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Landmark Society of Genesee County

Landmark Society winners honored at annual dinner Saturday

By Howard B. Owens


Press release:

The Landmark Society of Genesee County held its annual Preservation Awards and Recognition dinner on Saturday at the Batavia First United Methodist Church.  Three historic churches, three private homeowners, and one business were recognized.

Those in the photo above are, from left: Dave & Noreen Tillotson -- Pavilion homeowners; Dave Bateman-Batavia homeowner; Dorothy Lawrence & Betsy Abramson accepting for Corfu United Presbyterian Church; Dennis Mellander accepting for Le Roy St. Mark’s Episcopal Church; Bob Carlson accepting for East Bethany Presbyterian Church; Jennifer & Dean Eck -- Corfu homeowners, Sarah Farmer & Chris Grocki accepting for Farmer’s Creekside Tavern and Inn in Le Roy.

Creekside Inn, three churches and three houses honored by Landmark Society

By Howard B. Owens


The Landmark Society of Genesee County has selected seven properties and their owners for recognition for their preservation efforts.

The awards will be present Oct. 7 at the Batavia First United Methodist Church, 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia. Dinner is at 6 p.m. with awards presented at approximately 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person. Reservations are due by Sept. 30 by calling (585) 757-2714.

Each year the awards committee tries to choose a group of structures that is varied in styles of architecture, geographic locations, building materials, and type of building such as churches, residences, commercial, and public facilities. 

"We are recognizing three historic churches all celebrating 200 year anniversaries this year," said Cleo Mullins. "The three homeowners owners being honored to have all put a lot of love and sweat into their homes. The business owners spent a decade working on their building to ensure that their results were the perfect blend of preservation with modern technology, comforts, and conveniences." 

The winners:

Landmark Award 2017: Corfu United Presbyterian Church

By Howard B. Owens


Article by Cleo Mullins

The Corfu United Presbyterian Church on Route 77 in Corfu was built in 1831 and has a gable front form, typical of the early rural church, that has remained basically intact. They are celebrating their 200th year as a congregation this year and it is a time to reflect on many projects they have been done over the years.

They have many beautiful stained glass windows from the 1880’s and in 1918 a lovely round stained glass window was installed on the wall behind the main alter. The pews that they have now came from the Methodist Church when it closed in Corfu. Over the years there have been additions to the church to accommodate the needs of the community. In 1956 there was extensive remodeling done to the Church with the balcony being reopened. Also that year an addition was built on the north end with classrooms, offices, a new dinning room and the kitchen was rebuilt. The big change to the exterior was the two front doors were installed to replace the single entrance.

In 1998 a bequest was used to remodel the sanctuary and narthex, and to enlarge the balcony and another bequest in 2004 was used to remodel the kitchen. This year they have a new sign that all can see as you travel route 77 and they have also done landscaping.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County Preservation award goes to Corfu United Presbyterian Church for their Tender Loving Care. 

Landmark Award 2017: East Bethany Presbyterian Church

By Howard B. Owens


Article by Cleo Mullins 

East Bethany Presbyterian Church congregation is celebrating their 200th year. In 1826 plans were formulated to build their first church on land they had purchased from Edward Dixon. In church records, it was specified that the building was to be no less than 50x40 feet and was to be built of stone and brick. The bricks for this church were made at a brick factory about one mile south of NYS Route 63. The church was completed in 1828 in the Federal style. It had balconies on both sides of the sanctuary. In 1827 an acre of land was purchased from Edward Dixon for a burying ground behind the church. Many of the early members were buried here with the earliest date of 1841. Edward Dixon passed away in March of 1868 and is buried here. East Bethany Cemetery Association now owns the cemetery.

The first of several additions happened in 1949 and after excavation had started they had a heavy rain and the balconies were hanging as if they were going to break off. With help of the community, the balconies and supporting wall were saved. There are narrow staircases going to the balconies on both sides of the church entry. The doors going into the balconies have the antique door handles. We have a lovely view of the sanctuary from the balcony.

The last addition was put on in 1981, which included a conference room, pastor study, a new kitchen, bathrooms and fellowship hall. In 1989 a new sub-floor was put in the sanctuary to level the floor as it had been necessary to step up to enter the pews. Also, new oak wainscoting was put on the two outside walls under the windows, new carpet, and pews. Then the sanctuary was painted and new interior doors were installed. They were now ready to celebrate their 175th year as a congregation.

