News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.
 BREAKING NEWS 
 POLICE & FIRE 
 IN MEMORIAM  
 HOMETOWN PEOPLE 
 COLUMNS 
 EDITORIALS 
 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR 

 EMPLOYMENT  
 DINING & ENTERTAINMENT  
 REAL ESTATE  
 AUTOMOTIVE  
 REMEMBRANCE  
 GOODS & SERVICES

pierstown grange

Velma F. (Fassett) Armstrong, 90; Pierstown Community Mainstay

IN MEMORIAM

Velma F. (Fassett) Armstrong, 90;

Pierstown Community Mainstay

Velma F. Armstrong

COOPERSTOWN – Velma F. (Fassett) Armstrong, 90, a leader in the restoration of the Pierstown Grange, died peacefully at her home on Armstrong Road in Pierstown on Sunday Aug. 23, 2020, surrounded by her family.

A life-long area resident, Velma was born Oct. 24, 1929, at Bassett Hospital, the daughter of Owen and Iva (Richards) Fassett.  She was raised on the family farm in East Springfield and graduated from Springfield High School.

Following graduation Velma attended college in Albany but left school before graduating to return home to care for her mother, who was battling cancer, and to help raise her siblings.

After Tilting, Pierstown Grange Is Stable Again

After Tilting, Pierstown

Grange Is Stable Again

Built in 1898, ‘Unpolished Gem’

Due To Be Reopened Next June

Stephen Purcell, a Pierstown farmer and grange member who is overseeing the renovation, strengthens a joist in the basement ceiling. (Lizzie Cooper/AllOTSEGO.com)

By LIZZIE COOPER • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

PIERSTOWN – The Pierstown Grange is getting a restoration overhaul.

The 1898 structure is undergoing a $130,000 renovation. Grange members and friends had raised about $60,000 in donations for the project when an anonymous supporter offered a low-interest loan to cover the rest.

The Pierstown Grange has been a community center since 1898.

“It certainly speaks to the sense of community that the Pierstown Grange provides that so many people have dug so deep into their pockets to make contributions,” said grange President Paul Lord, adding that more donations have already started coming in since the project kicked off, but more is needed.

Construction started this winter and is expected to be complete by early summer, when there will be a grand reopening celebration that will kick off the next phase of the grange’s existence.

Contractor Stephen Purcell, a farmer and grange member himself, is heading up the restoration.

He called the grange an “unpolished gem,” but said it had been in danger of collapsing.

Like many 19th century buildings, it was built very close to the road. As time went on, and the Pierstown Road was improved and built up, water began to pool on one side. It then seeped under the road and compromised the foundation of the grange on the other side.

By 2019, the building was tilting precariously.

Saving the structure has been a complicated job, but Purcell it is on track for completion by the beginning of May.

For him, it has been a labor of love, and he has learned new things, just as he has from other restoration projects.

“These structures do talk to you, if you know how to read the evidence,” he said.

In the case of the grange, there was a surprise. When they opened up the walls, the team realized that the building’s main floor was not tightly attached to its frame as most floors are. Instead, it was suspended atop strong but flexible metal rods.

Purcell has a theory about the unusual set up:

“They felt that the pounding of dancing would compromise the walls,” he said.

He has now fully joined the floor to the frame, but in a way that allows for some give, so future generations can have as much fun there as generations past.

“Oh, there will always be dancing here,” he said.

When the work is complete, the ground floor will house a large dining room. An attached shed addition will be replaced to house a new kitchen and restrooms. The second floor will remain as it always has been, with a stage at one end and portraits and other memorabilia around the walls.

The grange still holds an important place in the hearts of Pierstown residents, both new and old. Where once it served a farming community, its functions are now more varied. The grange’s fundamental purpose remains unchanged, however. It serves as a center for a small but thriving community.

Kathryn Mollach grew up in Pierstown “when cauliflower was king.”

“My parents moved here in 1945,” she said. “Cauliflower was big business. We hired people. We had trucks. We had acres and acres of cauliflower.”

The years went by and Molloch left the area to build her adult life elsewhere. But decades later she returned with her husband to her parents’ land. The community had changed, but they had kept the grange alive and she decided to become involved.

There were monthly meetings about community issues, lectures and performances. When new people moved in they were invited to join.

