Local Matters

Community Sponsors


July 5, 2019 - 3:23pm

Press release:

Registration for the 2019 Holland Land Office Museum History Heroes Summer Program is now open.

This year our History Heroes will be “Time Traveling through History,” discovering different periods in history and their local connections.

The program will run from July 16th through July 19th, and July 23rd through July 26th from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day.

Activities include: historic crafts and art projects, guest presenters and reenactors, a field trip, penny carnival, and end of program performance.

The program is open to children 7 to 12 years old. The cost per day is $25 per child, and $20 for museum members, with discounts available for families with multiple participants.

For more information, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or visit our website at www.hollandlandoffice.com.

May 31, 2019 - 5:24pm

Press release:

Registration for the 2019 Holland Land Office Museum History Heroes Summer Program is now open.

This year our History Heroes will be “Time Traveling through History,” discovering different periods in history and their local connections.

The program will run from July 16-19, and July 23-26 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. each day.

Activities include: historic crafts and art projects, guest presenters and reenactors, a field trip, penny carnival, and end of program performance.

The program is open to children 7 to 12 years old. The cost per day is $25 per child, and $20 for museum members with discounts available for families with multiple participants.

For more information, please contact the museum at 585-343-4727 or visit our website at www.hollandlandoffice.com

May 28, 2019 - 1:32pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, hlom, batavia, music, Announcements, Old Hippies.

Press release:

On Thursday, June 6th, the Holland Land Office Museum is proud to present the Old Hippies.

At 7 p.m., Bill and Kay MacDonald and their accompanying local musicians will put on an acoustic rock show featuring hits from the golden years of the 1950s, '60s, and '70s, as well as, many original songs and other favorites mixed in.

The local favorites have played all over Western New York and Florida during the winter. Let the nostalgia flow as their classic vocal harmonies take you back in time for those who remember. And for those who did not, experience the era through the music with a little more realism than you have experienced before.

Tickets for the concert are $5; and $4 for museum members.

RSVPs can be made with the museum by calling at 585-343- 4727 or by email at [email protected]

May 15, 2019 - 5:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in Joseph Ellicott, hlom, batavia, history, news.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum is proud to announce our newest acquisition of a land deed for the Holland Land Company dated June 30, 1813 acquired at auction at Bontrager Real Estate & Auction Service.

The deed is signed by members of the Holland Land Company and Joseph Ellicott. It represents a well-preserved example of the documentation that was created to expedite the early settlement of Western New York.

The land listed on the document is a lot within present day Newstead in Erie County. The purchaser, a John Voak, bought 120 acres of land for $359.19, an average of $2.99 per acre.

Though the land is in Erie County today, the deed lists the area to be in Niagara County, as the sale occurred before Niagara County was split in 1821.

The deed is currently on display at the museum (131 W. Main St., Batavia) in our Land Office Room exhibit, with other items connected to the Holland Land Company.

April 25, 2019 - 7:12am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Bontrager's Auction, batavia, hlom, history, news.


A property deed from 1813 and signed by Joseph Ellicott was purchased at auction yesterday by the Holland Land Office Museum for $1,900.

The deed was acquired last year by Dale Vargason, from Wayland, who found it in a box of 18th century documents he acquired and then decided to bring it to Bontrager's Auctions.

Auctioneer Todd Jantzi started bidding off at $1,000 and when there were no initial bids, dropped it down to $800. Two people then jumped into the bidding, including Gary Harkness, representing HLOM, and the bids quickly rose to the $1,900 mark.

Previously: Rare historical document, a deed signed by Joseph Ellicott, to be featured in upcoming auction at Bontrager's



April 6, 2019 - 12:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, antique show, batavia.
Video Sponsor

The Holland Land Office Museum is hosting its annual antique show in the Call Arena at Genesee Community College this weekend. The show continues today until 3 p.m.

