Skip to main content

Western New York Explorer's Guide

The only comprehensive travel guide to the region

Home
About Us
Contact Us
Site Map
Member Login
About Author
Media Interviews
Testimonials
WNY Resources
WNY Attractions and More
Explore WNY blog
Upcoming events
Articles
Celebrate Black History
Naples, NY
Olean
Mayville Ice Festival
Mid winter getaways
Art and History Museums
Visit Aviation Museums
Hiking Trails
Welland Canal
Athenaeum hotel
Bemus Point
Cobblestone Trail
Niagara Pkwy part 1
Niagara Pkwy part 2
Rock Park
Clifton Springs
WNY Amish
Nature in Winter
Wine & Chocolate
Winter Wonderland
Outdoors in winter
Inside in winter
Old Fort Niagara
Power Vista
WNY Waterfalls
Corning
Dads and Cars
Artpark
Hershey
Native American
Lake Ontario Shore
Lockport Cave
Sonnenberg
Amish traditions
Day Trips Rock
Country Barn Quilt
Halloween in WNY
Fest of Lights
Chautauqua Holiday
NYC by Train
Chautauqua Wine Trail
Mayville Ice Castle
Outdoor winter fun
Chautauqua Institution
Farm Markets
Recharge at Chautauqua
Niagara Wine Trail
Local boat rides
Local beaches
Chautauqua County
Lewiston Jazz Fest
Hammondsport
Buffalo Waterfront
Pumpkin Fun
Chau Wine Trail LEL
Fall Road Trips
Off season getaways
Free attractions
Winter Fun
Spring Break
Taughannock
Winery Train
St Lawrence Seaway
Seaway Trail Journey
Welland Canal LEL
Sandusky
Cleveland
Fall Festivals
Scenic Fall Drives
Holiday Hollow
Shopping in NYC
Holiday Shopping Corning
Buffalo has Wright
Snowshoeing
Toronto
Elmira
Buffalo Religious Art
Ten must see getaways
Chautauqua and Erie
Welland Murals
The Tonawandas
Ten Hidden Places
Wing Festival
Presque Isle
Marble
Lewisburg PA
Victorian Christmas
Chocolate Trail
Fun with Grandkids
George Eastman House
National Historic Landmar
Thing for Wings
Olcott Beach
Little League Museum
Rock City
Glass Blowing
Queenston ON
Lawn Fetes
Chautauqua Co Bicentennia
Shaw Festival
Chautauqua County 2
Olcott Carousel
10 Hidden Gems
Chautauqua
Olcott Beach 2
Roycroft
Hot Dog Spots
Westfield
Canandaigua
Enjoy Presque Isle
One Tank Trips
Belhurst Castle
Shop in Lewiston
Cuba Cheese Museum
Pumpkinville 2
Snowshoe 2
Spooky Treats
Walkable Shopping
Norman Rockwell Museum
Fatima Shrine Lights
Christmas Lights
Albright Knox
Darwin Martin
Maple Weekend
Divine Mercy Shrine
Erie Canal
Rochester
Cape Cod
Cobblestone Trail 2
8 Great Fall Road Trips
Little Known Places
Buy Local
Made in America Store
Vidlers
Great Lakes Seaway Trail
Lovely Gardens
WNY Festivals
Erie PA Waterfront
Grape Discovery Center
Salt Sanctuary
Holiday Hollow 2
Historic Hull House
Buffalo Religious Arts Ce
Mall Madness
One day holiday getaways
New York City by train
Cabin Fever
Niagara on the Lake
Elmira 150th Anniversary
Carousels of WNY
Ontario Beach Park
Lockport Locks
USA Bird Supply Blog Arch
Backroads and Byways of U
Forever Young
November 2013
 
 
 
 

Step back into the 19th Century at Lancaster’s Hull Family Home

 

            When you step inside the stone house at the Hull Family Home & Farmstead in Lancaster, you can imagine what life was like when Warren and Polly Hull and their 12 children called it home back in the early 1800’s. The house, which was built in c. 1810, is a rare example of early Federal style architecture and is the oldest stone dwelling in Erie County. The house and surrounding grounds are currently undergoing restoration, with the goal of having the site fully restored to its 1810 appearance in the near future.

 

History of the family

            Warren Hull, a Revolutionary War veteran, his wife Polly, and their children moved to western New York from Connecticut in 1804. They cleared the land and established a farm on the site, including the house, barn, and several outbuildings. While living here the family witnessed the War of 1812, the burning of Buffalo in 1813 and the completion of the Erie Canal in 1825. As adults, most of the Hull children lived and died in the Lancaster area, however, many of the grandchildren were part of the westward movement, settling in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin.

 

Restoration efforts

            What makes this house particularly remarkable is that much of the structure is original as Warren Hull built it, including the woodwork in the flooring, doorways, some of the windows, window seats, stairways, banisters, and fireplace mantle. Another unique feature of the house is the original beehive bake oven in the basement kitchen, which is in such good condition that plans are underway to use it for cooking demonstrations sometime in the near future.

            In 1992, the house was purchased by the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier (which became Preservation Buffalo Niagara) to make sure it was preserved. Since it had such significant history, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993; it is also on the New York State Register of Historic Places. The all-volunteer Hull House Foundation was formed in 2006 to oversee the restoration and operate the site as a living history center.

            During a recent event at the site, volunteer Jeanette Dickinson gave me a tour of the home. She pointed out many of the recent restorations that volunteers have been undertaking, including plastering, repairing, and lime-washing the walls, as well as repairing and refinishing the woodwork. “We’ve also put up walls that had been there originally when the Hulls lived in the home, but then taken down by subsequent owners when the house was modernized,” said Dickinson. She pointed out that they have put in radiant heating under the floors, so that the home could be heated for modern visitors, yet still be period correct in appearance. “Except for a few specialists, like the stone mason who rebuilt the fireplace and installed the new windows, and the roof restoration that was done by professionals, much of the work has been done by volunteers,” said Dickinson. “It’s all a labor of love,” she added.

            In addition to the restoration of the house, the two-level barn on the property will be reconstructed and archaeologists and a historic landscape architect are in the process of determining where outbuildings should be rebuilt. The site’s future plans include having a working farm, livestock buildings, and an education center with exhibits where visitors can learn more about the past. There are also plans to fully restore the Hull family cemetery, which is located on the property.

 

Educational programs

            “Our summer history camp was a huge success,” said Dickinson. Eighteen kids in grades 3 through 8 spent the week at the Hull Family Home & Farmstead being immersed in 19th Century life. “They did chores, such as building a rail fence and shucking corn, and made crafts like sachets and messenger bags,” said Dickinson. She added, “They had a great time and learned a lot; they were exposed to many different things and they really got into it.” Some of the other activities they participated in included playing period games and cooking beef stew over an open fire. During the spring, tours are given to school groups, with interpreters staying in character in the year 1820.

 

Special events

            The Hull Family Home & Farmstead hosts a number of special events from May to December. Events include a Mother’s Day Tea in May (held in the adjacent Victorian-era home owned by the foundation), a Heritage Arts Fair in June, featuring period crafts such as candle making and fiber arts, along with period music. They also do a couple of candlelight tours of the home, as well as an open house, and a fundraiser. Sunday restoration tours are held June through September. Their next planned event is their Winter Guided House tour on December 8th.

            For more information about the home and upcoming events, visit their website www.hullfamilyhome.org or call 681-6451. The Hull Family Home & Farmstead is located at 5976 Genesee Street at Pavement Road in Lancaster.