Update 8

Hello Friends--
This has been a momentous week for the Farmington Meetinghouse!

1. SIGNING CONTRACTS! We expect that next Tuesday, May 2, 2006, we will transfer the building from the current owners, Lyjha and Jillian Wilton, to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation. Many, many thanks to the Wiltons for maintaining this building for future generations and to the Stanton Foundation for its willingness to assume responsibility while we work to find a permanent site. Without both of you, this building--with its nationally important stories of abolitionism, the Underground Railroad, Seneca land rights, and women's rights--would be lost.
Architect Jack Waite has put out bids for this project, and we hope to be able to review them in time to sign a contract on Tuesday with whomever will be doing the actual work on this building.

a. The National Trust for Historic Preservation has donated $1500 from its emergency fund to help us document, dismantle, and move this building! Many, many thanks for this very welcome contribution.
b. We now have about $18,750 (in private donations, as well as from the Heritage New York Women's History Trail, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the National Trust) toward the needed $35,000. We still need $16,250. We also have an outstanding application for a $5000 grant to the Chace Fund of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting for documenting this meetinghouse.
Donations may be sent to:
Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation
P. O. Box 603
Seneca Falls, New York 13148
Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Fund

Thank you all who have helped to support this project so far. Because of the need to move this building, beginning by May 3, timing is short for us to raise this money. We appreciate all of you so much who care about this building and all that it represents.

3. PUBLICITY The Google search algorithm counts links to blogs and web-sites. You can help others find this blog by including a link to http://farmingtonmeetinghouse.blogspot.com from your web-site.

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"All men and women are created equal." Declaration of Sentiments, Seneca Falls, 1848
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Update 7

Historic Farmington Meeting House, April 18, 2006 April 19, 2006
Good morning, Friends!

1. All contributions to the meetinghouse fund are welcome! We are still trying to raise $35,000 to pay the costs of dismantling and initially documenting this building. So far, we have raised almost $17,000, enough to begin work. We would like to transfer this meetinghouse to the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation and sign a contract with the mover sometime next week. In order to do this, however, we need to know that we can pay this mover in full, when the contract comes due. Some of us have agreed to guarantee this personally, but we are hoping that we do not have to mortgage the house, literally, to make good on this!

Contributions may now be sent to:
*Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation*
* P.O. Box 603*
* Seneca Falls, New York 13148*
* c/o Francis Caraccilo, Treasurer*
* 1816 Farmington Meetinghouse Fund*

2. Yesterday, Lyle Jenks, from the Chace Fund of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting, came to review the meetinghouse and our application for funding for its documentation according to Historic American Building Survey standards. It was a beautiful spring day, and we had a thorough and productive discussion of our progress. Many thanks to Lyle and all members of the committee.

3. Many thanks to a good friend and fellow preservationist from the Preservation Association of Central New York, who just sent $250 to the meetinghouse fund! (There is a connection between Quakers in Onondaga County and those in Farmington. At one time, many people in Skaneateles Quaker Meeting (Orthodox) in Onondaga County were extremely active abolitionists and Underground Railroad supporters. As a result of a survey of sites relating to
the Underground Railroad, Abolitionism, and African American Life (sponsored by the Preservation Association of Central New York and funded by the Preservation League of NYS and the NYS Council on the Arts), the home of Quakers James Canning Fuller and Lydia Fuller on Genesee Street in Skaneateles was listed on both the National Register and the National Park Service's Network to Freedom as an Underground Railroad safe house.)

4. Above is a photo of the meetinghouse, taken yesterday from the northeast, for inspiration.

Best, Judy Wellman for the Ad Hoc Committee to Preserve the 1816 Farmington Meetinghouse

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Update 6

April 16, 2006

Hello Friends! Here is an update on the Farmington Friends' Meetinghouse.
1. TRANSFER OF THE MEETINGHOUSE TO ELIZABETH CADY STANTON FOUNDATION. Many thanks to the Stanton Foundation of Seneca Falls for its willingness to assume ownership of this building while we are looking for a permanent home, and many thanks to the current owners for working with us to make this possible. We hope to have this building transferred by the middle of next week.
2. CONTRACTING WITH MOVERS. At this same time that we transfer the building to the Stanton Foundation, we hope to sign a contract with the contractor who will dismantle the building. Jack Waite, architect, has prepared performance specifications. These are being publicized, and bids are being solicited from interested contractors.
3. RAISING FUNDS. We need about $35,000 to carry out the initial phase of moving and documenting this building. Thanks to the help of private donors, Heritage New York Women's History Trail, and a technical assistance grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, we have now raised $16,200. We are actively soliciting further grants and welcome--most heartily--your contributions as private donors! Many, many thanks for whatever you can do!

Contributions may now be sent to:
*Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation*
* P. O. Box 603*
* Seneca Falls, New York 13148*
* Attention: Francis Caracillo, Treasurer*
* Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Fund*

4. WONDERFUL LETTERS OF SUPPORT! We received three beautiful letters of support--from Old Chatham Meeting; Lyle Jenks of Philadelphia; and Christopher Densmore, Curator of Friends Historical Library at Swarthmore. We passed all of these out at the Farmington Town Board meeting last Tuesday, and they are all appear here as comments to this page. Marie Parsons of Rochester Meeting also wrote a lovely evocative essay, which is now on our website. Thank you all so much fo these!
5. Diane Plassey Gutierrez and Marie Parsons are working on a brochure to help publicize the meetinghouse project. This should be available soon for downloading and printing. We will be meeting Lyle Jenks of the Chace Fund of Philadelphia Yearly Meeting (to which we have applied for funding to help document this building) at the meetinghouse tomorrow (Monday, April 17) morning at 10:00 a.m. All are welcome to join us.
Stay tuned! We will keep you posted with breaking news! Thanks for everyone's help, in every way.