In years since new oak front doors have been added and in preparation for their 200th Anniversary they had the outside of the church painted last year. The church has been modified over the years but still retains its federal-style features.

The Landmark Society Preservation award goes to East Bethany Presbyterian Church for their Tender Loving Care. 

Landmark Award 2017: Farmer’s Creekside Tavern and Inn

By Howard B. Owens


Article by Cleo Mullins

Farmer’s Creekside Tavern and Inn has taken a Le Roy Landmark that was built in the 1820’s and after ten years Bill Farmer has created a four story building that will serve as a meeting place for many. It is a perfect blend of preservation with modern technology, comforts and conveniences. It opened this past spring. The original building was built of black Marcellus shale in irregularly sized stones that were dug from the Oatka Creek. It was always covered with stucco until the 1990’s. This building has served as a hat factory, bank office, law office and private home for Percy Hooker (NYS Senator), Harold Cleveland, and Dr. Knoll, who also had his medical office in the building. Later the building was used as a restaurant. I could not find a list of all the restaurants but I can name two (The Ganson House and Creekside Tavern. The stucco was removed while it was The Ganson House in the 1990’s according to an article.

In 2004 fire broke out and it took 200 firemen and 10 companies to put out the fire. After the fire, the owner Jim Gomborone put on a roof and windows. In 2007 Jim had hired Catenary Construction to estimate the cost to repair the building. Bill Farmer is the founder of Catenary Construction and is the senior estimator that came to the property. Bill Farmer said, “ without the roof, the building would never have survived”. Bill found the building in dire condition and the estimate with all the work that needed to be done was so high that the owner suggested that Mr. Farmer buy the building. Mr. Farmer could see the potential in this distinctive building that dates back to the 1820’s. Mr. Farmer and his son purchased the property in the fall of 2007 and on the day of closing the remainder of the south wall collapsed.

With the goal of salvaging as much of the original structure as possible, the rocks from the collapsed walls were saved to be used again. It took four full seasons of masonry work on the project.

The original shale walls and about 100 square feet of original floor, a fireplace, some window boxes and the two front entrances still remain. The rest of the building is a total reconstruction. The floor in the fine dining area call the Cleveland Room with the original fireplace is the original deep brown hemlock floor. Where the floor had been burned it has replacement boards. The next room also can be used as fine dining or a meeting room has the original striped floor of black walnut and a lighter maple. One area still has the scorched boards from the fire. The tavern is on the level beneath the street and has a copper beer system that they designed and had custom built with 18 taps of different beers. They have a spacious kitchen to prepare food for the fine dining area and the tavern. The top floor has three suites and each has rustic beams that came from the building. The beams had been taken down to be cleaned and evaluated and then were reset in the downstairs tavern and upstairs inn. The lowest level, next to the creek, has an outdoor bar with patio seating. The fine dining room, the tavern, and the patios can accommodate 400 people.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is awarding Farmer’s Creekside Tavern and Inn the Preservation Award for the extensive renovation they have done on this historical building. 

Landmark Award 2017: 64 East Main Street in Corfu

By Howard B. Owens


Article by Joan Bird

The Eck home at 64 East Main Street in Corfu is the recipient of the Landmark Society preservation award for Tender Loving Care.

Dean and Jennifer Eck purchased the home in 2000.The house has many Greek Revival touches as illustrated by the columns. This style was built between 1830-1860.

The clapboard siding and six over six windows in the front of the house are original. Also original are the door and beveled sidelights.

As I mentioned, the six over six windows are original and are made of rolled glass. The distortions in antique glass are part of the charm of old windows and a historic feature valued by their owners.

The exact building date of the house is unknown. It is believed that what is now the apartment is the original house. That portion of the house is all heavy timber construction built with square nails. The floors in this section are original to the house.

The foundation of this portion has been scored to look like stone.

The porch pillars in front have been rebuilt but remain the same size and shape as the original ones. The patriotic colors the home is painted reflect the feelings of the present owners.

As the owners worked on the home, they found a collection basin for spring water under the back porch. It was connected to a pump in the old kitchen.

