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Grand Island
Historical Society
Grand Island, NY
Since 1962

News Page 2013

PO Box 135
Grand Island, NY 14072


E-Mail

Previous Historical Society News Page



River Lea
The Grand Island Historical Society restored and maintains the farm house
known as River Lea and located in Beaver Island State Park.
It was built on Lewis F. Allen's property, Allenton Farms,
by his son, W. Cleveland Allen. Today it is owned by New York State.

Membership Form - Please Join       Directions To River Lea       Calendar of Events
Society Officers 2012- 2013       Mission Statement       Meetings
Grand Island Historical Society & River Lea History
Grand Island History - Published 1898 By Truman C. White
Jim Fisher's Avocational Archaeology & Lithic Technology Web Site
Grand Island History and Photos (Update 9/20/09)
River Lea Artists - Photos - Paintings
- Artists James Edward Montanari - Eugene Matthew Dyczkowski ("Dick")






River Lea Holiday Luncheon - 2013


Robin Shipman holding First Communion dress.

Historical Society President Curt Nestark with toddler shifts.

Audra Wynne modeling prom dress.

River Lea Living Room.

Program Presenter Maggie Gushue
Mary Stewart photos

   The River Lea Holiday Luncheon and program was enjoyed by all on Tuesday, December 3rd. Just the first of three dates, Maggie Gushue's “Children’s Fashions of the Past”, was a delight. The clothing dated back to the late 1800's and early to mid 1900's. The fine stitching and fabrics made you wish to go back in time. There was a unique gift shop with decorations and canned goods for sale.




River Lea Holiday Open House - 2013



Aaron Bobeck photos

   The Holiday Open House will be held at River Lea, Beaver Island State Park on Sunday, December 8th, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Admission, harpist entertainment and refreshments are all FREE. The public is welcome to join us and to enjoy the beautiful home decorations.




River Lea Holiday Open House - 2013


   The Holiday Open House will be held at River Lea, Beaver Island State Park on Sunday, December 1st, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Admission, harpist entertainment and refreshments are all FREE. The public is welcome to join us and to enjoy the beautiful home decorations.
***Christmas Luncheon tickets are still available. Dates are Tuesday, December 3, Friday, December 6 & Saturday, December 7, 12 Noon at River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park. Cost $20. Tickets by reservation Carol Moore, 773-3817. Program: “Children’s Fashions of the Past.”




GI Historical Society Meeting - November

   The November meeting of the Grand Island Historical Society will be held at River Lea in Beaver Island State Park on Thursday, November 7 at 7:30pm. The guest speakers will be Jan and Pat Farrell presenting a program called "The Traveling Picture Show", a review of bygone styles and social history through antique postcards. There will be reproduction antique postcard note cards available to purchase also. Hope you will come and learn more about this interesting topic and have dessert with us. FREE and open to the public.




Historical Society Holiday Luncheons - October 2013

    The annual Christmas Luncheons sponsored by the Grand Island Historical Society will be held on Tuesday, December 3, Friday, December 6 & Saturday, December 7. 12 Noon at River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park. Cost $20. Tickets by reservation Carol Moore, 773-3817. Program: “Children’s Fashions of the Past.” Come see the beautiful holiday decorations, join us for a delicious luncheon and purchase some wonderful surprises in the unique gift shop.




Kids Workshop, Pet Cemetery Recreated - October 2013

Courier Express/Buffalo Evening News - mid 1950s photo. Pictured is Robert Zuchowski, son of parks commissioner Edward Zuchowski, taking a close look at the pet cemetery in Beaver Island State Park.

New Cemetery

Workshop participants.

   On Saturday, September 7, 2013, the first ever Kids Workshop was held at River Lea, the historical Allen home in Beaver Island State Park. The purpose was to provide a fun and informative opportunity to help our children become interested in history of all sorts and to recreate the pet cemetery. Although it may not be widely known, history records show that nearly 100 years ago, the Matthews family loved their pets so much they created a cemetery to remember them. Time and the river had caused these pet markers to disappear, so our kids/grandkids did learn more about this interesting bit of history while they painted new markers in contemporary style. They also learned more about the Matthews family and their Falconwood summer estate that was located in what is now Beaver Island State Park.
    The workshop included a brief tour of River Lea. Afterward, attendees heard about the pet types; the several, even unusual, animal breeds; their different names and more about the family who cared for them. The eight children (Blair French, Jenna and Laura Kaiser, Hannah and Sarah Moore, Kaden Smith, Katie Squires and Lauren Tompkins) helped recreate this wonderful cemetery that is now a part of the River Lea grounds for all visitors to enjoy as they learn more of local history, too.
    A special thanks to Grand island Top's Market for providing snacks, Grand Island Ace Hardware for providing paint supplies and to Brite Ideas for Trivia Quiz prizes. Feedback following the workshop from kids and their parents included: "very cool" and "fun" (even the quiz)!




