It is not known how the name Rushford was decided on. Perhaps from rushes that grew along the river of from a well known lawyer whose surname was Rush. The first Annual Town meeting was held in April 1816 at the house of Benjamin Levi. The 1817 Annual Meeting was to be held at Sampson Hardy's house, who the Minute book states was an Innkeeper. Education was important and a large number of district schools were located throughout the Town. In addition, the Rushford Academy for higher learning was built in 1851. The Rushford Band which still exists today began in 1857 at a Rushford singing and instrumental school. The Town of Rushford was well known for its many industries such as cheese factories and a woolen factory. Fires destroyed many of these wooden structures. Laying out of roads was a vital part of the new Town and many of those road surveys still exist.
Town of Rushford
The Town of Rushford is located among the hills, plateaus, and valleys of northwestern Allegany County - along the border with Cattaraugus County. The unincorporated Village of Rushford is in the center of the Town, just off New York State Route 243, which crosses the Town from east to northwest. The attractive Town Hall with the bandstand out in front is located on picturesque Main Street in the Village. Beautiful Rushford Lake, a man-made lake, was created in 1926 with the construction of Caneadea Dam. The Town has done much to preserve its history including the Rushford Museum, the Historian's large collection of records, restoration of old school buildings, and the new records vault in the Town Hall.
Rushford Historical Society
Sesquicentennial in 1958, with Mildred Falsion as President, Margaret Russell and Vice President, and Lillian Foster as Secretary. Helen Lewis was member at-large. From these women the Society has grown to its present size.
The Museum building was the old Town hall and Fire Department prior the building of the present Town Hall in 1950. In fact, the old Town Board Room is still intact along with the Justice area and his law library. This was deeded to the Society to be used as a museum for local history. It presently has the first floor with several sections including a veteran's area, Rushford Central School area, old dentist and doctor's office and barber shop, complete with mugs. There are several other artifacts in this area. In the Back Room is the Agricultural Area with changing exhibits. On the second floor there is a Victoria bed room and living room, Town Board Room and early kitchen. In another area is the Band Room, which was funded and furnished by the Rushford Cornet Band. This room is open to the public when the Museum is open.
After several years the Red School House on Lewellen Street was purchased by the Society in the 70's. Originally built as the first frame school in Allegany County, was a public school, private "select" school and then a private residence. After obtaining the building it was returned to its original state. It's set up today as a school would have look in the 19th Century. All renovations the structure has been with rough cut lumber to match its original framing. In the fall of 2007, it was used by the Home School Association as part of Early American studies, complete with period custom and books.
In 2002 Ron Beverly donated the Blacksmith Shop to the Historical Society with the provision that it be used as a blacksmith shop. The Shop was built in 1908 and has been returned to its original dimensions.
The Rushford Grange donated their building in the fall of 2010 to the Rushford Historical Society. The building built in 1842 was originally a Presbyterian Church. The church closed in 1980 and was used as a meeting place for the Rushford Agricultural Society. In the early 1900s the Rushford Grange was formed and was active in the community until the 2000s. Since becoming part of the Historical Buildings, a new roof has been installed and the lower level totally renovated. In 2011, insulating windows and a new high-efficient furnace was installed. The lower level is used for meetings and dinners. In addition, family reunions and civic meetings are held there where the kitchen facilities are available. The upstairs auditorium area is used by groups for church service and other events. The building is available for community use, for which donations are accepted.
In addition to its regular meetings, the Rushford Historical Society sponsors the Rushford Memorial Day Program and annual chicken BBQ after the services. The Historical Society also has the Ice Cream Stand open on the Labor Day grounds during Labor Day Celebrations. The Historical Society Museum is usually open prior to the band concerts on Saturdays during the summer. Also open from 10-1PM on Labor Day. It can be open other times by appointment - Call 585-437-2960 or 585-437-5268.
The Rushford Historical Society meets the 1st Tuesday of every month at the Rushford Grange at 7 PM. The public is always welcome and membership is not required. Membership is $5 per person per year. We are a small group and encourage new members/participants in order to continue.
Further information may be obtained by calling (585) 437-5268. To view the Historical Society brochure, CLICK HERE.