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October 19, 2017 - 8:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
November 4, 2017 - 2:30pm to 6:00pm

A luncheon event hosted by the museum at the Dibble Family Center, at 4120 W. Main St in Batavia, to bring the local community together and celebrate an aspect of the history of Genesee County. The presentation by Josh Pacino, entitled “Batavia: Yesterday & Today,” traces the transformation of Batavia through three generations of the city from the early twentieth century up to today, from the heyday of Batavia’s Main Street district to the current days of post-Urban Renewal. The schedule includes a guest speaker, lunch, and topical visuals from local sources.

October 19, 2017 - 8:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
November 9, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

Suzanne Zewan, the author of a new piece of historical fiction will be giving a presentation on the book and sign copies for those interested. Shadow By the Bridge, set during the Linden Murders, is written from the perspective of an 11 year old resident, and how the terrible events change his hometown and himself. Tickets will be $3 for the event.
Tickets: https://www.hollandlandoffice.com.

October 9, 2017 - 4:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
October 20, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

In time for Halloween, Connie Boyd will be doing readings of the more famous, and not quite so well known, darker tales of the history of Genesee County. The legends and the known facts are taken from newspaper articles and other period accounts to bring them to life to a present day audience. Tickets are $5 per person. The presentation is done in collaboration with the Historic Batavia Cemetery Society, which hosts its Cemetery Walks the following evening.
Tickets: https://www.hollandlandoffice.com.

October 9, 2017 - 1:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
October 10, 2017 (All day)

“A Century of Questions: The Linden Murders Still Unsolved,” reflects on the 100th anniversary of the first of the now called Linden Murders. This temporary exhibit seeks to display the items, reporting, and reflections of the string of murders over nearly two decades that gripped the small hamlet of Linden, and brought national attention to Genesee County. The lengthy investigation of all three crimes, yielded very few leads, but many more mysteries. Even after 100 years, the murder still has not been determined.

October 1, 2017 - 1:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Emory Upton, history, batavia, news, notify.

34951981upton.jpgAt the intersection of Main and Ellicott stands a monument to Gen. Emory Upton, Batavia's most revered military figure, and for good reason, says history professor and now Upton biographer David J. Fitzpatrick.

Upton distinguished himself during the Civil War in battles at Salem Church, Spotsylvania, Opequon Creek, and in other engagements.

"He was one of the outstanding regimental commanders of the war," said Fitzpatrick, who teaches at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. "He had a tremendous tactical success at Spotsylvania."

The fact that Upton is still discussed among military leaders and those interested in military history, though, has more to do with his ideas and what he scribbled on paper than what he accomplished on the battlefield.

Some of what Upton wrote has led to more than 50 years of the Army officer being misunderstood and misrepresented, though, according to Fitzpatrick.

In the mid-20th century, Upton gained a reputation as a Prussian-inspired militarist with little respect for democracy. That assertion doesn't fit the documents in the historical record, Fitzpatrick contends and he makes that case in his new book: "Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer" (University of Oklahoma Press).

"Upton is an important figure in U.S. military history," Fitzpatrick said. "He's a figure a lot of people don't know about."

While you might expect a book steeped in military policy and battlefield strategy to be dull and dry, Fitzpatrick has written a story that is fascinating and at times even a real page-turner. Upton was a man both of action and ideas dealing with some of the most important considerations that would shape history after his death in 1881.

Batavia's Civil War hero was born to a farming family in Genesee County Aug. 27, 1839. A devout Methodist and a fervent abolitionist, Upton attended the era's most famous integrated college, Oberlin, before being accepted into West Point, graduating eighth in his class in May 1861 (The only blemish on his West Point career was a fight with a Southern cadet who made remarks behind his back, hinting that Upton had sexual relations with a black girl at Oberlin. Upton took offense and when the cadet wouldn't explain himself, Upton challenged him to a duel that became a fight in a West Point dorm.)

After the war, Upton was sent on an 18-month tour of Europe and Asia to study the military tactics of countries on those continents, especially Germany. When he returned he wrote "The Armies of Europe and Asia," "A New System of Infantry Tactics" and "Tactics for Non-Military Bodies" (aimed at civilian associations, police and fire departments); and more than 20 years after his death, his unfinished work, and most important book, "The Military Policy of the United States," was released by the War Department.

