History and Places
Cemetery gets bicentennial fix-up
by Howard W. Appell
Last autumn received a call from Livingston County Historian Amie Alden, alerting Olson to the fact that, with the bicentennial for the Town of Groveland approaching, the historic Williamsburg Cemetery on Abel Road was in need of refurbishing. Specifically, the wrought iron fence surrounding the cemetery was suffering from frost heave, breakage and severe corrosion.
In November, Olson’s class of first-year students visited the cemetery, bringing sections of the fence back to the classroom shop. New bollards (vertical support members) were made while the fencing sections were straightened, had bottom pieces replaced, and then underwent a thorough wire brushing and painting.
This spring, 18 sections comprising the road frontage side of the cemetery boundary were set back in place in three step-like groups, with each group properly plumbed to the horizontal and vertical. (Originally, the fenced was set at an angle matching the hill slope.) The BOCES conservation class assisted, clearing away vegetation, shooting the grade elevations, auguring post holes and pouring concrete footers. The project included restoration of two original gate posts which, Olson anticipates, will eventually be sporting hinged gates built to match the rest of the fence.
The present front of the cemetery along Able Road — which had yet to exist during the 1792-1813 flourishing of Williamsburg — was the original cemetery back. The first entryway to the cemetery utilized two still existing gullies approaching the northern cemetery boundary.
The fence itself post-dates the settlement and most burials by a great many years. It matches the northern segment of wrought iron fence along the Avon Road fronting the Hartford House property. This northern segment of Hartford fence is now being removed, but at one time extended as far north as the central school property.
Hartford House owner Corrin Strong suspects the fence was placed by “the boss,” James W. Wadsworth Sr., son of the Civil War general, perhaps in the late 1800s. A family legend says that Wadsworth purchased and installed the fence after winning substantial stakes in a horse race.
Installation of the Wiliamsburg cemetery fence is similarly attributed to the goodwill of a Wadsworth who supposedly “won the fence in a bet.”
The western, northern and eastern cemetery fence lines remain disheveled and in need a repair. Olson envisions future classes completing the full cemetery perimeter. The final effort may end up being a few sections short, since it will continue to be necessary to cannibalize some sections as replacements for others which are beyond repair.
Complimenting the BOCES metal trade and conservation class efforts is the work of Groveland Highway Superintendent Greg Adamson and his crew, who have been busy clearing, mowing, mulching and landscaping the old cemetery.
This cemetery is the last remnant of the short-lived Williamsburg settlement, whose structures had mostly vanished by the second decade of the 19th century. The settlement was founded by land agent Charles Williamson, and supposedly named after his British sponsor, Sir William Pulteney.
Plagued by poor roads; sabotaged by immigrant tenants lacking in wilderness survival skills, and surpassed by later settlements in Bath, Geneva and Geneseo, Williamsburg has become one of the “lost” villages of the American frontier.
Rolling in the green: Valley landscaping business perks up
By MELISSAH YANG
Tom Hoff, a landscape designer, said business has more than doubled since the housing market collapsed. “Back in 2008 to 2009, I was getting 50 jobs a year,” he said. “And now, I’m getting closer to 130 to 140.”
He checks in on his latest project: converting 5,800 square feet of dead grass into a resort-style backyard paradise. Hoff’s subcontractors, roll out a sparkling green carpet of artificial grass. Other backyard features include oleander and iceberg rose shrubs framing the lot, a small vineyard for homemade winemaking, fresh concrete work around the pool, a wrought iron gate and a fire pit.
But Hoff said this particular job was unusual. Most homeowners were spending more modestly. “They’re not going all-out like before the burst,” Hoff said. “In 2004 to 2005, people were doing outdoor kitchens, pools, spas and a lot of upgrades. This time around, a lot of people are just getting the basics like lawns and patios.”
Hoff also said some homeowners were taking home improvement into their own hands.
Levi Lambson said business has improved as more homeowners come in to pick up trees and shrubs for their yards.
“Things are slowly starting to come back around,” Lambson said. “I think people are definitely out spending a lot more money than before.”
According to the March Nevada taxable sales report, consumers are spending half of what they spent in 2005 on building materials and garden equipment.
But since 2010, home improvement sales have increased by 6 percent statewide and 19 percent in Clark County. And the county saw a 51 percent increase in specialty trade contracting — including plumbing and electrical work — than a year earlier.
“Every time I go out to a house to give a quote, I see a plumber, a painter, a contractor,” said supervisor Carlos Rosales. “They’re fixing everything.”
Jamel Taylor attributes the growing popularity of home improvement and renovation to people looking for a “staycation.”
“It’s a much greater investment to invest in the home that they live in and make it nice and livable and a paradise in your backyard than to actually leave and go on vacation,” Taylor said.
And that’s good news for Taylor, who saw his revenue increase over the past two years by 10 percent to $1.1 million in 2012.
But for some landscaping companies, the change in revenue has been minimal despite low home prices.
“We’ve been in business for so long that we didn’t feel the crunch,” Evelyn Ronnow of Wet-tec, a landscape company of 30 years, said. “We’ve been one of the blessed ones.”
Bath Beautification Project supported by local Rotary Club
May 29, 2013 the Bath Rotary Club saw its Bath Beautification Project come to fruition when twenty-three new wrought iron, hanging baskets filled with colorful flowers were hung on the light poles along Liberty Street.
