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Grand Island Historical Society Since 1962

News Page 2021
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.

SOCIETY OFFICERS 2021: President - Curt Nestark; Vice President - Programs - Adele Upton;
Recording Secretary - Denise Dewey; Corres. Sec./Newsletter - Mary Cooke; Treasurer - Arlene Ehde

Membership Form - Please Join
Directions To River Lea      Mission Statement
       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 Open House - November 2021

   The Grand Island Historical Society's museum River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park, will be hosting an open house on Sunday, November 14th, from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. A Thanksgiving craft will be available for kids and adults. The downstairs rooms have been painted and new displays have been created in the living and dining rooms.




Grand Island Historical Society Holiday Open Houses - December 2021


   The Grand Island Historical Society's Holiday Open Houses are Friday, Saturday and Sunday, December 3,4, & 5 from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Shop in the Christmas Store, view the new displays and enjoy holiday refreshments and music. Everyone welcome to attend. FLYER.




Grand Island Historical Society November Meeting - November 2021

   The Grand Island Historical Society's November general meeting and program will be held at the Golden Age Center, 3278 Whitehaven Rd. on Thursday, November 4th at 7:00 p.m. Our speaker will be Mark Saglian presenting a program on “The Richardson Complex”, (the former state hospital on Elmwood Ave. in Buffalo) Please wear a mask to this event. Programs are open to the public, members free, non-members $5 donation. You may renew or purchase your membership at the meeting. Refreshments will be served.




River Lea Open House - October 2021


   

Mary Stewart photos.

   The Grand Island Historical Society's museum River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park, will be hosting an open house on Sunday, October 17th, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. An autumn craft making an old-fashioned corn husk doll will be available for kids and adults. The downstairs rooms have been painted and new displays have been created in the living and dining rooms.




Grand Island Historical Society October Meeting - October 2021

   The Grand Island Historical Society's October general meeting and program will be held at River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park on Thursday, October 7th at 7:00 p.m. Our own Mary Cooke will present a program entitled “Grand Island as Buffalo’s Play Spot”. Learn about the amusements that Grand Island had to offer in the past. Programs are open to members only. You may renew or purchase your membership at the meeting. Refreshments will be served.




Doors Open Buffalo Tour - September 2021

From left: June Crawford, Jodi Robinson, Joe Macaluso and Sharon Nichols at Niagara Square & City Hall.

Gold Dome Building.

Living Wall at Delaware North.

Old Erie County Halll.

Ellicott Square Building.

Seneca One, view from 37th floor.

    Members of the GI Historical Society and Historic Preservation Advisory Board participated in the "Doors Open Buffalo" tour on Saturday, September 25th. There were 35 properties, both historic and modern, that opened their doors to the public. The group looked at M & T Bank Gold Dome building built in 1901; Delaware North building, featuring the largest living wall in WNY; the Erie County Old County Hall (1876); St. Paul's Episcopal Cathedral (1851 & 1890) the Ellicott Square Building (1896) and Seneca One Tower.




River Lea Open House - September 2021

   The Grand Island Historical Society's museum River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park, will be hosting an open house on Sunday, September 19th, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. The downstairs rooms have been painted and new displays have been created in the living and dining rooms.




River Lea Open House Celebrates Bicentennial - September 2021

The next Passport Open House will be on Wednesday, September 1st at River Lea in Beaver Island State Park from 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. See Details. There is also a open house on Sunday, September 19th from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
   The Grand Island Historical Society is participating in the Erie County Bicentennial. The Erie County Heritage Passport is a handheld guide to 35 historical societies and museums across Erie County. Each institution is unique and commemorates the diverse nature and history of each town in the county, from the Town of Alden to the Town of West Seneca. The Passports are available at all Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries and at the museums.




River Lea Featured in WGRZ Story - August 2021

From Left: Pete Gallivan and Curt Nestark. Lewis F. Allen is in the portrait in upper left of photo.

