The re-dedication of the NYS historical marker designating the site of the original Madison County Court House, erected in 1810. In the picture are members of Cazenovia College Board of Trustees, the Erieville-Nelson Heritage Society as well as David and Claire Hollman, who found the sign on their property. (photo by Jason Emerson)
By Jason Emerson
Cazenovia College is a touchstone for many aspects of Cazenovia history — and one of those aspects was rededicated on Nov. 14 with the reinstallation of a state historical marker at the corner of Lincklaen and Seminary streets on the college campus. The marker, which stands in front of Coleman Hall, designates the site of the original Madison County Court House, erected in 1810.
As interesting as the history of the re-dedicated location is the history of the marker itself. It was dedicated as part of an October 1933 Madison County Historical Society meeting in New Woodstock with a Cazenovia Seminary representative on hand to accept the marker. The marker was originally placed on the Cazenovia College campus near the entrance to Eddy Hall as seen from Seminary Street, according to the college.
About a decade or so later, the marker “mysteriously disappeared – exactly when or where is unknown,” said Dr. John Robert Greene, Cazenovia College history professor, who spoke during the event.
The sign was found earlier this year by Claire and David Hollman, behind the garage of their Thomas Road property in Nelson. “It was buried under years of bushes and miscellaneous growth and logs,” said David. “We didn’t really know what it was, just wondered how it ended up there.”
It turned out that in the late 1990s, the sign was found by Jan Roberts in a barn that had served as the Cazenovia College equine center in the early 90s. Roberts moved the sign to his home on Thomas Road, which the Hollmans recently purchased.
After finding the sign, the Hollmans were put in contact with Nelson town co-historian Fay Lyons, who connected them with the Erieville-Nelson Heritage Society. Jim Georges and John Taibi, members of the heritage society restored the marker.
“It’s nice to have it re-dedicated, that’s for sure,” said Lyons, who was on hand for the Nov. 14 ceremony.
“This marks the return of a historical marker to its proper place,” said college President Ron Chesbrough during the event. “It’s beautiful, beautiful work.”
“It’s so lovely to see it in pristine condition,” said Claire Hollman. Her husband agreed. “It complements this corner really well,” David said.
“I think it’s great – it’s always nice to celebrate our history,” said Madison County Historian Matthew Urtz after the ceremony. “It’s a wonderful thing, and it’s nice that the college wants to celebrate it.”
Government officials, college trustees, Erieville-Nelson Heritage Society members and community members attended the ceremony.
Jason Emerson is editor of the Cazenovia Republican and Eagle Bulletin newspapers.