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Childs hamlet in Orleans County named ‘Five to Revive’

Photos by Tom Rivers: The Landmark Society of Western New York unveiled its annual list of “Five to Revive,” which included the hamlet of Childs in the Town of Gaines, Orleans County. The district is home to several cobblestone buildings, Tillman’s Village Inn and other historic structures.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 October 2019 at 6:35 pm

Designation from Landmark Society has spurred preservation projects in Holley, Rochester region

ROCHESTER – The Landmark Society of Western New York unveiled its 7thannual list of “Five to Revive,” which are historically significant sites that are need of protection and financial resources.

The list includes the Childs hamlet at the intersection of routes 98 and 104 in Gaines. The hamlet includes three cobblestone buildings – a church, house and schoolhouse – that are a National Historic Landmark, a designation approved by the federal Department of Interior in 1993.

Larry Francer, associate director of preservation for the Landmark Society, turns over the display highlighting Childs as a historic district in need of protection, and also investment.

That is highest historic status given to a site, one of the few in Western New York, said Cynthia Howk, architectural research coordinator for the Landmark Society.

“This is the crème de la crème of historic sites,” Howk said today.

The Landmark Society says the district is threatened by an “automobile-oriented design” that is dangerous to patrons of the museum and local businesses. The Landmark Society also is concerned about “insensitive new developments.” A new Dollar General has been proposed for construction across from the schoolhouse, which was built in 1849.

Here is the full writeup from the Landmark Society on the hamlet of Childs in Orleans County:

“The unincorporated hamlet of Childs is located a few miles north of the Village of Albion, at the intersection of State Routes 98 and 104. The hamlet is home to the Tillman’s Historic Village Inn and Fair Haven Inn, several pre-Civil War wood frame and brick historic houses, and the National Historic Landmark Cobblestone Museum. Also known as the Ridge Road, Route 104 has served as a main artery for east-west travel between the Genesee and Niagara Rivers since the early 19th century. Childs has functioned as a stopping point along the route since the first portion of the Village Inn was built in 1824.

“The hamlet’s history as a transportation corridor, which initially allowed it to flourish, has paradoxically contributed to its present-day struggles. Automobile-oriented design and development have made the hamlet inhospitable and dangerous to patrons of the Museum and local businesses while insensitive new developments threaten to further erode the character and vitality of the historic hamlet.

“The future economic potential of Childs lies in its unique historic character. Modern planning and zoning practices that encourage sensitive new construction, along with the addition of pedestrian-oriented infrastructure and design, could help guide the hamlet’s growth and enhance its economic development.”

The Town of Gaines is proposing to extend the commercial district on Route 104, to east of the historic district going to near Brown Road. That would give developers more options for buildings that are away from the historic district. The town also is looking to expand the commercial district near the intersection of routes 104 and 279.

The Cobblestone Museum resisted the Dollar General, and more than 1,100 people supported a petition against the store in the historic district. Town officials said the developer hasn’t communicated with Gaines in several months about the project.

File photo by Tom Rivers: Nelson Leenhouts, chairman and CEO of Home Leasing, addresses a crowd on Nov. 11, 2016 outside the former Holley High School. Leenhouts is leading the redevelopment of the site into senior apartments and the village offices. The “Five to Revive” designation drew the company’s interest in the property in 2013.

Childs is the fifth site in Orleans County to make the “Five to Revive” since 2013. The old Holley High School was on the debut list in 2013. That designation drew the attention of Home Leasing, a Rochester company.

Home Leasing started construction in November 2018 on a $17 million transformation of the former Holley High School, turning it into 41 apartments and the village offices for Holley.

The school transformation was cited as one of the biggest success stories of the “Five to Revive.”

Hillside Cemetery and chapel in Clarendon made the list in 2014. The designation also was helpful for Clarendon to secure a state grant to put a new roof on the Hillside chapel and repair stained-glass windows.