There were aspects of the military position in Germany that Upton admired and these served as a basis of Upton's recommended reforms to the U.S. military. This led to charges among critics that Upton and his like-minded reformers were trying to foist Prussian militarism on the United States.

These charges were amplified with the publication of a book in 1960 by Russell Weigley, "The American Way of War," which traced the intellectual development of military strategy and policy, and Stephen Ambrose, with "Upton and the Army," in 1964.

To Fitzpatrick, the real offense to Upton's legacy was the book by Ambrose. Weigley can be forgiven for getting Upton wrong, Fitzpatrick said, because he wasn't writing a biography, but Ambrose's biography began as his dissertation (and was published verbatim in book form). 

"Ambrose was doing a biography but didn't dive into the sources he should have," Fitzpatrick said. "I think Ambrose read Weigley and just decided to echo Weigley."

Fitzpatrick poured through the letters of Upton, among other documents, with help from Sue Conklin, who at that time was Genesee County's historian, and the Holland Land Office Museum (Fitzpatrick was provided a CD of images of all the Upton letters in the HLOM's collection).

And going through Upton's letters isn't an easy task.

When arranging a visit to the County's history department, Fitzpatrick told Conklin his topic and Conklin told him, "Have you seen his handwriting?"

"No," Fitzpatrick admitted.

"You might want to consider another topic," was her droll response.

Fitzpatrick doggedly stuck with Upton's letters, however, which provided insight overlooked by Ambrose into Upton's thinking on military planning and civilian government.

Upton believed the Union could have ended the Civil War before the close of 1862 (it wouldn't end until 1865) if the military had been led by more competent officers, had been better equipped, staffed with more men, and Gen. George McClellan hadn't been hampered by interference from civilian bureaucrats, notably Secretary of War Edwin Stanton.

Even though Upton had been critical of McClellan during the war, his animosity toward Stanton was even deeper.

"He starts to twist history to make Stanton into the bad guy and McClellan a genius," Fitzpatrick said. "He wrote (in a letter) that he was having a hard time with 'the McClellan question,' as he calls it. It is really causing me trouble, he said. I hear him saying that he's having a hard time making the facts fit the story. Stanton was a meddling failure, not that it was McClellan himself who caused his failures."

The focus on Stanton, however, Fitzpatrick concludes, isn't because Upton is against civilian leadership of the military, but rather a concern that a war secretary with too much power could potentially use that position subvert the country's republican form of government.

Upton's reform ideas included mandatory retirement at age 62 for officers, rotation of officers between artillery and infantry, promotion on merit rather than seniority, and more training for officers.

While Upton was distrustful of democracy -- like Alexander Hamilton, fearing mob rule -- he saw the role of the military as protecting the nation's republican style of government. 

He took note of the dictatorial powers assumed by George Washington and Abraham Lincoln -- "arbitrary arrests, summary executions without trial, forced impressment of provisions, and other dangerous precedents" for Washington; and in Lincoln's case, the suspension of habeas corpus, arbitrary arrests, and the seizure of the railroads, along with "opening the treasury to irresponsible citizens" -- and concluded with a query. If that is what happens when good men without a genuine dictatorial impulse are president, what would happen if a true authoritarian took office and there was a war?

Upton wrote, "Let us not stultify ourselves by talking of the danger of an army, but rather reflect that the lack of one may at any time, in the space of two years, bring upon us even graver disasters than Long Island or Brandywine, or the two Bull Runs ... Our danger lies not in having a regular army but in the want of one."

In other words, Upton concluded a professional military, vowed to protect and defend the Constitution, as a safeguard against civilians, especially the president, grabbing dictatorial power.

Upton was one of several reformers, Fitzpatrick said, who saw the need for a more highly trained military and professional officer corps heading into the 20th century but in Upton's lifetime, most of Upton's reforms were thwarted by politics. For the North, another insurrection seemed impossible and there was no apparent external threat to U.S. sovereignty, so reform didn't seem like a pressing need. The South was distrustful of the Army in general following Reconstruction.

The lack of external threats prior to 1860 is also one reason Fitzpatrick thinks Upton's idea that the war could have lasted less than two years with better preparation is unrealistic.

While it's interesting to contemplate how history might be different if the Civil War had come to an end before 1863 -- no Jim Crow South, as one potential outcome -- it would have required the Union to have in place a large, well-trained and equipped Army by 1860 and Congress would never have approved the expenditure.

