Public invited to Museum celebration October 26
By Kathryn Ross, Vice President TRGHS
WELLSVILLE – The public is invited to help the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society celebrate the 125th anniversary of its home, the Nathaniel Dike Museum, from 1 to 4 p.m., Wednesday October 26th.
For over 50 years the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society (TRGHS) has called the Nathaniel Dike Museum at 118 E Dyke Street home. There it has collected, archived, and displayed memorabilia and records pertaining to the history of Wellsville and the people who settled and grew the town. The museum welcomes guests to view its exhibits and do research on Wednesdays from May through October and by appointment throughout the rest of the year. On Oct. 26th it will close for the season.
The Nathaniel Dike Museum is housed in the former Dyke Street Engine Company firehall. Constructed in 1897 firefighters occupied the building until the early 1960s. The building features a hose drying tower, an upstairs meeting room, and a downstairs where over the years the firefighting equipment was parked. The museum displays antique firefighting equipment and has an extensive collection of fire department memorabilia as well as historical archives pertaining to the development of the Wellsville Volunteer Fire Department.
On Wednesday, the TRGHS will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the construction of the building and the conclusion of another successful season and is inviting the public to attend an open house featuring cider and other seasonal treats along with a tour of the building and its many treasurers.
TRGHS Newsletter Editor Marsha Sick recently wrote, that in the late 1890s a lot and barn located on Dyke Street were purchased from Mary Kelly for $110 and deeded to George. E. Brown who was the first president of the Dyke Street Company. He sold the property to the Company for $1 for the purpose of establishing a firehall to protect the east side of the village which was both industrial and residential at the time. A wood frame, 20 by 36-foot, two-story building was constructed on the lot for a total cost of $378.42 of which $75.50 was for labor.
In April 1905, the company was incorporated as Dyke Street Hose Co. #2. The first motorized firefighting apparatus a Lippert Stewart made in Buffalo was purchased in 1912. Over the years newer and larger fire trucks were purchased by the company.
By 1960 it became clear that the structure was too small for modern equipment and that, combined with a lack of parking caused the department to look for another location. In 1961 the Washington School property, located on Hanover Street a little over a block from the original building, was purchased for a new fire hall. The building had been vacated when a new elementary school building was constructed. After extensive renovation, the old school became the new home of Dyke Street Engine Co. #2. Shortly afterwards, the old firehall became the home of the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society.
On Wednesday TRGHS will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the construction the building and the conclusion of another successful season. The public is invited to attend the celebration featuring seasonal treats and to get to know the town’s history with a tour of the building and see its many historical objects. One display features scissors made by Nathaniel Dike the area’s first settler. There is also extensive genealogical information housed in the building.
Individuals are also invited to get to know the TRGHS by attending the monthly programs the group sponsors throughout the year. The next program is scheduled for Nov. 2, at the David A. Howe Library when Cort Dunham and Friends will discuss the history of Rock and Roll in Wellsville #2. The programs are free to the public.