Schroeppel Historical Society progress on the capital fund for vital repairs

The Schroeppel Historical Society building was formerly St. John’s Episcopal Church, dedicated in 1911. Photo by Neal Cook.

PHOENIX - Members of the Schroeppel Historical Society embarked on an ambitious fundraising campaign to correct exterior issues with their now 108-year-old building in January of 2019. The campaign has been undertaken with the guidance of restoration architect Dean Biancavilla, who is working pro bono on the project. The building has thus far retained the characteristics of English Country Gothic architecture, including its original stained glass windows and coloration, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Under the guidance of Biancavilla, repairs to the exterior will preserve its historic style.

Despite the fact that the society closes down during the winter months due to the high cost of heating the building, the group immediately opened the campaign with a letter to members and residents describing the situation, as well as reviewing the focus, mission and highlights of the organization as it relates to the community. The letter was also published in the Phoenix Register and on the Schroeppel Historical Society Facebook page. The response to these appeals has been outstanding. Current residents, former Phoenicians and graduates offered their services or donated to the Capital Fund, many dedicating their gift in honor or in memory of someone important to them.

Additionally, members forged ahead with extra fundraising programs through the spring with help from Natalie Curran and the Phoenix Public Library staff, who with Jason Godkin, Director of Facilities at Phoenix Central School District, provided a venue and equipment for two well-attended programs by Keith Conroy, retired electrical engineer and UFO investigator. Conroy went on to give a series of four programs on UFOs during the summer. Ted Pittsley, master cabinet maker, fabricated the fundraising thermometer sign to the front of the building. David Brown assisted with handling of mailed-in donations during the winter. Joy Swenson, of the Baldwinsville Garden Club donated vintage items, and Kim Ventura and Phil Williamson provided plants for the garage day sale. Kim Ventura and Dean Biancavilla set in motion a grant application due early in 2020.

May 20 marked the beginning of Schroeppel Historical Society’s regular programs, continuing through October. These program are free to the public because the society holds a charter from New York state as an educational institution. Regular programs require substantial effort on the part of members, as do the two annual fundraisers, the blueberry sale in July and the upcoming art, craft and bake sale with silent auction on Nov. 23 and 24. Planning for the Capital Fund has continued, however, with the start date for construction set for spring of 2020. Plans are being made for three open-houses with accompanying lectures at the Schroeppel Mansion, and two historic homes in the village, now owned by Cynthia Hoxie and Mary Charles. SHS will again participate in the village garage day sale in May. Dean Biancavilla and Kim Ventura set in motion a grant application due early in 2020.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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