Many of you that know me, know I have a passion for History. Now when I was young, I did not enjoy it at all. Funny as you get older you have different likes, different taste. I moved to Springville area 30 years ago, not knowing anything about this area. The last few years, I have enjoyed learning the history of the area and what a wonderful history it is. So full, so much this town and village has gone through.
The stained glass window in the above photo is from the Lucy Bensley Genealogy Center. The Universalist Church was built in 1897 and the window installed and has been up there in the eaves ever since. The building itself has been several things… after the Church disbanded it was then the public library, ran by Lucy Bensley herself for almost 50 years! Then it was a BOCES class room and then the Genealogy Center. The Chamber of Commerce also has its office there. You can stop by any Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9am to 3pm and learn about the history of the town and the folks and businesses that were established and ran. A rich history indeed.
This week a member that lives out of town, sent back this horse statute that once was behind the bar at the Leland house. How exciting that was, as some books as well. We also get folks that bring in photos and quilts, tools, kitchenware, and their own genealogy research they have done. We love having that. Photographs… well, we have lots and lots and lots of them… only problem is .. back in the day, they would only put the names of the cats, dog or cow that was in the photo… with my sisters, or grandmas and nothing else.. so we are always looking for someone to help us to ID these people.
We have the old bound newspapers from the town digitalized and make searching so much easier. How fun it is to sit and read these papers from back in 1868, or 1844, 1900s…. as the events of the area built up, from measles and small pox, to the railroad coming and being built, the GAR being formed, then the Legion, VFW, and all the social organizations…. The Odd Fellows .. IOOF, the Knights of the Maccabees (KOTM) the Free and Accepted Masons, Womans Relief Corps (WRC) and you had to know what the initials stood for… as that was what the columns were titled. You could read about the meetings, who attended them, what they talked about… and when they were going to meet again. You could read when family came in to visit, or friends from other towns, who had the best cows, or the largest vegetables in their gardens. You could pay for a subscription with a cord of wood or by writing an article or brief article on what went on in your town the previous week. I so love learning more and more about the town, so much so, that I now create a story for the Springville Times each week titled Looking back.
After all that fun I have there when I came home, I have some of the best pets, Fraser always greats me and wants snuggles right away, which of course he gets. Then there is Violet, the talker and she makes sure I know when to feed them… Rosebud who is the little princess who rules the roost. She is talker as well. Then there is Akela, who is a parrot, but does not realize he is a bird, so reacts when one flies by the window. Then will sings and whistle while I work around the house… and oh yeah… he likes to take showers with me.
Going gluten free has helped me lower my pain levels so I can truly enjoy volunteering at the Lucy Bensley Center, writing more articles and helping others to do their own research. We have several folks that now come in weekly to learn more about their family, and some that just come to read the old papers.
Stop down some day and visit with us, learn more about the town, and all the awesomeness it has and share with us your family history, your stories of the past.