Wolcott Carriage House
The Carriage House move September 5, 2003
The Wolcott Historical Society existed prior to having our museum. The artifacts were housed in the Town Hall and later moved to the Village Hall. In May of 2003, our members were told that the Marshalls, owners of the Pit Stop on Main St., were going to demolish the old carriage house that stood behind their building. The carriage house was all that was left of the Leavenworth/Northup estate, once a showplace of the village. The main house had a fire and was demolished in the late 1970's. The carriage house had been turned into rental property. The Marshalls had planned to demolish the carriage house in order to create a bigger parking lot for their new car wash. They donated the building to the Historical Society and gave them until the end of July 2003 to have it moved.
That was just the beginning of a frantic journey. Where could the carriage house be moved to? How much would it cost to have it moved? Who could move a two story building? Fund raising began. The search for a place to put it began. The Delf family donated their lot on Jefferson St. across from the Municipal Parking lot behind their grocery store. The Matthews Building Movers Company of Rochester, NY was contracted to move the building from Main Street to Jefferson St.
Time was running out and the money needed to make the move had not been realized. When Congressman James Walsh read in the newspaper about our attempt to save the Carriage House for the purpose of opening a museum, he very quickly found grant money in time to save the day.
Although the Marshalls were anxious to complete their plans for their business on Main St., they extended our time to August 30th. The Carriage house had to be readied for the move. The utility companies had to be contacted so that the power lines and other lines could be lowered. The lot had to be readied.
The Carriage house was raised off of its foundation and steel beams placed underneath. The lot on Jefferson St was just deep enough but it was an upward hill. To level the area, the dirt had to be dug out and removed before the footers could be poured.
Once the lot was ready, there was a ground breaking ceremony. Nancy Patrick, the Wolcott Historical Society's president at the time, broke ground along with Congressman James Walsh and other village, town and county representatives on August 21,2003. The utility company and Verizon had to coordinate with the movers and law enforcement needed to be alerted.
On a warm and breezy September 5, 2003 all was ready. The power lines were lowered. Wooden planks were placed on the roads to protect them as the building was moved across Main St and onto Northup Ave. Matthews Movers slowly eased the Carriage House around the corner and proceeded along the south side of Northup Park. Elementary school children watched from the park along with other spectators as the building moved along slowly. There was another wait while once again the power lines were lowered so that New Hartford St. could be crossed. The parking lot was cleared and the Carriage House moved slowly down through it. It had to turn again and quickly again before it could be backed into the prepared lot.
Now the work to renovate the building began. Volunteers began yet another long journey. Where the front row of 5 windows were, false carriage house doors were placed. Walls, ceilings, windows and floors all had to be renovated. The building had to be made handicap accessible. Almost two years later, on August 20th 2005, a grand opening was held.
Work has continued and improvements have been made. The tool shed was put in place in the side yard and painted. The front lamp posts were installed in 2008. The local Boy Scouts came to help shovel gravel for the back.
Today the Carriage House Museum is a beautiful Museum and an asset to our community.