As with most old homes, the Ecks have found many “treasures” as they look pulled down old walls and ceiling. These “treasures” include a pair of spectacles and a newspaper from 1927. It is fascinating to see the “news” of 1927 as well as the advertisements, especially the prices of certain items.

Perhaps the most interesting “treasure” is a registry from 1890 of the students at the Corfu school. It’s fun to imagine how it came to be in the walls of this house.

Those who have worked with old homes know the challenges and the creativity needed to preserve the past.
this award to the Eck family. 

Landmark Award 2017: 11129 River Street, Pavilion

By Howard B. Owens


Article by Cleo Mullins

This cobblestone home is the only one in Pavilion. William Henry purchased the land in 1829 and in a book about Pavilion it listed William Henry as a stone mason so it is likely he built this home. With its rectangular form, simple lines and ornamentation and the use of cobblestones, it is presumed that this residence was built shortly after 1829.

Over the years additions were added. Ten years ago Dave and Noreen Tillotson bought the house, barn and 160 acres as they owned a farm within a mile of the place and needed the land and barn. One of the first jobs on the house and barn was to clean up and make the barn ready for cattle. This is a present-day picture of the barn. Note the new roof, paint job and landscaping. Before there were only a few trees. This is a later picture but I wanted you to see the shape of the build. The larger cobblestones with less precision arrangement were used on the sides and back of the house.

The Gillard Construction Company of Berger was the contractor of this project. The roof was torn off and new rafters were put up in the house. This is the 2 story part of the house.

This is the one story part of the house where the kitchen will be. Note the square opening that they found in the house and retained it.

Now with the new roof the next year job was to replace all the windows (six over six) by Anderson.

The front door has been uncovered and now has a glass storm door to protect the original door. Notice the uniformed size cobblestones that were used on the front of the house. Note the original quoins, lintels, and windowsills that are cut from limestone. They had been painted over with white paint so it was removed.

This shows the addition to the house that have bedrooms, bath and entrance to the house.

Pictures of outside landscaping and the rail fence that is a type that would have been used in colony times. 21-22 They have added a garage and created a welcoming entrance.

When Noreen saw the living room of the house that featured the original mantel, original wood floors of old growth pine and the full original woodwork of the interior of this room she knew she wanted the home.

The fireplace uses carved limestone to line the front of the fireplace opening.

In this room, Noreen did all the removal of paint from the woodwork and then repainted them. She also stenciled the walls.

This is a picture of the original door and doorknob.

This is the room right of the entrance across from the living room.

In the kitchen they have left the original cobblestone walls exposed at the peak of both ends of the room and the beams that are exposed and running horizontally are original and part of the structure. It is a nice place to display crocks and other items. Note the square opening that we mentioned earlier, this was left so when you can see into the kitchen from upstairs. This is above the door leading to the upstairs. The steps were replaced to code and the upstairs has the old growth pine floors.

Note the deep windowsill due to the walls being over two feet thick.

This is pictures of the other end of the kitchen with the doorway going into the family room.

When the family room was added on, they left the original wall of cobblestone of the house as a wonderful work of art that could be appreciated and enjoyed each day.

A picture of this lovely home in winter.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is giving the preservation award of restoration to Dave and Noreen Tillotson for breathing new life into a 1830 cobblestone home. 

Landmark Award 2017: 27 Summit Street, Batavia

By Howard B. Owens


By Lucine Kauffman:

Ashley and David Bateman purchased their 1862 home at 27 Summit Street, Batavia in 2014. 

They obtained an early photo of the house and set out to restore the exterior as closely as possible to the original design. 

As you can see, their house closely resembles another house in Batavia built at the same time. This home at 314 East Main Street still has the original Second Empire style mansard roof. The windows and the layout are matches. 

Lovell Gibbs, son of Mormon pioneer Horace Gibbs, built this house at 27 Summit Street. At one point, Joseph Barnes of JC Barnes Clothing Store owned this house. 

And now, the owner of a present day clothing store, Pollyanna and Dot, owns this house.

When the Batemans bought the house, it was clad in yellow aluminum siding and the original windows had been replaced with vinyl. 

The original hitching post and carriage block survived and are currently located in the parkway between the street and sidewalk.

The crew that performed the recent street reconstruction reset the hitching post and carriage block when the project was completed.