In 2016, the Landmark Society highlighted the deteriorating condition of the Lake Ontario State Parkway as a “Five to Revive.” The state Department of Transportation has since repaved part of the Parkway in Hamlin and near Kendall.

Last year, the Odd Fellows Hall in downtown Holley made the list. The village has since been able to gain title of the property and can now guide its redevelopment, said Thomas Castelein, chairman of the Five to Revive Committee.

The Landmark Society is pleased with several success stories since the list started. The Five to Revive has rallied communities around important buildings and locations, drawn attention to the sites, and helped bring much-needed financial resources to the properties.

“All of these success stories are dependent upon partnerships and alliances,” Castelein said. “There wouldn’t be success stories without everyone working together.”

Matthew Lenahan, vice president of preservation for the Landmark Society, welcomes a crowd to the unveiling of the 7th annual “Five to Revive.” The event was held at The Historic Parsells Church on Parsells Avenue in Rochester. The church was picked to represent a growing concern in the region – large church buildings with relatively small congregations and dwindling financial resources. The Parsells Church was picked to represent the challenge of adaptive reuse of a historic house of worship.

The Landmark Society made the announcement of the Five to Revive at The Historic Parsells Church in Rochester.

Besides the Childs Historic District in Orleans County, other sites include:

• Highland Reservoir and Cobbs Hill Reservoir in Rochester

• 6 Madison Street in the Susan B Anthony Neighborhood in Rochester

• King’s Daughters and Sons Building, Dansville

• Adaptive Reuse of historic houses of worship – a thematic listing to shed light on people trying to adapt old churches to new uses. Four buildings were selected to represent the theme. They are the Historic Parsells Church, 345 Parsells Ave., Rochester; Trinity Church, 520 S Main St., Geneva; Logan Community Center, Town of Hector, Schuyler County; Former Wesleyan Church, 140 Fall St., Seneca Falls.

Click here for more information about this year’s Five to Revive.

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Gaines looks to bring back Planning Board, expand commercial district on 104

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 2 October 2019 at 12:50 pm

Courtesy of Town of Gaines: Gaines is proposing a change in the zoning map that expands the commercial district on Route 104, west of the Cobblestone Museum. Gaines also has commercial zoning districts at the 5 corners and intersection of routes 279 and 104.

GAINES – After a year-long effort, the Town of Gaines is proposing changes to its zoning regulations and map, including expanding the commercial district on Route 104, from the Cobblestone Museum going east to Brown Road.

That will allow more options for development on Ridge Road that aren’t in a historic district.

The town also is looking to eliminate a commercial  zoning district in the Eagle Harbor hamlet, while keeping the commercial district at the 5 Corners and expanding the district at the routes 279 and 104 intersection.

The Town Board will have a public hearing 7 p.m. Thursday about the zoning changes. The hearing will be at the Town Hall.

The Town Board formed the Zoning Advisory Committee about a year ago to review the zoning. That committee worked with LaBella Associates on the project.

The committee recommended Gaines bring back its Planning Board. That board was abolished in January 2012 with its duties passed to the Zoning Board of Appeals. Town Supervisor Joe Grube said Gaines is the only town in the county without a Planning Board.

He is pleased with the zoning revisions proposed by the committee and Labella. It5 also updates a comprehensive plan for land use, that Grube said was originally adopted in 1983.

“This will bring the zoning into 2020,” Grube said.

The revisions include more detail on development in the commercial districts, especially with signage.

Other highlights include:

• Establishes regulations for R-1 Residential District and Planned Development District as floating zones. They are not specified on the zoning map, but can be added to rezoned land if the Town Board deems either district appropriate.

• Establishes new regulations for the Commercial Historic District, including standards for building design, building placement, parking and landscaping, with a goal to prevent incompatible development with the historic district.

• Adds provisions for farm labor and agricultural packing and processing facilities.

The Orleans County Planning Board last Thursday reviewed the proposal and recommended the Town of Gaines pass the changes.

Click here to see the zoning ordinance being proposed by Gaines.

