News Archive

Buffalo Talks: Plaster Restoration Seminar

posted Jan 17, 2013, 4:57 PM by Dennis Hirschfelt

Preservation Buffalo Niagara presents "Buffalo Talks"

Plaster Restoration Seminar

Saturday, February 9, 2013 from 10am-Noon
Hull Family Home and Farmstead
5976 Genesee Street, Lancaster, NY

Limited to 20 people; $15/person. 
Call (716) 852-3300 to RSVP.
PBN or Hull House members: $10.

For more information please visit 


posted Dec 11, 2012, 10:05 AM by Dennis Hirschfelt   [ updated Dec 11, 2012, 10:06 AM ]

On Monday, February 18, 2013, we will be hosting a fundraiser at the Pizza Hut at 7470 Transit Road across from Eastern Hills Mall.  From 4:00-8:00PM that evening, 20% of all charges (excluding alcoholic beverages) will be donated to the Hull House.  

So print as many copies of the flyer as you need, and bring your family, friends, and co-workers to the Eastern Hills Pizza Hut on February 18.  You'll be  helping to add to the restoration funds for the Hull Family Home & Farmstead!
If you have any questions, please contact Sue Jacobs at or call 681-5494.

Victorian Christmas High Tea

posted Nov 5, 2012, 6:06 PM by Dennis Hirschfelt   [ updated Nov 5, 2012, 6:07 PM ]

Come on over the river and through the woods to the

Hull Family Home & Farmstead

5962-5976 Genesee Street – Lancaster, NY

Victorian Christmas High Tea

In the Victorian House

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reservations Required – call 716-741-7032

Seatings at 11 a.m. – 1:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

TICKETS: $20 adults - $10 10 & under

(not recommended for small children)


Christmas Open House

In the c.1810 Hull House

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Noon to 4:00 PM

ADMISSION: Adults: $5 - Youth 10-16: $2 –9 & under are FREE

Hot cocoa, spiced cider, cookies

Father Christmas will be there all day!

Storytelling and crafts for the kids.

Baked goods to take home, too!

Thanks to Our Harvest Dinner Sponsors

posted Nov 5, 2012, 6:04 PM by Dennis Hirschfelt

Our sincere thanks to our Sponsors and friends that made the American Harvest Dinner fundraiser so memorable!
Friday, October 26, 2012 at Fox Valley Club, Lancaster.


Nancy L. & Gary N. Costello

Gentleman Farmer

The Conable Umbras Family
Grandview Landscaping & Snowplowing
Barbara & Jerry Kelly


Thomas & Jeanette Dickinson
Gary Howell Photography
Suzanne Jacobs
Mark L. Martin


Savarino Properties, LLC

Heritage Arts Fair - June 23-24, 2012

posted Jun 5, 2012, 3:03 PM by Pamela Davison

NEWS RELEASE:  June 4, 2012

Historic Crafts, Music Performances & Farm Animals

Featured at June 23-24 Heritage Arts Fair

Lancaster’s Hull Family Home & Farmstead is Host Site


Demonstrations of heritage crafts including spinning, weaving, knitting & crocheting, felting, blacksmithing, sheep shearing, woodworking, lacemaking, soap making, and quilting by local artisans will be featured at the Hull Family Home & Farmstead’s upcoming Heritage Arts Fair on Saturday, June 23 and Sunday, June 24. Event hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. all weekend at the Hull Family Home & Farmstead site, 5976 Genesee Street at Pavement Road, Lancaster, NY.


Daily admission to the Heritage Arts Fair is $5 for adults, $2 for students and kids ages 10-18 and free to children under age 10. Donations to advance the Hull Family Home & Farmstead’s ongoing restoration are always gratefully accepted and annual memberships are available.  Full information about the project and additional activities is available at


A full schedule of musical performers is also a feature of the Fair; the lineup includes City Fiddle Band, Kindred, The 198 String Band, Irish Volunteers, Brian & Peg, Cairde, and members of Rush the Growler. Participating artisans include members of the Weavers Guild, the Amherst Museum Quilt Guild, St. Joseph’s University Church Prayer Shawl Group, and Common Threads Guild, among others.