"The only reason to have a large, well-trained Army prior to 1860 was to repress the South and Congress would never have done it, so it's kind of a moot question," Fitzpatrick said. "You never could have ended the war in 1862 because you would never have gotten the Army you needed."

By 1881, Upton began suffering from debilitating headaches. He was transferred to the Presidio in San Francisco but managed to delay assuming the command for three months while he sought treatment in New York. A doctor diagnosed a sinus problem and provided an electric treatment, which brought no relief. Upton probably suffered from a brain tumor. He transferred to San Francisco but the headaches grew worse. On March 15, 1881, he wrote his last words. A two-sentence letter to the adjutant general to tender his resignation. He then apparently took his own life with a revolver.

He was proceeded in death by his wife, Emily, and they are buried together in Auburn.

At the time of his death, "Military Policy of the United States" was incomplete and unpublished. The manuscript passed to a friend and slowly it circulated among the Army's officers, gaining a reputation for its insightful look at military policy and strategy. In 1904, the War Department published the book minus three chapters.

One of the chapters dealt with Roman military history and when Fitzpatrick first came across it, he thought it rather odd. It was placed between two unrelated chapters, which was also odd.

Years later while continuing his research, Fitzpatrick recognized Upton probably wrote the chapter quickly in a period of inspiration and that it contained a lesson relevant the political situation of the time.  

While Upton admired President Ulysses S. Grant as a general, he was appalled by the corruption in his administration.

The Roman Republic possesses an interest, civil as well as military. "Forewarned is forearmed." Free people like the Romans admire heroism and love to reward military achievement.

No monarch in Europe has to day [sic] the power of an American President. With the consent of the Senate, from the Chief Justice down, he has the gift of more than 90,000 civil offices, any one of which save the judiciary, he can vacate and fill at pleasure.

Ever since the acceptance of the pernicious maxim "To the victor belong the spoils," these offices, like so much gold have been distributed by the senators and representatives to the men who have been, or maybe, most loyal to themselves or the party. 

With the people thus accustomed to executive corruption let us imagine, as under the Roman System, our President, in uniform, booted and spurred, galloping from the White House to the camp, his military retinue swelled by senators and representatives, fawning for favor and scrambling for spoils, how long it be asked would our liberties survive ... 

To historian, from example of Rome, might not fix the exact duration of the Republic, but he could make at least one prophesy of speedy fullfllment: At the first [meeting] held at headquarters the means would be discussed of prolonging the term of the President, if not the more startling propositon to declare him President for life.

"Upton wasn't writing about Rome," Fitzpatrick said. "It was about Ulysses Grant. He was writing at a time when Grant, running for a third term in 1880, was being seriously discussed. He had come to a different opinion of Grant. He had seen all the scandals of Grant's administration, and while he admired Grant as a general, the scandals appalled him.

"He's not talking about an imaginary president climbing on a horse. He's talking about Grant. If Upton was really a militarist interested in a military government, that wouldn't have bothered him at all."

September 29, 2017 - 10:29am
posted by Howard B. Owens in history, Oakfield, GO ART!, news.

Press release:

GO ART! is pleased to cosponsor this free presentation with the Oakfield Historical Society at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Oakfield Community & Government Center. Michael Eula, Ph.D., Genesee County Historian, will speak on the history of Italians in Genesee County, a subject particularly interesting to the Oakfield community's history with the gypsum mine.

This talk is presented as part of GO ART!'s GO-C Series.

Eula gives the following introduction to his program: 

"On November 2nd, 1905, an Italian immigrant, Gaitano Valente, while working as a miner in Oakfield for the United States Gypsum Company, was killed in an avalanche of rocks that were being excavated. Less than a year later, on September 13th, 1906, it was reported that “200 Italians from New York City” were being brought into Oakfield to work as strikebreakers for that same company. It was assumed that a riot would ensue – and as a result, there was a collection of guns to be used in the expected confrontation.

"These two incidents took place within a national context of mass Italian immigration punctuated by a perception of Italians as the 'other' – a characterization capable of producing the largest mass lynching to ever take place in American history – the infamous murder of eleven Italian immigrants in New Orleans in 1891. This event served as a catalyst for attacks on Italians throughout the nation. The obvious question, then, is how the Italian immigrants of the late nineteenth century – the 'other' as depicted routinely in the newspapers of the day – could become, only a few generations later, a respected and influential member of American society.

