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July 3, 2018 - 6:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Upton Monument, soldiers monument, batavia, history, news, notify.


It's not exactly a facelift Gen. Emery Upton will get on the Soldier's Monument at the corner of Ellicott and Main streets in the City of Batavia, but when his bronze sculpture turns 100 next year, you should be able to see it better at night.

Lighting Design Innovations, a Batavia-based company, is planning to install new lighting on the monument next month thanks to $1,500 in donations the company has received for the project.

The county's Ways and Means Committee is recommending the Legislature accept the donation.

Assistant County Manager Matt Landers said company officials describe the current lighting as "flood lights" and their designers will come up with a plan to appropriately light the monument with more modern fixtures to make it more attractive when viewed at night.

LDI, which donated the rotating color lighting for the cupola of the Old Courthouse last year, is also trying to secure $6,500 in donations to pay for colored lighting on two of the pillars of the Old Courthouse.

"They are obviously very passionate about lighting," Landers said.

The offer was well received by the members of the Legislature.

"I think it’s very generous of them," said Marianne Clattenburg, who is chair of Ways and Means.

The Soldier's Monument was first conceived by local citizens in 1882 as a way to pay tribute to those from the area who died in the Civil War. A committee was formed to champion the idea but fundraising, apparently, didn't start until 1903. The first donation came from Albert Knapp.

By the end of the year, the fund reached $1,713.66.

In 1904, voters approved a $10,000 expenditure for the monument. The city agreed to pay another $15,000.

In 1907, there was a move to put Lincoln's bust atop the monument.

The next year, there was an effort to locate the monument in what is now Centennial Park (then called State Park) instead of its present -- and originally proposed -- location.

In 1911, the Genesee County Soldier's Monument Association was formed.

In 1917, the Board of Supervisors viewed a wooden model of the proposed monument and appropriated $10,000 for the project.

The city, at that point, was willing to chip in $5,000.

The granite structure was constructed in Barre, Vt., in 1918. C.A. Worden, a New Yorker, was the designer.

The base was placed in August 1918.

By October 1918, crews were ready to affix the eagle at the top, with a 3-foot, 10-inch tail, and an eight-foot wingspan. The bronze figure of Gen. Emory Upton was paid for by his sister, Sarah Edwards. Another sister, Sara Upton Evans, also made a contribution.

Supervisors accepted monument in January 1919.

As of February 1919, the City had not yet paid for its share of the monument. The county threatened to sue the city and after the county paid the $5,000 due from its contingency fund, the City Council approved paying its $5,000 share In April 1919.

The monument was dedicated Aug. 6, 1919. 

Photo: File photo by Howard Owens.

June 8, 2018 - 4:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, history, news, batavia.


Photo of HOLM Director Ryan Duffy, assistant Nellie Slocum, and History Heroes coordinator Anne Marie Starowitz at the Holland Land Office Museum yesterday.

They're gearing up for the annual History Heros summer program.

More information:

The 2018 Holland Land Office Museum will again be conducting its History Heroes Summer Program.

The program is an eight-day camp for local youths from the ages of 7 to 12 to learn more about the local history of Genesee County and Western New York in a fun and educational environment.

The theme of this year's camp is "Summer Days at the Museum."

The campers will be busy with all sorts of fun and educational activities and projects.

Some of the highlights of History Heroes include: a field trip to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval Park; a visit by animals of the rainforest courtesy of the Buffalo Zoo's Zoomobile; tours of the museum and historic Batavia; a trip to the movies; penny carnival; end of program presentation, and much more.

The dates for the History Heroes this summer will be July 17th through July 20th, and July 24th through July 27th, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Those who wish to attend can sign up for all eight days, or for individual days.

The cost per day is $25, or $20 for museum members, excluding the field trip day. Please contact the Holland Land Office Museum for further information at 343-4727 or at [email protected].

The information for the History Heroes Summer Program is also available on the museum's website hollandlandoffice.com.

