Marking Our Local History

Senator Patty Ritchie

November 27, 2019

Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column
Senator Ritchie’s Weekly Column

Every so often, I will receive a phone call in my office from someone in our region looking to preserve a part of his or her community’s history.  Whether it is a well-known historical figure, landmark or place of a historically important event, ensuring the future knows what makes our towns and villages so special, is important.

Typically, when we come across something in our community of historical importance, we see those big blue and yellow plaques that not only name the spot, or the figure who spent time there, but offer a description as well.  Those signs offer us a real education in local history.

Here in New York State, there is a foundation that helps bring these signs to life.  The William G. Pomeroy Foundation’s mission is to support the celebration and preservation of community history.  It commemorates local history from 1740-1920.  Since 2006, it has funded nearly 1,000 roadside markers and plaques.  In our region, there are numerous markers, such as the Sally J. Farnham marker in Ogdensburg, the West Pierhead Lighthouse in Oswego and the Union Meeting House in Cape Vincent.

Through the foundation, local, state and federal government entities, non-profit academic institutions, and 501(c)(3) organizations in New York State can apply for a grant to pay for a marker. The grants cover the entire cost of a marker, the pole and shipping. 

The foundation has just opened a new round of funding. In our region, those in Jefferson and Oswego Counties can begin the process by submitting an online letter of interest by Monday, December 16th, 2019.  Documentation is also required to support the letter.  The final application deadline in Monday, January 20th, 2020.

You can learn more about the foundation and its grant program by clicking here