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Log cabin will be moved from Albion next to historic cobblestone schoolhouse in Gaines

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Bill Lattin, left, and local contractor Rick Ebbs check the dimensions of a log cabin at the home of Pat and Ralph Moorhouse, who have offered to donate the structure to the Orleans County Historical Society. Ebbs thinks he can stabilize the building so it can be moved.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 17 September 2019 at 11:19 am

10-by-14 cabin was built by Boy Scouts in 1930

GAINES – If efforts are successful, visitors to the historic Gaines Basin No. 2 cobblestone school on Gaines basin Road will have another attraction to look at.

The Orleans County Historical Society, which is restoring the schoolhouse, has been given a log cabin, which they hope to move behind the school.

The idea was born about a year ago when Bill Lattin, retired as both the Orleans County historian and director of the Cobblestone Society Museum, was talking with Al Capurso at a Cobblestone board meeting.

Bill Lattin looks at the crumbling stones and oil tank from the chimney of a log cabin which has been donated to the Orleans County Historical Society. The cabin was built in 1930 by Boy Scouts and sits in back of the home of Pat and Ralph Moorhouse on Linwood Avenue. Pat’s father was one of the Scouts and her grandfather supervised the work. A limb fell off a nearby tree, knocking the chimney down.

“Al made the suggestion that it would be nice to build a replica of a log cabin on the Cobblestone Museum grounds,” Lattin said. “I could see by the look on the board members’ faces, that wasn’t going to fly.”

Lattin commented it was the mission of the Cobblestone Society to preserve historic buildings, and asked why they didn’t consider preserving a log cabin, instead of building one.

Capurso asked where they would find one.

“I said, ‘On Linwood Avenue in Albion,’ and his jaw dropped,” Lattin said.

Lattin knew the property owners, Pat and Ralph Moorhouse, and when they were contacted, they agreed to donate the deteriorating log cabin if it could be moved.

The Cobblestone Building and Grounds Committee felt they had enough on their plate without taking on another project, so Capurso presented the idea to the Orleans County Historical Association, which agreed to allow the cabin to be moved behind the Gaines Basin cobblestone schoolhouse – if Lattin and Capurso could raise the $6,000 needed to get it in shape to move.

The log cabin was built by Boy Scouts in 1930 as a place to camp out, which makes it kind of unique, Lattin said.

“It’s one of a kind,” he said.

It is 10 feet by 14 feet and barely six feet tall at the peak. The Scouts also constructed a cot of sorts inside and a fireplace. On the outside in back is a tank, which held oil and was rigged so a drop of oil would fall periodically on the fire, keeping it burning.

What makes the log cabin so special is that Pat Moorhouse’s grandfather supervised building the cabin, and her father Ferris Benton was one of the Scouts.

The log cabin is already beginning to deteriorate badly and the front has sunk at least a foot into the ground.

“If it is not preserved now, it will soon rot out,” Lattin said.

Rick Ebbs, a local contractor who has been working on restoration work at the schoolhouse, agreed to tackle the project. He expects to line the interior and exterior with plywood to brace it so it can be lifted with a fork lift. He hopes to be able to move the fireplace intact as well.

“If we have to rebuild it stone by stone, it will spoil its integrity,” Lattin said.

Lattin hopes to interest some Scout troops in helping with restoration of the cabin.

“This would be a wonderful Eagle Scout project,” he said.

Lattin said they have already received about $1,000 in donations toward the project. Anyone wishing to make a monetary donation or donate services in kind can contact the Orleans County Historical Association at P.O. Box 181, Albion. Latin said anyone who donates $50 or more will receive a copy of Irene Gibson’s book, Historic Sites in Orleans County.

Bill Lattin, retired Orleans County historian, points to the spot behind the Gaines Basin cobblestone schoolhouse where a nearly 100-year-old log cabin will be situated. The cabin sits in back of Pat and Ralph Moorhouse’s home on Linwood Avenue, and they have agreed to donate it to the Orleans County Historical Association.

