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January 30, 2015 - 10:30pm

Holland Land Office Museum celebrating 200 years of its historic building

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, history, hlom.

The Holland Land Office Museum opens a new exhibit at 1:30 p.m., Saturday, to commemorate 200th anniversary of the building it calls home.

The building was the third location built by Joseph Ellicott for the Holland Land Office, where Ellicott and his agents sold property to Western New York's first settlers.

That's why they call it the "Birthplace of Western New York."

Some of those first deeds, called indentures, will be on display in the new exhibit, along with surveying material as well as other items that made the land office a land office.

The exhibit will cover the entire period of land office history, including the War of 1812 and the impact of the Erie Canel on WNY trade.

Some of the exhibits will be affixed to panels covered with carpet (the better to hold Velcro) donated by Max Pies Furniture.

There's also information on how John Kennedy, the local educator and education reformer, saved the building for Batavia when Henry Ford tried to buy it and move it to his property in Michigan.

The exhibit kicks off a series of bicentennial events, including in May the burying of a time capsule. 

Fifth-graders from throughout Genesee County are being invited to write letters to their future selves to be buried in the time capsule.  

Any local resident can include a letter or other small item in the time capsule. Call the museum at (585) 343-4727 for more information.

The museum was first dedicated Oct. 13, 1894, and it will be rededicated Oct. 13 of this year.

Photo: Jeff Donahue, museum director, Jim Owen, museum board member, Phil Pies and Steve Pies of Max Pies Furniture.

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