Focusing on this question in terms of Genesee County, we will follow the journey of the typical Italian immigrant in the late 1800s as he or she, in subsequent generations, evolved from the outsider on the margins of society into a member of the mainstream of Genesee County – and American – life.

Becoming American: The Journey of Italians in Genesee County, NY
By Michael Eula, Genesee County Historian
Tuesday, Oct. 3, 7 p.m.

Oakfield Community and Government Center
3219 Drake Street, Oakfield
Free admission. Co-sponsored by GO ART!'s GO-C Genesee-Orleans Culture Connects Series

September 27, 2017 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news, history.

ROC archive has obtained film shot by Harold W. Trott, who lived in the Livonia area, that may contain images of Amelia Earhart at the opening of the airport in Le Roy. It's definitely Earhart in the film, but whether it was shot at Le Roy isn't for certain.

Earhart is seen to speak briefly at a mic that is flagged WFBL. WFBL is a Syracuse radio station, but our local radio expert and broadcast history buff Dan Fischer, co-owner of WBTA, said it is possible, back in the era of fewer radio stations, that WFBL was in Le Roy for such a historic event.

The video also contains pictures of Charles Lindbergh at Sikorsky Airport Bridgeport, CT where he kept his “Spirit of St. Louis.”

Above, we've cued the video to start at the point were Earhart enters the film.

September 6, 2017 - 6:16pm

Press release:

Join us for some spooky fun on Saturday, Oct. 21st, when the Batavia Cemetery Association will host a candlelight guided ghost walk through the Historic Batavia Cemetery on Harvester Avenue in Batavia.

The tours will feature the famous and infamous movers and shakers who shaped and influenced the City of Batavia. The guided tour will bring guests to meet men and women of Batavia, who, for various reasons, held great power and exerted great influence in their day, were victims of tragic events, or both.

  • Philemon Tracy, one of the few Confederate officers buried in the north;
  • Ruth the unknown victim of a horrendous murder;
  • Joseph Ellicott, a man of great power and great flaws; and
  • William Morgan, the man who disappeared and was allegedly murdered before he could reveal the secrets of the Masons, are some of the ghosts who will tell their stories on the tour;
  • Also visiting will be Rev. John H. Yates, poet, preacher, philanthropist, journalist and author of nationally known hymns;
  • Civil War veteran General John H. Martindale, who was Military Governor of the District of Columbia in 1865;
  • Dean and Mary Richmond, who greatly influenced civic life in Batavia in the 1800s, will meet with guests in their mausoleum on the last stop of the tour. Dean Richmond made a great fortune in Great Lakes shipping and was the second president of the New York Central Railroad. Mary Richmond vastly expanded her husband’s fortune after his death and sat on the boards of many businesses and civic organizations.

Tours begin at 7 p.m. and run every 15 minutes until 8:30 p.m. Admission is $10 and includes refreshments. Reservations are strongly recommended.

Some tickets may be available at the gate the evening of the event at Historic Batavia Cemetery, Harvester Avenue, Batavia. Proceeds benefit the upkeep and restoration of the cemetery.

For more information, or to make reservations, contact 343-3220.

August 31, 2017 - 2:18pm
posted by Billie Owens in history, Announcements, Great War, hlom.
Free presentation at HLOM:
 
"Notes from Armageddon: Popular Propaganda, Postcards, and the Great War"
 
Andrew Nicholls, Ph.D., SUNY Buffalo State
 
7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 20
 
Notes from Armageddon explores popular sentiments prior to and during the First World war through the medium of postcards. Drawn from a collection of more than 5,000 images, the presentation considers how contemporaries viewed the "War to End All Wars."

If you would like to RSVP, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected].
August 30, 2017 - 10:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
September 20, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The Holland Land Office is proud to host Andrew Nicholls of SUNY Buffalo State as he presents, “Notes from Armageddon: Popular Propaganda, Postcards, and the Great War.” The presentation explores popular sentiments prior to and during the First World War through the medium of postcards. Drawn from a collection of more than 5,000 images, this discussion will invite the audience to consider how contemporaries viewed the greatest conflagration the world had yet witnessed.

August 29, 2017 - 2:27pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, history, Stafford, architecture.
On Sunday, Sept. 17, the Stafford Historical Society will sponsor a talk by Cynthia Howk from the Landmark Society of Western NY entitled "Discover Stafford: 200 Years of Historic Architecture."
 