Lattin said the timing is perfect, as they just learned a drivable lane has been completed up to the towpath on the east side of the Gaines Basin Road canal bridge.  The northernmost point of the Erie Canal is just 900 feet west of the canal bridge.

“This was one of the only roads in the county which crossed the canal and didn’t have access to the towpath,” Lattin said. “We hope to have a kiosk and sign which tells people they can stop and see an authentic log cabin and one-room schoolhouse.”

The schoolhouse was built in 1832 and is the oldest documented cobblestone building in the region. It was used until 1944, when the district centralized. Constructed of local fieldstone, it also shows early use of Medina sandstone for quoins.

It is the last remaining structure of the pioneer-era Erie Canal hamlet known as Gaines Basin. It was falling into ruin until the Orleans County Historical Association took interest in it several years ago and Jim Panek, who owns the land, agreed to donate the building and surrounding lot to the Historical Association.

When restoration is complete, the schoolhouse will serve as a small museum and meeting place.

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Driver swats bee, strikes utility pole on 104

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 September 2019 at 3:57 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The driver of a pickup truck went off Ridge Road just after 3 this afternoon when he swatted at a bee inside the vehicle, Albion firefighters said.

The man driving the pickup and his passenger, a boy, weren’t injured after the truck struck a utility pole, between Gaines Basin and Eagle Harbor roads.

The pole snapped in half and wires were knocked on the ground. The section of Ridge Road was closed to traffic. National Grid is expected on scene to make the restoration.

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Artisans bring museum to life at Old Timer’s Day

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 September 2019 at 6:16 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – Scott Galliford of Brockport set up a spot today to show timber framing by the cobblestone schoolhouse, built in 1849. Galliford was one of several artisans during the annual Old Timer’s Day that showcases historic trades at the Cobblestone Museum.

Fred Dean, a recent graduate at Brockport State College and an intern at the museum, was in the print shop with a Gordon Press. The shop was built in 1875. It used to be in Medina, but was moved to the museum grounds on Route 98 in 1977.

Dean printed out these papers to highlight the museum.

The spot on Route 98 in front of Farmer’s Hall, print shop and harness shop was used to showcase Civil War era knives, firearms, swords and bayonets.

Maarit Vaga, a museum volunteer in the blacksmith shop, shows Evan Coolidge, 6, of Bergen some of the tools of the trade.

Lori Laine holds a rock she painted of a cobblestone house. Laine is one of the leaders of the Albion Rocks group. They worked with children to paint rocks today.

The museum also served 250 chicken barbecue dinners.

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Work continues on historic cobblestone school on Gaines Basin Road

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 September 2019 at 9:34 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – Neal Muscarella of Albion works on putting new plaster inside the former Cobblestone Schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road in Gaines.

Volunteers and contractors have been working on the building the past five years. It is now owned by the Orleans County Historical Association, which wants to use the building as a meeting place and also to display some historic artifacts from schools.

The building has accordion laths, which are thin, sawn boards that are partially split with a hatchet or axe. The splits are spread apart to form gaps for the plaster to key into. These early laths had an irregular board that expanded like an accordion.

The schoolhouse was built in 1832, making it the oldest documented cobblestone building in the region, said Bill Lattin, a retired county historian and former director of the Cobblestone Museum.

The schoolhouse is just north of the Erie Canal. The schoolhouse has added a flagpole, bench and historic marker. This summer two Medina Sandstone fence posts were installed on the property by Richard Nenni and Rick Ebbs. Ebbs also put a new floor inside the school.

The building has sagged in spots which made replacing windows tricky. Lattin praised Fred Miller, owner of Family Hardware in Albion, for cutting windows to fit the odd shapes.

“With that building you throw away the level and go with the flow,” Lattin said. “They aren’t perfect rectangles.”

The Historical Association also removed a tree next to the building, and had the roof reconstructed while replacing half of the rafters.

The tree was on the north side of the building and caused a lot of damage, particualy to the wall, Lattin said.

