Month: December 2015

Emails Start Coming in from Around the Country as News of Memorial Demolition Spreads

December 5, 2015

As descendants of Cattaraugus County Civil War Veterans slowly learn of the recommendation of the Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works to demolish the Memorial Building in Little Valley, NY the emails are already starting to come in to CAMP and the Catt Co Legislators. Here are some of the first to arrive in CAMP Historian, Mark Dunkelman’s email box:

From: “Donald Moody”
Subject: Sad News
Date: December 5, 2015 at 11:47:38 AM EST
To: Mr.Jack Searles
It is very disturbing to hear the news that your Public Works Committee announced  suddenly that the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley would be demolished!  The fact that this decision was made in secret, behind closed doors, without any public discussion is most troubling.  This is not how you and your fellow legislators are supposed to act as representatives of the people.  This is not the American way and I am very disappointed in the legislature’s spoiled brat actions that seemingly took place away from public interaction.  I have supported CAMP and their efforts as they are trying to honor all American veterans by saving a very historic building and piece of land in your county.  I pray that a final decision , more just and friendly to the citizens and veterans of your state and our country, may be thoughtfully worked out very shortly. The demolition of this historic building would be an unfortunate loss of another irreplaceable artifact of our country’s history.
Please feel free to share this communication with your fellow representatives.
Very Sincerely Yours,
Donald Moody, president
Muskingum County Civil War Association
Zanesville, Ohio, 43701
From: Michael Movius
Date: December 5, 2015 at 11:51:21 AM EST
To: Webmaster <>
Dear Friend,
I wish to express my dismay that the Public Works Committee’s recommendation to demolish the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley, and did so against the precepts of open government.  Your constituents within Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) have developed several professional historical preservation relationships, brought them forward for discussion, but seemingly have been ignored by the PWC.  An open and frank discussion is a fundamental part of our democratic process.Those of us who revere the sacrifices and contributions of our Civil War ancestors are appalled at the manner and substance of the recommendation and urge that the Legislature to preserve the county’s most significant Civil War memorial.Mike Movius, Vice President
Puget Sound Civil War Roundtable
Seattle, Washington
From: “David Onan II”
Subject: Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building destruction
Date: December 5, 2015 at 12:19:36 PM EST
Cc: “Dunkelman Mark” <>
Dear Mr. Searles,
My G-G-Grandfather, Warren Onan, was a resident of Cattaraugus County most of his life. He served in the 154th NY Inf. Vol. during the Civil War. Forty years ago, at the start of my investigation of family history, I visited this building in Little Valley. The people I met there and the information led me on to many other useful Cattaraugus County locations during two trips from Minnesota.
Old things are tough to maintain; but once they are lost, they are gone forever. History matters. The history of our country is best preserved in landmarks which cannot be perverted by political whim. When I stand on the graves of my ancestors or in the places they stood, I get a true feeling of attachment. I’m 82 now and won’t be back, but it will sadden me to think of my kids and their kids and all the others who will not be able to experience the same.
Please make copies of this for the members of the council who are considering tearing down the building. I ask that they preserve it.
David W. Onan II
Fort Myers, FL 33908
From: “Thomas O’Hare”
Subject: Re: Historic Preservation Crisis
Date: December 5, 2015 at 12:46:27 PM EST
To: “Mark Dunkelman” <>
Hello Mark,
     You are doing a great job as the leader/advocate for saving the Memorial Building. Some of the legislators have sided with the preservationists. Lets identify and focus on those who are determined to destroy the building.  Perhaps heavy pressure could be brought to bear on them. But who are they? Could a list of anti-building legislators together with the areas they represent be released so the local media (including Buffalo)  and individuals can focus on them? I can envision an article in a Sunday edition of the Buffalo News with a headline “ Nine Cattaraugus County legislators determined to destroy Civil War Memorial”
Your reaction please. Regards    Tom O’Hare


From: Betty Lou Gleason

Subject: Civil War Memorial

Date: December 5, 2015 at 2:10:38 PM EST



I am writing regarding the Cattaraugus County’s Civil War memorial. My ancestors were a large part of the Cattaraugus County area and many served in the Civil War. They are looking down and urging all of you to vote against destroying Cattaraugus County’s most significant Civil War memorial. And, I am strongly urging you to vote against this destruction.