April 2, 2019 - 4:00pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, hlom, Batavia Antique Show, batavia, Announcements.
Press release from the Holland Land Office Museum:
We are looking for volunteers for our 13th Annual Batavia Antique Show this weekend at the Richard C.Call arena on the Genesee Community College Campus.
We are looking for volunteers for Friday, April 5th, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and from 5-8 p.m. Duties on Friday would be general setup, including setting up tables, helping vendors move their stuff in, and starting at 5 p.m., ticket sales.
On Saturday, April 6th, we are looking for people to volunteer from 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. Duties on Saturday would include ticket sales, runners, general help, and by 3 p.m., take down and clea up.
If you are interested in helping, please send an email or call 585-343-4727 and let us know what day you are interested in and what times. You are free to do one hour or more -- up to the entire time, we will be needing help all day.
When you arrive on your designated day and time, Ryan Duffy, the director of the museum, will be around to place you and answer any questions you may have.
We look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your help!
Nellie Slocum 
March 16, 2019 - 2:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in the batavian sessions, music, entertainment, hlom.


Video Sponsor


No Blarney! performed a concert of traditional Irish music Friday night at the Holland Land Office Museum.

Here are two videos from that performance, one of "Drink It Up, Man," and the other "Drunken Sailor."

Thank you to No Blarney! and the audience for allowing me to make these two videos. Happy St. Patrick's Day!


Video Sponsor
March 3, 2019 - 1:57pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, business, hlom, antique show, batavia.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum still has openings for antique dealers or vendors for its 13th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale on Friday and Saturday, April 5th and 6th.

The antique show will take place at the Richard C. Call Arena on the Batavia campus of Genesee Community College, located at One College Road, Batavia. 

The event opens on Friday, April 5th, at 5 p.m. and continues until 8 o'clock. It reopens Saturday, April 6th, at 9 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.

If a vendor is interested in participating the details for the show are as follows:

  • Each show space is 16’ x 16’; with a chair provided with the rental, for a price of $80; and subsequent spaces will be discounted $10 per purchase;
  • Tables can also be rented for an additional charge of $10 per table;
  • Setup time for the show will begin on Friday, April 5th, beginning at 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Displays can be taken down after 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 6th;
  • Advertising will also be provided for all participants to be distributed as needed.

For more information about the 13th Annual Batavia Antique Show and Sale, please contact the Holland Land Office Museum at 585-343-4727 or [email protected]

December 19, 2018 - 3:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, news.
Press release:
We hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday so far! We also wanted to thank you for your continued support for the Holland Purchase Historical Society and Holland Land Office Museum throughout this past year and would like to invite our membership to the HPHS's 2018 Annual Meeting: 
  • Thursday, Dec. 27th;
  • 6 p.m.;
  • Dibble Family Center, located at 4120 W. Main Street Road in Batavia;
  • Tickets are $15 per person;
  • The dinner choices are either lasagna, roast beef, or stuffed chicken.
We ask that you please RSVP by this Saturday, Dec. 22nd, with payment and meal choice to reserve a seat.
When you stop by to drop off your R.S.V.P., take a moment to check out some of the items we have in our gift shop (131 W. Main St.
Batavia). In addition to all the new books we have some great items for stocking stuffers like:
  • L.E.D. keychains
  • Magnets
  • HLOM shot glasses
  • HLOM pins
  • and much more!
Thank you again for your support and if you have any questions or concerns please contact the museum. Phone is 343-4727. Email: [email protected]
December 15, 2018 - 11:09am
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, news, batavia, arts, entertainment.

Joe Head performed at the Holland Land Office Museum on Friday night, playing a selection of traditional and contemporary Christmas songs.

September 12, 2018 - 1:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, news, Ghost Walk, Announcements.

Press release:

Please join the Holland Land Office Museum for a Westside Ghostwalk at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19th.

Take a walk on the Westside and hear tales of murders, hangings, grave robbing, ghosts and other eerie happenings from Batavia's past. Hear stories of Joseph Ellicott, E. N. Rowell and other famous and infamous Batavians.

