By Caurie Putnam
In April 2019 five Brockport area museums opened their doors physically (and one virtually) for the first Night at the Museums event. The unique event (whose name was inspired by the 2006 Ben Stiller movie Night at the Museum) was hosted by the Emily L. Knapp Museum. It was such a huge hit and is planned again for this May.
The event will be held from 4-8 pm on Saturday, May 21, 2022. It is free (donations accepted) and participants can visit as many or few of the museums they’d like within the open hours.
“Very few villages are as fortunate as Brockport to be the site of five museums – each one is different, and each tells a unique story of Brockport’s history,” said Sue Savard, event founder. “We look forward to opening our doors once again to visitors looking for a chance to step back in time.”
Visitors can start and end their evening at any of the participating museums (below) or at a historic marker dedication from 4-4:30 p.m. that day at 36 Erie Street, Brockport. The Pomeroy Foundation marker memorializes the existence of the Brockport trolley depot station, which was part of the Buffalo, Lockport, Rochester Railway. The electric trolley was used from 1908-1931.
Capen Hose Co. No. 4 and Fire Museum, 237 Main St. S., Brockport. The Capen Hose Co. No. 4 was constructed in 1905 to provide fire protection to the Brockport community. It’s now a museum that houses a collection of Brockport firefighting apparatus, equipment and uniforms dating back to the late 1800’s. The site is also home to the Firefighters Memorial Monument, which was modeled after an iconic Associated Press photo taken at Ground Zero during the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The monument was dedicated on August 18, 2002.
Clarkson Academy, 8343 Ridge Road, Clarkson. The picturesque Greek revival academy was built around 1853 using local bricks and lime mortar. It was used as a school until 1956, but was vacant and dilapidated when the Clarkson Historical Society began restoration work in 2003. In 2013 the society began using the beautifully restored academy (complete with vintage desks and blackboards) for field trips, evening programming and an annual summer camp to learn cursive writing.
Emily L. Knapp Museum of Local History, 49 State St., Brockport. Located in the former home of the Seymour family, the museum opened in 1945. Volunteers have worked diligently over the past ten years to restore and update the museum’s displays, catalog documents and pictures and help patrons with genealogy research. The two-floor museum has fifteen display areas. May 21st event will unveil the museum’s newest displays – The Brockport Fair and the Ward Opera House stage and costumes from the opera, Iolanthe.
Morgan-Manning House, 151 Main St., Brockport. Built in 1854, this beautiful 20-room Victorian house was the main residence of D.S. Morgan and his family. It was heavily damaged in a fire in 1964 and the Western Monroe Historical Society undertook its restoration and management shortly after. It is fully restored to Victorian splendor and was placed on the National Register in 1991.
Sweden Farmers Museum, 4988 Lake Road S. The Sweden Farmers Museum is the Brockport area’s newest museum. It was created in 2005 by the Town of Sweden to celebrate the area’s agricultural history and promote the importance of local farming. The museum includes a restored, circa 1820s farmhouse and a barn from the late 1880s.
A few other adds-ons to the event this year include: an invitation to visit the Local History Room at the Seymour Library at 161 East Avenue. And to visit the Brockport Community Museum – a “Museum Without Walls” online at brockportcommunitymuseum.org.
Please join me in welcoming a new business to Brockport. Canaltown Counseling opens at 13 Water Street this week. The practice, which is a much needed addition to the westside, will provide mental health services to children and adolescents and the families that love them.
"This has been a labor of love for me," said owner and therapist Samantha Golden, LMHC. "Having the opportunity to grow my own private practice has been my dream. Now I am pleased that musing has come to fruition."
Golden is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, National Certified Counselor and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional- Level 1 who holds a Masters of Education in School Counseling and Certificate of Advanced Study in Mental Health Counseling (Bridge Program) from SUNY Brockport.
Joining Golden at Canaltown Counseling are therapists Roz Phillips, LMHC-P and Ashley Hill, LMHC-P.
