Our rich fabric of cultural heritage is something to cherish, protect, and build upon. We seek to preserve and to enhance our broad range of resources through sensitive stewardship, protection and enrichment for the future.
The Hull House Restoration Project is about sustaining, overseeing and ensuring the continuation of the Western New York story and the rich heritage that can be interpreted through this historic treasure. This site deserves to be preserved, interpreted, and celebrated for its own sake, as well as for all of the residents of our community.
The Hull House Foundation firmly believes in maintaining the authenticity and integrity of our historical site. The heart of heritage development is to tell real stories—stories that explain the places and also tell why these places are important. We, therefore, derive an appreciation and understanding of the significance and value of our community and its past. This, in turn, helps us create a sense of shared experience and meaning.
In telling the story about how we arrived at this point here in the 21st century, how we grew and developed since the first settlers to this area, and how we became the community we are today, we are relighting the past so our story can be shared with future generations.
The house, on 1.1 acres, was acquired by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier (LSNF) from the Peterson Family in 1992 in order to preserve the historic structure. Significant progress began in 2001 when the Hull House Restoration Committee was formed and spearheaded the beginning of major fundraising for restoration of the existing building.
In December 2006, the Hull House Restoration Committee separated from the LSNF and The Hull House Foundation was formed when it was granted a charter by the Board of Regents of the State University of New York, Department of Education as an educational entity. In March 2007, the foundation achieved IRS non-profit status.
In December 2003, LSNF on behalf of the Hull House project, purchased 7.8 acres north of the house including the Hull Family Cemetery. In the following spring, the purchase of another 1.4 acres east of the house, along with the Civil War era barn, was completed. This brought our land holdings to 10.32 acres.
Two additional acres of land and the late 19th century Victorian home west of Hull House were acquired in 2007. This building now serves as the Foundation headquarters. Negotiations were completed in 2008 to purchase five acres of land opposite the house on the south side of Genesee Street. This is the intended location for the future visitors center and parking area. And one additional purchase of another 7 acres of land north of the headquarters building in 2010 – brought the Hull Family Home & Farmstead campus to close to 27 acres in all. All properties are now held by the Hull House Foundation. A portion of these properties were part of the original land holdings of the Hull estate and will greatly enhance the progress toward a fully developed heritage site—helping to create a keener sense of peacefulness, realism and nostalgia, thus further conveying the inextricable links between the early settlers and the land they inhabited.
We have some work to be done.
The Heritage Destination: The c.1810 Hull family house and property will be restored to reflect the Hull family’s occupation of the home and farm from 1815 to 1825 and operated as an educational historic resource open to the public to interpret pioneer life. In providing access to this important historic and architectural resource, we contribute to the public’s understanding and appreciation of the earliest settlement of Western New York. This vision includes the fully restored Federal style house and representative farm with outbuildings, family cemetery and restored barn. This will further enhance the Buffalo Niagara region’s outstanding reputation as a heritage tourism destination.
Cemetery Restoration: Full restoration of the Hull family cemetery is intended. Graves and gravestones are being located, restored or reconstructed. Every consideration is given to the sanctity of this site as it is the known burial place of numerous members of the Hull family and of two Revolutionary War veterans. Proper landscaping, paths and fences will be added.
Native American Cultural Interpretive Site: There is no doubt that Western New York’s earliest white settlers had occasion to relate to and to interact with those Native Americans known to inhabit this region. The Hull Family Home & Farmstead heritage site offers a magnificent and truly unique opportunity to interpret the Native American culture of this region directly alongside the presentation of white pioneer life. It is hoped that this effort would be undertaken with the full involvement of the local Native American community.
Visitors Center: To support present day programs and interpretive needs, visitor and back office functions, exhibit areas, meeting rooms, archival storage and lavatories, a visitors’center will be developed on-site. The center will be designed to architecturally complement the Hull House style and will be placed so as to be minimally intrusive in the landscape and view shed that we strive to preserve.
Autumn 2007 saw the beginning of our first annual membership drive. We have guided hundreds of visitors through the house in the past few years. Visitors are excited about the progress to date and wish to become a part of the development of this rare site. It is truly an experience to follow the progress and growth, and to witness the relighting of the warmth this home has shared with so many.
We invite the public to visit us as work progresses and to share in this experience of discovery as we learn more about life on the Western New York frontier and this fascinating pioneer family.