Live farm animals to visit, craft items and refreshments for purchase, and tours of the historic Hull Family Home c. 1810 round out this family-friendly event all weekend. Parking is free.


The Hull Family Home, built c. 1810 by Revolutionary War veteran Warren Hull, is the oldest intact home in Erie County. Undergoing development into the region’s only Living History interpretive site representative of WNY’s pre-Erie Canal period 1810-1825, the Hull Family Home & Farmstead is operated by Hull House Foundation, the all-volunteer non-profit founded in 2006.

Doors Open Niagara Weekend - June 16-17, 2012

posted Jun 5, 2012, 3:00 PM by Pamela Davison

NEWS RELEASE: May 30, 2012

Oldest Stone Home in Erie County Featured in

Upcoming Doors Open Niagara Weekend

June 16-17 free event focuses on Binational Niagara Frontier’s Architecture, Heritage


The Hull Family Home & Farmstead, undergoing restoration and development into the Living History interpretive experience representing family and agricultural life during Western New York’s early 19th Century, pre-Erie Canal settlement period, is a featured site in the upcoming Doors Open Niagara Weekend on Saturday, June 16 and Sunday, June 17.  Free docent-led tours of the National Register-listed Hull Family Home, c. 1810, will be available throughout the weekend between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.


The Farmstead site is located at 5976 Genesee Street (Route 33) at Pavement Road (3 miles east of Transit Road) in Lancaster, NY. Information on Hull Family Home & Farmstead activities and the restoration project is available at The Farmstead site includes a Bicentennial Peace Garden, inaugurated in August 2011 and to be rededicated July 22 as part of the new Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail, which features local heritage plants, seasonal flora and two “Carvings for a Cause” sculptures of 1812-era personalities.


Believed to be the oldest intact home remaining in Erie County, the Hull Family Home is a distinctive Federalist style stone residence designed and built by Revolutionary War veteran and transplanted New Englander Warren Hull. He, his wife Polly, their 12 children and several later generations of Hulls lived in the home and farmed a successful 340 acre-farm as original settlers of this part of the Holland Land Purchase. The farm and the family were witness to most of the major events of WNY history during this period including the Niagara Frontier’s involvement in the War of 1812 and the 1813 destruction of Buffalo, westward migration, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War, and the late 19th C.  social reform movements. The home is listed on the National and NYS Registers of Historic Places.


Doors Open Niagara, a project of the Binational Tourism Alliance, is in 2012 celebrating its tenth anniversary of encouraging appreciation of the architecture and heritage of the Niagara Region on both sides of the U.S.–Canadian border. Sites to be highlighted in 2012 are early 19th Century sites including the Hull Family Home & Farmstead that compliment the upcoming bi-national Bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812.  For more information on Doors Open Niagara, the Binational Heritage Peace Garden Trail and related activities, please consult

How to Light the Spark by Pamela J. Davison

posted May 8, 2012, 6:02 AM by Pamela Davison

 The Patriot -- Volume 6, Issue 2    May, 2012 
      Do you remember how you first became interested in history and historical sites?  It usually happens when you are a very young child and someone tells you a story about the past, or you find a very old treasure, or you see something somewhere that seems unusual and exotic – and you related to it in an unusual way.

      I never thought much of history classes in school – too much memorizing of names, places and dates.  It all seemed so distant and unrelated to me.  There was a real disconnect between that and the living history that I experienced at historic sites and in the local museums that my family frequently visited.   I remember, as a very young child, visiting Fort Niagara and seeing people dressed in “funny” clothes walking the grounds.  There was strangeness about the whole thing and I was not a little intimidated by those people from the past.  Yet, my curiosity was piqued.

      It was around the age of ten that I began to read historical fiction.  In those books, people from the past became my teachers and I learned from them what life was like back then.  The more I learned, the more I wanted to know, and I learned to ask questions from those interpreters at the parks and museums …and I fell in love with the past.

      Reenactors and historical interpreters are an unusual and friendly group who devote many hours of their spare time to expanding their own knowledge so they can share their experience and know-how with others.  These living historians are the people who make history come alive for us.  It is this experience that we pass on to our guests at Hull Family Home & Farmstead.