The Batemans removed the aluminum siding during the start of their second year in the house. Dave did much of the work on the house himself.  They chose a seven color historic paint scheme.

The side porch was an addition sometime after 1902. Dave resided the side porch with wood siding after using the original clapboard to replace an area next to the front porch that had rotted.

They discovered that some of the architectural details were taken off when the siding was put on. The exterior has been almost completely restored to the original design with the exception of a small balcony above the side porch that will be recreated eventually.

Each peak has its own details.  The two side peaks feature different sunburst patterns.  The front peak features an original stained glass window.  The far back peak, only visible from across the street had been cut into for a vent and was recreated using shadow lines.

The house was built with Second Empire style features, and later was “modernized” with late Victorian features such as fish scale siding and a leaded glass window.

The trim on this peak was reconstructed and painted in a coral shade to pop out.

The original rope trim and scrollwork around the windows remains intact. &

The leaded glass window next to the front porch was added after 1902 when the front living room was widened.

The porch was enclosed with storm windows cobbled together.  Dave removed the windows and will eventually build screens.

The scrollwork on the front porch gable was missing, but Dave was able to replicate it using a shadow, or stain, on the house.

The front doors are massive and ornate. The beveled glass and panels make an elegant entrance. &

The transom window brings light to the foyer.

A curved stairway hugging a curved wall graces the foyer. The Drews (previous owners) stripped and refinished the front doors, treads and bannister which were all painted.

So many details make this house special.

The Batemans had the English oak wood floors refinished.

When the Batemans took up the wall to wall carpeting they found that the floors were in pretty good shape but the wood floor grates had been cut through.  Gene McMaster rebuilt the registers and refinished the floors.

The baseboards and doorway trim are elaborate. The Batemans had a local mill cut custom knives to match the baseboards and trim so they could repair the areas where it was missing.

A previous owner removed the pocket doors in between the living and dining rooms. The Batemans found this “fretwork” in the attic, probably from the 1880s/1890s and re-installed it in the opening.

Dave re-framed the leaded glass window in the front living room where water damage had rotted it.

Handsome French doors lead out onto the side porch.

The fireplace in the living room was added by a previous owner sometime after 1920.

The house’s interior walls were completely covered with wallpaper. Removing it and painting proved to be an arduous task but gives the house a fresh look. 

The brass, dragon-themed gas fireplace in the dining room dates to 1886 but is no longer functional. 

An Eastlake rocker has been passed down through several owners of the house.

A large beveled glass French door leads into the kitchen.

The kitchen is housed in an addition. The Batemans gutted the room to build their dream kitchen.  They installed new, red tiger wood floors.

An island serves as a practical work and dining space.

It also serves as an architecturally interesting focal point. Dave installed the white subway tile himself.

Brass accented lighting warms the kitchen area. The Batemans chose an imported Italian marble countertop. The Statuarietto marble arrived in one large piece.

They had the mill create new baseboards to match the rest of the house.

The reproduction brass drawer pulls and glass knobs lend warmth to the white cupboards.

The original glass doorknobs dress up the solid wood doors throughout the house.

The Batemans inherited an assortment of skeleton keys which they use on the still functional locks throughout the house.

Some of the 19th century lighting fixtures remain in place.

Some, but not all, of the original slate sidewalks were salvaged from the recent street and sidewalk reconstruction and installed in the walkway up to the house.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County is pleased to honor Ashley and David Bateman for their loving renovation of their home at 27 Summit Street.

Landmark Award 2017: St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Le Roy

By Howard B. Owens


Press release:

St. Mark’s Episcopal Church of Le Roy congregation is celebrating their 200th year this year. In 1867 they decided to replace the original church and purchased land on Main Street where the Upham’s flour mill stood. They reasoned by using the foundation of the mill as the church’s foundation it would result in a savings on the building cost. The Patterson Manufacturing Company of Warsaw, New York constructed this church using Andrew Jackson Warner’s design. Mr. Warner was one of Rochester’s best know architects. The church is constructed of limestone with limestone quoins. The Gothic features of this building are the buttresses at the towers, gabled roofs and lancet windows. Also observe the rose window with its quatrefoil pattern openings. St. Mark’s formally opened in December 1870.

After many years of planning and delay the cornerstone ceremony was held in September,1957 for a whole new addition which included classrooms, meeting room, offices, restrooms and another boiler room to heat this the new structure. This was formally consecrated in 1961.

