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Current Executive Board
Baker's Bridge Historical Association, P.O. Box 13, Alfred Station, NY 14803
Please feel free to contact us by mail or email with questions, comments, and/or stories.
To join our Association, please print out our membership form (PDF document). We welcome all new members!
Feel free to to read our latest newsletter (PDF document).
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|Collection Manager||Laurie McFadden|
|Refreshment Coordinator||Amanda Snyder|
|Newsletter Editor||Sherry Volk|
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ALFRED STATION, Allegany County, New York is near the Pennsylvania border directly south of Rochester, and about an hour west of Corning.
Our Historical Association is known as Baker's Bridge because that is the original name of our village.
Alfred Station is all of the Town of Alfred, minus the Village of Alfred, home of Alfred University and Alfred State College. "Downtown" Alfred Station has one street -- Main Street -- which is about one block long. It could be said that Alfred Station has a suburb -- a stretch following Main Street known as Tinkertown. The rest is farm land and woods.
The Historical Association maintains a building referred to as The Meeting House, located on Hamilton Hill Rd., just off Rte. 21 in Alfred Station.
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In 1976 when nearly everyone was anticipating the coming of the Bicentennial celebration of the Fourth of July, Alfred Station was no exception. Its citizens were undaunted by the small size and relative obscurity of their community. A two-day festival was planned for late May, with videotapes recounting local history (self-produced), demonstrations, food, pageantry, music and even bus tours on the hour. There was a house-museum with artifacts pertaining to the early settlers and time of settlement, and the Erie Railroad; and a representative exhibition of works by the many excellent craftspersons (some of international reputation) who called Alfred Station "home." After the cleanup Sunday evening, the utterly-exhausted neighbors who had worked so long together to bring off the event, shared a miracle-of-the-fishes kind of supper together and decided the time had probably come for an Alfred Station Historical Society -- or something.
Eventually the decision was reached to call the organization the "Baker's Bridge Association" to honor the first name by which the community was known. With help from the Alfred and Almond Historical Societies, a provisional educational charter was drafted, and submitted for approval to the NYS Board of Regents. About 50 charter members were enrolled; the first meeting of the Baker's Bridge Association was held September, 1976.
Eventually that charter was granted, and the then-empty Erie Depot became the focus of much interest, for it was fondly remembered but in terrible decline. The Association decided to find out what could be done to restore it. Conrail, it turned out, was not ready to part with the property, but would lease it by the year. The Association was allowed to clean up the Depot and make some basic repairs to the roof and windows. Thus prepared, the building became one of the sites for the First Annual Railroad Day in 1977 -- an educational fund-raising event and public festival. Like the previous year's Bicentennial celebration, this event was scheduled to coincide with the annual May Homecoming of the Alfred Station Seventh Day Baptist Church. For ten years, the Annual Festival was held, until it was decided that respite and a new approach were needed.
The Baker's Bridge Association has published four different postcard editions, notecards, two booklets, and two sold-out editions of a cookbook. It has a growing archival collection of photographs, newspaper clippings, letters and manuscripts; the Association also holds some items of clothing and personal memorabilia, and various small pieces of Erie Railroad equipment. After lengthy, but fruitless negotiation with Conrail, hopes of leasing or owning the Depot were abandoned with great regret. Sometime later, rather precipitously, Conrail pulled the Depot to the ground. In the meantime, the building which served as the original place of worship for the Alfred Station Seventh Day Baptist congregation in the 1830's was donated to the Association. A committee of devoted members responsible for the repairs and restoration of this building worked long hours to prepare the building as a meeting place for the Association and a repository for its collections.
Within the community of the present, the Association took a successful stand to spare Alfred Station from the removal (by the United States Postal Service) of it Post Office which has served Alfred Station since 1822. The most recent threat to community integrity was the proposal of the area as a site for disposal of low-level radioactive waste. The Baker's Bridge Association joined with many other community organizations in taking a stand for maintaining a healthy, safe environment.
From September through May, the Baker's Bridge Association has held monthly meetings with guest speakers drawn from its own membership as well as from other historical societies. There have been speakers from the Genesee Country Village; from Alfred University, the State Colleges at Alfred and Geneseo; and from town, county and state historical organizations. Numerous collectors and scholars have also made presentations. The topics have ranged from local and state history to architecture, collectibles and antiques, early and modern crafts and technologies, and activities like hearth cooking.
In time, the Baker's Bridge Association hopes to implement the refurbishing of some of the small, private cemeteries that presently lie well-concealed beneath very lively vegetation. While various members have responded to requests by other organizations or individuals to speak, or provide genealogical research assistance, it is hoped the further educational outreach may be accomplished by developing a means of augmenting the teaching of the fourth-grade state-mandated local history curriculum. Files are being filled with current news items pertaining to the area and its citizens, with the expectation that these will be useful to researchers who will follow in their turns. In all its activities, the Association may thereby bring an appropriate, new meaning to its name by supplying a historical thought-bridge from past to future.
Excerpted from THE HISTORY OF ALFRED, 1995 (with slight changes needed to update the information)
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The mission of the Baker's Bridge Historical Association is to DISCOVER AND COLLECT any material which may help to establish or illustrate the history of its exploration, settlement, early settlers, later residents, development and activities in peace and war, and their progress in population, wealth, education, art, religion, science, agriculture, railroad, manufacturing, trade and transportation; printed material such as histories, genealogies, biographies, description, gazetteers, directories, newspapers, pamphlets, catalogs, circulars, handbills, programs and posters; manuscript material such as letters, diaries, journals, memoranda, reminiscences, rosters, service records, account books, charts, surveys and field books; museum material such as video tapes, pictures, photographs, paintings, portraits, scenes, Indian artifacts and material objects illustrative of life, conditions, events, and activities in the past or present.
To provide for the PRESERVATION OF SUCH MATERIALS, and for its accessibility, as far as may be feasible, to all who wish to examine or study it; to cooperate with local officials in ensuring the preservation and accessibility of the records and archives of the community and its institutions; to photograph borrowed documents and artifacts, to conduct archaeological investigations of aboriginal or pioneer sites in the locality.
To bring about the PRESERVATION OF HISTORICAL BUILDINGS, monuments and markers; to seek governmental protection for the preservation of the above.
To DISSEMINATE historical information and AROUSE INTEREST in the past by publishing historical material in the newspapers or otherwise; by holding meetings with festivals, field trips, classes, pageants, addresses, lectures, papers, displays, and discussions, and by marking historical buildings, sites, trails and places of local historical significance.
To COOPERATE with the state or other historical associations or organizations to collect and preserve materials of state-wide significance, and cooperate with, and seek the aid of, the historical committee of the Allegany (N.Y.) Board of Supervisors. These materials can be made available to students and scholars.
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The Baker's Bridge Historical Association hosts and participates in numerous annual events:
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