The Holland Land Office Museum would also like to thank the sponsors for this year's History Heroes, who without their generous donations the program would not be what it is today: Ken's Charcoal Pits, Batavia Showtime, T-Shirts Etc., Tompkins Insurance, Bontrager's Auction, Tonawanda Valley Federal Credit Union, Artic Refrigeration, Batavia's Original, Batavia Turf Farms, Bohm-Calarco-Smith Funeral Home, Jim Dommer -- CPA, J. Leonard McAndrew Funeral Home, Kreative Design Kitchen & Bath, DelPlato Casey Law Firm, Edward Jones, Ficarella's Pizzeria, Lambert's Design Jewelers, Max Pies Furniture, Pellegrino Auto Sales, The Batavian, Valle Jewelers.

June 1, 2018 - 2:09pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, news, Announcements, history.
Press release:
We are gearing up for summer here at the museum and are very excited to bring in new speakers and events for you!
Thursday, June 7th, the museum will be welcoming Joyce Thompson-Hovey. She will be speaking on "Civil War Music." This program begins at 7 p.m. and is $3 per person and $2 for museum members.
Wednesday, June 13th, the museum is having Kathy Woika speak on "Kitchen Gardens of the Past Surviving in the Present." Program begins at 7 p.m. and are asking for a $3 donation.
Thursday, June 14th, is our History Family and Team Challenge Night! Come on out and test your knowledge of seemingly trivial facts against family and friends. $3 per person, $2 for museum members and please call for team pricing. Snack and Drink concessions will be available, however, not included in the price of admission. 
Tuesday, June 19th, the Genesee Area Genealogists will be hosting Pamela Vittorio here at the museum. Vittorio will be presenting on "Dating and Identifying Family in Old Photographs" and "A Connecticut Yankee in the King's Rangers." This event will begin at 7 p.m.
Thursday, June 28th, will be another installment of Java with Joe E. This month Richard Beatty from the Darwin Martin House will be speaking on the house and its history. Coffee and pastries are from 9-10:30 a.m. 
Keep an eye out for our History Heroes Summer Program, led by Anne Marie Starowitz. This year the program will be July 17-20 and 24-27 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Check out the museum's website or contact us for more information.
As always, if you have any questions, please call the museum at 585-343-4727 or email. Check out our website for more updates and exciting events.
Have a wonderful day!
The Holland Land Office Museum
April 21, 2018 - 5:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in art, history, alexander, news, Noah North.


This is a painting by Noah North of Oliver Vaughn, a resident of Darien who died at age 14 in 1833.

I stopped by to see it today at the Holland Land Office Museum because until a few days ago, I hadn't heard of North, who, it turns out, is a painter from Alexander of some minor national renown. His name has never come up before, at least in my presence, in any discussion of local artists.

The painting of Vaughn is one of North's earliest when he was still being trained by M.W. Hopkins, of Albion.

He is recognized among collectors and art historians as a folk portrait artist (also called "naive" or "primitive"). 

He relocated to Ohio where he continued to pursue his portrait career and then returned to WNY, married a woman from Darien, and settled in Mt. Morris, where he eventually adapted to the new medium of photography (working in daguerreotype).

Within the region, North's work can also be seen at the Memorial Art Gallery in Rochester and the Genesee Country Museum in Mumford. His work is also in the collections of the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Folk Art, and the Shelbourne Museum in Vermont.

For the next four hours, one of his paintings is available on eBay for $9,000.

April 21, 2018 - 4:54pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in history, Oakfield, news.


East Bethany resident Rick Hale holds up a scrimshaw horn he made himself, one of a few antique and reproduction pieces he brought to the Oakfield Historical Society's annual open house today to display. His collection included handmade rifle reproductions and 500-year-old powder horns (below).




Jim Ferris, of Alabama, demonstrates how a pioneer could have light any time as long as he had something to make into a wick and animal fat to render into an oil.


