. OCHA should take pride in its courage and commitment to this project.”

For the second year the schoolhouse was on the Cobblestone Society’s Tour Of Homes during the Orleans County Heritage Festival. About 30-40 people took a tour of the schoolhouse.

Along with the DAR, the Cobblestone Society and Hoag Library, OCHA co-sponsored a reception and recognition on April 26 for author Melissa Ostrom. Macmillan published her book, “The Beloved Wild.” That historical work depicts the courage of pioneers, who were typically only teen-agers when they settled in WNY. Ostrom was presented with a pioneer log cabin model with an engraved plaque on behalf of OCHA and the history-minded community.

Capurso on Saturday also thanked the Cobblestone Society for allowing OCHA to meet in at the Cobblestone Society buildings, and to Director Doug Farley for loaning tables and chairs for events, and for updating the website. Helen Bilicki also was thanked for arranging some OCHA meetings at her residence.

OCHA also was represented with a float in two parades – the Holley June Fest and the Albion Strawberry Festival. Leroy Neeper was commended for pulling the float with his truck and loaning his flatbed trailer.

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Christmas Tour of Homes will conclude busy year for Cobblestone Museum

Provided photos: This log cabin home of Mark and Lois Chamberlain on Lime Kiln Road in Barre will be one of eight on Dec. 1 for the Christmas Tour of Homes.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 23 November 2018 at 4:15 pm

ALBION – When the Cobblestone Museum organized its first Christmas Tour of Homes last year, more than 200 people attended, making it one of the musuem’s most popular events of the year.

On Dec. 1, the Cobblestone Museum will sponsor its second annual Christmas Tour of Homes, featuring eight distinctive properties in the Albion area, all decked out for the holiday season.

Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Society Museum, said this is a perfect opportunity for people to enjoy the rich heritage of the region while touring 19th century homes in a variety of architectural styles. These include Victorian, Queen Anne, East Lake Victorian, cobblestone, Greek Revival and country farmhouse.

Farley said the museum is excited about the diversity of homes on this year’s tour, including a Federal style home on farmland, a stone Italianate and a log home in Barre.

Jan Mikael Erakare’s and Maarit Vaga’s home on East Avenue, Albion, will be decorated for the holidays during the Cobblestone Museum’s Christmas Tour of Homes on Dec. 1.

“This fantastic tour will feature historic homes bedecked and bedazzled in holiday splendor,” Farley said. “Many open houses will be included and the tour will feature many different types of building construction. Visitors will also learn about Scandinavian Christmas traditions and be reminded about Albion’s important role in American Christmas history.”

Featured sites are Fair Haven Treasures on Ridge Road, the Cobblestone Museum’s Ward House, Toni Plummer and Tom Stark’s home on Ridge Road, Mary Anne Braunbach’s home on Densmore Street, the Orleans Chapter DAR house in Albion, Joe and Debbie Martillotta’s home in Albion, Jan-Mikael Erakare and Maarit Vaga’s home in Albion, the Albion First Presbyterian Church, and the home of Mark and Lois Chamberlain in Barre.

New this year will be a bus tour option, in addition to the self-driven tour. Visitors can leave their car at the Cobblestone Museum and ride in comfort on a motor coach, or choose to drive their own vehicle to each location.

The tour runs from 2 to 7 p.m. For more information about ticket prices check www.cobblestonemuseum.org or call 589-9013.

“As a child growing up I remember ‘Christmas visits’ when our family would pack into the car and drive see our friends and relatives,” Farley said. “There was always lots of food and merriment along the way.  The next few nights, we would have been the recipient of similar ‘visits’ in our homes from still more aunts and uncles. That was part of the magic of Christmas for me. Today, I think the Christmas Tour of Homes is a flashback to that era, when we get to share Christmas traditions with others in the community.”

Also on Dec. 1 is the final day of the Holiday Shoppe at the Cobblestone Museum, with special prices on remaining books and Christmas decorations. In addition, local author Sharon Cassano-Lochman will be on hand from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. to sign copies of several of her books.

