Mendon Historical Society aims to expand preservation list
MENDON -- The new Mendon Historical Society is busy making plans to restore and preserve buildings that have played a part in the area's rich heritage.
"We've got a great huge list of what we're doing," Valerie Larsen, president of the Historical Society, said. Larsen organized the society in 2000 but the organization did not start meeting on a regular basis until May, 2001.
Larsen, along with 12 board members and more than 30 members, is heading up efforts in Mendon to have more historical buildings and homes added to the National Historical Preservation list. Larsen says that at least four homes in Mendon are already on the national list, and to get more added she plans on conducting an intensive survey of all homes in the city built more than 50 years ago. After the survey the board will decide which buildings and homes should be submitted to the national list.
Along with preserving some of Mendon's heritage, the society has three cabins in the area built by early settlers of Mendon that it would like to restore.
Dale Bird of Mendon also recently donated the original post office building to the society. Bird's uncle Dell was the postmaster in Mendon for many years and when a new post office was built, Dell moved the old post office onto his property. Years later, Bird bought his uncle's property and has for many years been using the old building for storage. Bird estimates the building was built around 1910.
"It was used for quite a while. I remember it as a kid," Bird said.
Larsen eventually hopes to have all these historical buildings in one area of town. It is possible that the society will be given the James G. Willey house and land. Willey and his handcart company were some of the first pioneers to settle Mendon. Some of Willey's ancestors are still in Mendon and have been in touch with Larsen. If everything works out, Larsen envisions moving the cabins and post office as well as other buildings to the Willey land, restoring them all, filling them with artifacts and having a historical corner of town that people can tour.
"The ultimate purpose is to educate the people about Mendon and their heritage," Larsen said.