Neal Muscarella usually focuses on masonry work, but he also does plastering. He said he learned the skill from Adolf Genter of Albion. Muscarella is pleased to see the progress in keeping the 913-square-foot building.

“If they hadn’t stepped up this would be a pile of stones,” Muscarella said. “We’re trying to bring it back to the original.”

An outhouse in back of the schoolhouse was moved to the site in 2017. The privy was donated by Irene Roth and her daughters, Chris Sartwell, Marge Page and Arlene Rafter.

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Farmers Hall at Cobblestone Museum gets new foundation, other work

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 August 2019 at 11:13 am

Building was Kendall Town Hall, moved to museum in ’78

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – Kevin Breiner, a mason from Brockport, works on one of 14 new concrete piers underneath Farmers Hall at the Cobblestone Museum.

The building was previously the Kendall Town Hall. It was taken apart and reassembled in 1978 at the Cobblestone Museum on Route 98, just south of Route 104.

A $12,000 grant from the Elizabeth Dye Curtis Foundation in Orleans County is paying for the work on the foundation, and also for collar ties to firm up the rafters.

The building was sagging. The additional foundation support will stop that, and the turnbuckles will keep the building from spreading apart.

The Farmers Hall is among a row of buildings at the Route 98 section of the museum that includes several relocated structures, including a harness shop, print shop and several outhouses.

Farmers Hall was originally constructed in 1855, and served as a Universalist Church for several decades. In the 1870s, the German Lutherans became owners of the building and used it for services. It later became Kendall’s Town Hall.

The building now functions as an exhibition hall for 19th and early 20th century farming implements.

To put in the concrete piers to shore up the foundation, 3-foot-deep holes were dug around Farmers Hall.

The museum was recently notified it has been awarded a $17,810 grant from the Rochester Area Community Foundation for more preservation/restoration work at Farmers Hall.

Kevin Breiner works on the foundation project on Thursday.

The grant will pay for new gutters for the building and for repainting the trim.

This grant brings the total funding received from RACF in the past three years to about $62,000. The Rochester Area Community Foundation previously gave a grant for $23,000 that 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 had been crumbling and were fixed with the grant funds.

A grant for $21,000 last year focused on the schoolhouse from 1849, paying for a new roof, repairing masonry and a fresh paint on the window trim and soffits near the roof.

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Cobblestone Tour of Homes on Sept. 28 includes bus option for first time

Provided photos: This cobblestone home owned by Margaret Ciechanowicz at 12387 Ridge Rd., Medina, was built in the late 1830s and has undergone remodeling and alterations by several owners.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 26 August 2019 at 1:00 pm

Several sites featured in Orleans and Niagara counties

The Cobblestone Society’s Tour of Homes will branch out this year to include several examples of cobblestone masonry in Orleans and Niagara counties.

Scheduled Sept. 28, this year’s tour will offer both self-driving and bus tour options.

Artist Arthur Barnes purchased this cobblestone building in Millville for use as an art studio and meeting place. It was formerly a Quaker Meeting House.

The tour will run from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Self-drive tickets are $15 for Cobblestone Society members and $20 for non-members. Bus tour tickets are $40 for members and $45 for all others.

The Cobblestone Society’s first tour of homes was in 1960, the first year the Society was formed, said executive director Doug Farley. They have not been done every year, but for many recent years.

“This will be the first time we’ve offered the bus option for the Cobblestone Tour,” Farley said. “We tried it last year for the Christmas Tour and people really appreciated it.”

This year’s stops in Orleans County will include the exterior and interior of the Ward House (1840s), 14393 Ridge Rd., Childs; exterior of the Lake/Hurd House (1846), 3505 Butts Rd., Albion; exterior and interior of Arthur Barnes Art Studio (1841), 12387 Maple Ridge Rd., Medina; and exterior and interior of Stewart/Ciechanowicz House (1830s), 12387 Ridge Road, Medina.