       Programming through the summer months centers on the history of the Warren & Polly Hull Family and their descendents.  We know that Warren was a militia man in the Revolutionary War.  Warren and Polly’s daughter, Polly and her husband, Daniel Lewis, lived in Blackrock when Buffalo was burned during the War of 1812.  Warren and Polly’s grandsons served in the Civil War.  Our reenactments and candlelight tours are meant to give our guests some historical perspectives of each of those periods of life in Western New York and how a typical family dealt with the trials and hardships that the common citizen would have had to face.

      Other Hull Family Home & Farmstead events focus on the more genteel aspects of life in the Niagara frontier prior to the building of the Erie Canal.  Tea is served with traditional sweets and savory finger sandwiches by the ladies of the house – along with a lesson on the etiquette of High Tea.  And one of our annual favorites is the Sheep-to-Shawl day where visitors learn how wool is processed beginning with the shearing of sheep, preparation of the wool by carding and spinning, then woven into a beautiful shawl.  Everyone is able to try their hand at these home arts and many return year after year with questions so they can learn more.

     This summer, we will present our fourth annual Summer History Camp for intermediate and middle School children.  This is an immersion environment for boys and girls who will have hands-on experience in life at the Hull House.  Campers learn the typical chores of an early 1800’s  day, cook a meal, dig with archeologists, learn from Native American’s, drill with Revolutionary War and Civil War soldiers, and have plenty of fun all week long.

      So bring your children, your grandchildren, and all the young people in your life to visit us during one of our many summer events.  Give them a lifetime full of wonder and enthusiasm for the past that we all share. 

Give them the opportunity to ignite the spark

that lights a lifetime love for history! 

 Registration Open for 2012 History Camp Sessions

Please check our website for more information on History Camp, programming and events.For detailed information about our History Camp, please contact Suzanne Jacobs by email at


PRESS RELEASE: Adventurous 5th - 8th Graders Sought for July 23-27 History Camp

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:43 AM by Pamela Davison

April 23, 2012

The Hull Family Home & Farmstead historic site at 5976 Genesee Street (at Pavement Road), Lancaster will host its annual History Camp for students entering 5th through 8th grades from Monday, July 23 through Friday, July 27, it was announced today. Camp sessions each day will run from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.  Cost per student for the week is $125.


Campers will learn about and experience many aspects of life in Western New York during its settlement period in the early 1800s.  Activities will include the chores and games, crafts and trades, and cooking and sewing that young people would have done at that time.  They will participate in the site’s ongoing archaeological studies and learn about artifact care and cataloging. Native American life and American involvement in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War will also be covered in interactive formats.


Registrations for interested students are now being accepted by e-mailing A full description of camp activities is available at the website under “Events.”


The Hull Family Home & Farmstead is the all-volunteer, non-profit historic site under restoration and development into the region’s only Living History experience interpreting settler life in WNY during the 1810-1825 pre-Erie Canal period. Anchored by Erie County’s oldest intact residence from that period c. 1810, the site hosts a variety of seasonal events including Revolutionary War Weekend (September 8-9), selected date weekend tours of the historic home, and the new music and fiber arts Heritage Arts Fair (June 23-24).


Hull Family Home & Farmstead, 5976 Genesee Street at Pavement Road, Lancaster, NY  14086

How Do I Restore Thee? by Gary N. Costello

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:41 AM by Pamela Davison

The Patriot, Volume 6, Issue 1 – January 2012

...let me count the ways! An immense amount of work has gone into the restoration of the historic Hull House.  This is a big house!  The Hulls were making quite a statement when they built their home. In total, it’s almost four thousand square feet including the cellar area and the garret (that's the attic, to the uninitiated).  Those who have been following this gargantuan effort will recall work commencing in 2003 on exterior stabilization of the building, which stopped some of the most serious deterioration and shut out the elements in many areas.  2006 saw the complete restoration of the wood shingled roof, parapet end walls and all four brick chimneys, creating a striking new-old look. Then floors were leveled, radiant heat installed, and missing fireplaces rebuilt.  And the work continued on – missing walls were rebuilt, and 20 incorrect windows were replaced with historically correct ones in 2008.  Thousands of square feet of paint were removed from walls and woodwork in 2010.  Hundreds of smaller repairs have been made in every room to advance the work toward completion.  Many of these changes and repairs will never be seen by the average guest, but all were necessary to do the job right.

