|The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
|17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770
Portville, New York
The lovely watercolor
in our toolbar above is
a depiction of the office
at 17 Maple Avenue.
The artist is Portville's
very own talent,
Come See Us at the Portville Historical and Preservation Society!
We are now open for the season and are already getting things rolling. We are full of news here at the
PHPS office and love our visitors so if you happen to see our sign out, stop by. We are open every
Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. through the end of September.
Some fascinating new items have been added to our collection. Chuck Lucas brought in several boxes
of blueprints, maps, framed portraits, and other documents. The collection was given to him by an
Olean man who cleaned out the basement of the old bank at West State and North Union Streets years
ago. Fortunately, these items were spared from going to the dump and found their way back home to
Portville last month. Not surprisingly, most people think that the Dusenbury's were from Olean
because they established the First National Bank of Olean. But the truth is, all the top executives that
controlled the bank up until 1942 were from Portville.
Several rare documents are included such as 1830 Census Statistics for Cattaraugus Co., a colored
sketch of the carriage house at 48 Maple Avenue (home of William Dusenbury), and a blueprint of the
William Dusenbury retreat at Hilltop in Bolivar. Speaking of the Dusenbury house, we just obtained a
copy of a nice photograph of the home from Art of Cattaraugus County. It appears that the photo
(below) was taken shortly after the home was first built, possibly around 1895, due to the lack of
trees and foliage around the front porch. It predates the photograph that appeared in the booklet
"Pictures of Yesteryear".
After Helen Truesdell Dusenbury's husband, William, died unexpectedly in Tidioute, Pennsylvania,
where he ran the Dusenbury Wheeler mill, Helen moved her family of three young boys back to
Portville so that they would be included in the family's business interests. She herself never remarried
nor did any of her three sons marry. After her death in 1922, brothers William and Duncan lived in
the home until their deaths, William in 1942 and Duncan in 1977. The third brother, Edgar T., went
West at age 27 and passed away quite young at age 51 in 1937.
Welcome to PHPS
This page was last updated on 5-29-12
A Letter From the President
A signed letter from President Ronald Reagan was donated to PHPS by Sam Shields who was the
secretary of the 1987 Portville Colonial Day Committee. This letter is well-timed since we are once
again celebrating a milestone in Portville's history in August at the 175th Anniversary Party. The letter
April 7, 1987
To the Citizens of Portville, New York:
I am pleased to send warm greetings for th 150th anniversary of Portville.
Each city and town of our great country is unique, but all are bound together in the love of
these United States. We are fortunate to live in a nation of strong and proud communities
where everyone has a chance for success and the blessings of liberty and freedom can be
enjoyed by all, regardless of background.
As you commemorate this anniversary, you have a splendid opportunity to renew your
commitment to preserve the spirit which has forged America into a land of wonder. I am
proud to join you in making such a commitment on this historic occasion for the people of
With hearty congratulations and best wishes for continued milestones,
Our Curator, Terri Batt, just reminded us recently that "Portville is the best kept secret in the world."
And don't we all know it!
Happy Birthday, Portville - 175th Anniversary Celebration in August
Portville is gearing up for a big celebration the week of August 5 - 12, 2012. Chuck Lucas, known
for his Colonial Days Celebrations in years past, is coordinating the events. Calendars are available
around town and we will be posting one to this page very soon.
Some of the events feature a horse pull, antique tractor pull, Taste of Portville and Car Show,
Fireman's Day, a Historical Play about Portville, 5K/10K Walk, Square Dance, Parade and Pig Roast, a
HUMONGOUS 4' x 8' BIRTHDAY CAKE, and a fireworks display at Sprague's.
Don't miss an entire week of fun right here in Portville. No need to go anywhere else for your
Annual Trustee Meeting Held
On Saturday, May 5, 2012, the Officers and Trustees of PHPS gathered for our annual business
meeting. Our agenda included reporting on the fiscal year, 2011, including an activity report, curator
report, and treasurer report. We have appointed two new trustees this year and renewed two trustees'
3-year terms. Our newest trustee is Becky Mayo, who will serve the remaining two years of Anne
Dusenbury's term. We want to thank Anne for her dedication over the years. Sadly, Anne has
decided to step down after serving 13 years on our board. David Pupo will be filling our other
vacancy which expired this year. David served on the board in the past and has been a member of the
historical society for many years.
We reviewed the expenditures for 2011 and 2012 so far, outlining all the work that has been
completed. A detailed planning budget showed that we have almost completed our infrastructure
upgrades, including the new roof, electrical rewiring, new plumbing, new furnace, and insulation. A
detailed list of our accomplishments is in the handout from the meeting.
Annual American Legion Memorial Day Parade and Chicken Barbeque
On Monday, May 28, 2012, the Ernest Lamb Post #814 American Legion hosted their annual parade
through the village of Portville. The participants lined up at the school parking lot on Elm Street and
the parade began at 1:30 p.m. From Elm Street, they marched down Main Street to Temple, then on
up to the Chestnut Hill Cemetery. They always have an interesting speaker and the traditional gun
salute to honor our veterans and all soldiers serving in the Armed Forces. This year Senator Cathy
Young and Mayor Emily Woodhead shared their thoughts about Memorial Day. "All gave some, some