Colesville/Windsor Museum at St. Luke's Church
Located at the corner of Maple and Monroe Streets in Harpursville
It is the purpose, and pleasure, of The Old Onaquaga Historical Society to maintain and present the museum to visitors throughout the summer and fall. The museum is a repository of much local history. Most of the collections and exhibits are self - explanatory and our guides are happy to assist visitors. The building is not handicap assessable.
St. Luke's church was built in 1828 by settlers who organized the first Episcopal Church in Broome County in 1779. Much of the original building is visible today. The wide floorboards, some 2ft. wide, are in evidence in the sanctuary. The altar area has been maintained as it was during those early days. The beautiful "Dove" window over the alter is especially beautiful when viewed early on a sunny day. Around the walls of the sanctuary are photos and dated history of religion in the Windsor/Colesville area. The original key to the building, the sign posting the times of service, and the iron spur, from which was hung a lantern to light the path to the door, are displayed along with homemade pew kneelers from early days.
In the foyer of the church is a small room designated as the "Agriculture Room". The beautiful murals on the walls of this room were painted by a Windsor resident, Chris Keeler, to depict the changing seasons, so important to the farmer. Photos and artifacts from farms in this area are displayed on the walls and can be observed up close. Have you ever seen a chicken delouser? We have one in our "Ag" room along with ice cutting tools used by our ancestors.
The museum in our basement was beautifully constructed by Anne Herbert to display every aspect of colonial life. The section on local business and industry has an iron stove, built in a small foundry which was located in a building across Maple St. from the church. That building was moved to the center of town and became the local Post Office for many years. There are photos and items from local businesses and artifacts from Windsor Whipworks and the Kilmer Brothers famous "Swamp Root".
The exhibit of items for the home includes a succession of washing machines, rug cleaners, furniture, and items to make the homemaker's job easier. The summer kitchen displays tools for canning, candle making and spinning and weaving.
The section on energy has items from a ‘dog track" to steam and coal production. There are a full size Buggy and Sleigh built by local manufactures. A display of architectural objects covers one wall in the museum. Windows, building materials and tools tell the story of many of our local buildings.
The Onaquaga Indians, who inhabited our towns before the coming of the colonists, are the subject of a fine exhibit. A replica of the Indian village and many maps and photos show where the villages were located. We also have an excellent display of Indian tools and weapons.
Some artifacts from the Harpur family and their home in Harpursville are displayed along with some written history of Robert Harpur. Maps of the county and the hamlets that make up the Town of Colesville and Windsor are available for your perusal. Find who lived on your property in 1865.
The Historical Society maintains a small library at the museum which contains some church records and files on some local families.
These are some of the things you can expect to see at St. Luke's Museum. On the way out of the building, be sure to look at the beautiful cabinets on the stairway. They were built in 2008 by a local boy, Daniel Klutts as his Eagle Scout project. They are in place and are being filled with memorabilia of interest. Dan also built the lovely book display case in the foyer. Look over the items available for sale. Profits help maintain this venerable building. Hope to see you soon.
The Old Onaquaga Historical society meets every third Monday from April to October at 7:00 PM. Our meetings are held at the museum. Membership is $10.00 per family and includes a monthly newsletter. The museum is also open to the public on the seconded Sunday of each month from 1:00 to 4:00 PM..... or by appointment. Call Eileen Ruggigri at 775-1190 or Fran Bromley at 693-1222. Admission is free. Gratuities are welcome.