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Concerned about the Gothic Cottage renovation

LETTER TO THE EDITOR

To the editor:

I read with interest, and some dismay, the article in the Republican for Feb. 6 about a proposed interior renovation of the Gothic Cottage to make it more suitable for modern office work; we all know what that usually means.

The Cottage is Cazenovia's, and the area's, most distinguished Gothic Revival structure because of the combination of its exterior and interior preservation. As noted in Crawford and Stearns 2009 report, the remarkable preservation of the interior, along with its wonderful exterior, make it "nearly unique." Interiors are the first things to be changed by successive generations of house owners, and the preservation of the Cottage's is really miraculous. The only other such structure in this whole area that comes to mind is the Munson Williams Proctor Art Institute's Fountain Elms in Utica, the well-preserved 1850 (interior and exterior) home of the museum's founding family. It has been carefully and lovingly preserved, and is a major attraction for the city.

We have witnessed a number of meetings recently about preserving our lake because it is such an important part, including an economic part, of our village and town. The Gothic Cottage is similarly so, a living museum of Cazenovia's past that adds significantly to its patrimony and its appeal, a fitting companion of a later period to our great preserved Federal structure, Lorenzo. Neither words nor pictures can evoke the sense of history that comes from walking within a preserved historic structure. That’s why people travel to visit historic sites here and abroad.

Cazenovia, almost uniquely among historically important towns of its size in the state, has no historical society, a function largely served now by our library and by the New Woodstock Regional Historical Society and Museum. (Pompey has an historical society and museum, as does Manlius and Peterboro. Peterboro actually has two museums.) That is what the Gothic Cottage should have become, and what it still might were some more creative thought given to the subject.

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