LETTERS: Comstock/Enders property: an irreplaceable piece of Cazenovia’s history

To the editor:

Thursday night, Jan. 5, the Cazenovia Town Planning Board held a public hearing on the proposal of David Muraco to demolish the house and barn known as the Comstock property or Enders property.

I was one of the speakers expressing opposition to that proposal, as follows:

The qualities which make Cazenovia (the town and the village) attractive to visit and desirable in which to live are difficult to define, but we respond instinctively to them.

I submit that what we like about Cazenovia is its beautiful setting and landscape, and the sense of historic continuity we get from its buildings. We know the thoroughness with which John Lincklaen laid out and managed its settlement in 1793. There was a “land rush” in those early years, and Lincklaen’s requirement that settlers clear a portion of the land and build a house discouraged land speculators.

The people who settled here were hard-working, well-educated and dedicated to creating a community.

Many of those early buildings are still in use. They have been cared for, preserved, updated — but they remain a testament to the character of the people who live in them, and to the flow of history from the past through the present to the future.

Zephaniah Comstock was an early example of that community character. He came to Cazenovia in 1810, at age 18. His house is now about 185 years old! It has been lived in by people who embraced its history.

In my opinion, a community which is respectful of its past can ill-afford to wantonly destroy such a well-preserved monument of its historical fabric. To propose its demolition without compelling rationale for an alternate purpose is appalling.

Surely, intelligent and civic-minded people can develop an adaptive re-use scenario for this property. It exemplifies what visitors and the community find memorable about Cazenovia. We have Lorenzo at the west entrance to the village, and at the east entrance, the Maples and the Comstock property.

They are irreplaceable.

Sara Chevako

Town Historian, Cazenovia

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