Plans call for the first floor of the hotel to become the museum with three major exhibit rooms, a larger gift shop, and volunteer rooms. Large pocket doors separate two of the exhibit rooms and these can be opened for larger temporary exhibits. The second floor will contain the restored Victorian ballroom for events and rooms for storage, the museum office, and an onsite caretakers living quarters. The basement will contain a workshop for the cleaning and restoration of new museum pieces while the attic contains space that can be finished for future storage needs. The two floors of the house contain over 5,600 square feet of space and as much as 9,000 square feet including the unfinished basement and attic spaces. The current museum building, in comparison, contains 2,500 square feet of space. The current museum building, located on Mill Street in LeRoy, will contain an expanded local history research library, gift shop and a first-floor multipurpose room for local history programming, handicapped accessible research space and special museum events.
This project is financed in part by a grant from the Community Conservation Partnerships Program, the Heritage Areas Programs under the administration of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Bureau of Recreation and Conservation.
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A five-year building project that was begun with the goal of providing a larger and more visible location for LeRoy Heritage Museum culminated with a beautiful paint job recently completed at the building in LeRoy, Pennsylvania.
Rogers Painting was selected to take on the project and spent over a month bringing the large Eastlake Victorian hotel back to life. As the largest historic building on Route 414 between Canton and Monroeton, aside from the Mourland Park mansion east of Canton, the crew had a significant amount of work to be done.
The last time the house was totally repainted was in 2006. Over the past five years the museum has replaced areas of siding, restored sections of the decorative cedar shakes, and made changes to some of the window and door positioning, leaving the house with a combination of the old paint job and the more modern primer. Rogers Painting power washed the building and then proceeded to caulk and prime the wooden siding and shakes. At the same time, the museum also repaired some of the siding, removed an old vent in the side of the building, removed an old meter box and wire, and repaired and realigned existing downspouts.
The museum Board of Directors discussed the paint color options and concluded that green, in some form, had been associated with the house for as long as anyone could remember. Old photos revealed that in the early days, the siding and trim were different colors. Some thick layers of paint were removed to reveal the color that was just above the bare wood and a light green was discovered. While the house for many years was forest green and white, museum president Matthew Carl searched potential green paint schemes and came up with an olive-green color.
“There was a lot of interest in this shade among our board as it fit the historic nature of the house,” said Carl.
Further discussion led the board to agree on white as the trim color. Next, to follow the rules of Eastlake Victorian design, Carl found a lighter green for the wooden shakes to offset the darker green siding. Finally, the colors were in place and Rogers Painting began the finish painting with the lighter green color first.
“We weren’t quite sure about the color when the light green went on, but after it was followed up by the darker color and the white trim, the house really came together,” Carl said. “We’ve had so many positive comments from people online, in the neighborhood, and from our museum patrons about the final product. People have been thrilled with the new look.”
The project finished with the staining of the porches and ramps and the power washing of the front steps.
The painting project was made possible through a grant from the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, Inc., and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. The grant was matched through a donation of $22,000 made by Chief Oil & Gas LLC.
The historic hotel will reach its 125th anniversary in October 2021. The building was originally built in 1896 by the Lewis Brothers of LeRoy who operated a sawmill on Barclay Mountain in the years just prior to the Laquin operation. It housed a hotel, opera house/ballroom, a general store, post office, lumber office, and hotel proprietors living quarters.
“It’s interesting that the hotel was built by lumbermen with trees harvested from the mountain and 125 years later, a company using a different resource from the mountain, natural gas, has helped to preserve the same building. Chief Oil & Gas has been a valuable partner during the building project,” said Carl. “They along with Energy Transfer have also been key sponsors for Barclay Mountain Heritage Day for several years.”
The Barclay Mountain Heritage Day event has helped the hotel project move forward while at the same time consistently attracted hundreds of visitors from seven states and over 70 towns across Pennsylvania and New York. Many people drive over 200 miles to attend, according to the guest book at the event.
Cain Chamberlain, Executive Director of the Endless Mountains Heritage Region, said the agency has been proud to be involved with the hotel project.
“The Heritage Region is proud to support the LeRoy Heritage Museum and its rehabilitation of the nearby historic Victorian Hotel that will soon become the new museum location. The EMHR has provided multiple Partnership Grants for various stages of the project and we look forward to seeing it open its doors to the public in the future. LeRoy Township and the surrounding area of southwestern Bradford County are filled with rich history, like the ghost towns of Laquin and Barclay that once flourished because of the booming lumber and coal industries within them. We commend the LeRoy Heritage Museum for keeping these stories alive for all to learn about, experience and enjoy,” said Chamberlain.
The LeRoy Heritage Museum – whose mission it is to preserve the history of southwestern Bradford County including LeRoy, Canton, and Granville areas along with Barclay Mountain – is planning to reopen in the new museum in the spring of 2022. The museum recently received its Occupancy Certificate, and the move and reconstruction of new exhibits will continue during the upcoming fall and winter.
LeRoy Heritage Museum is funded in part by the United Way of Bradford County, the Bradford County Tourism & Promotion Agency, and the Bradford County Room Tax Fund. More information about the organization can be found at www.leroyheritage.org.
By Brianne Ostrander, The Daily Review, February 13, 2021
LEROY — The LeRoy Heritage Museum may have a new home as soon as this summer with the help of a $60,000 donation recently made by the Bradford County Commissioners.
The large donation was approved during a Thursday meeting of the commissioners and, according to LeRoy Heritage Museum President Matt Carl, will help complete a five-year-long project to upgrade the museum and move it from 257 Mill Street in LeRoy to 10097 Route 414 in LeRoy.
Carl explained that through the new museum building project, leaders of the LeRoy Heritage Museum are “creating a museum that will better cover the history of southwestern Bradford County including the areas of Canton, LeRoy, Granville, and Barclay Mountain.”
The group is aiming to move the museum into its new home this summer and host a ribbon cutting ceremony later in 2021, after new exhibits are built, Carl said.
After the move, the Mill Street property where the museum is currently located will be used only to hold the museum’s research collection and provide space for programming, according to Carl.
Carl stated that the museum’s new building on Route 414 will include a larger museum, restored Victorian era ballroom, office and meeting space, and proper storage space.
“We have had tremendous support from many generous donors as well as local foundations, and state grants over the past five years,” Carl commented, stating that the museum requested a donation from the commissioners in order to help “complete the final projects in order to open the building.”
Carl explained that the commissioner’s donation came in great time as, not only does the structure’s building permit expire in July, but the museum will now hopefully be able to celebrate two large anniversaries that fall in 2021 with the opening of the new building; the 20th anniversary of LeRoy Heritage Museum and the 125th anniversary of a historic hotel building that is being restored for as part of the museum.
“We wanted to bring it all together in 2021,” Carl relayed.
Carl said final projects that still need to be completed in the museum at this point include finishing floors, completing final work on a handicapped restroom, installing heating and cooling in the ballroom, concrete work, and railing installation, all of which are required for final inspection.
More information about the LeRoy Heritage Museum new building project, including a recent video tour of the organization’s construction accomplishments can be found at leroyheritage.org/expansion-project.
Older videos of the project can be found on the LeRoy Heritage Museum Youtube page, according to Carl.