The public is invited to an open house on Wednesday, September 8 from 5 to 8 p.m. At the open house, there will be tours, hors d'vores and beverages for adults and a Lego building competition and coloring contest for children.
Please help me in welcoming a new business to Hamlin. Duane and Stacey DeRoller, of Hamlin, have opened Affordably Mine - a modern take at a variety store - at 2176 Lake Rd. N. (across from Krony's in the former Dog Hair Everywhere). Duane is a veteran of the US NAVY (thank you for your 13 years of service Duane).
The store is very unique, welcoming and full of bargains.
Per Stacey: "We sell brand new merchandise that is exactly what you would find in any big retail store. We also sell NEW merchandise that may have damaged boxes. We have some store returned merchandise that has been tested and/or verified complete. We want to ensure that you are getting good, undamaged products."
The store also operates a "live" Facebook page for buying at Affordably Mine LLC Live.
Please join me in welcoming a new business to town! Nate Riexinger, a 2019 graduate of Brockport High School, has opened Rexy’s Rockin Tees at 2326 Colby Street.
I stopped out recently to check out Rexy's and was so impressed by Nate's designs (he had just finished awesome shirts for Daughtry band member Elvio Fernandes' non-profit Camp ROC Star) Nate does custom screen printing (tees, hats, hoodies, bags, etc.) and laser engraving (glass, wood metal, leather and more).
"It's really nice being a business owner and being able to flex my creative bone this way," said Nate, who is also a talented musician and the co-founder of The Skate To End Hate Event, which holds events to combat bullying.
He established Rexy's in 2020, but just opened his brick and mortar location and went full-time recently. The business also has a trailer with its laser engraving operation inside, which travels to festivals. Nate also hopes to expand Rexy's offerings to embroidery and signs in the future.
Rexy's Rockin Tees is currently open by appointment only by calling Nate at 585-331-1804 or emailing Rexysrockintees@yahoo.com. It's right by the Ledgedale Airpark, next to Jo Jo's Bakery.
Lift Bridge Book Shop will be hosting author and Brockport High School graduate Kristen Bott Nordstrom for a live reading and signing of her non-fiction picture book Mimic Makers on Thursday, August 12 at 10:30 a.m.
Mimic Makers profiles ten biomimicry inventors from around the world whose investigations about nature lead to amazing inventions that help people and the planet. These innovators come from different areas of STEM expertise – biologist, chemical engineer, material science engineer, and microbiologist to name a few, but all work in the scientific field of biomimicry.
Kristen is a writer and full-time public school second grade teacher and founding member of a title one STEAM Academy in CA, which serves a beautiful and diverse group of students including: foster youth, bilingual learners, and children on the autism spectrum.
Kristen’s roots are in the Hamlin and Brockport area. She visits her family every year in Hamlin and enjoys beautiful Lake Ontario, blueberry picking, bike rides to Hamlin Beach State Park, Abbott's ice cream, Lift Bridge Books and the Strand Theater to name just a few. While in town this summer she has also done readings at the Hamlin Public Library and the Seymour Library.
Kristen comes from a big teaching family. Her grandmother - Marjorie VanCise, her mother - Carol Bott, her aunt - Ruth Rath, her uncle and aunt - Bill and Liz Fitzgerald, all taught in the Brockport school systems for most of their teaching careers.
I had so many extraordinary teachers in my life from the Brockport area that encouraged me, and taught the positive and powerful impact a teacher can have on a child's life. This is something I've taken with me wherever I've gone in the world. Mr. Dave Kelly was my AP Biology teacher at BHS. He was a great teacher and taught through a whole-system perspective to biology. I also want to thank Mr. John Izzo for being such an incredible teacher and amazing theater director.
By Caurie Putnam
Recently, members of Brockport's Mary Jane Holmes book club learned that the majority of books requested by Seymour Library patrons had to come from another Monroe County library.
This spurred the group, which is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year, into action!
The group, which also has the distinction of being one - if not thee - longest continuous book clubs in nation, reached out to another local book club - Loud Ladies Together - for help.