Ward House – No written records exist for the Ward House, however, it is believed to have been constructed around 1836 under the direction of John Proctor. It remained under his ownership until 1861 was likely intended to serve as a parsonage for the Cobblestone Church. It is constructed in the Federal style, with a hip roof, which is rare for Western New York.

The house was next owned by Benjamin and Mary Anne Woodburn Dwinnell. Mary Anne was the aunt of New York Tribune editor Horace Greeley, who held the mortgage until 1863.

Peter and Patricia Hurd own this 1846 cobblestone home at 3505 Butts Rd., Albion, one of several historic buildings on the Cobblestone Society’s Cobblestone Tour of Homes Sept. 28.

Lake/Hurd House – For many years, this home which Nathaniel Lake had built in 1846, was known as “Lake Manse,” because of the lake-smooth cobbles which face the walls. Stones in herringbone pattern can be seen on the lower part of the wall between the grade and first floor. A wooden porch of Italianate style fronts the north wing and offers a pleasant contrast to the more sober original Green Revival details.

Arthur Barnes Art Studio – The building used by Arthur Barnes as his art studio was built in 1841 as a Quaker Meeting House. In 1896 it was converted to a general store and post office. When Barnes acquired the property, it was his goal for it to become a meeting house for artists and others.

Stewart/Ciechanowicz House – Wilber and Betsey Stewart came to Orleans County from Connecticut in 1831. Their cobblestone house was built in the late 1830s as a Greek Revival cottage. The quoins and lintels are sandstone, while the sills are wood. A one-story wing extends to the west, faced with water-rounded smaller stones.

John Amos purchased the home in 1864. His descendents lived there for 100 years, after which Sheri Egeli owned and made many interior restorations. Current owner Margaret Ciechanowicz has made recent repairs to the cobblestone home.

The Cobblehurst was built in 1836 on Ridge Road in Gasport.

Continuing in Niagara County, the tour includes the exterior and interior of Cobblehurst (1836), 8856 Ridge Rd., Gasport; exterior and interior of Hartland Schoolhouse No. 10 (1845), 9713  Seaman and Carmen Road, Gasport; exterior and interior of the Babcock House Museum (1848), 7449 Lower Lake Rd., Barker; exterior of Morgan Johnson/Schwarzmueller House (1844-45), 2533 Wilson Cambria Rd., Wilson; exterior of Morse/Gallagher House, 2773 Maple Rd., Wilson; and the final stop at Wilson House Restaurant (1844), 300 Lake Rd., Wilson.

Cobblehurst/Monter House – This building was erected in 1836 as a Friends’ Meeting House. The outside walls are faced with large field cobbles of varying sizes, shapes and colors. It was originally a simple building in the true Quaker tradition. To the west can be seen the old Friends Cemetery.

After the Great War, the house was acquired by Emma Reed, who later gifted another architectural treasure, the Tousley-Church House in Albion, to the Daughters of the American Revolution.

In 1919-20, with the help of architect Walter Landephear, Reed turned the Meeting House into a resort for the wealthy. Its interior is in the “Mission” style popularized by Elbert Hubbard and the Roycroft movement in East Aurora. Several of its light fixtures came from the Roycroft workshops, as did the wrought iron andirons and large living room fireplace. Dormers and an indoor swimming pool were added by a later owner. Current owner, Victor Monter, is credited with restoring and saving the structures, which was vacant for many years and in serious disrepair. He and his family reside here and operate it as an Airbnb.

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Hartland Historical Society is the caretaker of a one-room schoolhouse built in 1845. The building was used as a school for more than a century until 1947. This site is on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s at the corner of Carmen and Seaman roads.

District No. 10 Cobblestone Schoolhouse – This historic one-room schoolhouse is a one-story cobblestone structure built about 1845 in the Greek Revival style. It features smooth, slightly irregularly shaped and variously colored cobbles in its construction. It operated as a school until 1947, when it was converted into a private residents. It was recently acquired by the Hartland Historical Society, and is one of 47 cobblestone structures in Niagara County.

