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Historical treasure hiding in plain sight at Cazenovia High School

From left: Stickley repair technician supervisor Mark Miner, company President Edward Audi, Superintendent Robert Dubik, corporate historian Mike Danial and repair technician Doug Manning.

From left: Stickley repair technician supervisor Mark Miner, company President Edward Audi, Superintendent Robert Dubik, corporate historian Mike Danial and repair technician Doug Manning.

— Indeed, when Cazenovia High School opened in 1931, it was filled with many Stickley pieces, many of which still remain in the district and building offices today. But the clandestine classroom podium was a surprise.

Because there’s not much collector interest in the Contract line, at least not yet, the podium doesn’t hold much antique value, according to Danial.

“Nevertheless, it is a fine, well-designed piece that should see many more years of useful service,” he said.

And it’s rich in historical value, which is why the school district and Stickley worked together to restore the piece.

After a brief stay with Stickley restoration specialists Mark Miner and Doug Manning at the Manlius factory earlier this winter, the podium was back at Cazenovia High School before the holiday break.

“It should be good for another 80 years,” Stickley President Edward Audi told Superintendent of Schools Robert Dubik in mid-December, when district officials picked up the podium in Manlius.

The decision was made to make only some unseen structural repairs and leave the surface blemishes, such as scratches and ink scribbles, untouched.

“When one of these objects comes into your possession, you need to have a consideration of the object’s past,” Danial said. “And some of the dents and marks and scribbles and ink and things that are on it don’t necessarily have to be removed to put [the object] back into use again.

Danial recalled how he blanched when the owner of a 1960s-era Stickley chair once wanted to strip off the brightly colored “flower power” designs that had been painted on it.

“That’s a little piece of American history,” he said. “To people who see enough fine objects over their lifetime, we tend to be more charmed when an object has a little bit of personality that’s a little quirky. Like a dining room table that still has the clamp marks from where grandma used to hook on a cherry pitter. You don’t want to remove grandma’s life from the table. … Furniture should tell a story. And you never want to pull chapters out of a book.”

Vickers agreed. “Our Stickley podium would have many stories to tell if it could speak,” she said. “We look forward to creating many more memorable moments for it to house. Expect to see this piece of tradition and excellence at the Junior and Scholastic Achievement Awards Ceremony in May and at graduation in June.”

Laura Ryan is the public information officer for Cazenovia CSD.

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