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Hull House Bicentennial by Gary N. Costello

posted Apr 23, 2012, 11:25 AM by Pamela Davison
The Patriot, Volume 3, Issue 3 – September 2009

The historic c1810 Hull House is getting older – and definitely getting better. Plans are well underway to celebrate both its age and restoration in 2010. While we have no definitive document showing the exact year of construction, we do have evidence of other very important dates relevant to the homes history. We know that the land upon which the Hulls built their home was purchased from the Holland Land Company – Joseph Ellicott was their agent – in 1804. And we have the deed granted to Warren Hull showing a date of 1814. These dates are significant because the ten year span between the 'taking of an article' and receiving the deed was typical of the era. It was quite common for an individual to be allowed ten years in which to clear a portion of the land, plant a crop, build a dwelling and thus 'settle' the homestead.

There are other indications of its age in the style and architectural features of the house that point to a beginning early in the 19th century. To detect these features is the job of the architectural historian. The historic structure report for the Hull House contains an explanation of this study. And it is this study that has placed the origin of the Hull House c1810. Few if any stone dwellings this intact, with so much of its original features, exists in Erie County from any period before the Hulls came to western New York.

This beautiful, stately, and solidly built early federal style home is a true treasure. While hidden in plain sight for many decades, it is now well on the way to being fully restored and widely publicized. The goal is to have the interior of the home substantially complete early in 2010.

This home, its 200 years of history, and the work of the restoration deserve to be celebrated. To mark this 200th birthday of the Hull House we are planning a series of activities, events, and 'happenings'. Visitors to the Hull Family Home & Farmstead will hear interpretive information that focuses on its 200 years of history. A special dinner presentation is in the works for major contributors and other dignitaries – a dinner that will be prepared on site on one of the restored open hearths and offering a menu true to the period. Each of the 'regular season' events – Ice Cream Musicale'; Sheep to Shawl; and American Harvest Fall Fund Raiser Dinner - will be expanded and enhanced to focus attention on this historic milestone. Look for more music, fashions of the period and even a fireworks display.

There will be a Hull House photo contest – set to begin in September of this year to run through August 2010. Winning photos will be used to create the 2011 Hull House Calendar. [Contest rules are available on our website.] A new publication is being assembled that will present an overview of this rich heritage resource, include a brief history of the area, and the story of the restoration, including the plans for its full development and use. Also planned is a 'community dig' with a focus on the archaeological study of the site – offering an opportunity for a 'hands on' archaeological experience for aspiring archaeologists. And exhibits assembled in conjunction with local historical societies and the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society are part of the celebration.

2010 is shaping up to be an exciting and eventful year at the Hull Family Home & Farmstead. We want everyone in Erie County and western New York to know about this rare surviving historic site and to learn of the heritage story it has to offer our community, as we here at the Homestead strive to – Relight the Past.