The Fourth of July, there may be no better day for a piece of history to be saved and that's exactly what's happening in a small Jefferson County hamlet. The Hiram Hubbard House in Champion has seen better days. But as our Brian Dwyer reports, a local historical society has gotten it on the national registry and has secured a grant to get the restoration underway.
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- Built in 1820, this stone house was the home of the first settler and founder of the Hamlet of Champion, Noadia Hubbard.
But a short time later, he gave it to his son, Hiram, who left military school to come back home and run the family's general store.
"I think it was kind of a little reward for having given up a different kind of life to come back here," said Lynn Thornton, Four River Valleys Historical Society Vice President.
Hiram lived here all of his married life and it stayed in the Hubbard family until it was donated to the Four River Vallyes Historical Society in 2005. The organization went to work, getting it on the National Registry of Historic Places. That helped secure a $130,000 grant to help fix it up.
The home needs work in the wet basement, new windows, walls, floors, ceiling and a lot more.
"I was asked what to do with this house originally. I said give it to the Four Rivers Valleys Historical Society and I'll do my best to get it and keep it to what it was," said Suzanne Wiley, former Town of Champion Historian.
Thornton said, "We would like to have this as a headquarters for the Four River Valleys Historical Society. We would like to have a research library here. We hope to have exhibits and be able to take people through here. We would also like to have some educational programs for children."
And to add just a little bit more history to this house, there are some that say the folks that lived here originally still do.
"We have had, not apparitions, but we've had voices and footsteps that have been recorded in the house," said Thornton.
One of them, Robert Lansing Mott. Known as a kind of eccentric man who married a Hubbard daughter, Mott was walking down the stairs and fell, breaking his neck.
"He is one of the people that seems to have stayed in the house, you know,” Thornton said. “People seem to feel his presence from time to time."
Thornton adding, though, that all the ghosts must be harmless, as she's never had any trouble. And they'd probably be even happier when the house gets back into shape.
Thornton says work on the Hubbard House will begin shortly and there's a couple more grants she's working on securing to do more work.