The floral arrangements and baskets were done by TNT Greenhouses in Bradford. In addition, those Rotarians who helped hang the baskets that day with the assistance of personnel from the Bath Village Department of Public Works planted flowers, provided by the Bath Beautification Trust Fund, in the barrels throughout the downtown area.
The local club sponsored two fundraisers to benefit this project. In April it held a Stearns’ Chicken Barbeque, and at its 90th Anniversary Celebration Dinner in May the winners of its Big Bucks Raffle were announced.
Becky Stranges, Bath Rotary Club President, remarked, “Flowers say to residents and visitors that people care about the community. Betty Langendorfer has spent endless hours as the caretaker of the village beautification for many years. The previous baskets made the task rather difficult, and it was thus the general consensus of the Bath Beautification Committee to replace the wrap-around pole baskets with larger hanging baskets.
When the Bath Rotary Club heard about this need, it eagerly took on the project to adorn the light poles lining historic Liberty Street with new wrought iron, hanging baskets. We hope that everyone enjoys these new baskets full of colorful flowers.” The Bath Rotary Club meets every Thursday at noon at the Bath Country Club.
At the Battle of Antietam in September 1862, the first true images of war were produced by photographer Alexander Gardner using a stereo camera. Gardner’s images were put on display at Mathew Brady’s Gallery in New York City. The public was shocked by the reality of the photographs. Newspapers of the day were unable to reproduce photographs and relied on artists’ woodcuts which were published in papers like Harper’s Weekly. Enterprising showmen produced traveling exhibits to tour in the North. Such a program was scheduled for presentation in Warren on Feb. 27 and 28 at Webb’s Hall on Main Street.
On this date in 1863, the Western Reserve Chronicle published a publicity story and advertisement for this event. Reporting that the exhibition was “highly spoken of by papers elsewhere,” the Chronicle reprinted an article from the Elmira (NY) Advertiser:
“The exhibition of Russell’s extensive and magnificent Panorama of the War gave the utmost satisfaction to a large and attentive audience. It gives a perfect and life-like view of the principal battles and incidents of the war, such as cannot be obtained in any other manner. None who appreciate good paintings, and an interesting rehearsal of the incidents connected therewith, will let the opportunity slip to see Russell’s magnificent Panorama.”
“The view of the city of Charleston is the most perfect production of art we ever witnessed; also the view of Baltimore was strikingly correct. The burning of Norfolk Navy Yard is a fine production. You can, as you gaze upon it, almost hear the fire as it burns and crackles through the dry timbers of those old line battleships. You see the masts falling, and can, in imagination, hear them as they splash upon the water. The artist has so truthfully portrayed the scenes of the battlefield that the observer can almost fancy himself a spectator of the real tragedy, and hear the roar of artillery and clash of arms.”
The Chronicle concluded, “If you wish to gain a comprehensive view of the war, and learn many of its interesting details, go and see Russell’s Panorama of the War.”
Webb’s Hall was built by Almon D. Webb in 1861. After the Great Warren Fire of 1860 had burned out most of the Main Street, Webb purchased the lot at 15-17 Main and erected a three story brick building, with store rooms at street level and office rooms in front on the second floor. The third floor, with a distinctive wrought-iron balcony overlooking Main, housed the opera hall with a 600 seat capacity. The stage with scenery occupied the west end of the auditorium. At the time, it was Warren’s only house of public entertainment with many traveling shows and entertainers appearing there along with local productions as well.
Almon D. Webb was active in civic affairs and served as mayor from 1863 through 1865. In the 1800s when the new opera house (later known as the Harris-Warren Movie Theatre) was built on High Street, Webb’s son, Peter L. Webb, was its manager. Peter L. Webb’s home is located at 352 Mahoning Ave. N.W.
Source: Warren’s Sutliff Museum.
ARMIDALE Courthouse could house a revolving display of artwork from the Hinton Collection if a bid by councillors to buy the building succeeds.
Armidale Dumaresq councillors Margaret O’Connor, Jenny Bailey and Laurie Bishop want ratepayers to buy the heritage-listed building from the NSW government when it is vacated later this year.
The building is owned by the NSW government and a spokesman from the Attorney-General and Justice department confirmed it would be listed for sale when the new courthouse opens later this year.
On Monday, the three councillors will ask their colleagues to consider a plan to buy the building “on favourable terms” and mull uses for the site.
Cr O’Connor said yesterday: “We want to put the idea to the community and elicit their comments as to how this unique Armidale icon could be used by ratepayers.”
Built in 1859-60, the courthouse features wrought iron gates, cedar furniture and joinery and a clock tower that was added in 1878.
The government spokesman said the old courthouse would be sold to the highest bidder through Property NSW.
Friends of the Hinton Collection spokeswoman June Hodgson agreed the old building would make a good site for a revolving collection of artworks from the Hinton collection.
“There are about 1300 pieces of artwork in the collection, many of which are stored at NERAM,” Ms Hodgson said.
“The collection has often been described as a ‘hidden jewel’. This plan would make that jewel more accessible and attract more tourists to the town.”
The plan will be debated by councillors at a full meeting on Monday.