Betty Lou Gleason

Family Ancestors – Howlett’s and Casten’s

Betty Lou Gleason
Simpsonville, SC 29681

CAMP hopes that it may publish your email to Cattaraugus County Legislators declaring your opposition to the demolition of the Memorial Building. Please also demand that the public be included in the decision to preserve, re-use or demolish this important, historical monument to our Civil War Veterans. You may email copies of your emails for publication to: 

Talking Points from the DPW “Work Session” on 12-3-15

December 5, 2015

These are the talking points that were presented to CAMP members who attended the 12-minute “work session” on December 3, 2015:

1. The county does not have the ability to sell this property and will not entertain a sale of this property

2. The county owns this property and will retain its title

3. All actions pertaining to this property must be approved by the Legislature in writing

4. No entity can apply for funding or a status change on behalf of the County without the express written permission of the County

5. The County is interested in a monument to all veterans in Cattaraugus County at the site of this building

6. Cattaraugus County will proceed to demolish this building at County cost on a timeline favorable to the County

7. Cattaraugus County is interested in saving key structural components of the current building for incorporation into a memorial for all veterans

8. Cattaraugus County welcomes discussion about these key structural components that would be salvaged and discussion around the design of a new memorial

Catt Co DPW Recommends Demolition of the Memorial Building!

December 5, 3015 by CAMP Historian, Mark Dunkelman

On December 3, 2015 representatives from Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation (CAMP) met with the Cattaraugus County Legislature’s Public Works Committee. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss proposals made by CAMP for the preservation and reuse of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building in Little Valley.

There was no discussion. Instead, what transpired was a complete surprise.

A legislator read a series of talking points that had been adopted by the Public Works Committe behind closed doors the previous day. One of them read: “Cattaraugus County will proceed to demolish this building at County cost and on a timeline favorable to the County.”

The protests we have raised, the many positive steps CAMP has made, the advice of historic preservation professionals at the Landmark Society of Western New York and Clinton Brown Company Architecture of Buffalo—all have been ignored by a Legislature that apparently made up its mind a year ago. As before, they are proposing “Saving key structural components of the building for incorporation into a memorial for all veterans.” But as I wrote when they first made this proposition in 2013, “Will any new Civil War memorial you concoct have the substance, symbolism, dignity, and historical significance of the Cattaraugus County Memorial and Historical Building?”

On Wednesday, December 9, the Cattaraugus County Legislature will hold its final meeting of the year (a new Legislature, with fewer members, will take office next year). They will then vote on whether to authorize the demolition of the Memorial and Historical Building.

Between now and then, please write to the Legislators listed below and urge them to vote against destroying Cattaraugus County’s most significant Civil War memorial. Our voices must be heard at this crucial time. Our ancestors need us to speak up on their behalf.

Thank you for taking a stand on this important historic preservation issue.


Mark Dunkelman, CAMP Historian
County Administrator Jack Searles,

William H. Weller,

David M. Koch,

Linda M. Edstrom,

Steven H. Teachman,

Richard L. Klancer,

James Joseph Snyder, Jr.,

Paula J. Stockman,

Richard J. Lamberson,

William E. Sprague,

Patrick J. Murphy,

Norman L. Marsh,

Donna M. Vickman,

Gary M. Felton,

Dan M. Hale,

James L. Boser,

Carl W. Edwards,

Susan Labuhn,

John Padlo,

James J. Snyder,

Matthew J. Keller,

Howard VanRensselaer, Sr.,

DPW Work Session Slated with Members of Committee and CAMP

December 3, 2015

Cattaraugus County Department of Public Works committee members and members of Citizens Advocating Memorial Preservation will meet for a joint work session at 4 PM on Thursday, December 4, 2015. The purpose of the special session will be to to discuss efforts to preserve the county’s Memorial and Historical Building. The Memorial Building was dedicated to all Cattaraugus County Civil War Veterans by the county on September 7, 1914.

All members of CAMP have been asked to attend the work session to be held in the Cattaraugus County Building in Little Valley, NY.

For more information please read the Olean Times article that appeared in the online edition on December 4, 2015.

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