The 2020 Year in Review

Happy New Year 2021! We hope you are well. The Corona virus pandemic (COVID-19) of 2020 has had a huge impact on our lives personally and for our communities. Our historical society was shut down after the February meeting. We met a total of three times during the year; January, February and November. Our fundraising events and programs scheduled after March were canceled. The following is a summary of our activities in 2020.

2020 Fundraising Sources

  • Spaghetti Dinner, January 25, 2020
  • Membership Dues
  • Cash Donations
  • All children’s tea parties and the 2021 Spaghetti Dinner was canceled.

2020 Donations

  • Framed pictures of George and Martha Washington from the Cleveland Union School were donated by Jack and Andrea Cottet.
  • Items related to the Soule family have been donated to us for safekeeping so they remain in Cleveland. See notice regarding Vanderkamp below.
  • Framed 1890 map of Cleveland donated by Marilyn Penoyer.

Cleveland Glassworks Theatre

  • No performances for 2020.
  • 2020 Grant money was received from Central New York Arts.
  • The is no grant application process for 2021.


Gary Comins, webmaster, along with Keith Schmidt continue to do an excellent job researching local history and posting stories and documents on our website/blog. This is a very useful site for anyone who is researching their families or our local history. Gary has some exciting ideas for 2021!

Historian Report, Joni Hinds

  • The museum and archive rooms were closed this year.
  • The Village of Cleveland submitted a request to the cable show “Hometown” on HGTV to make improvements in the village. As historian, I submitted a brief history of the village for the application.
  • We were contacted by Brad Vilaradi from the Greater Utica Magazine. He was writing an article about the Stone Barn and asked for permission to use the photos on our blog for his magazine article. Gary Comins gave permission.
  • Responded to various inquiries about village history and residents through the year.
  • In October, Gary Comins added me as an administrator on the Cleveland Historical Society Facebook page so I can respond directly to inquiries.
  • An application for a grant to replace the Christopher Martin historical marker was submitted to the William G. Pomeroy Foundation. Martin and his family are reported to be the first settlers in Cleveland in the year 1821. The sources listed were “not accepted as primary sources as defined by our criteria” and they stated they do not give markers for first settlers as it is very difficult to prove.

Board Members

A full list of board members can be found here. No board changes proposed for 2021.

2021 To-Do List

  • The molding around the end of the buttresses on the church has rotted. We have asked a contractor to give us an estimate for repairs/replacement. The damage does not appear to be structural at this time.
  • Scrape and paint entry way in St. James Church.
  • Paint door frame on fellowship house/museum.
  • Pews benches need repair.
  • Inspect and repair foundation as needed.
  • Remove bat excrement and debris from attic in Friendship House. Plug outside holes where bats enter with one-way valves. (We had an estimate last year, but have put it on hold due to cost.)

As you can see from the highlights below, there were endings and promises for new beginnings in our village. Over the year, Cleveland’s for sale signs have slowly disappeared. As of this writing, all homes for sale in the village have pending or contingent notices of sale on the real estate websites. Many of the vacant homes have been renovated and are now livable. Homeowners used the summer months to renovate their homes with new siding, porches, new paint, additions, etc. The cost of building supplies increased substantially this year due to supply and demand. Many who usually traveled for vacations, did stay-cations and worked on their homes during the pandemic.

At this time, we encourage you to continue to follow us on our Face Book page and website. Even though our historical society buildings are closed, we still have monthly expenses for utilities and insurance that must be paid. We are asking for your continued support by renewing your membership dues and include a donation if you are able. Thank you for your continued support and interest in Cleveland’s history.

Joni Hinds
Cleveland Historical Society
January 5, 2020

2020 Highlights
Village of Cleveland

Despite the pandemic, there was a lot of activity in this village during 2020. The following are some of the highlights of the year:

New York State Dock

The NY State Dock underwent a total renovation this past summer for a cost of $938,310.00 with grant money from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), and the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The plans for this project began 25 years ago!

New Cell Tower

There is a new AT&T cell tower next to the water tower on West Street. It is actually taller than the water tower which will eventually be taken down as the village upgrades its water system.

Photo by Rodney Welton

The former Vella’s Northshore Market has been sold to a local person who plans to reopen the store in the spring of 2021!

Gonzo’s ice cream shop plans to relocate to this store in April!

Cleveland Elementary School was purchased by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation in 2019. Due to COVID-19, plans to open in 2020 were delayed. Hopefully, we will see more activity in 2021. This will be a training facility for NYS Forest Rangers and DEC Officers.

Cleveland Fire Company

Cleveland Volunteer Fire Company renovated their fire station inside and outside. This is the first major renovation since it was built in 1975.

Hopefully, once we catch a break with COVID-19, they will have an open house.

Cleveland Fire Department

The Village of Cleveland Fire Department received their new fire engine in May, a 2020 Pierce Rescue / Pumper which carries 2500 gallons of water. This replaces a 1993 Pierce Pumper.

Lakeview Park

This park was built in 1987 with funds from a state grant and many hours of volunteer labor. This replica of the former watchtower at the state dock was built by local citizens.

This year it was discovered that the entire roof was rotted and had a hole in it thanks to the pictures from Morse Imagery’s drone. The Village of Cleveland had the roof replaced and new siding on the building in the fall of 2020.

A New Business

Renovations continue on this building next to the American Legion which will be a restaurant.

This building has had many businesses over the past 100+ years including a movie theatre, store, luncheonette, diner, and pub. We are looking forward to their opening in 2021!

St. Mary’s Church

St. Mary’s of the Assumption Roman Catholic Church had their last mass on December 7, 2020 after serving the community for 146 years. The first St. Mary’s church was built in 1874 and was located on Center Street. The brick church on State Route 49 was built in The building will be put up for sale according to Bishop Lucian.

Photo from Brian L Butler

2020 Highlights
Cleveland Community

Vanderkamp Gardens

Vanderkamp Center

Vanderkamp Center on Martin Road closed during the summer. This was a summer ecumenical camp for many years. The property was the former Soule Estate. The property is for sale for $1,650,000. This includes 846.78 acres and several lodges, recreation center and various buildings.

North Riding The Farm

North Riding The Farm “is a refurbished and re-purposed dairy barn built in the 1900’s. Surrounded by 176 acres of fields and woods and overlooking Oneida Lake, NR The Farm is a working boarding, lesson and training facility.” North Riding The Venue “is a beautifully restored space designed to host weddings and events. Guests will be surrounded by an impressive equine facility and is open for rent through North Riding The Venue L.L.C”

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