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Historian, on outhouse tour, has high praise for privies at Cobblestone Museum

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 May 2018 at 6:09 pm

5-seat outhouse called ‘a real architectural jewel’

Photos by Tom Rivers: Bill Lattin, who is retired as Orleans County historian and also is the former director of the Cobblestone Museum, led a tour of the outhouses at the museum last Friday.

He is speaking in front of an outhouse from 1830, which is the oldest building at the museum. This one was built in the Federal style of architecture and is unusual with the horizontal panels to construct the door. This outhouse was originally located at the first bank in Orleans County, which was located at the corner of routes 279 and 104.

There were about 25 people on the tour and they took many photos of the outhouses including this “five-seater” by Farmer’s Hall.

“This is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture locally,” Lattin said. “It’s a real architectural jewel.”

The outhouse didn’t have five seats so a family could go to the bathroom together, Lattin said. The five seats were there to spread out the human waste.

“If it was only one hole you’d have a stalagmite,” he said.

Lattin discusses this outhouse that is placed by Proctor Brook and the Harness Shop. The tour highlighted historic outhouses, indoor commodes, and chamber pots.

Lattin said most outhouses had buckets of quick lime which were thrown in the privy holes “as a way of sweetening the smell.”

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Dollar General wants to build store on historic Ridge Road in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 May 2018 at 9:17 am

GAINES – Dollar General wants a build a new store in Gaines in the historic overlay on Ridge Road, Town Supervisor Joe Grube said.

Store representatives met with the Town Zoning Board of Appeals on May 7 to discuss the plan. The company wants to build on wooded land just east of the Route 98 intersection, across from the cobblestone schoolhouse.

Town officials have shared their concerns that the typical Dollar General store isn’t a good fit at this location due to the historic nature of neighboring buildings. The Cobblestone Museum is a National Historic Landmark.

“Their normal box store isn’t going to cut it,” Grube said. “It’s going to get a very hard look.”

The open land is zoned commercial and a new store is an allowed use. The Town Board has authorized Chatfield Engineers, the town’s engineer, to do a site review for the proposed store. That cost will be paid by the developer, Grube said.

Dollar General has five stores in Orleans County. The fifth Dollar General opened Dec. 18 in Kendall. That new store is 9,100 square feet. Other stores are located on West Avenue in Albion, Route 31 in Holley, Maple Ridge Road in Medina and Ridge Road in Medina (just south of Lyndonville).

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Preston’s celebrates opening new market on Ridge Road in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 May 2018 at 8:28 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The Preston family was joined by many local dignitaries at noon today for a ribbon-cutting of the new Preston’s Country Market at 14877 Ridge Rd.

Jim Preston and his mother Marie Preston cut the ribbon. State Assemblyman Steve Hawley joined the occasion as well as leaders of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce. Marie’s grandsons, Blake and Boe, are at right. After the ribbon-cutting the two boys attended the kickoff celebration for the Albion Midget League. They play for St. Mary’s.

Marie Preston runs Preston’s Country Market. Her sons, Jim and Aaron Preston, run Preston’s Lawn Care & Landscaping, which is based on Zig Zag Road.

The new store sells nursery stock, garden stock and flowers. There is also a gift shop. Nadine Valentine is working at the counter.

Patrick Holman of Magicman Productions in Medina used space in the green house for a magic show.

The opening festivities also included Bad AsH BBQ, LuGia’s Ice Cream To Go, Honeymoon Trail Winery, custom wreaths and music from Al Capurso.

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Outhouses at Cobblestone Museum get moment of glory

Posted 18 May 2018 at 9:19 am

Retired historian leads tour – ‘Here We Go Again’

Photo by Ginny Kropf: Cobblestone Museum director Doug Farley, left, and former director Bill Lattin stand by an outhouse at the Cobblestone Museum complex at Childs. This outhouse once belonged to Rufus Bullock, governor of Georgia during the Reconstruction after the Civil War. Outhouses will be the focus of a tour this evening called “Here We Go Again,” which Lattin will narrate.

