Cathy Lacy of Ellicottville’s Historical Society is hoping the group’s plans to celebrate the village’s 175th birthday will help area residents connect to the past.
The society held the first in its series of speakers to honor the village Tuesday, when “The Early Settlers” was discussed.
Noting the village was incorporated in 1837, speakers discussed how the village was named the original county seat in 1808, and the Chautauqua Road was built through Ellicottville.
The first frame home was built in 1917, when oxen carried materials from Kill Buck into Ellicottville to enable its construction. Since that led to costs running over, a trading post and store were also part of the house, where town meetings and court proceedings were held. An open house is planned in five years, when the homes 200th anniversary will be celebrated. The home is located next to the Episcopal Church.
Beals Litchfied’s 1830 trip to Ellicottville was also discussed. After traveling 13 days, he arrived in the area, making it to the Bryant Hill establishment of family. He stayed about a month before buying 78 acres, where he later worked the farm, wrote spiritual books and helped with the finding of Lillydale.
Society members said some homes built in the 1860s remain, as do descendants of early settlers. In fact, one noted, Ellicottville was planned, mapped out and became the center of the real estate business in the area … similar to today.
Lacy said it is important to take part in the group’s festivities to learn about those who worked hard to create the village. While she said speakers proved interesting Tuesday as they pointed out things about houses people can look at today and see how they would have been, she said there are other reasons to learn the village’s history.
“It makes you feel like you belong,” she said. She said the past is part of the village, or part of the people who live there. In addition, she said, it reminds them of the others who have worked to make Ellicottville what it is.
“It’s not all about you,” she said about what current residents might learn.
Other chances for residents to do so include June 12’s “Down the river to Ellicottville,” July 10’s “Old Home Week,” Aug. 14’s “Early Industries,” Sept. 11’s “School Days,” and Oct. 9’s Local Forum when selected life-long residents will share memories of the village.
The society will also hold a Victorian tea May 12, the Strawberry Festival July 1.
The society is also hosting a poster contest, with the winning design to be sold at its museum.