The former office of Canton historian Linda A. Casserly looked like a movie set.
Those who had the privilege to visit there or glanced at it through the second-story window of the Canton Municipal Building might know what we mean. It was one of those places that looked like it predated the building surrounding it, as though the building was built around the historian’s office. How else could that canoe on the wall have gotten there?
Each visit — whether to do research, pick up or drop off a document, or just say “Hi” — revealed something new to the visitor. Was that poster always there?
Under the watchful eye of Silas Wright, the historian’s office was a treasure trove of precious artifacts of Canton’s past. It felt like one of those cluttered yet orderly places.
To the visitor, it might look impossible to find anything. But Casserly usually could.
The historian’s office at 60 Main St. is now part of history. In August, Town Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley announced that a deal had been struck to lease what was once the Kaplan department store at the corner of Main Street and Riverside Drive for the new office of the Canton historian.
Since that time, volunteers have packed up, boxed and carefully transported artifacts and documents across the street to be categorized, organized and carefully put on display for all of Canton to see. Not only will there be history on display, the office will allow residents to interact with history.
The new office has a library, a research room and a photo room dedicated to the histories of Morley, Pyrites, Rensselaer Falls, Brick Chapel and Crary Mills. In the move, Casserly said she was helped immensely by Renice Bisnett, Rachael Towne and many more.
Canton has always been proud of its history, and rightly so. From places of higher learning to manufacturing to statesmanship, Canton has been a pioneer.
Now it is easier for Canton residents to appreciate that history.
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