Veterans Memorial in Catt County Faces Demolition

7:27 PM, Nov 9, 2013   |    comments
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Little Valley, NY - As we approach another Veterans Day, there is a battle underway in Cattaraugus County to save a unique Civil War memorial that's scheduled for demolition. 

It's the roughly 100 year old Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley which is at the center of this story. They story itself actually dates back to the Civil War of the 1860's.

County Legislators approved $125,000 thousand dollars last month to demolish the structure and the old board of elections building next to it because they decided it was too run down with a leaky roof and not handicapped accessible.
But some admit they overlooked the historical significance of the building.

There is a picture of the dedication ceremony from 1914 as Civil War veterans and others were on hand to mark it forever as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the War of Rebellion as it was also called.

Turns out some of those veterans are from the 154th New York Volunteer Infantry Unit from Cattaraugus County and many of their descendants are alive now and pleading to save the building, especially as a place of honor for veterans.

Nancy Bargar says "I think we can't be cavalier about a memorial to veterans of the past. Because that sends a message to the veterans of today that I think is unacceptable."

Bargar says her great grand uncle was a member of the 154th and she is speaking up for him now.

Legislature Vice Chairman James Snyder says he understands those feelings as he also had an ancestor in the Union Army unit. But he says "I mean we could spend a couple, three million dollars probably and put it back together but it just wouldn't be...penny wise, pound foolish probably at this point. The building is totally deteriorated and in fact most everybody who's been in there agrees that it's probably gotta be demolished. The question is how do we preserve the artifacts and the memorial part of it and that's what we're wrestling with right now."

Snyder says lawmakers have had plenty of calls from historians and others from all around the country and he admits they overlooked the significance of the building. He notes they are talking about saving portions of the building like plaques, pillars and other historical features to maybe incorporate in another memorial. They could be installed in some way in the county's relocated history museum in Machias.   


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