In the late 1950s, Lucille Saunders, the East Rochester Village Historian, had visions of collecting and preserving local history information and artifacts. The Village was only 60 years old, with many early settlers still living in town. The year 1947 marked the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Village. Material had been researched and collected for the event and later it became the start of the Local History Department.
After two years of intense collecting of local memorabilia in the early 60s, a Local History Room was established in October, 1962 in the Fryatt Memorial Building at 901 Main Street. Retta Fryatt, widow of B.J.Fryatt who was one of the first businessmen in Despatch, had donated her: gracious home to the Village in 1954.
The Public Library was housed in the Fryatt Memorial Building from 1957 to 1979. Following those years, a Youth Center occupied that space. In the mid-1980s the Local History Room was moved from the second floor of the building to the first floor, where it is now located. Volunteers staffed the room. Their duties included clipping and preserving current and past information about East Rochester and East Rochesterians. The work is continuing at the present time.
The main purpose of the Local History Room is to collect data and materials pertaining to the history of East Rochester. Many projects are currently in progress along this line. Among those are: entering biographical information into a computer database, organizing over 5000 photographs, clipping newspapers, history presentations to the local schools, and organizing exhibits for display at various locations around the Village.
The Local History Room is staffed by a small number of volunteers reporting to the Village Historian. They are always looking for more people to assist them in recording East Rochester history. A computer is used to organize records. It also contains a database of over 5000 photographs.
The Local History Office is open:
Wednesday thru Saturday 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
The staff looks for additional materials and photographs. Please stop and visit the office. Special hours are available on request.
Jim Burlingame - Historian
Anita Mance - Assistant
Barry Nenno - Photo Curator
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