It was not until 2000 when the floor of the nave was sagging that the church foundation was inspected and found the original beams from the mill had either rotted off the foundation or were inadequate to hold the weight of the building. In 2002 a capital fund campaign was successful in raising money for the foundation, remodeling the Undercroft and kitchen. In 2003 the Altar window, that shows the biblical story of the angel St. Mark above the lion, was refurbished. In 2006 the Rose Window was refurbished.

In 2007 the church added a memorial chapel with a columbarium. It was decided that the best location for the memorial chapel would be in the tower room adjacent to the nave. This area was in need of restoration and repairs including re-plastering, repainting the walls, refinishing the woodwork and upgrading the light system. The added beauty of the beautiful blue Stained-Glass windows in this area makes for a prefect Memorial Chapel.

The Landmark Society of Genesee Co. preservation award for Tender Loving Care is given to St. Mark’s. 

Landmark Society of Genesee County to hold annual Preservation Awards & Dinner Oct. 7, must RSVP by Sept. 30

By Billie Owens

The public is invited to attend the Lanmark Society of Genesee County's annual Preservation Awards & Dinner on Oct. 7 at Batavia First United Methodist Church.

Dinner begins at 6, with the awards ceremony to follow. The church is located at 8221 Lewiston Road, Batavia.

RSVP by Sept. 30 to (585) 757-2714 or

Cost is $15 for a chicken dinner. If you prefer a vegetarian meal, please request this when making your reservation.

The 50-year-old society supports the many people who enhance the quality of our county by the preservation and improvement of their homes, churches and businesses.

The awardees for 2017 have not yet been announced.

The Landmark Society of Genesee County
P.O. Box 342
Batavia, NY 14021-0342

Landmark Society honors owners of six local properties

By Howard B. Owens


(Photo submitted by the Landmark Society of Genesee County.)

The Landmark Society of Genesee County presented its annual preservation awards Saturday during a dinner at the First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy.

Pictured are: Garth and Amy Swanson, David and Robyn Tufts, Peg Sanford with Gregg and Debbie McAllister, Beverly Bodeker, manager of the Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant, Michelle and Chris Krtanik, Pastor David Pepper and Ann Ver Hague.

For more information on the winners, click here.

Landmark Society announces winners of annual Preservation Awards

By Billie Owens

The Landmark Society of Genesee County has announced the honorees for this year's annual Preservation Awards.

They will be feted at a dinner and awards ceremony starting a 6 p.m. on Oct. 15 at the First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy, located at the corner of routes 5 and 19.

The honorees are:

  • The First Presbyterian Church of Le Roy -- 7 Clay St., Le Roy
  • Gregg and Debbie McAllister -- 21 Ross St., Batavia
  • David and Robyn Tufts -- 438 E. Main St., Batavia
  • Garth and Amy Swanson -- 6209 Main Road, Stafford
  • Chris and Michelle Krtanik -- 4835 Linden Road, East Bethany
  • Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant -- 1227 Gilmore Road, Corfu

Cost for the dinner is $18 per person. Please RSVP by Oct. 7 to: or by phoning 585-757-2455.

Landmark Society to present awards to five buildings

By Howard B. Owens


The Landmark Society of Genesee County is presenting awards to five local buildings for preservation or restoration work at its annual dinner tomorrow night. Dinner tickets are $15 and it starts at 6 p.m. at the Elba United Methodist Church.

The five winners are:

  • Tender Loving Care: Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St., Batavia
  • Restoration: residence at  5211 Watson Road, Elba
  • Tender Loving Care: Cornell Cooperative Extension , 420 E. Main St., Batavia (top photo)
  • Interior Preservation: Corfu Grange, 73 Alleghany Road, Corfu
  • Tender Loving Care: residence at 32 Tracy Ave., Batavia

(Photos by Howard Owens, except interior of grange hall)

Press release:

This year’s honorees have each spent decades preserving and maintaining their historic properties. Their conscientious care has improved their neighborhoods and helped preserve our county’s architectural history for future generations.