Howk is the society's Architectural Research coordinator. Her presentation will include slides of houses, barns, well houses, smokehouses, carriage steps, hitching posts and other historic resources found in Stafford. The public is invited. 
 
It will be held at 3 p.m. at the Stafford Town Hall. It is located at 8903 Route 237, Stafford.
July 28, 2017 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Downs, State Police, history, news, notify.

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The first troopers to deploy in Western New York was in Batavia's Exhibition Park in September 1917, so Al Kurek thinks it's appropriate that displays celebrating the 100th anniversary of the New York State Police be held at the same location, now known as Batavia Downs.

"I started collecting historical memorabilia after I retired in 1990 and I've been doing it every day since then," said Kurek, who lives in East Pembroke. "This is our 100th anniversary and we have an active retired trooper organization in Batavia.  We meet monthly and we decided to put this together as our last hurrah before we hit, oh, I don't know what you want to call it, but, you know, we're all in our 70s and pushing 80s."

There are vintage patrol cars, motor cycles and uniforms on display, as well as the accouterments of the trade, from billy clubs, pistols and handcuffs to crime scene cameras and forensic tools. There are also historical documents, including photos and info on every trooper to work in Troop A.

"We've got videos and memorabilia from the 66 and 77 snow storms, Kurek said. "We have a little bit on the Attica riot. We have the 3407 plane crash in Clarence, the 1980 Olympics, which everybody kind of likes. We've got a canine that will be here today and tomorrow -- nothing on Saturday -- but we have a German Shepherd here on Sunday."

The exhibition is open today, tomorrow and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. each day.

Kurek also invited troopers and their families to bring in any items related to the history of Troop A.  

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July 28, 2017 - 9:13am

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The History Heroes program at the Holland Land Office Museum held its annual penny carnival on Thursday. Children participating in the summer program were able to set up their own carnival attractions and then play the games together.

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July 24, 2017 - 12:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
August 17, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to present “Lincoln’s Secret Visit” by Joyce Thompson-Hovey. The presentation is based on a close examination of a novel written by a Batavia native about her grandmother’s life, her mansion, family history, and a supposed visit by Lincoln on his inaugural journey to Washington, D.C. in 1861. The mansion still stands today on Route 20 east of Alexander, NY.
Tickets: https://www.hollandlandoffice.com.

July 20, 2017 - 11:37am
posted by Howard B. Owens in history heroes, hlom, history, news, batavia.

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Students participating in the Holland Land Office Museum's History Heroes program this summer are learning about World War I.

Recently they visited the Richmond Memorial Library and Batavia Showtime Theaters. There are 40 children enrolled in the eight-day program.

Info and photos provided by Anne Marie Starowitz.

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July 17, 2017 - 12:00pm
posted by Session Placeholder in history.
Event Date and Time: 
August 9, 2017 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm

The Holland Land Office will be hosting Toby Jewett from Fort Niagara who will be giving a presentation titled “War of 1812 on Lake Erie.” The presentation will discuss the importance and effect of Commodore O.H. Perry’s victory over the British on Lake Erie to the Great Lakes area during the War of 1812. Included in the discussion will be types of vessels, armament, and tactics used by the Navy during the War of 1812.
During the presentation there will also be a display of War of 1812 artifacts by local reenactor John Della Penna from his collection.

June 29, 2017 - 9:49am
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Temperance Hill, Stafford, news, history, preservation.

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There is a pile of rubble located at the bottom of Temperance Hill on Route 5, where one of the oldest properties in Stafford, dating back to the early 1800s, used to stand.

A piece of history was forever lost last Wednesday morning when the property was demolished, according to Linda Call, a member of the Stafford Historical Society.

“We, as the Stafford Historical Society, feel badly that this piece of history is no longer something we can go look at,” Call said.

The property was built by Worthy Lovell Churchill, a colonel who commanded the 164th Regiment of State Militia during the War of 1812, when he came to Stafford in 1803. Churchill served as the Genesee County Sheriff between 1820 and 1825. Garth Swanson, the Stafford historian, said the house was built no later than 1805.

Swanson said he has lived in the area for about 25 years and has never seen it occupied.

“I know the house was in conditions beyond repair,” Swanson said. “But, it’s a sad loss of an incredibly significant piece of history. He was one of the founders of Stafford.”

