Sharon Springs a winner in Otsego 2000 awards
By Patsy Nicosia
Sharon Springs brought home two awards from Otsego 2000’s 18th annual Historic Preservation Awards ceremony for Otsego and Schoharie Counties Wednesday:
One, an honorable mention for a cookbook that combines recipes with the community’s history; the other, for Beekman 1802’s Mercantile—the second time that building has won an Otsego 2000 award.
Before a crowd at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Springfield Center, Otsego 2000’s Executive Director Ellen Pope talked about her organization’s efforts to protect the region from inappropriate development and to advocate for sustainable economic development.
Now only does that include things like November’s Glimmerglass Film Days and a new Otsego Outdoors website that highlights trails and waterways accessible to the public, but the Historic Preservation awards, Ms. Pope said.
“There is so much here that deserves protecting,” she said. “These are one way to encourage people to protect the structures that are such a part of their communities.”
The Sharon Springs Community Cookbook, nominated by the Sharon Historical Society, but compiled and produced by Kathy Merrick, Karen Cookson, and Pauline Brown, was an unusual choice for an award, Ms. Pope admitted, but at the same time, it was very appropriate.
“We don’t give awards to cookbooks,” she said. “But this is really a lot more…it’s an interesting and fun way to document a community’s history through food. And we all love to eat.”
Accepting the award was Ms. Merrick, who said afterwards, “We’re just three women who wanted to do something for the community.”
Proceeds for the cookbook, first published in 2015, go to the Sharon Springs food pantry, something Ms. Merrick said she didn’t even know existed when she first moved to Sharon.
“This award belongs to the people of Sharon Springs,” she said, with a special nod to fellow award-winners, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, who offered advice on the cookbook and were the first to sell it in their Beekman 1802 Mercantile.
What’s now the Beekman 1802 Mercantile was once a fire house, then an art gallery, and now an old-fashioned country store.
The building received an award in 2013 when Leila and Phil Durkin owned it and partially restored it; Mr. Kilmer-Purcell and Mr. Ridge continued the work, both indoors and out, when they bought it after winning the Amazing Race later that year.
“It truly adds to the economic streetscape of the neighborhood,” Ms. Pope said. “They’ve worked hard to bring the building back to its original glory.”
Mr. Kilmer-Purcell said they’ve worked hard to be good neighbors and cheerleaders for Sharon Springs and Mr. Ridge praised both Ms. Merrick and the Sharon Historical Society for their work and support.
It’s Sharon Springs that kept our building standing all these years,” Mr. Ridge said. “We’re just fortunate enough to be the caretakers of it right now.”
The Beekman 1802 award was as a 2016 Community Pillar.
Other award winners Wednesday were:
--Christ Church, Cooperstown, an Education and Outreach Award, in part for signage that lets visitors take a self-guided tour of the often-visited church.
“Yes, it’s a church, but churches are repositories of our history,” said Ms. Pope.
--The Springfield Historical Society, an honorable mention for its “History in Color,” a coloring book stressing the importance of history and historical societies.
--The Village Hall, Cooperstown, also a 2016 Community Pillar Award for efforts by the Village of Cooperstown and the Coopertown Library to work together on grants making the 1898 building more useable while also restoring—not just replacing—things like the front doors and façade.
“It’s a great example of responsible stewardship and private-public partnerships,” Ms. Pope said. “And the work continues.”