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent

CHILDS – They may not seem like a source of entertainment, but the outhouses at the Cobblestone Society Museum have proven to have a lot of history.

This evening the Cobblestone Society will present a tour called “Here We Go Again,” featuring the outhouses of the Cobblestone complex’s buildings.

In fact, one could say they’re “doing number two,” as this is the second year to have such a tour, after last year’s was a huge success.

Bill Lattin, former Cobblestone director for 40 years and retired Orleans County historian, will lead the walking tour, which this year will include new content, including a slide presentation.

“Actually, the oldest building in the Cobblestone Museum property is an outhouse,” said Doug Farley, director of the museum. “It was built in 1830 in the Federal style and was originally located at the first bank in Orleans County, which was located at the corner of routes 279 and 104.”

Another outhouse was once located on the property of former Georgia governor Rufus Bullock, who grew up in Albion and returned after he retired.

The water closet in the lobby of the 1834 Universalist Church also was for men only. One of the outhouses on the tour is a five-seater.

The tour begins at 6 p.m. Those planning to attend are asked to respond by calling 589-9013 or e-mailing www.cobblestonemuseum.org. Click here for more information about cost.

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Capurso gets thanks for contributions to community

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 April 2018 at 7:59 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

ALBION – Darrell Dyke (right), a member of the board of trustees for the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church, presents the church’s Humanitarian Award to Al Capurso during a service on Sunday.

Capurso, a retired county social worker, was thanked for dedicating himself to others in his career and with his many historic preservation projects in retirement. He also has been active in environmental and social justice causes for many years.

Capurso sings the “Whole World Round,” a song that is a tribute to the pioneer settlers who came to the area about two centuries ago.

Pullman Memorial in recent years has presented a humanitarian award to a local community member.

“Without their dedicated efforts to help improve and preserve what’s best, without the sacrifice of time, talent and some treasure, too, this place simply wouldn’t be what it is,” Dyke said.

Capurso is the former Gaines town historian. He is active as president of the Orleans County Historical Association, which recently saved the former cobblestone schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road. That building is now on the National Register of Historic Places. Caourso is also on the board of directors for the Cobblestone Museum.

Al Capurso cuts the cake while joined by several of his grandchildren. Capurso and his wife Chris have four grown children and seven grandchildren.

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Church will present Al Capurso with humanitarian award

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 28 April 2018 at 6:40 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers: Al Capurso sings, “Till We Meet Again,” during a rededication ceremony on June 9, 2017 for a bronze tablet listing the names of 24 soldiers from Orleans County who died in World War I. The tablet was installed at the Orleans County Courthouse.

ALBION – Al Capurso has led several preservation efforts in Orleans County in recent years, and has been active in environmental and social justice causes for many years.

An Albion church is holding Capurso as a shining example for the community. Capurso will be recognized with a humanitarian award at 11 a.m. Sunday at the Pullman Memorial Unitarian Universalist Church.

Capurso is retired from 30 years with the county working in social services and with at-risk youth. He also owned the Bait Barn for about 25 years, selling fishing supplies for many years.

He is a life-long resident of Orleans County who has been married to the former Chris Rodden for 45 years. They have four grown children.

Capurso is the current president of the Orleans County Historical Association. He is on the board of directors for the Cobblestone Society Museum and also served as the Gaines town historian.

He is also a musician who performs at many local community events.

Capurso also stands out for his “gentle kindness,” said Darrell Dyke, a member of the board of trustees for the Pullman church.

Capurso ran for the County Legislature last year, the first campaign by a former county employee. Don Allport held off Capurso in the election.

Capurso has been active with Stop Polluting Orleans County (SPOC), which opposed a new landfill in Albion. He also has spoken out against a new quarry in Shelby near the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

The public is invited to the service at Pullman at 11 a.m. on Sunday. A reception will follow at noon at the church, 10 East Park St., Albion.