The Dec. 1 programs conclude a busy year for the museum, which had about 30 events in 2018.

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Cobblestone Museum reports an upswing in revenue, activities

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 12 November 2018 at 4:21 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: The following were recognized on Saturday with awards for their support of the Cobblestone Society and Museum. Front row, from left: Susan Hurd Machamer, Gail Johnson and Maarit Vaga. Back row: Amy Machamer, Gerard Morrissey, Marty Taber, David Mitchell and Greg Lawrence. Jennifer Leonard, CEO and president of the Rochester Area Community Foundation, also was recognized.

GAINES – The Cobblestone Society and Museum held its annual meeting on Saturday and reported an increase in programming and revenue.

The museum this year had 35 events, with more to come including a Christmas tour of homes on Dec. 1.

Jim Bonafini, the board president, reported that revenue has been on the rise, from $65,000 in 2016, $79,000 in 2017 to $103,000 so far this year. That includes funds from visitors, memberships, donations and grants.

About 60 people attended the annual meeting for the society and museum on Saturday at Tillman’s Village Inn.

Members approved the following as officers for 2019:

President: Richard Remley

Executive Vice President: Toni Plummer

Vice President of Development: Erin Anheier

Secretary: Shirley Bright-Neeper

Treasurer: Jim Bonafini

Correspondence secretary: Grace Denniston

Membership Secretary: Gail Johnson

The following were also elected as trustees: (3-year terms) – Joyce Riley, Marty Taber, Pat O’Brien and Maarit Vaga; (2-year term) – Maura Pierce; (1-year terms) – Mike Thaine and Kevin Hamilton.

The society and museum also presented awards to several key supporters.

This year’s winners include:

David Mitchell in July donated a couch made by George Pullman in the 1850s to the Cobblestone Museum. He acquired the couch when he purchased the Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Home in Albion. Mitchell wanted the couch to stay in the community and be displayed for the public to enjoy. He was recognized with a Pullman Award on Saturday for the donation.

• Pullman Award – This is a new award given to recognize a generous donation that enhances the collection at the Cobblestone Museum. In July, David Mitchell donated a couch made by George Pullman, when he was a furniture manufacturer in Albion, before he moved to Chicago and developed the Pullman’s Palace Cars for the railroad industry.

Mitchell acquired the Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Homes in Albion and Holley. The Albion funeral home had a Pullman couch. Mitchell made that couch a stipulation of the sale of the funeral home. He then donated it to the museum.

Community Partner of the Year – The Rochester Area Community Foundation which has provided $44,000 in grants the past two years for a series of building improvements on the three cobblestone buildings that are pre-1850.

A grant for $23,000 went towards restoring windows and some repointing on the Cobblestone Church, as well as work on the next-door Ward House, which was built around 1840. The stairs on the house have been crumbling and were fixed with the grant funds.

A grant for $21,000 this year is focused on the schoolhouse from 1849. The schoolhouse will soon get a new roof, repaired masonry and fresh paint on the window trim and soffits near the roof.

Jennifer Leonard, president and CEO of the Foundation, thanked the museum for its work to preserve the three cobblestone buildings on Route 104, which were built before 1850. Those three buildings were named a National Historic Landmark in 1993.

Amy Machamer and Susan Hurd Machamer, owners of Hurd Orchards in Murray, have referred many customers to the Cobblestone Museum. Hurd Orchards also does an annual cobblestone luncheon with a speaker from the museum. A collection taken at the luncheon has been growing in recent years to help support the museum.

Business Partner of the Year – Hurd Orchards for many years has promoted group tours for the museum. Hurd Orchards touts the museum in the community and with the farm’s customers. Hurd also has collected funds for the museum, a total that has been on the rise.

The late Betty Hurd was an early supporter of the museum and the Cobblestone Society more than a half century ago. She has instilled a love of history and the cobblestone buildings in her daughter Susan Hurd Machamer and granddaughter Amy Machamer.

The Proctor Award is named for the founder of Childs who helped establish the Cobblestone Church. The award is given to someone who goes above and beyond to assist the museum in an extraordinary manner. The museum presented three Proctor Awards to recognize people for their efforts in 2018.

