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In the Beginning

Celin Schoen

Our original Trustees were Erma MacArthur, June Meagley, Helen Kaufman, Dorothy S. Van Buren and Georgianna Peter. We were incorporated under the NYS Board of Regents and received our first charter in 1997.

Hobart Historical Society BuildingAlthough the HHS has been around for several years, we only gained an official headquarters after St. Andrew’s Lodge, No 289, F&AM, disbanded and we were able to acquire the building, thanks to the efforts to the late State Sen. Edwyn Mason, H. Allen (“Al”) Knox, and others.

We found out very quickly that the building needed work if we were to use it safely. The first step was to have an architectural survey done to establish just what had to be done and set priorities. With the help of the Thomson Trust and a Technical Assistance grant from the NYS Council on the Arts, we hired the firm of Crawford Stearns, Restoration Architects, of Syracuse to do this, and worked with Randall Crawford. He studied the building, offered his opinions, and gave invaluable advice on what to do, when and how to do it, and “translated” a number of technical terms used in the process.

After seeking bids, we hired Frank Furlan, a Milford contractor who specializes in restoration of old buildings. We received a grant from the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation toward the cost of this work. Generous grants from the Catskill Watershed Corporation and the O’Connor Foundation provided most of the rest of the funds for this work.

The first priority was the basement, which was badly deteriorated. (The architect jabbed his jackknife blade into one of the support beams, and it went in up to the hilt with no effort!) The air was mildewy, the floor uneven, and we were advised to “have no more than 8 or 10 people in the building at a time.”

Furlan’s men went to work, and we had a basement which is dry and sound, a new furnace and hot water heater which save energy “big time,” and a sump hole which stays dry. It’s safe to breathe down there now!

The old furnace heated mainly the ceiling areas and shed soot over the rest of the room. Now our furnace keeps the rooms warm when in use, and the programmable thermostat keeps the building at an even temperature of 50 degrees the rest of the time to keep our pipes from freezing. We have also installed a dehumidifier to control the moisture in the air in the office area.

The questionable electrical system was over-hauled, the walls and ceiling repaired and painted, and cracks sealed.


Max Bancroft - January 20, 2011 at 12:29 am

Hello Hobart Historical Society, I am writing to ask if you have any information about Patrick Walsh c1825 who married Margaret Haley or Healy or Healy about 1853. They relocated to Sydney where they had children- Catherine c1854, Ellen c1856, Bridget c 1859, Margaret c1859 and John c1862. It has been suggested to me that Margaret Walsh (Nee Haley etc ) may have returned to Tasmania (following the death of Patrick Walsh) and died there.