Adam Miller was the second owner of the building that houses Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle store at 8 Center St., Batavia. He owned and operated the store for over 30 years before passing ownership to his children, Joyce Masse and A. Gary Miller, in the late 1970s. They still own the building today, but in 2002, sold the retail business “Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle” to John and Cathy Roche. The distinctive neon sign was installed in the mid-1950s on the front of the building and was restored in the 1990s. The Miller family and the Roches are being honored for the Tender Loving Care they have given this beloved Batavia landmark.

When Michael and Alison Riner bought and inhabited their Greek Revival farm house in Elba, it was quite dilapidated. The home had been vacant for years and didn’t even have running water. One vision, 20 years, and a lot of construction later, it is now a charming, immaculate home for their family. The Riners have ingeniously blended original architectural features with modern conveniences.    

For over 60 years the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Genesee County has taken excellent care of this historically and architecturally significant building that houses their offices. The Tender Loving Care they have given their 1820s property has greatly added to the streetscape of Main Street, Batavia.

Charles and Mary Brenner have spent over 30 years maintaining and restoring their “Princess Anne” style home on Tracy Avenue in Batavia. They have performed all of the work themselves and it has truly been a labor of love. They stripped all of the paint from the interior woodwork to reveal the natural beauty of the wood. Using a palette of eight different colors, the home’s exterior has been painted so that its unique features stand out.

Corfu Grange #142 was founded in 1874 and the meetings were held in the homes of its members. In 1914, the Grange purchased the Universalist Church. Then in 1939, the building was moved across the street to the present location. The curved beadboard ceiling and original gaslight fixtures are notable features of this well-preserved interior space.


32 Tracy Ave., Batavia


5211 Watson Road, Elba


Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle


Corfu Grange

Landmark Society presents documentary on early architectural styles in Genesee County

By Traci Turner

The Landmark Society of Genesee County showed a second screening last night of its documentary on Federal-style Architecture to highlight the importance of the historical style.

The event at GO ART! featured the live action documentary and insights from guest speaker Bernard Schmieder, producer of the film and past president of the Landmark Society.

The film takes you back to the early 1800s when the Federal Style was the most popular home design for family farmers and artisans settling in Batavia. The style differed from Colonial-style homes in many ways. Federal homes were typically rectangular structures with symmetrical elements. The style was mainly composed of simple designs and furnishings. Many of the design elements included circles, semi-circles and ellipses. 

Most of the materials used to build the homes could be found on the land. All the wood needed to build the framework was cut down from nearby forests. Locally water powered sawmills made construction easy. Brick was also a common material used in building the structure. The bricks were made from locally dug clay and fired at brick yards.

Windows and doors were all made on sight as well. The large windows were divided into several panes with simple molding. The doors were flat paneled with latches. The main door was usually in the center of the house and the most decorative element of the exterior. The flooring was primarily made out of chestnut wood because it was easy to hand plane. 

The distinguishing interior characteristic of a Federal-style home was the fireplace. There were no iron stoves so homeowners used brick fireplaces as their main source of heat. The largest fireplace was located in the center of the house and had a cooking hearth. Typically next to the cooking hearth was a beehive oven for baking bread. Smaller fireplaces were built in the bedrooms.

Following the screening, Schmieder held a discussion about making the movie and the restoration of the 1815 Federal-style home he and his wife, Jane, own in Bethany.

Schmieder restored the home room by room using the sawmill and blacksmith shop on the property. 

"I enjoy woodworking so I was interested in restoring the home and using all the old hand tools," Schmieder said. 

Although the home is not symmetrical it still has many Federal-style features including six fireplaces, a beehive oven, large windows, flat-paneled doors and chestnut board floors. Schmieder also made furniture by hand to match the Federal Style.

There are only a small amount of these Federal-style homes remaining in Genesee County. The Landmark Society hoped the screening revived the community's interest in historical architecture and the importance of preserving the Federal-style homes that remain.

In November, the Landmark Society will hold another screening for the second part of the architectural series which explores the Greek Revival Style. DVD copies of the series are also for sale.

Landmark Society will show a documentary on the Federal and Adams style of architecture

By Traci Turner

The Landmark Society of Genesee County will present a live action documentary on the Federal and Adams styles of architecture for a second screening. 

The screening will be held at 7 p.m. June 16 at GO ART! The event is free and open to the public.

Lucine Kauffman, president of the Landmark Society, is showing the film for a second time because the last screening was 15 years ago when Bernard Schmieder, past landmark society president, finished filming the two-part architectural series.

