Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) was formed for the purpose of preserving the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, New York, and urging its restoration and reuse.
The Memorial and Historical Building has tremendous historical significance as Cattaraugus County’s most prominent and significant Civil War memorial. More than two hundred Civil War veterans and a large crowd of citizens were present in September 1914 to dedicate the Memorial. The buildings purpose was stated in a plaque above the entrance: “To the memory of its soldiers and sailors in the War of the Rebellion, this building is erected by Cattaraugus County.”
For ninety years the Memorial and Historical Building served its intended purpose as the county historical museum. After the museum moved to Machias in 2004, the Memorial sat vacant for a decade. In October 2013, Cattaraugus County Legislators passed an act appropriating $125,000 in casino funds to demolish the Memorial, which was deemed to be deteriorated beyond reasonable repair.
Word of this decision spread and as a result County Legislators received a flood of emails and letters from people protesting the planned destruction of the Memorial. Many of the writers were descendants of Civil War soldiers including veterans who attended the 1914 dedication of the Memorial. As a consequence of the protest, the County Legislature resolved in November 2013 to put off the demolition until all options for its preservation have been explored.
That month professional staff members from The Landmark Society of Western New York (LSWNY), one of America’s oldest and most active preservation organizations, toured the Memorial and Historical Building. A LSWNY memo to the Cattaraugus County Administrator stated that the building was in relatively good condition, that it could be economically rehabbed and adapted to a new use, and that it was an excellent candidate for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Despite the protests and the advice of the LSWNY, in October 2014 the County Legislature voted to proceed with asbestos removal in the Memorial as a prelude to demolition. As a result, in November 2014, CAMP was organized.
For subsequent developments, see the “Memorial Building in the News” page.
CAMP seeks monetary Donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations that share its interest in the preservation of this irreplaceable historical structure. Donations, made through the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation, are tax deductible. CAMP would sincerely appreciate any contribution regardless of its size.
If you wish to become a member of CAMP or if you want more information about our efforts to save the Memorial Building please contact us through our Contact CAMP page.