Babcock House Museum – This cobblestone Greek Revival home was built in 1848 by Jeptha Babcock near the shores of Lake Ontario. He was a farmer, first postmaster in the town of Somerset and a New York State Assemblyman.

After a succession of owners, the New York State Electric and Gas eventually acquired the property in 1982 as part of its news electric generating plant on the shores of Lake Ontario in Somerset. An agreement was signed in 1987 allowing the town of Somerset Historical Society to operate the Babcock House Museum and Visitors’ Center.

Most of these homes were erected prior to the Civil War. Stepping over the threshold propels visitors into a world gone by. A brick bread oven and bee hive cook fireplace are focal points. It is completely furnished with vintage antiques, china, light fixtures and pump organ.

The barn on the property is one of the largest barns in Niagara County. Square dances, storytelling and old-fashioned potluck meals are held there several times a year by the Somerset Historical Society.

Morgan Johnson/Schwarzmueller House – This majestic house built for Captain Morgan Johnson is probably the most elaborate of Niagara County’s cobblestone homes. He was captain of the ship  “Milly Cook,” which caught fire and burned in Wilson Harbor. The area is still known as Milly Cook Cove.

The home is constructed with a very interesting herringbone design.Unique belly windows with grill facings under the steps and two stone columns at the front door can be observed. It is also known as the “Anchor House,” because of the 500-pound anchor on the front lawn, which was lost from the Schooner Franklin Pierce during a storm in 1840, and found near the Wilson pier around 1897.

Current owners Anton and Arlene Schwarzmueller purchased the home in 2001. The house had fallen into disrepair and was even foreclosed on at one point in its history. Anton describes the condition of the home when they purchased it – covered with blue tarps to protect damaged areas from further degradation. All the window panes were cracked. The wood had no paint and was covered with staples and remnants of plastic.

Morse/Gallagher House – Built circa 1840, this home is a well-preserved example of middle-period cobblestone construction. The style is Greek Revival with a couple of interesting features. There are a number of “belly” or eyebrow windows on the west and south sides. The large stone lintels above the windows have a “Holland Hat” look which is English Gothic. They were made in Lockport and delivered to the site for $10 each.

Shortly after moving into the home, current owner town of Wilson historian Francis Gallagher applied for State and National Register status. This was granted in September 2010. The most noticeable modern feature of the home is the large array of solar panels on the south side of the home. This was added in September 2014 and supplies about 95% of the home’s electrical needs.

Wilson House Restaurant – Mike and Loretta White and Sons have newly remodeled this cobblestone home originally built in 1844 by Luther Wilson. It is built on the site of the village’s first schoolhouse, which had been erected in 1820. The two-story structure with hip roof and half windows was built with small water-washed stones. It later became the Wilsonian Club, a private club for area businessmen, with a bowling alley in the basement and dance hall on the second floor.

Eventually, in 1947, it became a bar/restaurant, which it has continued to be under several different managements.

Those on the bus will be given time to order a meal at the restaurant, where the White family has arranged several menu specials for the tour.

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Cobblestone Museum puts out casting call for upcoming Ghost Walk

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 23 August 2019 at 11:01 am

Oct. 19 event will have focus on life during the Civil War

GAINES – The Cobblestone Museum is looking for actors and actresses of all ages to assist with the Civil War Ghost Walk on Oct. 19.

Volunteers are invited to join the Cobblestone Museum as they step back in time to 1862 and look at Orleans County at the time of the Civil War.

The Ghost Walk is a walking tour which plays out in the historic buildings on the Museum’s campus, including the cobblestone schoolhouse, the oldest cobblestone church in North America and a cobblestone parsonage, which are part of a district that is a National Historic Landmarks, said Sue Bonafini, assistant director and volunteer coordinator.

Along the way, Ghost Walk guests will “meet” apparitions of such notables as newspaper editor Horace Greeley, who once owned the cobblestone parsonage known as the Ward House, and penned “The Prayer of Twenty Millions,” in which he scolded Abraham Lincoln for the way he was conducting the War Between the States.

