Rice Homestead restoration in the spotlight this weekend


For the Recorder

MAYFIELD -- The Mayfield Historical Society combined hard work, research and dedication to restore the 1790 Rice Home on Riceville Road.

The goals was to have the home reflect its original appearance.

This weekend, the Mayfield Historic Society will host its 21st annual Christmas open house, during which time visitors can get a glimpse of the home's history and get a first-hand look at the restorations. The event takes place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

While the Rice Homestead will be decorated inside and outside in the spirit of Christmas, there will be tours of the home highlighting the newly redecorated second floor.

Local artisans Libby VanNostrand, Arlene Rambush, and Barbara Hojohn will be weaving in the loom room, and folk artist Teddi Knapp will display her talent in the newly restored first floor pantry.

There will be musical entertainment on both days with hot mulled cider and cookies will be served.

Homemade pies will be sold. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

The Rice Home was occupied until recently by the descendants of its original owner, Oliver Rice, a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

Built in 1790, it has merited a New York State Department of Education official Historical Marker and is on both the National and State Historical Registries.

It is considered one of the few remaining colonial homes in the U.S.

The home is now a museum maintained by the Mayfield Historical Society. It contains a potpourri of historical treasures from the Rice family and the Mayfield area.

According to the society's newsletter, member Elizabeth Foster wrapped up the most current restorations.

While fundraising efforts were ongoing, the Mayfield Historical Society continued its work restoring the Rice Homestead throughout the summer of 2011.

The main floor pantry was painted, woodwork repaired, and lighting added. This room is now used to display a diverse collection of 19th century food containers, kitchen implements, serving pieces, and tools including a wooden butter churn recently donated by Mary Alice Hartman, granddaughter of Lucius Rice.

That summer's work also involved the rebuilding of the back stairs to the early 20th century kitchen and the furnishing of the Loom Room located in the former garage directly behind the house.

This space now holds the large 18th century loom, two spinning wheels and other textile making apparatus, as well as a fine collection of antique woodworking tools and farm implements.

This year Helen Miller, a Rice family descendant, donated three additional handmade artifacts to this collection.

In the spring this year, the interior restoration of the second floor of the house took place. John Coons of Coons Decorating in Johnstown, has repaired damaged walls and has been busy painting walls and ceilings in historic colors donated by Benjamin Moore Paints of Johnstown.

The front bedroom which is being interpreted as mid 19th century has been wallpapered in a documented reproduction design by Thomas Strahan Co. of Chelsea, Mass. It's furnishings, which come from the Rice family, typify the Victorian era's ornate style.

The Mayfield Glove Shop exhibit room has been enhanced with new enlarged photographs and signage. While sorting through the collection, a copy of an original poem, "Glove Factory Girl," attributed to Eileen Perham, was discovered and has been featured in the display.

The Mayfield History Room will be a gallery for changing exhibits developed around several pertinent themes relating to local history.

Some topics may include Mayfield's early days, the evolution of schools, baseball and local teams, music in the community, local churches, Mayfield's contribution to military service, local medical service, and others.

The rear bedroom contains a well-preserved canopy bed with a child's trundle underneath and an antique poster bed dressed with a blue and white wool coverlet marked "Delilah S. Gifford, 1838."

Other furnishings in the room help tell the story of early domestic life in this region.