MOUNT MORRIS – To help celebrate Livingston County’s bicentennial, Deb Bump, who is the director of the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts, stood alongside Livingston County Historian Amie Alden to unveil a third historical marker at Building No. 1 on the county’s Murray Hill campus.
“Murray Hill has got a long and rich history. It is a county complex, so I did want to have a marker here to dedicate the historical aspects of the county,” said Alden.
The previous two markers were placed at the Livingston County Courthouse, 2 Court St., in Geneseo and the Livingston County complex on Millennium Drive in Geneseo.
During that latter dedication ceremony, the names of the more than 320 people buried in the old county poorhouse’s cemetery were read aloud. Also, identification of the people in numbered or unmarked graves was shared for the first time with the public. The markers were all funded through the William Pomeroy Foundation’s New York State Historic Marker Grant Program that commemorates historic people, places, things or events within the time frame of 1740 to 1921.
“The purpose in my view is it is one of the most recognizable signs the country. When people see the blue and gold they see that it is something to do with local history,” said Alden of the markets. “It designates a spot and a little bit of history.”
Livingston County’s story begins Feb. 23, 1821, when it was formed from parts of Ontario and Genesee counties. The county was named in honor of Chancellor Robert R. Livingston, who helped draft the Declaration of Independence and negotiated the Louisiana Purchase.
It is something that Alden said still fascinates her today.
“Learning about local history always seems to be a subject that people are interested in. They like it in bits and pieces, they like it in a manageable way and they like it in a way that they can just absorb,” she said.
Following the Murray Hill marker dedication, people were invited to attend an opening reception for the new exhibition “An Art and History Affair.” It was held at the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts, 4 Murray Hill Dr.
“We decided for the county bicentennial to help celebrate with the historian, who is our neighbor in the building next door to bring together works from all over the county, from all of the historical societies into one place just to give a little bit of the history of the county,” said Bump.
From the majestic to the mundane, Bump said the art work showcased offers a little bit of something for everyone.
“The Murray Hill Mansion which burned down - there is a painting of that. There are some paintings from the salt mine depicted, some portraits of people throughout the county,” she said. “So it is a little bit of everything.”
For many, the new exhibit offers not only a chance to see great pieces of art but also a chance to learn about local history.
“I think it is just interesting to see what things used to look like, you can kind of envision in your head what it is like today but if you see something, you can say ‘Oh, I know what that looks like,’” said Bump. “It is just kind of neat to look back and see what things were like back in the day.”