Churchill’s child was the first child born in Stafford and could have possibly been born in the house, Swanson said.

The house was used as a public house, with a tavern and dining room on the first floor, with rooms and living quarters on the second floor.

“It was a very significant house,” Swanson said. “It served as a public house for a number of years.”

In 1820, the house was sold to Persis Prole Bell and her husband, who died in 1828. Persis was the first woman to receive a driver’s license in Genesee County, according to Michael Eula, Ph.D., the county historian.

Persis remarried a man named John Hitchcock, who transformed the house into a temperance house.

Swanson said the hill was later named Temperance Hill.

“The house saw both ends of the spectrum,” Swanson said. “One end there was alcohol in the early 1800s and then it went to no alcohol at all.”

Call said the house served as a two-family house during the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

“There used to be a sprung floor dance floor that was used for parties and dances,” Call said. “Travelers would stop and stay upstairs. It’s sad to lose it as a property.”

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Above is a hand drawing in an Atlas of the house, provided by the Genesee County History Department. 

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June 15, 2017 - 2:14pm

Anne Marie Starowitz, coordinator of the Holland Land Office Museum History Heroes Summer Program, and HLOM Director Ryan Duffy.

Press release and submitted photo:

The theme for the 2017 History Heroes Summer Program at the Holland Land Office Museum is "Carnival Days." This year the children will work together to create a Penny Carnival and donate the money to a charity.

The program ends with the carnival and a multimedia production showcasing our local history with the children talking about historical places in Batavia. Each day of the summer program is packed with exciting and educational activities, field trips, games, crafts, and more!

The program begins on Tuesday, July 18th and runs for eight weekdays, ending on Friday, July 28th.

The cost for the program is $25 a day for nonmembers and $20 a day for museum members. The program is open to children ages 7-12.

Please call the museum at 343-4727 for more information and to save a place for your child. Deadline to register is Saturday, July 1.

June 4, 2017 - 10:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Stafford, Oderkirk Acres, agriculture, news, history.

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Richard Oderkirk is still growing sunflowers this year, and vegetables and other flowers, but that big old barn that was once the backdrop for a scenic view along Route 33 in Stafford won't be there anymore to provide a touch of history to the six-generation family farm.

The barn was heavily damaged in a storm a couple of winters ago and this morning Stafford fire, with help from Bethany and South Byron, managed a controlled burn on what was left of the structure.

Oderkirk, along with his daughter, who currently lives in the old farmhouse on the property, was there to watch what was left of the century-old barn go up in flames.

Like a lot of old barns that have been lost over the years, this one long ago needed a new roof and it didn't get it, and that's the main reason it fell apart, Oderkirk said. The other barns on the property have been re-roofed.

The roof on this barn was added in 1922, Oderkirk said, because his grandmother for some reason wanted a gable roof on it. Oderkirk said he didn't know why she decided to make the change, but the barn was also enlarged at the time.

"My dad had mentioned the roofers kept the nails in the house so they were warm, so they worked all winter, or part of winter, putting the cedar shingles on," Oderkirk said.

The timber in the beams was still green when they were nailed into place, Oderkirk said, and when the hardwood dried around those nails the wood became hard as rock, he said.

"I can't even pull those nails out now," he said.

Previously: Sunflower farm adds beauty, but grower wants to sell produce

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April 12, 2017 - 11:53am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, history, news.

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The Town of Oakfield is 175 years old, and to celebrate yesterday evening, town officials dressed up in 1840s-era clothes for a special town board meeting.

The Town split off from Elba and became its own town on April 11, 1842 and by coincidence, the town board had a regularly scheduled meeting for April 11, 2017.

Resident Jay Wolcott, a sixth-generation Wolcott, an original founding family (bottom photo), shared some local history and Supervisor Carol Glor called the meeting to order with a recitation of the history of the formation of the first local governing body.

Highway Superintendent Alan Dennis talked a bit about why officials decided to hold this celebration.

"As a town board, we feel history and local history are important," he said.

Assemblyman Steve Hawley, below, presented the town with an official Assembly proclamation commemorating the anniversary.

Photo: Code Enforcement Officer Mark Mikolajczyk, left, Highway Superintendent Alan Dennis, Councilman Tim Kabel, Town Clerk Melissa Haacke, Supervisor Carol Glor, Councilman Jim Veazey, Councilman Kim Wolcott and Councilman Matt Martin.

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