Al Capurso is pictured on Oct. 17, 2015 when a new historical marker that was unveiled by a former one-room schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, just north of the Erie Canal. The schoolhouse was built in 1832 and is one of the oldest cobblestone buildings in the area. Capurso led the efforts to save the schoolhouse.

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Pilot in guarded condition after helicopter crash Tuesday in Gaines

Photo by Tom Rivers: Orleans County Chief Deputy Michael Mele, left, and others check the crash site on Tuesday afternoon on Gaines-Waterport Road.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2018 at 1:11 pm

Alan Heard, 64, was pulled from the wreckage by a passing motorist

Press Release, Orleans County Undersheriff Chris Bourke

GAINES – The Orleans County Sheriff’s office and the Federal Aviation Administration are continuing the investigation into the aviation accident that occurred in the Town of Gaines near the Gaines Valley Airport.

FAA investigators were on scene Tuesday afternoon examining the scene where a small a “Mosquito XE model” helicopter crashed into a field several hundred yards west of the Gaines Valley Airport. The pilot, identified as Alan Heard, 64, of Waterport, survived the crash and was rescued from the wreckage by Mark Bennett of Waterport.

Bennett was driving by and observed the helicopter preparing to take off so he stopped to watch. After lifting off to an altitude of approximately 100 to 200 feet, the pilot reportedly began experiencing mechanical problems. A popping and grinding sound was heard by witnesses as the helicopter travelled in a westerly direction over the Gaines-Waterport Road. At this point the aircraft was on fire and the pilot performed a hard landing on the skids in a field.

Mr. Bennett climbed over an electric fence and ran to the crash site. Mr. Bennett assisted the pilot in getting out of the aircraft and away from the wreckage which was now engulfed in flames. Mr. Heard was also on fire and Mr. Bennett was able to roll the victim and cut his shirt off with a knife to extinguish the flames.

Mr. Heard was transported to Strong Hospital in Rochester by COVA Ambulance where he remains in the I.C.U. in guarded condition. The Albion Fire Department and Carlton Fire Company also assisted at the scene.

FAA investigators secured parts of the aircraft along with a “Go-Pro” camera for analysis as they attempt to determine the cause of the crash.

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Pilot survives helicopter crash in Gaines

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 April 2018 at 3:06 pm

‘It’s the grace of God that he’s alive right now.’

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – A man survived a helicopter crash and then a fire this afternoon when an ultralight helicopter went down hard in a field across from the Gaines Valley Aviation airport on Gaines Road.

Mark Bennett of Waterport was driving on the road at about 2 p.m. when he saw the helicopter in air. He pulled over to watch it because he said he likes to watch the smaller aircraft. He saw a part fall from the helicopter, then there was a grinding noise and another part fell.

The helicopter then came down, landing hard in the field, and then burst into flames.

Bennett ran to help. He first checked a wired fence. The electric wasn’t on. He climbed through the fence, ran to the crash site and lifted the frame of the helicopter off the pilot.

The pilot’s shirt was on fire. Bennett helped the man roll over to put out the flames. The pilot had a knife and Bennett used that to cut off the pilot’s shirt.

“It’s the grace of God that he’s alive right now,” Bennett said. “I can’t believe he survived the crash, let alone the fire.”

The pilot was taken from the field by a stretcher to COVA ambulance, which is transporting him to a Rochester hospital. Bennett said the pilot had bad burns on his chest and head.

Dirk Climenhaga took this photo of the crash site.

Dirk Climenhaga lives next to the field and called 911. He was the second person on the scene. Climenhaga said Bennett likely saved the man’s life.

“Mark is a hero,” Climenhaga said.

The Federal Aviation Administration is sending personnel to investigate the crash, said Chris Bourke, undersheriff of the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

The helicopter crashed across the road from Gaines Valley Aviation on Gaines Road.

