"MY SESQUI-CENTENNIAL WALK AROUND MAIN STREET - WELLSVILLE, NY"
by Ron Taylor -- 8/11/2007
With sunshine and blue sky and accent of beautiful white clouds I left my home to walk around Wellsville's Main Street and absorb the celebration I read was being held, commemorating 150 years of life in Wellsville, NY.
The weather convinced me that 77 degrees is a perfect walking temperature and a great time to live in the country and a small town. My goal was to support the faithful few workers representing the Thelma Rogers Genealogical & Historical Society whom I knew had worked very hard in preparing display for the Sesqui-Centennial of Wellsville Celebration. I had other obligations that made me miss the parade of the day, Saturday - August 11th.
At first I was mildly annoyed that I couldn't drive right up to the door of the celebration and walk right in! Somebody had erected barricades in the Library parking lot where I always can find a free parking spot. How dare they! After all, in today's world of hurry-scurry we can drive right up to free parking and shop for aspirin or whatever and within seconds of arrival be ready to leave and hurry to our next stop. That's when it hit me....stop and smell the roses. Slow down and take a look back. Today is not like every day.
I did remember to bring along my digital camera although I had no pencil/pen or paper to write my usual reminders which are needed to describe what I see. Senior moments are absolutely beautiful unless you ask me to repeat what they are!
Actually, I easily found a parking place at the peripheral to the event which only closed traffic between Madison Street and Pearl Street.
I scurried up the back Library stairs to view the display in the North Wing Exhibit Room. With encouragement from Shirley Engle, the Past President & all-around #1 supporter of the Society (soon to be Wellsville's big loss when she moves) current President, Jane Pinney with Mary Rhodes and faithful long-time member Eleanor Cott had laid out a display to be marveled!
Many times I have been through the old Dyke Street Museum and marveled at the magnitude of items on display and available. Because of the confines of the Museum building and the limited access it is sometimes difficult to realize what is there. The display at the Library was an indicator of what the Society has to offer the community if they will take advantage of the material and facilities. All volunteer.
Photos of the past are probably the largest single venue for History. The Society has no shortage of photos as were displayed in conjunction with the archives of the Library and the newly opened Creative Arts Center display space. I saw a display of some of the Wellsville Photographers and their works; the 1957 (my favorite year) Centennial Year photos; Books and books and books of photos of the various Fire Department histories; and on and on. If you missed it, shame on you!
Upon leaving the Library Exhibit Room I walked back to the "porch" of the Library and took a deep breath. The front lawn was ablaze with Civil War Enactors and their Campsite. Placed near the tents was a cannon with munitions cart and some spaced vendors to give the appearance of "times of yore" mixed nicely with today's offerings of typical celebration vendors.
I looked across lower Jefferson Street and saw the old popcorn/peanut wagon with it's tiny little steam engine proudly producing energy to roast and pop. The view made me wonder what the whole scene would have looked like back in 1857 when businesses were just starting to gather steam and the railroad was fresh to the area by only 6 years. I shivered slightly from the nostalgic feelings.
All of a sudden I realized that I was about to take a quiet and singular walk around Main Street and photograph the buildings. Although the people at the event were enjoying themselves, the small attendance would not interfere with photo opportunities. I had wanted for a long time to record the building facades and cornices. Today was it!
I started my photo op on the porch of the Library.
As I reached the corner of "Plank Road Street" (today, Pearl Street) I noted Craig Brack, County Historian, starting off with a tour to explain the buildings of the Village and the arcitecture....I nearly joined him, but, wanted to tour alone to snap whenever I felt inclined....
Heartbreak over the appearance of the decaying Erie Station kept me from going up Lower Jefferson to view it again. Instead, I floated along, zig-zaging my way from Pearl Street along Main almost down to State Street viewing and snapping away at the old buildings remaining on our Main Street.
What interesting buildings still stand.
Names from the past histories jump out like Applebee, Thornton, Witter, and many more embedded into the fronts of the buildings, plus "no name" building blocks galore. Much original architecture has been preserved. Much has gone by the way of time and man.
What holds forth for Wellsville's Main Street of the future? Only time will tell, but, I have had my "2007 Sesqui-Centennial Walk around Main Street"! I have seen many empty buildings just awaiting a new business idea.
This walk was not all inclusive....rather, a leisurely afternoon stroll with camera.
Try it sometime....Our town and country hold some really interesting sites.
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