Oral History Interviews

Did you know that we have over 100 Oral History interviews and transcripts? Arden and Helen McAllister interviewed many prominent and/or influential citizens from the 1970’s and 1980’s. The goal of the project was to collect information about the historical development of Orleans County. Here are just a few names you might recognize Clifford H Wise, Josephine Tuttle, and Marshall Swett Loke.

An excerpt from the interview with Clifford H Wise:
“Private schools were held in homes in the early days, in the homes. Even before there were enough inhabitants for a school building, school was held in someone’s cabin to which the children of the area came to get their education. Sometimes they’d walk, sometimes they were brought in. But then finally the first public school was the old one story stone building at the rear of the Walsh Hotel, erected by Mr. John Ryan at a cost of $800.00.”

Transcripts are available for checkout and copies can be made of the recordings. For a complete list of our transcripts, click here and then open the Local History Cabinet 2 file. This list also includes our holdings of Audio and DVD interviews.

WNY Wednesdays with A.L. Swett

mhs-swett-electricToday is WNY Wednesday. What is that you might be asking yourself. Well let me tell you, WNY Wednesday is when we focus on things of local interest. We will be highlighting our local history collection, books, dvds, maps, and online resources. We will also be highlighting local organizations and their collections and events.

This week the focus is on the A.L Swett Electric Light and Power Co. A community member recently donated a fantastic collection of ledgers which show the accounts at Swett Electric from approximately 1880-1910. Additionally, we have newspaper articles and Village of Medina Board Minutes which discuss the building of the dam, the cost for the street lamps, and more. There are several books about Medina history which discuss the Swett Electric Co. too. All of our materials are available to the public; however, most of this collection must be used in the library.

A kiosk was created at Glenwood Lake by a local boy scout working on his Eagle Scout project. Inside you will find information about the lake, Swett, and his company. The Medina Historical Society has some great photographs, we have copies of several including the one shown here.

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