"When we did the premiere screening, people had VHS players and we sold VHS tapes of the documentary," Kauffman said. "Now technology is DVDs, so we are bringing the documentary back to reach a new audience and give people the chance to purchase a DVD copy."

Kauffman hopes the community comes out for the screening because it's a great education tool for students or anyone who is interested in learning about Genesee County's architectural history.

During the early 1800s, the Federal and Adams style of architecture was popular in Genesee County. The architecture was the first formal residential style in the county. As a result of newly published design books, homeowners could choose from various home style designs for architectural elements like windows and doors.

After the screening, Schmieder will give a talk about producing the film and restoring his 1815 Federal Style home in Bethany. He will provide details about how he refinished his house using hand tools from the 1800s and milling his own lumber. 

In October, LSGC will be showing the second film in the series about Greek Revival architecture in Genesee County.

Winners of architectural drawing contest announced by Landmark Society

By James Burns


The Landmark Society of Genesee County announced the winners of the 25th annual fourth-grade architectural art contest. The goal of the contest is to promote awareness of Genesee County and highlight the talents of the area's fourth-grade students.

Below is 1st Place winner Zoey Shepard from Byron-Bergen.


Below is 2nd Place Aidan McClurg from Elba.


Below is 3rd Place Alyssa Ball from Byron-Bergen.


There were also 20 Honorable Mentions.

From John Kennedy School: Jasmine Penders, Raydence Stehlar, Avelin Tomidy, Sofia Oltramari, Jakenzi Lee, Shawn Schwartzmeyer, Briana Welsh, Christina Michele Brown, Jenick Baker, Ariana Ddelandi, Katelyn Mance, Olivia Shell, Gavin Fowler.

From Oakfield –Alabama: Brooke Kennedy.

From Pavilion: John Philips, Evelyn Northrup.

From Byron-Bergen: Jason Bleiler, Ava Wagoner, Kendall Phillips.





Shown with the children is Lucine Kauffman of the Landmark Society of Genesee County. For more information please visit

Collaborative concert uses music, photos to celebrate Genesee County landmarks

By Daniel Crofts


In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the Landmark Society of Genesee County is teaming up with the Genesee Symphony Orchestra for a special concert 4 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 8. 

The concert will feature two slideshows of Genesee County's historic and architectural gems, each set to a different musical piece.  Photographers whose work will appear include Howard Owens, Genesee County Historian Larry Barnes, Landmark Society President Lucine Kauffman, Laurie Baker Oltramari and others.

"It's partly a nostalgic look back," Kauffman said. "There are pictures of buildings that have been lost (as a result of urban renewal). But it ends on a positive note. There is still a lot left in Genesee County that is historically and architecturally significant."

Kauffman said one of the goals of this event is to raise awareness of and pride in this heritage among Genesee County residents, and to encourage good stewardship of what we have.

First, the audience will be treated to Ottorino Respighi's "Church Windows" and a slideshow of windows from various Genesee County churches -- including, among many others:

  • St. Mary's Roman Catholic Church (Resurrection Parish), Ellicott St. in Batavia
  • Temple Emanu-El, Bank St. in Batavia
  • St. James Episcopal Church, Route 5 in Batavia
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Route 20 in Darien Center
  • North Bergen Presbyterian Church, North Bergen Road in Bergen
  • Indian Falls United Methodist Church, Route 77 in Corfu
  • St. Peter's Roman Catholic Church (Our Lady of Mercy Parish), Route 19 in Le Roy

Next, they will enjoy Charles Ives' "Three Places in New England." The first movement of this song will be set to a slideshow of various Genesee County barns, celebrating the County's agricultural roots. The second movement will accompany images of old Batavia and of buildings being knocked down during urban renewal. Finally, the third movement will score a slideshow of Genesee County sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including:

  • Stafford Four Corners Historic District
  • Historic Batavia Cemetery
  • Alexander Cobblestone Town Hall
  • Richmond Memorial Library
  • Augustus S. Tryon House (Le Roy)
  • Batavia VA Medical Center
  • Gifford-Walker Farm (Bergen)

The concert will begin at 4 p.m. at Genesee Community College's Stuart Steiner Theater, at 1 College Road in Batavia. Tickets are $15 for adults, $7 for students, $10 for seniors and $35 for families (parents and children 12 and under).

