Owner of Swan site would like pioneer monument relocated to more public place

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 14 April 2017 at 8:43 am

ALBION – Chad Fabry is pictured with a pioneer monument in the backyard of the former Swan Library, 4 North Main St.

The monument went up about 40 years ago, with an image of a woman carved in stone.

A concrete slab was attached to the monument, with these words inscribed: “Larger than life emerged from the block of local sediments she looms up reminding us endurance was required to pioneer.”

The large piece of Medina sandstone was set behind the library as a tribute to pioneers in Orleans County. This photo shows the first section of West State Street near the Main Street intersection.

Fabry is the owner of the Swan site. The building closed a public library in June 2012, just before the opening of the new Hoag Library.

Fabry bought the Swan site, which was originally a mansion, in January 2015. He believes the pioneer monument would be better located on a public space, perhaps at Mount Albion Cemetery.

“It’s beautiful over there,” he said about the historic cemetery. “It would be a great spot for it.”

Fabry is willing to give the monument away for free if it goes to a public place where it can be better showcased. He estimated the stone weighs about 12,000 pounds.

The site also includes passive stone benches by the monument, which Fabry is also willing to donate to a new location for the memorial.

“I’d love to see it prominently displated on public property,” he said.

The monument could use some touching up and finishing, in Fabry’s opinion.

“I love the premise of it,” he said about honoring the pioneer residents.

A relocated pioneer monument with some touching up would coincide with important community bicentennials. The Erie Canal is marking the 200th anniversary of its construction, beginning this year and continuing through 2025. Construction started in 1817 and the 363-mile-long canal was complete in 1825. Orleans County also turns 200 in 2026.

Fabry thinks Mount Albion would ideal for the monument, but perhaps other sites by the canal or elsewhere in the community would be appropriate.

He worries about the monument long-term if it stays at Swan. At some point in the future, the property will have a new owner. Fabry said that owner might not be willing to preserve the monument. He doesn’t want it to be simply knocked down and removed.

Fabry repainted the historical marker by Swan Library. It used to be blue and gold, like the others in Courthouse Square. Fabry gave the marker a bronze look, to signify the building is privately owned. He thought the blue and gold on the marker represented New York State colors and may have sent a message the Swan site was a publicly owned site.

He put on the repainted marker on Monday. The site currently has one tenant, who sells antique books. Fabry said the building is ideal for offices.

For more information about the monument, contact Fabry at (585) 465-8591.

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