OCR Interpretation


Chronicle-express. (Penn Yan, N.Y.) 1926-current, August 22, 1990, Image 13

Image and text provided by Yates County History Center & Museums

Persistent link: http://dev.nyshistoricnewspapers.org/lccn/sn84031443/1990-08-22/ed-1/seq-13/


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^hplace o f the g r e a t orator The Chronicle-Express, Penn Yan, N.Y., August 22.1990 • Pago 13 [(ngersoll House getting face-lift By JENNA MUX.S I^DEN —OnAug. U, 1833, boy was born on Main * (inDresden. That little boy, ' jon of ® minister, was named “!ftGreen Ingersoll. jie grew, he became known Great Agnostie”, and later i the reputation of being a orator of his time. Some, in claim him to be the best ,gcofalI time, in itself a great ijljinent, to a man who lived in jjgio of Abraham Lincoln nnd OetcysbuTg Address. he was born in still ujs in Dresden, and though is 8 marker on the door and ^ue out front designating it birthplace of the well- ,«n orator, it is not a museum ,lavish public place. In fact, at point in time, one can’t go iie house without donning a hat, work boats and heavy thing, because the floor in the is close to collapse, the [s are crumbling, and the long is beyond repair. ^illhough Ingersoll lived only jiief time in Dresden, his place is special to many of followers — people of this iftation who look back on his hand admire all he did. gftert Ingersoll, served as a |8 k 1 in the Union Army during (Civil War. He became the first jrtiiey general of Illinois and g one of the most prominent okespersons for the Republican rqi during the latter p art of the nil Century. li an orator, he drew crowds knever he went. His doubt in (existence of God may have jidered any quest he may have lifor the Presidency and also 1 to his opponents reiterating ir.plaints that he was anti-gov- lament and democracy. Although his beliefs were radi- Iforthe time in which he lived, itiadthe fervor to stick to them, fact, he outlined his basic ilcsophy in one of his great ttthes^ titled “Why I Am An |iiostic\ which was given in of literally thousands of Hple. Robert Ingersoll's friends in- liiied, Mark Twain, Thomas iisfiTi and Eugene Debs. And, because his birthplace ® still important to many people, ie Ingersoll House in Dresden is 8w getting a face-lift. With the dp of the Robert G. Ingersoll lemorial Committee, headed by M'P Mass of San Francisco as Aairinan, nnd Tim Madigan, ex- futive director, and a local con- Betor, Joe Cacciola, as well as any contributors, the Ingersoll iinise is now a state restoration ’ .Earlier this summer, work star- id there, and slowly the house is tarsforming from its longtime bte of disrepair to a state of (dl restored beauty. Cacciola took time out from his iork recently to explain what is iimg done to the structure. He »d his son, John, have already bn nut most of the walls in the uteritirnf the house. These walls »cre not well made originally, Eacdola said, jokingly saying, ^be individuals who constructed Jiis house were not carpenters or ^lUmen, they were artists. Jnynne who can make a house out ?l recycled materials and scraps |s they did are very close to Mpdans.” i But, in a more serious tone, he .•rfplsined how it is difficult, but important, to maintain a balance between the historical materials of the house and the proper con­ struction design and materials that will pass the necessary codes of today. This is what he is trying to do throughout the house. An added problem that Cacciola must deal with is a very low budget. It is hoped that the total cost of this project will not exceed $.50,000. A New York State grant of $22,000 has been received, with the stipulation that the committee follow the state’s guidelines for historic preservation. The Inger­ soll Memorial Committee has been raising the rest of the funds needed for the project. With the low budget for this project, Cacciola says he will not make anything for his service, but he looks a t this as a service to his community — one he has wanted to undertake since he moved to the area 10 years ago. Along w ith new walls, a sub­ floor is being installed under the existing one; the reason for this being that if repairs were made to the existing one, 70 to 80 percent of it would have to be tom up and replaced. The advantage of the sub-floor IS, it will brace the old one and thus it will not have to be ripped up, Cacciola explained. This, he noted, was “a historical call” in the restoration, as it is the job of the historian/restorer to try and keep with the original designs and elements of the structure. At the time of this reporter’s visit, the walls were ready for plastering and the floor was al­ most flxed. A bathroom needs to be added and plumbing will have to be installed, as well as electricity, Cacciola said. He will bring in independent contractors for each of the latter two jobs. He and his son will be finished with the other work in approximately 10 weeks. Both Mass and Madigan are very happy that work is finally progressing on the house. It is hoped that by Christmas the house can be re-opened and at that time will stay open as a living monument to Robert Inger­ soll. A n o ther interesting aside to the house is that over the last 100 to 150 years it has seen many changes, some of which are still visible today. Not all of the struc­ ture, as it is today, is original. At least two times the house was ad­ ded on to. Originally a saltbox structure was moved there from someplace else. To this saltbox a smaller one was added. To make the two come together, one joist in the roof was cut in two places and bent. This is very visible on the north side of the sloping roof. Also, what was once a spring kitchen, was added. This is very noticeable from the upstairs. There is a small alcove oflT one of the bedrooms over the spring kitchen, and the lines of this structure are very different from those in the rest of the house. Those not overly interested in the house from an interest in In­ gersoll himself, may still find the architecture an attraction. Either way. in the time to come, the In­ gersoll House in Dresden will be worth a trip. Donations for the restoration can be sent to The Ingersoll Memorial Committee, Box 5, Buf­ falo, NY, 14215. After all the restoration has been completed, it is hoped that a small museum and library can be opened in the house. ELIMINATE ENGINE STORAGE PROBLEMS! 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