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Cobblestone Museum comes in second in contest among 7 heritage sites in WNY

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 3 April 2018 at 1:12 pm

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Cobblestone Church on Route 104, just east of Route 98, is part of the Cobblestone Museum, a National Historic Landmark.

CHILDS – An online voting competition has ended with the Cobblestone Museum coming in second out of seven heritage sites in Western New York.

The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University had the most votes and will have a panel of experts visit the site and offer suggestions for reimagining how the site’s collections could be presented to the public.

The vote totals for the seven sites include: 3,644 for Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University; 1,259 for the Cobblestone Museum; 1,061 for Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester; 464 for Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo; 393 for Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda; 319 for Geneva Historical Society; and 279 for Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown.

“Thanks again to everyone who voted during the Creativity Incubator contest, the Cobblestone Museum posted today on its Facebook page. “The Cobblestone Museum came in second place behind St. Bonaventure University. Thank you for your show of support. The results are pretty amazing!”

The New York State Council on the Arts/Greater Hudson Heritage Network sponsored the “Heritage Network Creativity Incubator” program. The Incubator series was launched to assist museums and historical sites that are pressured from changing demographics, shrinking attendance, tightened budgets, increased competition, and exponential growth of technology and social media.

The Creativity Incubator includes workshop series led by the Museum Mavericks, who are some of the most creative thinkers in the field today. The winning museum or heritage site will have its collections or permanent installations re-imagined by the Museum Mavericks and session participants. The group will also explore the chosen site’s collections, discovering the amazing stories they hold and creating new ones.

“The end goal of the program is to open our eyes to the possibilities and encourage museums to think more imaginatively about the interpretation of their collections and the visitor experience,” according to the Incubator.

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Cobblestone Museum one of 7 WNY heritage sites in running for ‘Creativity Incubator’

Photos by Tom Rivers: A bride steps inside the Cobblestone Church during a wedding in July 2014.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 21 March 2018 at 9:13 pm

CHILDS – The Cobblestone Church is one of seven heritage sites in Western New York in the running to have a team of experts visit and make suggestions for interpretation and other ways to connect with visitors.

An online contest which determine which site will receive the expertise. The contest for the Heritage Network Creativity Incubator program runs until April 1. The Incubator is sponsored by the New York State Council on the Arts/Greater Hudson Heritage Network.

The Cobblestone Museum is included with some prestigious sites in WNY, including the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum in North Tonawanda, Roger Tory Peterson Institute of Natural History in Jamestown, Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site in Buffalo, Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester, Geneva Historical Society and Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University.

(The Cobblestone Museum currently has the third most votes, behind the leader Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at St. Bonaventure University and then the Memorial Art Gallery. Click here to vote.)

Doug Farley, the Cobblestone Museum director, said the contest has already help spread the word about the Cobblestone Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Gaines.

A Bible is displayed inside the Cobblestone Church, which was constructed in 1834, making it the oldest cobblestone church in North America.

The Incubator series was launched to assist museums and historical sites that are pressured from changing demographics, shrinking attendance, tightened budgets, increased competition, and exponential growth of technology and social media.

The Creativity Incubator includes workshop series led by the Museum Mavericks, who are some of the most creative thinkers in the field today.

The winning museum or heritage site will have its collections or permanent installations re-imagined by the Museum Mavericks and session participants. The group will also explore the chosen site’s collections, discovering the amazing stories they hold and creating new ones.

“The end goal of the program is to open our eyes to the possibilities and encourage museums to think more imaginatively about the interpretation of their collections and the visitor experience,” according to the Incubator.

The Cobblestone Museum also has a few seats left for a maple bus tour on Friday. Georgia Thomas of Medina is leading the tour to Merle’s Maple Farm in Attica and Cartwright’s Maple Tree Inn in Angelica. For reservations call (585) 589-9013 or book online at cobblestonemuseum.org.

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