April 17, 2018 - 1:47pm
posted by Billie Owens in Announcements, hlom, world war i, history.
Press release:
Unfortunately, the weather isn't letting up any time soon, but this gives you the perfect opportunity to join us at the Holland Land Office Museum and warm up next week on Thursday, April 26th, for Java with Joe E.
The 4th Thursday of each month, from 9-10:30 a.m. we will be having a sit down conversation with coffee and pastries learning about historical and cultural characters and events.
This month we are going to begin our discussion with how Genesee County contributed to World War I. If this might interest you, please join us next week, Thursday, April 26th at 9 a.m. 
The Holland Land Office Museum is located at 131 W. Main St. in the City of Batavia.
If you have any questions feel free to email or call us at 343-4727.
April 15, 2018 - 5:19pm

Next Saturday, April 21, the Oakfield Historical Society will host its Grand Opening from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the 2018 season, which also marks its 20-year anniversary.

"Oakfield-Alabama Schools Through the Years" is the year's theme and the corresponding exhibit will debut, plus there will be other new exhibits and updated favorites.

Reenactors representing the late 18th and early 19 centuries will be there, too. There will be several knapping demonstrations where OHS Member Bill Chase will work a piece of raw flint, with the goal of creating an arrowhead.

The museum is located at 7 Maple Ave. in Oakfield.

April 3, 2018 - 6:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Le Roy, news, history.


A marker honoring Delia Philips was dedicated in Le Roy yesterday at the Village Hall with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul in attendance.

Philips, who was 91 years old at the time, cast the first ballot by a woman in an election in Le Roy in 1917. She was one of 58 women to vote in that election in Le Roy after the state approved the right of women to vote.

The marker was sponsored by the Le Roy Historical Society and the Village of Le Roy.

"I have traveled across the State to tell the stories of women who never gave up fighting for the right to vote, "Hochul said. “We stand on the shoulders of the brave and audacious women who went against the tides of their time and secured suffrage for women here in New York.

"Today, 100 years after 91-year-old Delia Phillips walked into Le Roy Municipal Building and became the first woman to cast a ballot there, we honor her legacy and every woman who marched, who spoke out, and made women's suffrage a reality."

Submitted photo.

March 27, 2018 - 4:59pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, history, Antiques, batavia, news.

Picture of Holland Land Office and image of Joseph Ellicott provided by Anne Marie Starowitz.

Anne Marie Starowitz, who serves on the board of the Holland Purchase Historical Society, reminded us today that "every antique has a story to tell."

The reminder comes in time to mention again that the Holland Land Office Museum is currently preparing for its 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show & Sale April 6-7 at Batavia Downs.

Before retiring from a 45-year teaching career in Le Roy and Batavia, the lifelong Batavia resident says she delighted in taking her fourth-grade students on tours of the museum.

She would explain to the children what an antique was -- a collectable object such as a piece of furniture or work of art that has a high value because of its age and quality, and that has a personal value because of its story.

A large gold mirror on display at the museum happens to be the subject of one of her favorite stories -- and pictures.

Archived as number "90.699   Mirror, Wall" -- it is described as a "Pier mirror; plate glass with rococo gold gilded frame. 51x108. Gesso design of roses, vines and leaves; stands on a wooden base with similar gesso design; 4 legs, 10 inches high; topped with marble slab."

"What I tell the children when I show them the beautiful mirror is that it stood in Dean Richmond’s home on Main Street. ... That brings me to the parking lot next to St. Joseph’s Church and the black wrought-iron fence. I ask them to imagine a very big white house with big pillars standing proudly in the space where you park your car when you visit the library or go to church.

"That will then take me to the story of the library, the beautiful original room dedicated to Dean Richmond Junior by his mother Mary Richmond. Dean Junior died at a young age and a plaque over the fireplace explains how the library got its name.

"I have a favorite picture of mine with one of my classes sitting in front of the mirror. This beautiful mirror stood in grandeur in a living room in the Dean Richmond Mansion."

Another beloved olden object at the museum is a desk.

​"93.148    Desk, drop-front" -- "Drop front desk, constructed of mahogany wood; Sheraton style butler's type. Birdseye maple desk interior; parallel sides; 4 drawers, top one of which drops to form a writing surface; interior has bottom section of three open cubby holes with drawers at sides; three graduated height drawers at front; 4 turned legs at bottom. Purchased from the great granddaughter of Robert Morris with the desk originally coming from the Morris home in Philadelphia."