• Gail Johnson developed and coordinated a Membership Dinner and the Underwriting component, plus new initiatives for Development and Membership. That work resulted in about $40,000 for the museum. She has welcomed new donors to the museum. She also is a significant donor herself, offering the museum land, barns and monetary gifts. She also volunteered in many roles this past season.

• Maarit Vaga organized a Progressive Organ Concert on May 12 and also prepared the main dinner of French beef stew for 120 people which was served at Christ Episcopal Church. The concert and meal included three stops. The event was very popular with the participants. Vaga also wore the Cobble the Mouse costume in local parades to promote the museum.

• Gregory Lawrence of Clarendon has been working to digitize a collection of about 3,500 photographs of 700 cobblestone structures in New York State, images from Robert L. Roudabush between 1976 and 1980. The images and scans of maps from 21 counties will be available online through the Cobblestone Museum and the Landmark Society of Western New York.

Sue Bonafini, the museum’s assistant director, presents the volunteer of the year awards to Gerard Morrisey, left, and Marty Taber. She wrote a poem about how the two so frequently help with museum events.

Volunteer of the Year (2 winners)

• Gerard Morrisey has been a dedicated volunteer as a docent, stepping in whenever he is needed, including the Ghost Walk on Oct. 6 when he portrayed Rufus Brown Bullock, the former Georgia governor who grew up in Albion and moved back to his hometown after his career.

• Marty Taber was one of the coordinators of the Ghost Walk, and wrote the script for the different characters highlighted on the tour. He also helps the museum by giving tours, working on landscaping, and with buildings and grounds projects.

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Developer told Dollar General is a bad fit for historic commercial district in Gaines

Photos by Tom Rivers: Officials from the Zaremba Group, which is working to build a new Dollar General in Gaines, met with about 50 people on Thursday at the Cobblestone Universalist Church, which is part of the Cobblestone Museum. Mary Ann Wervey is vice president of Retail Development for the Zaremba Group and Gary Hough is senior director of development.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 November 2018 at 8:58 am

Cobblestone Museum presents 1,186 petitions, asks developer to look at site across from Town Hall on 104

This is a rendering of the design for the new store proposed on Route 104.

GAINES – The developers working on a controversial new Dollar General store that would in a historic commercial district say Dollar General wants to stay at a site that would be across from a cobblestone schoolhouse built in 1849.

Two officials from the Zaremba Group traveled from Cleveland to meet with Cobblestone Museum leaders and supporters on Thursday to go over the plan for the new 9,100-square-foot store.

Zaremba builds about 40 Dollar General stores a year. Zaremba buys the land, builds the store and leases the site to Dollar General.

The proposed site for the Gaines store is in a wooded area, just east of the routes 98 and 104 intersection. It is a high traffic area, and is the preferred location for Dollar General, which does the market analysis for its stores, said Gary Hough, senior director of development for Zaremba.

“This is the location they believe in,” Hough told about 50 people at the meeting inside the Cobblestone Universalist Church, a building constructed in 1834. “They have charged us to move forward.”

Doug Farley, the museum director, presented 1,186 petitions against the Dollar General’s proposed site in the historic district. Farley handed the petitions to Hough and Mary Ann Wervey, vice president of Retail Development for the Zaremba Group.

Farley said the project should have never been considered by the Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals. A zoning misinterpretation has, unfortunately, allowed Zaremba to spend money on a site that shouldn’t be developed for a commercial chain store, Farley said.

“It was a very bad decision by the Zoning Board to allow it to get to this point,” he said. “We are clearly an interested party and we’ve been ignored.”

About 50 people attended the 4 p.m. meeting to hear about the proposed Dollar General.

The historic commercial district allows convenience stores, such as Crosby’s. However, the district doesn’t allow a general store.

The Dollar General was deemed suitable in the zoning by Gaines ZBA officials, who said it is a convenience store. However, the Cobblestone Museum said the Dollar General, at a proposed 9,100 square feet, should be considered a general store, and thus not allowed in the historic district.