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Update 5

April 9, 2006

1. Francis Caraccilo, President of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Foundation, reports that the Foundation is ready and willing to assume ownership of the Farmington meetinghouse on an interim basis, while we dismantle and document the building and look for a final home for it. As a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization, the Foundation has a track record in dealing with a historic buildings. In the early 1980s, the Stanton Foundation purchased the Elizabeth Cady Stanton house in Seneca Falls and donated it to Women's Rights National Historical Park.

2. Jack Waite, a nationally-known preservation architect, has agreed to work with us on dismantling, documenting, and reconstructing the Farmington meetinghouse. In addition to his work on such premier buildings as Mt. Vernon and the Tweed Courthouse, Mr. Waite brings a particularly appropriate expertise for the Farmington meetinghouse. He worked on a prize-winning project to dismantle and document a Chinese temple and reconstruct it for the Peabody-Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, using techniques similar to those that he will be using for the Farmington meetinghouse. (For more information, see
http:// www.jgwaarchitects.com/)

Within the next several days, we will be working with the current owner, who has been so helpful in working with us and has agreed to donate this building, so that we can move forward with plans to move it into the hands of the Stanton Foundation, hire a contractor, and begin documenting and dismantling the meetinghouse. The Farmington Town Board has requested that work begin by May 3 and be completed by June 3.

What we need:

1. Interim storage area. Thanks to the work of the Rochester and Monroe County Freedom Trail and others, we have a couple of possibilities for places where this building might be stored before it is reconstructed. We can use either of these, but neither is perfect. The ideal location would be a secure enclosed area at least 100 feet x 100 feet, where we might spread the pieces of the meetinghouse out. There, careful drawings would be made according to Historic American Building survey specifications. Parts of the building would be partially reconstructed in this space, much like a giant 3-D puzzle, before the entire structure was finally rebuilt outside. If you know of a warehouse, empty strip mall, or similar spot where we might house the pieces of the meetinghouse while work is being done, please let us know ASAP.

2. Money. We need $35,000 within the next two or three months. We currently have $13,200 ($8200 in private donations, plus $5000 from Heritage New York's Women's History Trail). Many, many thanks to these donors!
We have requested a member item through Senator Nozzolio to help with the cost of this work. Because of the pressure of time, the actual dismantling will need to be done before we know whether this member item will be available, and--if available--before we have access to it. So we are trying to raise through private donations and immediate grants the estimated $35,000 that we will actually need to dismantle the building, restore the site to a level field, and pay the architect's fees.
Your help at this time is critically needed. If you can donate to this fund, even a small amount, you will be making a contribution for that will last far beyond our generation. Please send tax-deductible donations to:
Rochester Friends Meeting
84 Scio Street
Rochester, New York 14604
Attn: Paul Michaloski
1816 Farmington Quaker Meetinghouse Fund
If Senator Nozzolio's member item does come through, we will apply this, as originally proposed, to documenting the building and preparing to rebuild it in its final location.

The Farmington Town Board will hold a public hearing on this building on Tuesday, April 11, at 7:00 at the Town Hall. All are welcome to attend.
Stay tuned for continuing reports! Thanks to everyone for all your continuing support. With your help, this building will stand for the ages, a continuing testament to the power of ideals of equality and justice for all people.

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There are sites which seem layered in time; where human history accumulates and seems to remain. The 1816 Farmington Friends Meetinghouse is one of those places. The hand-hewn, barn-frame structure was used as a regular place of worship for sixty years, then served as a special meeting place for the Quakers of western New York - and far beyond - for another half-century.

Though it has been a storage barn for the past eighty years or so, and moved from its original site at the top of the slope at the nearby intersection, for those who know its history, the building still carries the aura of the everyday - and exceptional - Quakerly history which occured there. Even after the passing of 190 years, the heart of the structure is outlined by the hand-hewn, octagonal posts, once supporting the second-floor galleries, as well as adding their strength to the posts and rafters holding up the broad roof. Those eight-sided, vertical building members seem to define the pent-up echoes of the past for the now-wounded Meetinghouse.

If we stand quietly in that space, seeking the Light of True Gathering, the whispers of time seem to rise around us, asking us to listen. If we are mindful enough, then the voices of the past may rise up within us. Using that well-tuned spiritual ear which each Friend uses for worship, we may inwardly hear the voices of those Farmington Friends of the past. Yes, we can easily find the written words of the famous who were invited to speak here: Frederick Douglass, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the Quakers' own Lucretia Mott, William Lloyd Garrison, Susan B.

But those well-known names are simply the embroidery upon the strong, homespun material of those, who in their everyday lives here in Western New York, supported equal rights for people of all races, genders and religions and who, in actively opposing slavery, waged the very first
American civil rights campaign. The lesser known, the unknown of the past are those whose voices whisper about us when we practice "true Gathering" in such a place. If we take our corporate Friendliness to heart, we must do that which the Light leads us to do, to preserve this
Quakerly, national and humane legacy for the Friends - and friends - of the future.

Marie Kent Parsons - 9 April 2006