Over lunch at the Red Bird Café in Brockport, the two clubs joined forces and, thus far, through donations to the Foundation of the Seymour Library Inc., have purchased over fifty new books for the library.
"We really want to keep the effort rolling!" said Eileen OHara, who invites other local book clubs to join their campaign.
If interested, clubs can contact OHara at email@example.com or Carole Gravetter at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the Foundation of the Seymour Library, Inc. visit seymourlibraryweb.org/support/
Please join me in welcoming a new business to Brockport! Beth's Sewing Box opened at 7 Main Street (the former Seaward's Candy storefront) this week.
Owned and operated by Beth Schorer, the shop offers dry cleaning, alterations, custom clothing (prom dresses) and other items (ex. curtains, pillows, ex), embroidery services, bra-fittings and more. There's also crafts by local artisans and Beth plans to offer sewing and crafting classes in the future.
Beth, who also operates Beth's Sewing Box in Albion, also knows Brockport misses our chocolate and plans to carry Oliver's Chocolates in the fall.
- Caurie Putnam
The Finger Lakes Opera is the featured group for Brockport's Summer Serenades on Thursday, July 29, from 7 to 8:30 p.m., canal side, at the Brockport Welcome Center (11 Water Street).
The evening will feature 2019 young artist Anders Namestnik, 2020 Tomita Young Artist Victoria Thomasch and 2021 Tomita Young Artists Danielle Beckvermit, Veena Akama-Makia, and Edward Forstman.
Forstman will serve as the collaborative pianist while soprano Beckvermit, tenor Namestnik and mezzos Akama-Makia and Thomasch will sing a variety of popular arias from operas including Carmen, La bohème, and Don Giovanni, as well as songs from hit shows like My Fair Lady, Les Miserables, The Sound of Music, The Most Happy Fella, and more.
The performance is free and sponsored by the Village of Brockport. ~Caurie
A great time showing at and photographing the Spencerport American Legion Car Show today (July 24, 2021) at the Ferris Goodridge Post #330 on Trimmer Road. There were 292 gorgeous cars, trucks and bikes entered is this very well-run show. If you missed it, here are some upcoming car shows in the Brockport area:
1. Sunday, July 25 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. - Memorial Car Show for Kim Root at Ledgedale Airpark, 21 Eisenhauer Drive in Sweden.
2. Friday, August 27 6 p.m. to dusk - Brockport Lions Club Classic Car Cruisin' at Clarkson Good Neighbor Day. Hafner Park, 3645 Lake Road N. in Clarkson. More info: contact Toby Unger at 585-738-7006
By Caurie Putnam
Today was a beautiful afternoon for the Sweden Community Foundation's dedication of the Willie Sweeting Gazebo at Sweden Town Park on Redman Road.
Mr. Sweeting died in 2018 and was a giant in sports and recreation advocacy and action, especially baseball and softball, in the Brockport area. It was a testament to his legacy how well-attended today's event was by local leaders, community members and family members, including his widow Ann, who now lives in Georgia.
In fitting form, there were several youth baseball games going on at the fields around the gazebo during the dedication. The gazebo was funded by the Sweden Community Foundation and private donations.
The program from today's dedication had these lovely words to say about Mr. Sweeting:
"This gazebo is dedicated in memory of Willie Sweeting, lifelong resident and recreation advocate in the Town of Sweden. An outstanding high school athlete at Brockport High School, Willie owned and operated Earl 'n Bill's Fas Station with Earl Siegfreid for twenty years before starting a career at Brockport Central School District where he supervised the transportation mechanics, security staff and grounds and athletic fields. He created and maintained the baseball and softball fields at the school district and was instrumental in the refurbishing of the baseball filed at The College at Brockport. When Nietopski Field was built at the Sweden Town Park, Willie spent much time advising those who were building it. Sweden Community Foundation members believe there was no better friend to the Sweden community than Willie Sweeting."
Foundation members are Wayne Zyra, Jack Milner, Charlie Militello, Kelly Lewis, Chet Fery, Dan Hogan, Buddy Lester, Michelle Stevens and Michael Myers (who did a wonderful job planning today's event).