Fenton Historical Society
ORGANIZED March 1963
Fenton Historical Society
67 Washington Street
Jamestown, NY 14701

The Fenton Mansion was built by Governor Reuben Fenton for his family in 1863.  The mansion is a typical example of the Italian Villa architectural style derived from rural estates of Italy.  Distinguishing features include an asymmetrical plan, dominating tower, low-pitched roof, widely overhanging bracketed eaves, and arched windows.

Designed by architect Aaron Hall, the house and the surrounding property were called Walnut Grove by the Fentons.  Objects of interest outside the mansion include the steam engine from Chautauqua Lake steamboat, the "City of Jamestown", a life-sized statue of Governor Fenton created by Byron Baker of New York City, and a French, World War I cannon.

The Fenton Historical Society was formed by interested members of the community in March 1963.  The society was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents under section 216 of the State Education Law in May of 1964.

Since its beginning, the museum has grown from a group of volunteers to a staff of eight.  Exhibits have expanded from the first one displayed in 1967 to the four floors of exhibit areas you see today.  The museum contains various rooms representing the Victorian and Homespun Periods, as well as exhibits highlighting local history.

The Fenton Historical Society collects, preserves and interprets materials pertaining to the social, economic, and cultural development of Jamestown and the nearby geographic areas from settlement to recent times.  Donations of artifacts that fall under these guidelines will be greatly appreciated by the Society.

Preserving the museum's artifacts is of utmost importance to the Fenton Historical Society.  Windows are covered with Plexiglas to filter the sun's damaging ultra-violet rays.  Interior fluorescent lights are also filtered to preserve the life of artifacts.  Both archival materials and three-dimensional objects are stored in acid free containers when not on exhibit.

The Fenton Historical Center is made possible in part with funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the Institute of Museum Services, many local foundations, and personal donations.

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The society's library shelves hold many volumes of historical interest, and contain primary source material such as letters, diaries, journals, and early county histories.

The extensive genealogical library contains DAR records, information on many early county families, and records from various areas of the northeastern United States.  These records are used by people from across the country seeking information on their ancestors.  On scheduled days, volunteer genealogists are available to assist visitors with research.  Please check with the receptionist for a schedule.



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