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Knapp House Needs $20K More for Fire Suppression System: Party Saturday

You can make a contribution towards preserving Rye history by having a few drinks this coming Saturday. It's that easy…

The Rye Historical Society, keepers of the Square House Museum and the Timothy Knapp House, are throwing their annual "Starry Night" spring celebration Saturday, May 9th 2009 from 6:30 – 9:30pm at a private home on Rye's tony Milton Point. The society expects to raise $40,000 from the expected 200 guests. That should more than pay for the $20,000 balance needed to install a $60,000 fire suppression system for the Knapp House.

The Knapp House includes all sorts of Rye (and American) history dating back to the 1700s. Apart from all the hundreds of maps containing information for the Rye area, you can find of 15,000 items including:

  • The minutes of Christ's Church – from 1710-1794 – detailing all the business of the church.  There are no entries during the war of independence.
  • The will of Ezekiel Halsted dating back to 1757.  He died from a fall from his horse, shortly after writing his will.  He owned thousands of acres of land in Rye & Westchester.
  • The Parsons collection – letters to Elsie Parsons (the mother of American anthropology) from her great friend Stamford White, the famous architect.   The Knapp House also contains Elsie's private photo albums.
  • Minutes from the Woman's Loyal League – Mrs. John Bishop Putnam is listed (Amelia Earhart's mother-in law)

Laura Brett, President of the Rye Historical Society stated, “A consultant put together a proposal for a Fire Suppression System at an estimated cost of  $60,000. The City of Rye, recognizing the importance of the archival collection, very kindly offered a $30,000 matching grant and the Society raised its share from private donors. However, when the bids came back in, they were all at least $20,000 higher than the initial estimate. The Rye Historical Society has not gone back to the City of Rye to ask for another grant, as we understand that in this current economic climate, monies are also needed elsewhere on other projects for the city. Therefore we have to raise an additional $20,000 to ensure that the Fire Suppression System is installed and our history is preserved.”

The event will honor Eugene McGuire, Susan Morison (former Rye City Clerk), and Carol and Peter Sellon for their work and dedication to the society. There will be live and silent auctions including one for a dinner to society hosts in the tavern room at the Square House. If you planning on bidding on that one, our guess is you'll be spending more than George Washington did back in the day when he stopped at the Square House for some grub.

If you want to have a gin & tonic Saturday for the good purpose of preserving history, call 967-7588 to collect your drink, suppress fires and preserve history. Tickets start at $125.


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