Farley said the presence of the Dollar General would have a damaging effect on the Cobblestone Museum and the historic district, an impact that couldn’t be reversed once the store was built.

Museum supporters worry that the Dollar General would also bring more chain stores to the district. Zaremba is developing about 1 acre for the store, but 4 other undeveloped acres are next to the site.

The developer says the store would be shielded with vegetation.

There are already five Dollar General stores in Orleans County – Albion, Holley, Kendall, Medina and Ridgeway. That seems to be more than enough, the Zaremba officials were told.

However, Hough said Dollar General sees more opportunity in the county with the store in Gaines.

“It’s a new trade area they feel they are serving,” he said about Gaines. “They find this to be a new location they are not serving.”

Farley asked Zaremba to hold off on pushing for the store for at least six months because Gaines is looking to update its comprehensive plan and possibly expand the commercial district on Route 104.

Hough said the developer is limited right now where a commercial building can go in Gaines on Route 104. The commercial district is limited to historic area of Gaines.

Farley also asked the company to look at undeveloped land across from the Gaines Town Hall. That would be a prime spot for the Dollar General, he said.

Hough and Wervey said they would share the concerns from the museum with Dollar General.

Hough also said the company has some screening in the plan for the building, should it go across the street from the historic schoolhouse. The store also will have an upgraded look from many of the stores, he said.

(Editor’s Note: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers is a member of the Cobblestone Museum’s board of trustees.)

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Cobblestone Museum will present awards during annual meeting Nov. 10

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 October 2018 at 9:45 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Rochester Area Community Foundation has provided $44,000 in grants for the Cobblestone Museum to work on three cobblestone buildings built before 1850. Some of the grant funds were used to repair the windows of the Cobblestone Universalist Church, which was constructed in 1834. The Foundation will be recognized on Nov. 10 as the museum’s “Community Partner of the Year.”

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum will recognize several key supporters during an annual meeting at noon on Nov. 10 at Tillman’s Village Inn.

The public is welcome to attend to annual meeting to hear about the past year at the historic site. Officers and trustees will also be elected for the museum, a National Historic Landmark with buildings on Route 104 and Route 98 in the hamlet of Childs.

In 2016, the museum started presenting awards to supporters and volunteers.

This year’s winners include:

• Community Partner of the Year – The Rochester Area Community Foundation which has provided $44,000 in grants the past two years for a series of building improvements on the three cobblestone buildings that are pre-1850.

A grant for $23,000 went towards restoring windows and some repointing on the Cobblestone Church, as well as work on the next-door Ward House, which was built around 1840. The stairs on the house have been crumbling and were fixed with the grant funds.

A grant for $21,000 this year is focused on the schoolhouse from 1849. The schoolhouse will soon get a new roof, repaired masonry and fresh paint on the window trim and soffits near the roof.

• Business Partner of the Year – Hurd Orchards for many years has promoted group tours for the museum. Hurd Orchards touts the museum in the community and with the farm’s customers. Hurd also has collected funds for the museum, a total that has been on the rise.

The late Betty Hurd was an early supporter of the museum and the Cobblestone Society more than a half century ago. She has instilled a love of history and the cobblestone buildings in her daughter Susan Hurd and granddaughter Amy Machamer.

David Mitchell, left, donated this couch made by George Pullman in the 1850s to the Cobblestone Museum. Mitchell is pictured with Doug Farley, the museum’s director, in the Danolds Room on the first floor of the Cobblestone Church.

• Pullman Award – This is a new award given to recognize a generous donation that enhances the collection at the Cobblestone Museum. In July, David Mitchell donated a couch made by George Pullman, when he was a furniture manufacturer in Albion, before he moved to Chicago and developed the Pullman’s Palace Cars for the railroad industry.

Mitchell acquired the Merrill-Grinnell Funeral Homes in Albion and Holley. The Albion funeral home had a Pullman couch. Mitchell made that couch a stipulation of the sale of the funeral home. He then donated it to the museum.

