ALLEGANY – In an effort to preserve those that preserve the past, the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation has taken the lead in funneling donations to the Allegany Area Historical Association.
The historic preservation group has been self-sustaining since 1981, according to its president, Francie Potter. The group has never taken a dime from a governmental agency. Everything has always come through donations and fundraisers. That is a trend the organization is proud to have.
But the group meets in the old Methodist Episcopal Church at 25 North Second St. in Allegany. The building, built in 1855, needs constant attention. This newly created fund will go to that end.
“Our goal is to have enough money to maintain our building, and to continue in our mission of collecting and preserving the history of the Allegany area,” Potter said. “The Allegany Area Historical Association decided that starting a fund with the foundation would be the best way to have our money work for us and to bring our association to the attention of the general public.”
That mission and goal are right up the alley of the Community Foundation, according to its executive director, Karen Niemic Buccheit.
“One of the roles of the community foundation is to help our nonprofits become stronger in many ways, including financially through endowments,” she said. “We have the category called Agency Fund, which is when all or part of a nonprofit’s endowment is managed by the foundation. This is established by a public charity for the charity’s benefit.”
The mission of the Allegany Area Historical Association, according to Potter, is “to collect the history of the Allegany area, preserve it, and to disseminate that historical information to the public.”
To do this, the group has four meetings a year, usually in March, May, October and November. The meetings usually have speakers who have a considerable knowledge of specific historic points, not only of Allegany, but also of areas and communities throughout the region. In a previous meeting, Dr. Val Dunham discussed his book, “Allegany to Appomattox,” which is a history of his great-great grandfather, William Whitlock, from his letters chronicling his time in the Civil War.
In October, the group heard from Allegany native Spencer Morgan, who also happens to be the curator of the Steel Plant Museum of Western New York, who gave a presentation on the history of steel production in the region.
To aid in fundraising, the organization has an annual Christmas cookie sale and an annual community Christmas service in the historic Methodist Episcopal Church.