The idea for the historical society was perceived by members of the Lowell Club, a local literary group.  The Lowell Club members Constance Fullam, Evelyn Tenbrook, Jennette VanPatton and Carol Reynolds showed interested in preserving local history so they met with Harry Reynolds to discuss the first step.   They decided to  invited local organizations to meet at Gunlocke Library on February 10, 1992 to discuss this and twenty seven people showed up.  It was determined that there was sufficient interest to hold another meeting.  A meeting was held on March 2, 1992 and officers were elected: John Landino, President; Forbes Tenbrook,  Vice-president; Constance Fullam, Secretary; Anita Bennett, Treasurer.  Members of the first Board of Directors were: James Sauerbier, Constance Quanz, Harry Reynolds, Betty Engel, Wayne Hunt, Jennette VanPatton, Carol Reynolds and Brian McCoy at this meeting.

Interest grew and many historical items being donated.  It was time to acquire a permanent facility to house these special items.  Several locations were considered but a building was purchased from Joseph Schmitt on March 9, 1994 (the old Morsch Garage).  Members donated many hours of volunteer labor to replace the roof; install new wiring, plumbing and heating systems, hung sheet rock; painted; added new windows, doors and an entranceway; poured concrete, laid carpet; constructed a kitchen and bathrooms; and created an acquisition room. Some local contractor donated part of their labor (Bob White, Gary Bauer, Tom & Mike Fairbrother and Mike Landino) and Kevin Kilbourne of Rogers & Tenbrook helped with  a reduced cost on materials.

Continued upgrading and additions have been made to the building through the years.  Much credit goes to Stephen Malter who spent endless hours at the museum together with Martin Kimmel, Jr., Bruce Brown, Wayne Harris, Forbes Tenbrook, Stanley Newfang, Larry Henty, Chuck, Mark & Mike Prinzi, Mike Cotter, Chip Kimmel, Eugene Wolfanger, Jack Wraight, Jim Oas and others

The Society received a New York State Charter on July 17, 1998.  Even though the building was still incomplete, they could now apply for a State Grant.  Through the efforts of Senator Randy Kuhl and Jim Bacallas they received an initial grant of $25,000 and a second for $30,000.  This money was used to complete the main room.  The balance of the money spent was received from individual donations.

The Society started out with a one page newsletter by the Reynolds in 1992. Anita & Barbara Bennett did the newsletter for a few years,  Sara Didas did it for a year.  In 2000 Helen sick started as editor and it is  a  twenty four page publication.  Much credit goes to the help of several people writing articles.  It is printed by a local printer mailed to over 500 members.   The generosity of local business that purchase ads each year make this newsletter possible.

We have upgraded to a computer program (Past Perfect) to catalogue our acquisitions.  We still have a lot of work to do in this area.

Many of the original organizers have moved on or passed from the scene and new members have come, donated their time and energy and many of them too have given way to a newer group to carry on the work of  preserving the history of the Wayland area. We hope there will be a new generation interest in carrying on this preservation so future generations can have access to their roots.

Darryl Miller did most of the work installing a veterans memorial in from of the museum in 2009.  We are also working on Memorial Books to contain photos and clipping about area veterans.  Money was donated by families for memorial brick bearing the name, rank of service and years served.

 

The first exhibits were set up by Janet Newfang Cragg and now Sally Malter Higginbotham has taken over the reins.  They both have done a super job setting up exhibit that portray local history.    We have a 1900 kitchen complete with a sitting area for elder members of the families and 1920 Parlor with Gunlocke, Plail Brothers and Ardt furniture.  The First National Bank tellers windows and early photos displayed at the Bath National Bank before it became Five Star.  We have part of one of the first post offices in Wayland.  We have a combined exibit of local Doctors.  We have one of the first post offices in Wayland,  We have an old one area set up as a one room country school.  We have an old Barber shop together with old fashioned beauty shop.  We have a extensive Sally Patchin basket exhibit together with some photos of Bert Patchin and race horse Dan Patch.  We have an extensive Gunlocke exhibit, old Erie Railroad, Cypher Incubator exhibit,  1930 and 40 appliances, Some WW II service exhibits.  Exhibits of some of the local businesses.  We have another room that has small farm tools on the walls, some old fire equipment which we move out for some events.  We continue to add to these exhibits as items are received.

We are in the process of establishing a genealogy center as much information was donated by the Estate of the late Marian Scott.  Sandy Booth is working to get this inventoried and organized and will be integrating item that have been donated by other interested  people.  If you have an interest in helping with or adding to this  project please contact us.

We have establish some annual events like the Beef on Wick Dinner in August, the High Tea, Pioneer Days for Way-Coh School 4th grade and Way-Coh Select Chorus.  This past year we joined in with the Christmas In Wayland Festivities.

We try to sponsor programs at least 3 to 4 time annually such as the garden viewing of Villa Landino this summer; Helen Brink’s presentation of Steuben County Cemeteries (Good, Bad and Gone);  Jane Schryver and Paul Hoffman’s slide presentations of old post cards and photos of local interesand Michael Connors presentation of the train wreck in Wayland.  Another favorite is Christmas programs featuring the Select Chorus of Wayland-Cohocton Central School, The Waylandairs and The Warsaw Barbershop group.  This only a sample of the many programs in the past 18 years of the Society.