• Proctor Award is named for the founder of Childs who helped establish the Cobblestone Church. The award is given to someone who goes above and beyond to assist the museum in an extraordinary manner. The museum is presenting three Proctor Awards to recognize people for their efforts in 2018.

• Gail Johnson developed and coordinated a Membership Dinner and the Underwriting component, plus new initiatives for Development and Membership. That work resulted in about $40,000 for the museum. She has welcomed new donors to the museum. She also is a significant donor herself, offering the museum land, barns and monetary gifts.  She also volunteered in many roles this past season.

Maarit Vaga dressed as Cobble the Museum Mouse for the Cobblestone Museum at the Holley June Fest parade. She rode in a 1911 Reo truck owned by Russ Bosch of Clarendon.

• Maarit Vaga organized a Progressive Organ Concert on May 12 and also prepared the main dinner which was served at Christ Episcopal Church. The concert and meal were very popular with the participants. Vaga also wore the Cobble the Mouse costume in local parades to promote the museum.

• Gregory Lawrence of Holley has been working to digitize a collection of about 3,500 photographs of 700 cobblestone structures in New York State, images from Robert L. Roudabush between 1976 and 1980. The images and scans of maps from 21 counties will be available online through the Cobblestone Museum and the Landmark Society of Western New York.

• Volunteer of the Year (2 winners)

• Gerard Morrissey has been a dedicated volunteer as a docent, stepping in whenever he is needed, including the Ghost Walk on Oct. 6 when he portrayed Rufus Brown Bullock, the former Georgia governor who grew up in Albion and moved back to his hometown after his career.

• Marty Taber was one of the coordinators of the Ghost Walk, and wrote the script for the different characters highlighted on the tour. He also helps the museum by giving tours, working on landscaping, and with buildings and grounds projects.

The annual meeting is open to the public. The deadline to RSVP is Nov. 5. For more information, call the museum at 589-9013 or click here.

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Developer will meet with Cobblestone Museum to discuss new Dollar General

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2018 at 2:11 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Marty Taber, right, talks with volunteers during a rehearsal for a Ghost Walk earlier this month at the Cobblestone Museum. The Ward House, built in the 1840s, was part of the tour.

GAINES – The developer working on a new Dollar General store in Gaines will meet on Nov. 1 with representatives of the Cobblestone Museum.

Zaremba Group has proposed building the store on a wooded lot across from the Cobblestone Schoolhouse on Ridge Road. The schoolhouse is part of the museum’s cobblestone buiidlings from before 1850. They are part of a historic district that was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1993 by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Cobblestone Museum officials, as well as the State Historic Preservation Office, have asked Zaremba and Dollar General to find an alternative site for the proposed store, outside of the historic district.

The 4 p.m. meeting on Nov. 1 at the Cobblestone Church will be open to the public. Those attending from the developer are Gary Hough, senior director of Development, and Mary Ann Wervey, vice president of Retail Development, for the Zaremba Group.

Doug Farley, the museum director, said he will present nearly 1,200 petitions signatures and hundreds of comments opposed to the project.

Farley and the museum supporters want to know why Zaremba and Dollar General are determined to go with the site across the street from the historic schoolhouse, especially when other alternatives on Ridge Road have been presented, including the corner of routes 279 and 104.

“Why is this site a good pick?” Farley said about the spot across from the schoolhouse. “It will hurt the historic ambiance. Why haven’t they looked at other sites outside of the historic district?”

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Historical marker at Crossroads in Gaines gets a fresh coat of paint

Staff Reports Posted 10 October 2018 at 7:36 am

Provided photos

GAINES – Another local historical marker has been cleaned up and given a fresh coat of paint. Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon has been working on the markers in recent years.

She repainted the sign at Route 279 and Route 104, the “Crossroads” of the Oak Orchard and Ridge roads. The Gaines Highway Department on Tuesday put the marker back up at the corner.

Here is how the sign looked before it was repainted.

