Preserving Gates History

Thanks to everyone who came out to support Gates history at the Hinchey House!

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‘The Little Engine that Could’ is a childhood classic and a metaphor for life if you’re a small but stout hearted organization like the Gates Historical Society.
Most of this pandemic, the Board of the Society has been saying repeatedly ‘we think we can, we think we can, we think we can!’

First we were fortunate enough to win a Pomeroy grant for the National Register of Historic Places road side sign you see in front of the Hinchey Homestead now. Last year I attended the Museum Association of New York annual conference and brought back information on the Pomeroy grants for NRHP signs. Board member Cindy Hinchey ran with that information so now the Homestead, the only site in the Town of Gates on the Register, has the road side sign to go with its unique status! Thank you, Cindy!

We won a 2nd Pomeroy grant to fund our new laptop and the museum software that will help us develop into a professionally run historic site. We took a gamble to accept an incredibly reasonable figure from a local contractor to rebuild the signature Homestead fence that echoes architectural features from our porches. We only had a third of the money for the fence project but true to our Little Engine hearts, we took it on!

When the Board of the Gates Historical Society heard that we had won our 3rd Pomeroy Foundation grant on July 29, we gulped and looked at each other. Could we raise $6000 in two months time to earn a matching 50% grant from the Pomeroy Foundation? With our hearts in our throats, we agreed to try. We knew this was the way we would earn the money we needed to spend on the new Hinchey Homestead fence.

Buoyed by a generous $1000 gift from an anonymous Society board member, with the help of many friends and supporters, we publicized our matching grant objective in our newsletter to our members. An appeal was mailed to Hinchey Homestead neighbors. We posted our appeal on our Facebook and webpage and talked it up with our friends and family.

The stars were aligned and we have succeeded and then some. We have received $7500+ in donations for the Fence Fund. Thanks to Ray Coons, our Treasurer, I completed the online form this morning to ensure we earn the matching the $3000 from the Pomeroy Fund. That’s $10,500 towards the $14,700 cost of the fence. So the fence is paid for, thank you one and all!

Our 15 member board is reinvigorated with our success in completing our first big project to restore the Homestead as a Gates landmark. Next the barn, one of the few left in Gates and since the Hinchey Homestead is a farmhouse, a fancy one to be sure, but a farmhouse nonetheless, a farm house needs a barn to be a true farm and true to our agricultural Gates roots. Old boxcars were used to help make the ‘cabbage barn’ as it’s known. Thanks to a most generous anonymous donor, we think we have half the funding we need to restore the barn, $35,000.

Success happens when board, members, neighbors and community come together to realize a shared goal. Today would not have happened without the support of our elected officials, our wonderful town liaison, Bill Gillette and our fully committed Board, all of whom contributed to the Fence Fund. We are ever so grateful for all the town support we have received now and over the past 20 years.

May the Gates Historical Society repay this community support by developing the Hinchey Homestead into a model historic site and by enhancing the town’s pride in its long and illustrious heritage. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you here today for all you have done to help us achieve what we honor and celebrate together!

And if you are not yet a member of the Society, we would welcome you as a member and as a volunteer as we continue to make this landmark shine in our beloved town!

Today we say as we coast down the hill of this major fundraiser, ‘we thought we could, we thought we could, we thought we could!’

Thank you one and all very much!

Susan Swanton, President, Gates Historical Society

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