"Since my students at the time went to Robert Morris School, seeing a desk that belonged to Robert Morris was quite exciting," Starowitz recalled. "A signer of the Declaration of Independence and the United State Constitution sat at this desk. It makes the history come alive."

Her favorite person from local history is Joseph Ellicott, the founder of Buffalo and Batavia. His surveying equipment is displayed in the museum. The room where he sold land to the first settlers to this area creates an image of the great man in the minds of the children, according to Starowitz.

"Either you like antiques or you don’t," Starowitz said. "It is just a preference. I for one love antiques, every piece of furniture we own or piece of art has a story that we like to share with family and friends."

She encourages those who would like to see antiques, artifacts, learn their stories, view the displays, to visit the Holland Land Office Museum. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

"A side note, if you have an antique, write your story about it, tape it to the underside or someplace on your antique where its story can continue."

And, of course, she encourages the antique aficionados to stop by the 12th Annual Batavia Antique Show & Sale next month.

February 20, 2018 - 2:50pm
posted by Billie Owens in events, movies. entertainment, history, Thurgood Marhsall.
Event Date and Time: 
March 15, 2018 - 6:45pm

Event:  Reel Discussions

Place:  Richmond Memorial Library

Date & Time:  Thursday, March 15th at 6 p.m.

Come view the movie and join us for a group discussion afterward. This month’s movie is “Marshall." 

February 18, 2018 - 1:11pm
posted by Genesee Chamber... in Oakfield, history, news.

The first installment of Oakfield Historical Society’s 2018 lecture series is about the Orphan Train at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6th. This will be held at the Town of Oakfield Community & Government Center, 3219 Drake St.,  Oakfield

By the 1850s, large eastern U.S. cities had massive numbers of orphaned children. New York City alone had an estimated 30,000 children without parents, making placement with local families virtually impossible in a city of 500,000. 

The orphan trains operated between 1854 and 1929, relocating about 200,000 orphaned, abandoned or homeless children.

Perennially favorite speaker Jeff Donahue is presenting this fascinating program. As always, this event is free and open to the public.

Visit www.VisitGeneseeNY.com to learn more about Genesee County's unique attractions and local events.

February 17, 2018 - 9:06am
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, history, news, batavia.


David Fitzpatrick, the author of "Emory Upton: Misunderstood Reformer," spoke about his book and what he learned about the Civil War officer who was born and raised in Batavia while researching and writing the book.

At 10 a.m., Fitzpatrick will participate in a panel discussion with local historians at Genesee Community College in the Conable Technology Building, room T119.

Previously: New book corrects the record on Emory Upton's attitude toward the military and the Republic

February 7, 2018 - 5:24pm
posted by Billie Owens in history, Ely Parker, Announcements, GCC History Club.

Press release:

Genesee Community College's History Club is excited to announce the addition of Jeff Donohue's discussion on "Ely Parker: A Man of Two Worlds" to its Historical Horizon's Lecture Series.

Independent historian and former director of the Holland Land Office and Museum, Jeff Donahue will be at GCC's Batavia Campus on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in room T102 if the Conable Technology Building.

Donohue's talk will examine the challenges Parker faced living in two worlds. During the Civil War, Ely Samuel Parker, a Seneca chief, struggled against prevailing prejudices to make his mark. He was so successful that he would become the man entrusted to copy the terms of surrender at Appomattox Court House.

February 7, 2018 - 5:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in history, GCC events.
Event Date and Time: 
March 7, 2018 - 7:00pm

Genesee Community College's history club is excited to announce the addition of Jeff Donohue's discussion on "Ely Parker: A Man of Two Worlds" to its Historical Horizon's Lecture Series.

Independent historian and former director of the Holland Land Office and Museum, Jeff Donahue will be at GCC's Batavia Campus on Wednesday, March 7, at 7 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building.

January 5, 2018 - 5:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in history, GCC, news, batavia.