The tour begins and ends at the museum and is approximately one-and-a-half to two hours long. Admission is $10 and reservations are required.

For tickets or more information, please call 343-4727.

September 4, 2018 - 3:20pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Seniors, Erie Canal, tourism, news.

Press release:

The Holland Land Office Museum will be holding its seventh annual Senior Bus Tour on Thursday, Sept.13th. This year’s tour will be heading to the Colonial Belle Erie Canal Cruises in Fairport.

The cruise consists of a two-hour boat ride through some of the most scenic portions of the Erie Canal with historic narration by the captain. A submarine sandwich lunch from DiBella’s will be provided on board the ship.

Space is limited to 40 people. The bus will be leaving at 10 a.m. on Sept. 13th.

Tickets are $50 per person, and $45 for museum members. To reserve a spot on the tour please contact the Holland Land Office Museum at 343-4727 or [email protected].

We ask that payment be received before the reservation can be granted. The Senior Bus Tour is made possible through a grant from the Muriel H. Marshall Fund for the Aging in Genesee County.

September 2, 2018 - 8:00am
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, batavia, news, Joseph Ellicott.

David Reilly grew up in Batavia and shares another memory with readers. He previously wrote about the time Barnum & Bailey's Big Top Circus came to town. Today, he tells about a bugle he found and some wishful thinking...


People like to make discoveries. It makes them feel important, that they've found something unique. Children especially like to have something to show off and I was no different. When I was about 9 or 10 I tried to get something I found put in a museum -- the Holland Land Office Museum.

As it turned out, the thing I found belonged in a dumpster, not a display case.

It all started because of jealousy. A kid I knew had uncovered an arrowhead in his backyard or somewhere. The local museum had it displayed in a case with his name by it and every time I saw it I turned green with envy. Why wasn't it me who unearthed something while digging around as kids do?

I loved that museum. They had antique guns, a drum from the Civil War, an actual hangman's noose from the old jail -- great stuff. But nothing contributed by me, David Reilly. Every time I went there I imagined a card with my name on it next to something that every visitor would remark about.

One day while prowling around the attic of a house where we were renting an apartment, I found an old, dented, beat up bugle. I ran to show it to my mother and asked if it could be a valuable souvenir, possibly from the Civil War. She didn't think so, especially since if it was valuable no one would have left it in the attic. Of course.

Crushed, I trudged back upstairs. But as I went to put the bugle back in the cobwebs, a seed of a scheme entered my mind.

What if my mother was wrong? After all, wasn't our house on Ellicott Avenue? And wasn't Joseph Ellicott the man who was the land agent for the Holland Land Company and the one who made the plans for the city of Batavia, New York? And wasn't my favorite museum down the street named The Holland Land Office where Joseph Ellicott had his office for many years?

That bugle could have been his! Or at least belonged to someone that he knew.

I thought, “Maybe if I take this bugle to the museum they will put it in a case, type up a card with my name on it, and finally I'd be famous, at least in Batavia. Nah, they'd never fall for it. But on the other hand... oh why not give it a try?”

The next day I went to the backyard, rubbed some dirt on the bugle so it looked like it had been dug up, and nervously headed for the museum. I hung around in front playing by the cannons for awhile trying to get up my nerve. Finally, I entered.

“What can I do for you young man?” the elderly woman at the desk asked.

“I found this bugle and it's got dirt on it and it was in my backyard right across the street on Ellicott Avenue and I dug it up and I bet it was lost there by Joseph Ellicott or at least by someone he knew look see how old it is can you put it in the museum?” I spewed out the words like my voice was trying to win the Indianapolis 500.

“Oh,” the woman said thoughtfully. “Ellicott Avenue you say? Well, that's right close by isn't it? What is your name young man?”

“Oh boy!” I rejoiced in my mind. The neatly printed card next to my donated bugle was looking pretty clear to me now.

