Tammy M. Kokot, former Scio resident, picture by Jessica Nickerson
When does a tradition stop being a tradition? There are a variety of factors that could bring one to an end. For 60 years or so, a tradition in Scio could be seen from miles away and from different directions. The Cross up on the hill is how non-Scio folks referred to it. Those of us that were raised in Scio knew it as The Cross up on Round Top.
The Scio Fire Department began this tradition some 60 years ago and others have helped carry it on throughout the years. Joshua Nickerson, ‘03 Scio grad, life-long Scio resident, and a father of two little girls, decided that his community needed a boost to their spirit. A few years ago he made contact w/the owner of Round Top to negotiate the purchase of firewood. They came to an agreement about the wood and made another that Josh would look after the property in exchange for being able to hunt on it. In conversation, the subject of the cross was brought up and the possibility of the tradition being revived. Josh was busy with his DEC job, his family, and getting an elevated blind put up from where he would hunt from, and the seasons soon passed. It wasn’t until this year that he decided that his children also deserved to have the same childhood memories that he had about The Cross up on Round Top.
Not knowing that the original cross was still in existence, Josh built a new one from Aspen trees that he had cut down himself from behind his home and planed on his own sawmill equipment. The central piece stands 27’ tall and the cross piece is 13.6’ in length. With the help of his parents, Roxy (Dodson) and Skip Nickerson, his wife Jessica, and his two daughters, this past weekend Josh set to work on getting the cross built and wired. Because of the sheer size, once he got the poles up on the property, all work was done on-site.
High wind warnings for Saturday put the planned completion off until Sunday, the same day as Josh’s youngest daughter’s birthday. But Mother Nature had other ideas, and high winds Saturday night brought the raised hunting blind that he had planned to use to brace the cross on, pretty much destroying the blind itself. Josh discovered this when he went up the morning of the party to work on finishing the project. Discouraged, he was ready to call it quits, but his family wouldn’t let him. The family worked together to disassemble the blind so as to use the base as a stabilizer, but had to break for the birthday party, leaving the cross still on the ground. Josh went back up afterwards, now determined that the cross would be lit that evening. After affixing 168’ of light strands over the cross, he discovered that raising it on his own was not going to be an easy task. Utilizing YouTube, he figured out that by creating a gin pole mechanism and using his UTV, he should be able to do it. And he did. Then he fired up the generator, and that evening, 12/12/21, a cross was lit for the first time in almost ten years on Round Top.
While this writer can’t tell you exactly the best view point, my childhood memory was being able to see it when we came home to Scio from Wellsville, driving along SR 19.
A public Facebook group has been started for folks to share information, memories, and photos ~ “Scio, NY resident revives The Cross on Round Top”. Josh invites folks to contribute.