Press release:

The Genesee Community College History Club is excited to release its spring Historical Horizons Lecture Series lineup! The series provides the community with access to renowned authors and historians as they take a deep look at the events and movements that have shaped our nation's history.

"The spring series line up will provide very unique perspectives on bloody battles and war, the Trail of Tears, and immigration," says GCC's Associate Professor Derek Maxfield. "This series is sure to inform and even entertain."

All lectures in this series begin at 7 p.m. in room T102 of the Conable Technology Building. All lectures are free and open to the public.

Tuesday, Feb. 6  /  Medina Campus  /  Maple Ridge Road, Medina

Author Kevin R. Pawlak will discuss his book "Shepherdstown in the Civil War: One Vast Confederate Hospital." During the Civil War the small town of Shepherdstown, W.Va., was suddenly flooded with Confederate soldiers wounded in battle. Homes and churches transformed into triage centers and in all, the town, into "one vast hospital."

Wednesday, Feb. 7  /  Batavia Campus  /  Room T102

Kevin R. Pawlak will join us again to present "The Jewels of War: Robert E. Lee, George B. McClellan, and the Battle of Antietam." Pawlak is also the director of education for the Mosby Heritage Area Association in Virginia. The Battle of Antietam is America's bloodiest single day. In totality, 12 hours of fighting on Wednesday, Sept. 17, 1862 left approximately 23,000 casualties. During this lecture, Pawlak will assess the dramatic events of the battle from the unique perspective of the commanders on the field.

Wednesday, April 4  /  Batavia Campus  /  Room T102

GCC adjunct professor Danny Hamner will present "The Removal Crisis of 1832: How Nationalism, Political Ambition and the Electoral College Shaped the Trail of Tears." Often, the "Trail of Tears" is remembered as the inevitable tragedy of an indigenous people swept aside by the rising forces of modern America. While there certainly were large historical forces transforming America in the early 19th century, the removal crises of the period were ultimately shaped by the personalities, politics and needs of the movement. The mix of personal ambitions and zealous nationalism linked the destiny of the Cherokee Nation to Henry Clay's presidential aspirations with catastrophic but not inevitable results.

Wednesday, May 2  /  Batavia Campus  /  Room T102 (Rescheduled from 12/6/17)

Orleans County Historian Matthew R. Ballard, MLS will present "Fear of the Unknown: Creating the Illegal Immigrant in 19th Century America." Immigration to the United States is a relative topic in current events; however, the establishment of the "illegal immigrant" only dates back to the turn of the 20th century. In the earliest years of immigration, Europeans were accepted without restriction, but an influx of new immigrants during the latter half of the 19th century raised concerns about political impacts on American society. Uncertainty and unfounded fears created excessive restrictions focused on limiting access to specific ethnic/ racial groups, religious groups, the disabled, the infirmed and those likely to become a "public charge."

December 16, 2017 - 3:16pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, Announcements, batavia, Emory Upton, GCC, hlom, history, civil war.

The Holland Land Office Museum will host a presentation and book signing by David Fitzpatrick, Ph.D., author of "Emory Upton Misunderstood Reformer," at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 12. The museum is located at 131 W. Main St., Batavia.

Admission is $5 per person, which helps support the HLOM Speaker Series. RSVP by Jan. 10th due to limited seating.

Fitzpatrick is facility resident and professor of History at Washtenaw Community College in Ann Arbor, Mich. He attended the U.S. Military Academy at West Point where he was also a history instructor.

He has authored several military journal articles and published essays. His current work is one of the definitive texts on the life of Upton and his post-war contributions to reforming the Army.

In addition, a panel discussion with Fitzpatrick and local historians, will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 13th, at the new Student Success Center, Room G200, Genesee Community College, 1 College Road, Batavia.

Discussion will focus on the various aspects of General Upton’s character and life. Free to the public. Hosted by the Holland Land Office Museum and GGC History Club.

For more information about the programs or purchasing his book contact:

Holland Land Office Museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]

December 8, 2017 - 10:00pm
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.

December 8, 2017 - 10:00pm
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.

December 8, 2017 - 10:00pm
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.

December 8, 2017 - 9:00pm
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.

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