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Henderson Historical Society has funding to proceed with Peters-Stevens Boat Annex project

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HENDERSON — More than six years of planning, fundraising and successful grant applications have given the Henderson Historical Society the funding it needs to proceed with its Peters-Stevens Boat Annex project.

The new annex, to be located behind the society’s building at 12581 County Route 72, will house about 12 to 15 vessels that represent the town’s shipmaking history.

“This is a time to celebrate, believe me,” said John H. Treadwell, chairman of the society’s boat annex committee. “They just don’t make any more of these boats anymore.”

Mr. Treadwell said the group has raised about $68,500 so far, enough to begin phase one of the project, which will include initial site work and construction of the building. The group hit that figure with the help of a $10,000 grant from the Northern New York Community Foundation.

The society has worked with Franklin Builders, Chambersburg, Pa., to get the project going, and Mr. Treadwell said the society will have a clearer idea of the development timetable after a meeting this week. He said Henderson resident David Ditch completed the architectural drawings for the building, and site work will be done by Thomas Excavating, Adams.

However, he said the initial hope was to have the building standing “before the snow flies.”

Though the building will be used to house boats as soon as it’s finished, a formal opening has been scheduled tentatively for Memorial Day.

The committee has been in place since 2007, but Mr. Treadwell said planning for the building has been underway since a few years before the committee’s formation.

“It’s taken a while, but we are there,” he said.

The society has had several vessels donated to it within the past few years, including a 1900s 15-foot Tyler guide boat, a 27-foot Stevens guide boat, a 15-foot Hovey rowboat and an 1880 Stevens ice boat. Without one location to store them, the vessels, many of which were created in the late 1800s into the early 1900s, have been held by a group of local residents and nonprofit organizations.

The construction of the building is part of the first of three phases for development of the boat annex. The second and third phases include wiring the building for electricity, installing insulation and boat cradles and making general aesthetic improvements.

“We’ll be able to display the boats, have written histories of each boat, the time and era of these boats and when they were used,” Mr. Treadwell said. “Almost a golden era of boating, at least in Henderson.”

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