The Mollachs and about 60 other Pierstown property owners participate in grange activities, though some are more involved than others. There are lectures on everything from local Native American artifacts to training guide dogs. The Glimmerglass Festival’s orchestra has performed there more than once. An annual Country Fair Day includes a bake sale, a plant sale and a collaboration with a local garden club.

“Every time I meet with that community I feel uplifted, Mollach said. “It’s a changing grange. It’s adapting to new uses.”

By June it will be all ready to go, complete with a fresh new coat of paint.

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 30

Community Potluck Dinner

14-19eventspage

HARVEST SUPPER – 4 – 7 p.m. Community potluck supper to celebrate autumn. Bring a dish to pass, tableware, beverages, enjoy meal with friends. Features live music by Stoddard Hollow String Band, games for kids on library lawn. Main St. between River & Fair St., Cooperstown. E-mail kristen mgriger@gmail.com or visit www.facebook.com/GrowingCommunityCooperstown/

BENEFIT BREAKFAST – 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. Pancake breakfast, raffles to support Corena Martin, who has worked as Laurens School Nurse and volunteered with Laurens Fire & Emergency Departments, as she battles deals with health problems. Laurens Central School, 55 Main St., Laurens. 607-432-2050 or visit www.facebook.com/otsegonyfirewire/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, AUGUST 13
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for MONDAY, AUGUST 13

Glimmerglass Festival Musicians

Perform At Pierstown Grange

14-19eventspage

CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Annual Florence High Memorial Chamber Music Concert features musicians from Glimmerglass Festival performing works by Beethoven, Brahms, Paganini, more. Free, open to public. Pierstown Grange, 137 Wedderspoon Hollow Road, Cooperstown. 607- 264-3069.

LECTURE – 7 p.m. Craig Timberg presents “Russian Disinformation: Will it Happen Again” on threat of Russian interference in future elections, efforts by NSA, social media to prevent future meddling, more. Cooperstown Village Library. www.facebook.com/VillageLibraryOfCooperstown/

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JUNE 23
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JUNE 23

Intercontinental Soulful Music

14-19eventspage

CONCERT – 7:30 p.m. Enjoy Embi Esti, intercontinental fusion band incorporating Afrobeat, North African, Romani traditions in soulful music. The Star Theater, 44 Main St., Cherry Valley. Call 607-264-3080 or visit www.facebook.com/cherryvalleyartworks/

GRADUATION – 10:30 a.m. Seniors graduate. Gilbertsville-Mt. Upton Central School District, 693 St. Hwy. 51, Gilbertsville. Call 607-783-2207 or visit www.gmucsd.org

HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JUNE 16
HAPPENIN’ OTSEGO for SATURDAY, JUNE 16

Join The Choir

14-19eventspage

PERFORMANCE – 8 p.m. Sing an original arrangement with Toronto based group “Choir! Choir! Choir!” Cost, $23/adult at-the-door. West Kortright Center, 49 West Kortright Church Rd., East Meredith. Call 607-278-5454 or visit westkc.org/event/choir-choir-choir/

COLOR RUN – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Run/walk through several color stations with friends/family to support the American Heart Association. Registration 7:30-8:30. Start & End at Cooperstown High School. Call 607-547-8181 or visit www.cooperstowncs.org

Friends Of Otsego Lake Express Thanks To DOT At Debriefing

Friends Of Otsego Lake Express

Thanks To DOT At Debriefing

Wayne Bunn, a member of the Friends of Otsego Lake group of camp owners that formed to lobby for repairs for Route 80 at Five Mile Point, recaps an effor that resulted in the complete of $1/2 million in repairs to the collapsing pavement and retaining wall, completed in mid-May.  Bunn said former Oneonta mayor David W. Brenner's approach to state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, started matters moving in the right direction.  Caroline Sever, a Friends leader, praised the DOT team for the project.  (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Wayne Bunn, a member of the Friends of Otsego Lake group of camp owners that formed to lobby for repairs for Route 80 at Five Mile Point, recaps an effort that resulted in the completion of $1/2 million in repairs to the collapsing pavement and retaining wall  in mid-May. Bunn said former Oneonta mayor David W. Brenner’s approach to state Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, started matters moving in the right direction.  Brenner is at lower left with wife Lois.  Caroline Sever, a Friends leader (in striped top on far side), praised the DOT team for the project.  The Friends gathered Friday evening at the Pierstown Grange. (Jim Kevlin/allotsego.com)
Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103