The Jamesville Community Museum had its roots in two committees that existed in 1976. These groups organized Jamesville's bicentennial celebration and were responsible for the creation of the publication Water, Wheels and Stone which deals with the historical development of the community. Proceeds from the bicentennial activities were donated to the museum as were the proceeds from the original publication of the book.
An organizing committee met for nearly two years formulating the original concepts for the museum which was granted a provisional charter on June 23, 1978 by the New York State Board of Regents. A site for the museum was established in an unused portion of the Jamesville Elementary School approved for use officially by the Jamesville-DeWitt School district Board of Education. This was the beginning of an ongoing and fruitful relationship between the museum and the school that still continues today.
The museum opened to the public officially on May 4th, 1980. Two exhibits on display at the time continue to be the backbone of the museum's collection. They are popular, important educationally, and specific to the museum's mission. One is a fifteen foot diorama depicting the Solvay Process and the raw materials for the process which come from this area (on "permanent loan" from the NY State Museum in Albany), the other is a noteworthy collection of local and NYS minerals.
As the local school district consolidated from four elementary schools to two, it became obvious that every bit of space would be needed. The museum began to look for another site, and the collection was put in storage. In 1985, when St. Mark's Episcopal Church was forced to close its doors after 153 years of ministry in the community, and congregation and the Episcopal diocese offered the building to the museum for a consideration of one dollar. The church, built in 1878 after a fire leveled their 1831 structure on the site, is listed in Architecture Worth Saving in Central New York.
And so, on December 8th, 1985, the museum opened to the public in its new home with exhibits and a gala holiday open house.
Books Published by
Jamesville Community Museum
Jamesville Community Museum has published three books since the museum was founded. Each book focuses on the Hamlet of Jamesville and its people, from the early settlers to more recent residents. There is no single author for any of the publications but each came to life through the effort of many contributors. They are listed below.
Water, Wheels, and Stone; Heritage of the Little Village by the Creek
Price $22.00 with index
This book is all encompassing history of the Hamlet of Jamesville. It spans the early years and extends to the late 1900’s and contains many pictures and stories of the people, businesses, schools and historical buildings.
Life on the Back Road
People from many countries immigrated to the Jamesville area because of the availability of work. One of the largest employers in earlier years was the Jamesville Quarry and many immigrants worked there. The Quarry built a number of homes on Solvay Road for those workers and their families. Some of these homes are still standing but most have been demolished. This book describes what was once called “The Back Road” and its people.
A Jamesville Heritage Cookbook
This cookbook is a collection of recipes from early hamlet residents that have passed down through many generations. This book also contains many short stories about the history of certain recipes and why they were and still are popular.
ANY OF THESE BOOKS CAN BE PURCHASED BY CONTACTING GREGORY TITUS, THE MUSEUM HISTORIAN ONLINE AT: A CHARGE OF $5.00 WILL BE ADDED TO THE PRICE OF EACH BOOK TO COVER SHIPPING.