People may purchase tickets at the door or in advance at the following locations:

  • GoArt!, 201 E. Main St. in Batavia
  • Roxy's Music Store, 228 W. Main St. in Batavia
  • Batavia Senior Center, 2 Bank St. in Batavia
  • Bank of Castile, 29 Main St. in Le Roy
  • Online at

Photos: Friday's rehearsal. By Howard Owens.

To purchase prints, click here.

Landmark Society to hand out 2014 awards at dinner Saturday

By Howard B. Owens

The Landmark Society of Genesee County hosts its annual awards dinner Saturday at the GO-ART! building (Seymour Place), 201 East Main St., Batavia.

Dinner is at 6 p.m. with the awards presentation to follow.

The cost is $15 per person (make checks payable to "Sweet Ecstasy").

RSVP by calling (585) 343-9313 by 5 p.m., Thursday.

Here are photos of the winners with links to articles on each winner supplied by the Landmark Society.

Dr. Ronald R. Reed, Reed Eye Associates, Batavia Adaptive Re-use (top photo)

Ben and Joyce Davis, Outstanding Exterior Paint Treatment

Batavia Downs Gaming/WROTB, Outstanding Signage

Patricia Smith, Renovation

Amy Burns, Tender Loving Care

Sharon Johnson Home, Tender Loving Care

Sharon Johnson Home, Tender Loving Care

By Howard B. Owens

Landmark article by Larry Barnes

The Sharon Johnson home is located on Roosevelt Avenue in the City of Batavia.  According to deeds in the County Clerk’s office, it is a part of the Anna T. Mileham subdivision laid out by R. A. Wentworth in 1910.

The design of the house defies placement in any single category of architectural style.  The City Assessor refers to it as a cape cod design.  Laurie Oltramari, past president of Landmark, refers to it as a “mashup” of styles.  She points out that the front gables with the finial or pinnacle at the peak make it look like a Gothic Revival cottage, especially with the entrance having a traditional Gothic pitch. On the other hand, the brickwork that surrounds the windows is more of an Italianate characteristic.  Laurie concludes that it may simply be a vernacular post-World War I home with European influences.  Whatever description one chooses, everyone agrees that it is a strikingly attractive house.

When the Historic Preservation Commission in Batavia designated the house as a landmark, it was thought that the date of construction was 1924.  However, a review of the deed records in the County Clerk’s office leaves some doubt.  When the property was sold by James and Monica Anderson in 1941, there is a reference to structures on the land.  However, there is no such reference when the Anderson’s bought the property in 1937.  Furthermore, the property changed hands several times in the 15 years before 1937 and in 1924 was in the hands of the Bank of Batavia in what appear to be foreclosure proceedings that date to 1922.  In short, the house existed in 1941, but exactly when it was built and by whom is something of a mystery.

Sharon Johnson’s connections to the house begin with Walter and Charlotte Stevens.  The Stevenses purchased 44 Roosevelt in 1941.   They also operated the Rest Haven Nursing Home on Ross Street where Sharon’s mother, Shirley Johnson, worked as a nurse.  When Charlotte became ill with cancer, Shirley Johnson became her personal nurse.  When Mrs. Stevens died, her husband, Walter, invited Shirley and Sharon Johnson to live with him at 44 Roosevelt.   Sharon recalls sleeping in a corner room behind this window.

Sharon recalls Walter telling her that someday the house would be hers.  In fact, Walter willed the house to Sharon’s mother, Shirley Johnson, and then, years later, in the early 1980s, Shirley sold it to Sharon.

For the most part, the house has been kept faithful to its apparent original construction.  (Picture 9) It is a single floor home of 1,232 sq. ft. with two bedrooms, two baths, and a full basement.  A fireplace graces the northern wall.  The exterior is surfaced with stucco and brick.  The trim on the front entryway door and the lights at the two entrances  compliment the overall appearance.

Foundation plantings  further enhance the appearance of the house as do these Rose of Sharon bushes on either side of the front entrance.  (Picture 17) Two lions stand guard at the head of the walkway.

The Landmark Society is pleased to recognize Sharon Johnson’s efforts to preserve this lovely home by granting her our 2014 Tender Loving Care Award.

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