“David Reilly,” I replied, “and I live at 20 Ellicott Avenue where I dug it up.”

"Well, David,” the woman said, “I'm going to show this to our museum experts and we will check it out very carefully. You come back next week and we'll let you know.”

All week long I couldn't sleep, paced the floor, and thought incessantly about that bugle. Finally, the big day came. I walked to the museum, marched straight to the lady's desk and looked imploringly into her eyes.

“What can I do for you young man?” the woman asked.

My heart dropped to my stomach. She doesn't even remember me? But wait. She's old; at least 90. She's just forgotten.

“I'm David Reilly. I brought in Joseph Ellicott's bugle last week.”

“Bugle? Oh yes, of course. I wouldn't forget a thing like that. We took a very close look at it I can assure you.”

My stomach felt like butterflies were having a gymnastics competition. “Yes! I'm in! I've got it!" I thought. If there was such a thing as a high five back then I was giving myself plenty of them mentally.

“Unfortunately, David, that bugle is no more than 20 years old at most. Are you sure that you dug it up in your yard?”

"Oh boy. What now?" I thought. "I'm done for on the display case. Can I get arrested for lying?"

But I proceeded nonetheless.

“Oh yes ma'am, it was way down there," I told her, then blurted out this realistic tidbit: "I thought it was gold when I first saw it."

My palms were sweating so badly now that they were leaving streaks on the sides of my corduroys.

The lady reached into the drawer of her desk and pulled out the bugle. She handed it to me with some of the dirt still clinging to the sides. She wiped her hand on one of those little old-fashioned hankies.

“Well, young man, I'm sorry that we couldn't use your discovery, but it's always nice to see someone your age so interested in history. If you ever come across anything else be sure to bring it in.”

I took the bugle and managed to utter a quick “Yes, thank you ma'am” before making a hasty exit.

As I slunk back home I could almost hear the guffaws of the museum staff as they mocked my find of the “bugle of Joseph Ellicott.”

Looking back on it, the museum volunteer probably had a little laugh after I gave it to her, then put it in the drawer and never thought about it again until I came back.

As I clumped up the back steps, I chucked the bugle into the garbage can where it clanged forlornly, never to be seen again.

As I went through the kitchen my mom stopped me. “Where've you been Dave?” she asked.

“Oh, just down at the museum,” I replied.

“Again? You must have been there a hundred times. Anything new down there?”

“Nope. Nothin' to toot about anyway,” I told her and headed off to check out that new comic I had stored under my pillow.

PHOTO: Bugle shown is for illustration purposes only; it is not the bugle David found.

August 2, 2018 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Holland Land Office Museum, hlom, batavia, news, history.

Ryan Duffy is 18 months into his job as director of the Holland Land Office Museum and members of the Genesee County Legislature have taken notice of the improvements he's made to the local history destination.

Several members praised him Monday after he give his annual review report to the Human Services Committee.

"Two years ago or three years ago there was significant activity and concern about the museum," said Robert Bausch, chairman of the legislature. "I just want to compliment you. The issues that we raised are being addressed and addressed in a positive way. I just want to congratulate you."

During his presentation, Duffy laid out some of the activities at the museum, which include continuing the just-completed History Heroes summer camp, cataloging more than 8,000 items at the museum, bringing in more groups to use space at the museum for meetings, bringing in more guest speakers, and starting a Java with Joe morning speakers series.

Duffy also brought back the annual antique show at Batavia Downs, which this year had vendors from as far away as Syracuse and Binghampton and brought in 450 visitors.

The museum also continues to grow as a tourist destination. Duffy said in 2017, nearly half of all people who visited the museum were from outside Genesee County.

Duffy also suggested people start thinking about their Wonderland of Trees decorations. This year's theme will be "favorite holiday movies."

"You’ve done fantastic," said Legislator John Deleo. "You’ve energized everybody including the board."



During his presentation Monday, Duffy also mentioned two recent acquisitions by the museum.  

