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County History

Villa Belvidere - 200 Years 1806-2006

Allegany County
Celebrating 200 Years  --  1806 ~ 2006

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Welcome to “Villa Belvidere”
And the  pages of Belvidere Farms
(Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey, Reproduction Number HABS NY,2-BELVI,1-5)

By Ron Taylor

 

As we progress through our Bicentennial Year 2006 celebrating the founding of Allegany County, no other property deserves the feature of our discussion more than “Belvidere”.

As the tall pines towered over the Genesee country shouting a welcome to the early settlers, into this unsettled land of natives came the Church Family to blend an early part of the county’s history with more than a “touch” of aristocracy, romance and intrigue like our county has not known since.

Many writers have provided interesting, and sometimes factual, accounts of the past at Belvidere.  Questions have been raised nearly as often as answers have been given, but, together these writings have given us a look at a part of our county that would have otherwise been lost.  I will provide here a compilation of articles as they become available.

The estate has provided more than just the beauty & charm to Allegany County through the years with the employment provided many families including my own great-grandfather.  A friend has shared nearly 300 pictures taken by his family in the 1930’s when his Grandfather was Superintendent of the farms and I will present as many as possible.  This area of the website will be progressing throughout the year as viewers send me additional items which they wish to share.  Check back from time to time.

The documentation of this historic property has been recorded by the Library of Congress through it’s “Historic American Buildings Survey or Historic American Engineering Record” HABS/HAER materials.  I have provide a couple of pictures within my pages to represent this record.  Several pictures are available at the website:( http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/index.html in Search Box type - Belvidere ) which show the record of the mansion, barn and gazebo.

Today the Church family no longer owns or lives on the beautiful Belvidere, but, the gracious old place stands in her proud glory as true as when it was built in the 1st decade of the 1800s.

I hope you enjoy and share with others, our beloved “Belvidere”.

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Postcard submitted by Dave Fish

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