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Portville Historical and Preservation Society Fund established at CRCF

Mon, Jan 22nd 2024 03:00 pm

The Portville Historical and Preservation Society (PHPS) recently established an agency endowment at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation to support the agency’s efforts to preserve the long and rich history of the Portville community.

Ronda Pollock, the PHSPS founder, encouraged the agency to establish the fund to support the organization’s mission and programming and its long-term sustainability.

PHPS was established in 1986 and has focused on collecting, preserving and exhibiting historic materials pertinent to the past of the town and village of Portville and surrounding areas in the years since.

In the future, PHPS plans to extend its reach to a wider audience and become a destination in the study and enjoyment of New York State History, said Pollock.

Over the years, the PHPS has released a number of print publications chroniclingPortville.Historical.1 important Portville history, including A History of the Town Portville, Portville Goes to War and History of Farming in the Portville Area.

The historical society also publishes a newsletter on an ongoing basis that tells stories of Portville and the surrounding communities’ past.

Formerly located on Maple Avenue, the Portville Historical and Preservation Society now holds a location in the historic Bedford Corners on State Route 305. Bedford Corners was officially listed on the State Register of Historic Places in 2003.

PHPS President Cindy Kelley mentioned that the office in the Eshelman House is open every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and other days by appointment.

“We welcome visitors and friends to tour our restored buildings, and we will aid them in their historical research and genealogy,” she said.

In 2001, Col. Chares O. Eshelman deeded the land at Bedford Corners, including Bedford Corners School House, Portville Grange and the home of Jacob Bedford, which was constructed in 1856.

The Bedford Corners School House was built in 1864 to educate students in Joint School District No. 7 in the Town of Portville and Little Genessee. The schoolhouse continued to serve the district until the centralization of the Portville School District in 1942.

The historical and preservation society has successfully restored and maintained the Bedford house and the Bedford Corners Schoolhouse. The agency hopes to be able to continue restoration work on the Grange building that occupies land at Bedford Corners.

The building was first a cheese factory that operated until the early 1920s before being conveyed to Portville Grange No. 842, where local farmers and their families held meetings and gatherings.

“We are excited to work with the Portville Historical and Preservation Society for many years to come,” said Kirk Windus, CRCF executive director. “The communities in Cattaraugus County have so much history and heritage that deserve to be celebrated. It takes the work of dedicated volunteers, like those that lead the Portville Historical and Preservation Society, and the support of our communities to preserve that history, and we are happy to support that work in any way we can.”

Donations can be made to Portville Historical and Preservation Society Fund at the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, 301 North Union St., Suite 203, Olean, NY 14760 or online at cattfoundation.org.

The Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation is the area’s supportive, responsive, and trusted community foundation. Established in 1994, CRCF is growing good by connecting donors to the causes they care about most in the region. Grants from the foundation support many areas, including education, scholarships, health care, the arts, community development, human service, and youth development. To learn more, call (716) 301-CRCF (2723), email [email protected], or visit online at www.cattfoundation.org. CRCF is also on Facebook (facebook.com/cattfoundation) and Twitter (@CattFoundation).