Most recently, much of the damaged plaster in the 10 first and second floor rooms has been carefully repaired – with more yet to be done.   The focus of much attention of late has been the main area of the cellar kitchen.  Here the floor has been prepared for the installation of insulation, radiant heat, and the application of a beautiful wide pine plank floor - now complete.  The stairs that once led from the first floor common room down to the kitchen area, a stairway that had long been removed and replaced with a modern one, has now been meticulously recreated to mirror the original, steep and narrow though it was – watch your head!  Another significant improvement can be seen in the kitchen’s large wooden fireplace surround.  Wood damaged in recent times by careless fire builders has all been craftily restored.  More than a dozen repairs have been made to reverse 200 years of wear and tear on this one piece to make the surround ready for re-installation.

What lies ahead includes the application of new plaster to all newly constructed walls on all three floors. Several hundred feet of baseboard await installation. Eventually all will be painted with the period-appropriate colors and hardware installed on all doors and cupboards – seemingly ready for the Hulls to move in!  Work remains to reconstruct the cellar scullery (kitchen clean up and wash room) including the installation of radiant heat and a pine plank floor.   

Two new walls must be erected and a larder (cold storage room) will be readied in the cellar.  The attic floor high above will be insulated to help retain more heat, thus making the house more comfortable for its modern visitors.  

Lastly, a functional pantry will crown the northeast corner of the first floor.  If you haven't been to the house in the past year or so, we urge you to visit this spring to see the upgrades and the pieces starting to come together.  Next we start on additional exterior work and the physical development of the farmstead itself   ...and the counting goes on!   

We're in the Basement by Gary N. Costello

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:38 AM by Pamela Davison

The Patriot, Volume 5, Issue 3  – September 2011

Being in the basement typically is not a good thing – at least if you are a baseball team.  But in our case, we are thrilled to be there.  Restoration work on the Hull house has progressed down to the cellar of the dwelling.  Although hampered by a serious lack of funding to  accomplish this work, we have made significant progress through close oversight from our preservation architects - Crawford &  Stearns – and the use of a 'few good volunteers'.

The first step was taken some many months ago with the removal of all the old, deteriorated wood flooring from the main kitchen area.  Most was not original to the house.  A few of the earliest wide boards will be re-used.  Also removed was the later cement slab that formed the floor in what will be the scullery (the kitchen/cooking clean up area).

The next step was to dig and pour several cement footers that will support the new wood plank walls built to conform to the wall configuration that was there in the  original cellar kitchen.

Prior to any digging, archeological study of the area was conducted by the University at Buffalo Department of Anthropology.  And as work has progressed, any soil removed while digging footers has been meticulously screened for artifacts.  What has turned up consists of dozens of glass fragments; much animal bone; perhaps dozens pieces of what appears to be pieces of shoe leather; and a number of pieces of ceramic pottery and other earthen ware.

 One of the most exciting finds was seven pieces of  Staffordshire pearlware that, once reassembled, formed a complete 6” plate (see photo)  Another fun find was a small clay pipe bowl, discovered at the bottom of the cistern by intrepid explorer Bernadette Tomaselli.

Once the plank walls were back in place, work began on creating a grid work of floor joists that will support the hot water radiant heating network to be installed under the floor, and that will also support the wide pine plank floor that our visitors will eventually walk upon.    

Once the main kitchen area is complete – floor; heating; plaster repair; and paint - work will continue in the other 3 rooms of the cellar – the scullery, the larder (or storage room) and the mechanical room that will house our electrical, heating and water requirements.  This room will also serve as a coffee room 'retreat' for our docents and staff.

These are exciting times as we dig our way through to the past – and the vision becomes more vivid and the possibilities more real.  The cooks are out gather provisions already!

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