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County Historical Society to host annual meeting April 22

April 12, 2017
Westfield Republican

The Chautauqua County Historical Society will hold its 2017 annual meeting on Saturday, April 22, at the Westfield Methodist Church in Westfield.

The meeting will give society members an opportunity to learn more about some of the organization's highlights over the past year. The event will also feature a lunch and a lecture, open to the public, entitled "McClurg Museum: Past, Present and Future" and will be presented by John Paul Wolfe, society trustee and museum curator.

The McClurg Museum was initially built as a mansion for Westfield pioneer James McClurg. McClurg was a wealthy son of a Pittsburgh industrialist and construction began in 1818. Upon completion in 1820, the mansion's grand salons and formal rooms stood in sharp contrast to the rugged homes of neighboring frontier settlers. It was a showplace in Chautauqua County - reportedly the only brick home between Buffalo and Erie.

The mansion remained in possession of McClurg and his decedents for more than a century, but for a short period of time it was also rented out to its most famous resident - William Seward. Seward - who would later become governor of New York and Secretary of State under President Abraham Lincoln used the home while serving as land agent of the Chautauqua Land Company from 1836 to 1838.

The last family resident, Dr. William Moore, died in 1938 and left the mansion and its contents to the village of Westfield, which then auctioned off the house's contents and left the place vacant.

It was saved from scheduled demolition when it was leased for $1 a year by the Chautauqua County Historical Society in 1950. T

Two years later and after extensive renovations, it was opened as a museum to the public as part of the Westfield Sesquicentennial. It has remained the home of the historical society since then.

In 2014, the historical society hired Flynn Battaglia Architects PC to complete a thorough Historic Structures Report for the museum. The report is not only critical in helping to secure grants for future renovation work, but will also help to ensure historic preservation during any future work that takes place.

Wolfe offer more details on this history of the McClurg, as well as how it is being utilized today. Some highlights of upcoming renovation work will also be provided.

The business portion of the annual meeting will begin at 11:30 a.m. when Cristie Herbst, society president, provides the organization's annual report. In addition, Wolfe will provide an update on the society's exhibits and collections. Several other trustees will also be on hand to offer updates as well. At 1 p.m., Wolfe will begin his presentation.

Between the meeting and presentation, a luncheon will be provided, starting at noon, for anyone who made prior reservations.

The meal will feature a chicken dinner from Bark Grill in Westfield, along with beverages and desert. The cost is $15 per person with reservations due by noon Tuesday, April 18. Payment can be made the day of the event.

No reservations are required for those only attending the meeting and/or lecture and who do not wish to eat lunch.

Reservation for the luncheon can be made by calling 326-2977 or by emailing



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