Top photo: Six pictures of Gen. Emory Upton. The larger picture on the left is from the West Point yearbook when Upton was an instructor at the academy. The other five are of Upton during the Civil War, showing Upton as a young lieutenant fresh out of West Point through the end of the war when he was a brevet major general (brevet means a temporary promotion usually awarded for valor or exceptionalism; Upton was a brigadier general prior to the brevet promotion).

The photos were obtained from a private collector.

"The pictures show not only the change in himself over time but also his change in rank," Duffy said. "We didn’t have anything like that before. We had later things of him but not something tracing his career. We had the beginning and the end but not the middle."

Bottom photo: A painting of Henry Glowacki on a piece of ivory. Glowacki was a prominent citizen of Batavia in the second half of the 19th century and he had a pretty fascinating biography. Born in 1816, the son of a Polish general, Glowacki was promoted to major in the Polish Army at age 17. He was probably part of the November Uprising, when a group of young officers rebelled against Russian rule of part of their homeland (source). The officers were banished from Poland. He intended to make exile in Illinois but he came into contact with David Ellicott Evans, then manager of the Holland Land Office. Evans hired Glowacki, though he was still only 19 and didn't speak or read English. Within four years, he mastered the language and studied law under H. J. Redfield and he married Mary Redfield. He passed the New York State Bar in 1840 and became a prominent local attorney. He was chairman of the local Democratic Party, a recruiter during the Civil War, a Village of Batavia trustee, an original trustee of the NYS Blind School, and he donated land for the first hospital in Batavia.

Prior to obtaining the painting -- about the size of an egg -- the only pictures HLOM had of Glowacki were as an old man with mutton chops, Duffy said.

Museum staff located the painting while attending an antique show. It is etched on the back with Glowacki's name and his date of birth and death.

The museum already possessed his Polish army uniform and a paperweight he used while employed at the land office.

July 27, 2018 - 8:15am
posted by Howard B. Owens in hlom, history heroes, batavia, news.


The Holland Land Office Museum hosted its annual penny carnival Thursday for children participating in the History Heroes summer program.



Below is a photo submitted by Tiff Plimpton of Carson Colantonio and Ben Landers.


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 26, 2018 - 4:02pm
posted by Billie Owens in hlom, Holland Land Office Museum, batavia, news.
From the Holland Land Office Museum:
It's finally starting to look like April weather, so hopefully May will keep it up! In May, the Holland Land Office Museum is going to be having some great events going on!
Thursday, May 10th
Every second Thursday of each month, starting with May 10th, the museum will be hosting a History Trivia & Team Challenge! Starting at 7 p.m., this event is only $3 per person and $2 for museum members. Please call for team pricing. Come on over and test your seemingly trivial knowledge against your friends. Drink and snack concessions will be available (not included in price of admission).
Saturday, May 12th
Each month we will be hosting a children's program from 10 a.m - 12 p.m. This event is for children ages 7-12. In May, the theme will be beautification. We will start off the day reading about different plants and soil. Then we will go outside and get our hands dirty planting flowers and other plants around the museum. This is a great way for children to get outside, enjoy the sun, and get their hands dirty! Each program is $5 per child and $4 museum members. Please R.S.V.P. to the museum by May 10th.
Thursday, May 17th
As part of our guest speaker series, we are welcome to present Earl McElfresh of McElfresh Map Company in Olean. He is going to speak on his map making process and the use of historical maps. Program will begin at 7 p.m., $3 per person and $2 for museum members. Please R.S.V.P. to the museum by Tuesday, May 15th.
Thursday, May 24th
We will be having our morning "Java with Joe E." from 9-10:30 a.m. for coffee, pastries and lively conversation about historical and cultural characters and events. In April, we discussed World War I and Genesee County's part in it. Join us in May for another lively historical discussion. 
Feel free to email or call the museum with any questions you may have and make sure to keep an eye on our website for any updates or news.
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.
Subscribe to



Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service

blue button