We have not had many updates on our project pages but that does not mean we are not hard at
work!  These things take time, especially with volunteer help, but everything seems to be coming
together at last.  We have made a lot of progress on the School House and are pleased to announce
that we are setting a target of May 2014 to open the building to the public.

The beautiful watercolor painting below was donated by Marilyn Reynolds and shows the same view
of the school as our
photo taken in 1918.  With the bell back in its tower, we will soon be ready to
call the school children in from recess and have many old-fashioned days in the one-room
The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770

This page was last updated on 11/04/2013
October 2013 Project Update
Bedford Corners School House Renovation
New American Flag Pole

One of our most recent projects at the school house is preparing the landscape for a new flagpole. In recent years, the PCS
Class of 1959 had been gathering ideas for a class memorial.  They decided that a flag pole for our American Flag, surrounded
by engraved bricks would create the sort of legacy that they could be proud of.  They proposed that PHPS be the recipient of
this generous gift and the board of Trustees gladly accepted.  After all, the Bedford Corners school had once had a flag many
years ago and it was time to restore this tradition.

Back in 2006 when PHPS received the New York State Grant, it was stipulated that we would have an ADA-compliant
entrance, in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This required that we construct a new ramp and raise the
grade of the ground leading up to the ramp.  We had not yet done the grading but we knew what it should look like.  The flag
pole gave us the incentive we needed to move ahead with a design that would include the flag pole, brick requirements,
pathways and landscaping.  We also planned to add a sign for the school as well so people will know they can stop here on their
way through the Corners.  The result is shown in the plan depicted below.  

Click here to find out how you can order your own memorial bricks.
Excavating the Grounds

We have a terrific neighborhood up at Bedford Corners and lots of neighbors that get involved and help us do these huge
projects.  Fortunately, they also own lots of heavy equipment for doing a professional job.  Denny Cornell offered to bring his
bulldozer down and do the excavating for us.   He has been in Heavy Construction for many years and knows just what to do
to prep the area for the paths, brick pad, parking and drainage.  He brought in his own bank run gravel and compacted the
areas for the driveway and paths.  

Denny arranged for Matt Faulkner, who runs a tree cutting business, to remove the large, dead tree at the driveway entrance.  
The tree was a danger to visiting children because of its dryness and was a tempting tree to climb with all of its craggy
branches.  Matt is a member of the family of Tink Holcomb, so Tink also volunteered to help and donated the use of some of
his own equipment.  Dale Cornell, Denny's brother, works for Matt now.  Chris Travis, of Portville Truck, donated the use of
his big dump truck to haul the gravel.  The generosity of everyone involved is totally overwhelming and we are very grateful to
them all.  They are doing a great job and much better than we could have afforded on our own.
Electrical and Drainage

Terry Keeley got into the digging with his backhoe as well and
trenched a ditch to the schoolhouse for an electrical conduit
photo left)
.  Both the flag and the sign will be lit at night.  

To keep the pathways safe from erosion and ice build-up in the
cold months, we opted to add gutters to drain the rain and snow
melt away from the building.  Trenches were dug for underground
pipes that drain the gutters to the creek
(see photo right).

For the front of the schoolhouse, a swail will be graded to draw
the water away from the building and our brickwork.  Heavy rains
and snow from the highway tend to pool water in the front corner
of the property.  
Denny Cornell expertly contoured the areas around the schoolhouse grounds and added compacted bank run to handle the
buses and cars in the parking area.  Crushed limestone will be added for walkable paths up to the front door from the back.
These photos show how Matt Faulkner and Tink Holcomb cut
down the tree adjacent to the driveway.  They hauled all the wood
and debris away then came back later and ground the stump down.  
Another old stump was removed from the left of the driveway too.
Unforeseen Benefit for PHPS
from National Fuel
Remarkably, the same day we were planning out our
excavation with Denny Cornell, National Fuel and
their contractor were planning the excavating for
their new gas line up 305 and Deer Creek Road.  
They were granted permission to dig all along the
school house property and through our adjacent lot,
formerly known as the Pilon property.  They were
allowed to remove any trees or growth in their
path.  Our only condition was that they had to haul
away anything that they removed.

Not only did they do an excellent job with their
work, but they solved a problem that we had been
pondering: a safe way to show the school children
our natural spring that crosses Deer Creek about a
hundred feet up the road.  In the old days, the
spring was a source of fresh water and they filled
their pail with water for drinking and washing up at
lunch time.  In later years, they had a hand pump
that drew water from underneath the school so it
was closer at hand.
National Fuel's trenching created a wide and scenic path right along
Deer Creek.  Thank you National Fuel!
Installing the Flag Pole and Brick Pavers

With the location of the flagpole and the plot all staked out, Terry Keeley built forms for the pad that supports the memorial
brick pavers.  He used bagged concrete to hold the metal sleeve for the flagpole, buried several feet deep, according to the
manufacturer's specification.  After back-filling the hole around the sleeve, concrete was poured over the appropriate base
rock for a 12' by 12' area, using metal mesh for strength, also donated by Denny Cornell.  Dave Krist also provided Terry with
several tips on the best methods, since Dave has so much experience with concrete.  Ron Nolder was on hand to help Terry
with the pour and they screeded the concrete into shape.  Later, Terry also added a pressure-treated wooden frame around the
paver pad to prevent any shifting later that might disrupt the installation of the bricks.  This will be slightly below grade and
will not be seen.
PHPS commissioned local artist, Marilyn Reynolds, to create this amazing depiction of our Bedford Corners properties.  She
has a unique style to her watercolors and we feel so fortunate to have her in our community, creating her beautiful artwork for