Since our last “Chronicle,” CAMP has been hard at work in our effort to preserve the Civil War Memorial Building in Little Valley, NY. Most significantly, the Memorial Building has a new roof!
July 3, 2020 marked a significant date in CAMP’s efforts to rehabilitate the Civil War Memorial Building. A leaky roof plagued the Memorial Building within years after its dedication, and contributed to the eventual removal of one of the Memorial’s signature architectural elements in 1956–the glass dome. Water infiltration did not cease with the dome’s removal, and until recently, the problem persisted. Through the tireless effort and financial support from CAMP members and supporters, the Memorial Building received a new roof this summer! CAMP contracted with Top Choice Roofing to install a new spray foam roofing system on the Memorial Building and adjoining former Board of Elections Building. The roof work began on June 30, and was completed within the week.
Towards the end of CAMP’s fundraising efforts for the new roof, the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War awarded CAMP a $2000 grant. The grant application was made through The Moses A. Baldwin Camp #544, Department of New York. CAMP is especially grateful to Dennis J. Duffy, the Secretary-Treasurer of Baldwin CAMP for his assistance and efforts to secure this grant from the Sons of Union Veterans Preservation Fund grant.
CAMP WORK DAY &“WILMA FALL CRAWL”
CAMP members met at the Memorial Building on Saturday October 3rd for a fall work day.
Additionally, on the same day, CAMP participated in the W.I.L.M.A. (We Invite Local Manufactures and Artisans) Fall Crawl event.
A special event occurred on September 7, 1914 in Little Valley: the dedication of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building. Chilly, cloudy weather did not stop a large crowd from gathering for the celebration. In a tent pitched next to the Memorial, 217 Civil War veterans registered and were given badges and dinner checks. Fifteen automobiles and the Little Valley Boy Scouts helped to shuttle the veterans, accompanied by 57 members of the Sons of Union Veterans and about 100 of the men’s wives and daughters, to a dining hall under the grandstand at the county fairgrounds, where the crowd enjoyed a dinner of chicken and sweet potatoes. At 1:30 p.m. a procession formed, led by the marshal of the day, followed by the Little Valley village board, the village band, the uniformed and armed Franklinville Sons of Union Veterans, and about 75 of the Civil War veterans who felt fit enough to make the trek. The Little Valley fire department brought up the rear. The other Civil War veterans were shuttled back to the Memorial by automobile.
According to an account in the Salamanca Republican Press, “Upon arrival at the memorial building the veterans formed in a large half circle and were photographed, after which the national emblem was unfurled at the head of the new staff on the building. The band played the Star Spangled Banner, and County Superintendent of Highways Alexander Bird [former first lieutenant in the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry] led the veterans in three cheers for the flag and the Franklinville Sons of Veterans fired a salute.”
- L. Harper of Salamanca took the panoramic photograph of the assembled Civil War veterans. The finished prints, including borders, measured 35” x 10”. Despite the small size of the veterans in the photo, the image is so clear that they can be distinctly seen. According to the Library of Congress, the panoramic photo format was at the height of its popularity at the start of the twentieth century. They were taken with special cameras, which were widely available in 1914, sold by Eastman Kodak and Sears, Roebuck & Co., among others. Panoramic photos were popular souvenirs for people attending events like the Memorial dedication. “Large group portraits almost certainly guaranteed many sales,” states the Library of Congress website. How many copies of the Memorial dedication panoramic photo were sold is uncertain, but only a few are known to survive.
The Harper panorama was not the only photograph taken that day. At least two surviving photos show the building decked out with the flags and bunting that adorned it that day, with one of the automobiles that ferried the veterans parked in front.
One shows a young girl behind the steering wheel, in the other two gentlemen sit in the car. Those two pictures provide the clearest view of the glass dome that topped the building until its removal in 1956. Did C. L. Harper also take those photos? It seems likely, but we don’t know for certain.
Nor do we know if Harper was the photographer who made a rare tintype that was given to me by a descendant of Private Ashbel Bozard of Company C, 154th New York. After being discharged for disability, Bozard reenlisted and served as a corporal in Co. A, 188th New York. Tintypes were out of date by 1914, making this image all the more curious. Tintypes presented a mirror image, so the reproduction here (below) has been flipped to correct it. In it Bozard appears on the right. In the center is Private John Anderson of Company A, 188th New York, and on the left is Sergeant Allen Williams of Company D, 154th New York, the regimental color bearer. The presence of the bunting and the bench reveal this image was taken on dedication day. The fellow in the background wearing the boater and trench coat is unidentified.
CAMP PARTICIPATES IN “CATTARAUGUS GIVES DAY”
The Tuesday following Thanksgiving is Giving Tuesday, an international day where donors make an online gift to their favorite charity or cause. This year, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation has developed a county-wide initiative as part of Giving Tuesday: Cattaraugus Gives.
CAMP is proud to participate in Cattaraugus Gives, which will occur on Tuesday, December 1, 2020. For more information about this 24-hour online giving day, visit www.cattaraugusgives.org. Mark your calendars now to participate! You can donate to CAMP during Cattaraugus Gives online on our special webpage at: www.cattaraugusgives.org/organizations/camp
Artist and 154th New York Infantry historian, Mark H. Dunkelman has created an original work of art depicting the Civil War Memorial Building in Little Valley. Inspired by the Memorial, two aged Civil War veterans reminisce about their days during the war, remembering a friend that didn’t make it home. Stay tuned for ways in which you can purchase a copy of Mark’s work of art to support CAMP.
CAMP is always seeking additional volunteers and active members for a variety of projects, tasks, and activities. Are you handy with a hammer, broom, or paint brush? CAMP can use your help. Do you have experience with website design/management or grant writing? CAMP can use your help. Can you stuff an envelope or push a lawnmower? CAMP can use your help. For ways to volunteer or get involved, send a message to CAMP President Tom Stetz at [email protected].
IMAGES, ARTIFACTS, MEMORABILIA
Do you have any images, artifacts, or memorabilia from your Cattaraugus County Civil War ancestor? CAMP is always seeking images of these items to add to our digital archive. Our website features a section of short biographies of Cattaraugus County soldiers, and we are always seeking to expand our “archives” of stories and war-time experiences of these soldiers. If so, please reach out to CAMP board member Kyle M. Stetz at [email protected]
TAKE GOOD CARE
This year has brought many challenges for all of us. As we wrap up 2020, CAMP wishes you the best of health, an enjoyable holiday season, and we look forward to our continued efforts in 2021.