GI Historical Society Meeting - October

   The GI Historical Society meeting is held at River Lea, Beaver Island State Park on Thursday, October 3rd starting at 7:30 p.m. There will be a general meeting and the program topic is "Erie Canal: Fact or Fancy". It is free and open to the public, refreshments will be served. Everyone is welcome.




Historical Society Holiday Luncheons - September 2013

    The Grand Island Historical Society is hosting three holiday luncheons at River Lea on the following dates:
Tuesday, December 3
Friday, December 6
Saturday, December 7
Reservations ($20) beginning October 1st by calling Carol Moore, 773-3817. This event is always sold out, buy your tickets early!




Historical Society Kids Workshop - September 2013

    Although it may not be widely known, history records that nearly 100 years ago, the Matthews children loved their pets so much they created a pet cemetery to remember them. Time and the river have caused these pet markers to disappear, so we are giving our kids/grandkids an opportunity to learn more about this interesting bit of history. The workshop will be held on Saturday, September 7th from 9:00 a.m. - noon at River Lea, close to where the Matthews family had a summer estate in what is now part of Beaver Island State Park.
   The kids will have a quick tour of River Lea and learn about the pet types; the several, even unusual animal breeds; their different names and more about the family who cared for them. Then the workshop participants will help recreate this wonderful cemetery that will become a part of the River Lea grounds for all visitors to enjoy.
   The workshop is FREE for children ages 7 - 12, but they must be accompanied by an adult (bring a book and a comfy chair and relax or take a walk while the kids do their project). The rocks for markers, the paint, brushes and all supplies will be provided, along with a snack and beverage, but pre-registration is required before September 5th (workshop limited to 10) to Helen Black, 773-2507 or email her at: grandislandlady@gmail.com with the name, address, phone number and age of the child you are registering.




GI Historical Society Meeting & Potluck

   The GI Historical Society meeting is held at River Lea, Beaver Island State Park on Thursday, September 5th starting at 6:30 p.m. There will be a general meeting & potluck and the program will feature Lewis F. Allen Research. Everyone is welcome.




River Lea Installation of Officers - June 2013

Carolyn Doebert presents painting to Curt Nestark.

From left: Teddy Linenfelser, Barbara Birt, Curt Nestark, Adele Upton and Alice Gerard.
Mary Stewart Photos

   The Grand Island Historical Society held its installation dinner this past Thursday evening, June 6th, at Riverlea. Installing officer Carolyn Doebert installed Curt Nestark, President; Adele Upton, Vice President; Barbara Birt, Treasurer; Teddy Linenfelser, Corresponding Secretary and Alice Gerard, Recording Secretary. In honor of his service as president for 10 years, Curt Nestark was presented a framed painting by Charlotte Ruthel of Riverlea, the Historical Society's headquarters in Beaver Island State Park.




River Lea Open House - May 2013

   The Grand Island Historical Society is having a FREE Open House at River Lea (home of Lewis Allen, uncle of Grover Cleveland) in Beaver Island State Park on Sunday, May 19, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Join us to learn more about this interesting place in history.




May Historical Society Meeting - 2013

   The monthly meeting of the Grand Island Historical Society will be held Thursday, May 2nd, at 7:30 p.m. at Historic River Lea in Beaver Island State Park. Ronald Cary, Deputy County Historian of Niagara County, will entertain us with historical tavern music from the Revolutionary War, Civil War and others. Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome to join us for this FREE event. Memberships are available.




River Lea Open House - April 2013

   The Grand Island Historical Society is having a FREE Open House at River Lea (home of Lewis Allen, uncle of Grover Cleveland) in Beaver Island State Park on Sunday, April 21st, from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Join us to learn more about this interesting place in history.




April Historical Society Meeting - 2013

   The monthly meeting of the Grand Island Historical Society will be held Thursday, April 4th, at 7:30 p.m. at Historic River Lea in Beaver Island State Park. A program titled "Old Island Photos" will be presented by Teddy Linenfelser. Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome to join us for this FREE event. Memberships are available.




Historical Society Meeting - March 2013

   The monthly meeting of the Grand Island Historical Society will be held Thursday, March 7th, at 7:30pm. Please note the location for this meeting is the Apostolic Church, 2728 Stony Point Road at the corner of Bedell Road on Grand Island. A guest speaker will be sharing a program titled "Traveling Picture Show". Refreshments will be served and the public is welcome to join us for this FREE event. Memberships are available.