   Recently WGRZ newscaster and reporter Pete Gallivan interviewed Grand Island Historical Society President Curt Nestark. It was for information on Lewis F. Allen, for whom Allen Street and Allentown is named. A visit was made to River Lea in Beaver Island State Park, the museum of the Grand Island Historical Society, and President Nestark gave the reporter a tour. Lewis F. Allen built the villa for his son and farmed 800 acres in the area of Beaver Island State Park and Ferry Village in the mid to late 1800's. You can see the clip HERE.




River Lea Open House Celebrates Bicentennial - July 2021

    The Grand Island Historical Society is participating in the Erie County Bicentennial. The Erie County Heritage Passport is a handheld guide to 35 historical societies and museums across Erie County. Each institution is unique and commemorates the diverse nature and history of each town in the county, from the Town of Alden to the Town of West Seneca. The Passports are available at all Buffalo & Erie County Public Libraries and at the museums. The next Passport Open House will be on Wednesday, August 4th at River Lea in Beaver Island State Park from 4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. See Details.




Successful Yard Sale - May 2021


Standing from left: Denise Dewey & Mary Cooke.
Sitting from left: Arlene Ehde, Sharon Nichols & Carolyn Doebert


From left: Rick McAvoy & Kathy McNally
Mary Stewart Photos.

   The Grand Island Historical Society had a fundraiser yard sale on May 21 & 22 at their museum River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park. The nice weather made for a very successful sale!




River Lea Fundraiser Yard Sale - May 2021

   The Grand Island Historical Society Yard Sale Fundraiser is outdoors, under tents at River Lea in Beaver Island State Park on Friday & Saturday, May 21 & 22, from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. each day. It will be held rain or shine and proper distancing and masks are required. Enter the park and follow the signs to the historic farm house. There is no admission to the park at this time. Flyer.




River Lea Open House - April 2021

   The Grand Island Historical Society's museum River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park, will be hosting an open house on Sunday, April 18th, from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. The downstairs rooms have been painted and new displays have been created in the living and dining rooms. River Lea has not been open to the public since December 2019 due to Covid-19.




Bedell House Lithograph on Display - April 2021

GI Memorial Library Display

    The Bedell House Hotel lithograph was recently put on display at the Grand Island Memorial Library. This lithograph is four feet tall by five feet wide, made of one inch thick glass with an oak wood frame. The lithograph represents the 1877 Bedell House Hotel, which was located at the end of Ferry Road in Grand Island, NY. The hotel stood for 10 years until 1887 when it was destroyed by fire and rebuilt, only to succumb to fire again in 1935.
    The lithograph was constructed in the 1960's and placed behind the bar ar Bedell's Candlelite Restaurant and Lounge, located on Niagara Street in the City of Tonawanda. When the restaurant closed, the lithograph was placed in storage. In 2009, the Bedell Family generously donated the lithograph and other items to the Grand Island Historical Society.
   The Grand Island Historical Society Museum, River Lea in Beaver Island State Park, recently had professional painters refresh the living, dining, stairway and upper hall. The dining room has a new display of Bedell House memorabilia, which can be seen at the next Open House on Sunday, April 18th from 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.     More information about the history of Grand Island can be found at www.isledegrande.com. Historical Society Webpage and History of Grand Island and Bedell House History.




River Lea Facelift! - February 2021

From left: Alex Vega, Collin Shamrock and Dennis Evans of Shamrock's Painting & Remodeling.

   The Grand Island Historical Society recently had the inside of their museum, River Lea, in Beaver Island State Park spruced up. The work was done by an Island company, Shamrock's Painting & Remodeling, and the society officers are very pleased and want to let members know it. Downstairs the dining room and living room were painted, the stairwell and upper hallway also got a fresh coat. Due to COVID - 19, the museum is closed at this time. You might get a chance to view in the spring, when another garage sale is planned. Shamrock's phone number is 716-243-5368.