The Cobblestone Museum is looking for playful souls to fill speaking and non-speaking roles, along with a handful of energetic tour guides to lead guests through the spiritual sightings. Acting experience, while not required, is a plus. Volunteers will also be needed to help with a variety of additional roles, many behind the scenes. Assistance in locating costumes and props is also anticipated.

Those interested in participating or learning more information should contact Bonafini at 589-9013.

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New video tells the story of the Cobblestone Museum

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 16 July 2019 at 8:14 am

‘Our Cobblestone Heritage’ highlights the cobblestone masonry from the 1800s

Photos by Tom Rivers: Doug Farley, director of the Cobblestone Society Museum, presents a new video on Sunday during a premiere in the lower level of the Cobblestone Universalist Church.

CHILDS – Supporters of the Cobblestone Museum got to attend a premiere showing of a new video, “Our Cobblestone Heritage,” on Sunday afternoon at the historic Cobblestone Church.

The video was produced by Oh!Davidson Creative of Rochester at the request of Diane Palmer, a former board member and vice president of development for the Cobblestone Museum. Click here to see the video.

Megan O’Hearn-Davidson, left, joins Diane Palmer, a former Cobblestone Museum board member, and Drew Davidson in cutting the cake on Sunday during a premiere of a 10-minute video the Davidsons produced for the museum.

“Around the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, Diane was instrumental in our efforts to begin rebranding the museum,” said director Doug Farley. “This included our new logo and the creation of a video, which we could use to not only promote our museum, but would allow us to extend our season into the winter. That way, if a visitor stopped in the winter and we didn’t have a special event going on, we could show them a video.”

Palmer was familiar with the work of Megan O’Hearn-Davidson and her husband Drew. They photograph and film weddings and other special events in the Rochester area. Megan is an Albion native. Palmer contacted them with her idea.

“The video is about more than promoting our museum,” Palmer said. “It is also promoting the heritage of our cobblestone history. It’s an honor to be part of something like this.”

Farley said the museum is very proud of the video and he credited Palmer with being the driving force behind it. Palmer, who has moved to Washington, D.C. with her husband Keith, returned to Albion for Sunday’s special showing.

“Our rebranding is a process which is still underway,” Farley said. “Our video can be used in a number of ways. Our goal is to become a 12-month facility and now we have a product we can use all year. It is also an outreach tool which tells our mission and our goals for the future.”

While the original idea was to have a video to show visitors to the museum, the project has evolved differently than they first thought, Palmer said.

“Now with a full video of the history of the museum, we can use it to train docents, as well as give visitors a full overview of the museum,” she said.

While the full video is 45 minutes long, those at Sunday’s presentation saw only a 10-minute version. The full-length video includes Bill Lattin, the retired director of the museum, giving a tour of the museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Palmer explained she worked closely with the Davidsons in creating the video.

“I gave them an outline with the information, and they created the script,” Palmer said.

She also said Megan has a special interest in history.

After moving to Washington and visiting museums there, Palmer said she realized their video needed closed captioning, and that was added to the Cobblestone video.

Drew said it was definitely a fun project to work on. Former Cobblestone director Bill Lattin was interviewed for much of the video.

Lattin served as director for 40 years – from January 1971 to December 2010. He called cobblestones a “glacial legacy of the Great Lakes.”

The museum also has new signs featuring its new logo.

Lattin also said there were 900 cobblestone structures built in New York state between 1825 and 1860. Today, 90 percent of all the cobblestone buildings in the country are in Western New York.

While Lattin was responsible for major acquisitions by the Cobblestone Society during his years as director, and for its designation as a National Historic Landmark in 1993, he also said he realized it was time to retire.

He is very pleased with the direction Farley is taking the museum.

“I had always hoped somebody would come along like Doug and move the museum into the 21st century,” Lattin said. “I am so happy the museum has become so much more technically adroit.”

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