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Cobblestone Museum supporters step up efforts to stop Dollar General

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 September 2018 at 4:40 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: Supporters of the Cobblestone Museum have put out signs to stop a new Dollar General from being built on Route 104, across from the historic Cobblestone Schoolhouse. This photo shows a sign in front of the Ward House. The three cobblestone buildings in the museum are a National Historic Landmark.

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum has new signs – “Save Historic Cobblestone – No Dollar General!” – also has sent a letter to the Dollar General CEO, urging the company to find another site for a proposed store.

The museum also has petitions signed by about 1,100 people, opposing a Dollar General in the historic district on Route 104, Doug Farley, the museum director, said today.

The “Save Historic Cobblestone” signs are the latest effort to raise awareness about the issue, and to urge the Town of Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals to say no to the project.

The museum also sent a letter in mid-September to Dollar General executives, including CEO Todd Vasos.

“I am writing to make you aware that the reputation of your company is being damaged,” states the letter from the museum. “There is a proposal to build a new Dollar General store in Gaines, NY. The proposed site is within the area zoned Historic/Commercial, but most significantly it is directly across the road from the only National Historic Landmark in Orleans County, the Cobblestone Historic District.

“The addition of a modern building in this district is very upsetting to many of the area residents. In fact, about 1,000 have already signed a petition asking the Town of Gaines to deny this proposal and Dollar General to find a site outside the small historic zone.”

Dollar General hasn’t submitted a formal plan for the store but has been discussing the project with the town. The ZBA will next meet 7 p.m. on Monday at the Albion High School cafeteria. The meeting site has been moved from the Gaines Town Hall to the school due to the expected larger crowd.

The museum sent its letter to the company officials at the Dollar General headquarters in Goodlettsville, Tenn.

“By pursuing this location, your company is portraying itself as uncaring and indifferent to the concerns of the local community,” the letter states. “You are also alienating at least 1,000 potential customers who will not patronize the store if built on the proposed site. Boycotting the store will not be an inconvenience to these people as there are three dollar stores within a five mile radius of Gaines, and another Dollar General three miles away in Albion.

“I urge you to demonstrate your company is a ‘good neighbor’ and find a location outside this zone for your new store. Doing so will greatly improve the tarnished reputation you are currently building with your potential customers.”

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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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Gaines gives approval for barn on 104 to be used for events

Photo by Tom Rivers: This barn on Route 104, just east of Route 98, has the Gaines town's permission to be used to host auctions, dances, weddings and other events.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 September 2018 at 11:53 am

GAINES – The Town of Gaines Zoning Board of Appeals approved the site plan and a special use permit for a barn on Route 104 to be used for a seasonal business in Commercial Historic District.

Ray Burke, owner of Fairhaven Treasures, wants to use the neighboring barn on Route 104, across from the Cobblestone Universalist Church, for retail sales, auctions, weddings and other events.

The Gaines ZBA approved the project on Monday. Burke is a member of the ZBA. He abstained from voting.

Burke acquired the barn at 14386-14398 Ridge Rd. Burke in his application said the barn would be available for the events on a seasonal basis because he uses it in the winter to store cars, boats and campers. He thinks using the site for events would fit in with the other nearby businesses.

“Our town is the center of the county at the crossroads of Route 104 and 98 and because of all the businesses on the Ridge we could become a destination for everyone travelling on these corridors,” he wrote in the application.

Burke has parking available behind the barn and east of the structure to accommodate visitors, without cars needing to back into the roadway, the Orleans County Planning Board said on Aug. 23, when that board approved the project.

The ZBA also set a public hearing for 7 p.m. on Oct. 1 for a variance request for a former cobblestone schoolhouse on Ridge Road. Bill and Jacqueline Bixler want to make the former school a one-family residence.

The Gaines ordinance requires one-family homes to be at least 980 square feet. The cobblestone school is only 896 square feet. It is on the west end of the town at 13592 Ridge Rd.

The Bixlers don’t want to change the historic nature of the building by putting on a small addition to increase the size.

Gaines town officials don’t believe the building has ever been used for a residence. The building, which doesn’t have a known construction date, is at least 150 years old.

The public hearing will be at the Albion High School cafeteria.

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