On Sept. 23 the town of Volney History Center had an unveiling of a historic roadside marker on VanBuren Drive just off Route 481 North. The history center received a grant from the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for the marker on the historic houses, "The Tavern" and "The Pillars."
The Tavern was built in 1810 by John VanBuren. It took eight years to build the house at a cost of $5000. VanBuren paid his men eight cents a day, that being the going rate for labor at that time. The bricks that went into the construction was made in a nearby brickyard. The walls of the house are 16 inches thick. The sandstone was quarried nearby and the timber used was cut from his own land. The downstairs included a barroom, several other rooms and a kitchen. The floor of the kitchen was made from half logs finished and planed only on the surface. In the kitchen there is a huge fireplace with a built-in oven.
The second floor was a ballroom which was run commercially and as such was the scene of a great many parties and political meetings. The ballroom ran across the entire length of the house with windows facing the river. Above the ballroom is an attic in which the hired help possibly slept. In the attic, with their necks sticking through the ceiling of the ballroom below, were two large sounding bottles which served to amplify the sound of music heard in the ballroom.
John VanBuren died June 11, 1821 and is believed to be buried in the VanValkenburgh Cemetery on the Rogers dairy farm.
The Pillars was built by John's youngest son, David VanBuren in 1847. The Pillars received its name for the four massive white pillars on the porch front facing the Oswego River. It is a fine stone and brick house north of the inn. Unfortunately not much is known about this house. The family ran a boat yard between the two brick houses; building, repairing of boats and canalling goods up and down the river. When the Barge Canal was dug dredges tore out the dock and the pilings in front of the VanBuren houses.
It was said that at one time nearly every farm from the village of Fulton to Minetto was owned by the VanBurens or their in-laws. John VanBuren and his five sons, Peter, John Jr., Jacob, Volkert and David, were canal men as well as engaging in many other enterprises. Volkert was in some ways the most successful. He owned a grist and flour mill at Battle Island and a sawmill on the nearby Black Creek. He had land holdings of 1000 acres, owning land a mile each way from his house on Old Route 57 near Rowlee Road.
Guest speakers of the marker unveiling were Justin White Oswego county Historian, Paula Miller liaison for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Barb MacEwen town clerk and Florence McDougall, town of Volney historian.
Photo Caption: Pictured standing with The Tavern and The Pillars historic marker are from left: Carl Rusaw, Ed Wavle, Greg Hartraft, Paula Miller liaison for the William G. Pomeroy Foundation, Florence McDougall, Barb MacEwen, Dennis Lockwood.