Percy W. Gazlay and Eleanor S. Rosakranse

Museum and Library of Local History and Genealogy

The beginning of the Friends museum and library in the town of Rochester goes back more than thirty years, when a small group of volunteers banded together to preserve the historic heritage of the town. Friends of Historic Rochester was incorporated in 1988 and the group began collecting historical data and artifacts at that time.

The museum and library building is named for two of the original prime movers of Friends who strongly promoted the establishment of a museum for the town: Percy W. Gazlay and Eleanor S. Rosakranse. In 2005, the museum acquired the extensive Eleanor Rosakranse Genealogical Research Collection which is comprised of hundreds of books and documents. Mrs. Rosakranse spent nearly fifty years in genealogical research and bequeathed her collection to the museum upon her death.

Also featured at the museum is a “picture wall” covered with 8”x10” prints of old-time local postcards and photographs of buildings, people, and events; about 300 pictures so far and we are still soliciting more. We can scan and immediately return the originals to their owners, although we do have originals that were donated directly.

Additionally, other items of interest at the museum include: oral histories recounting the “Old Days and Ways"; copies of the Cemetery Book, an inventory of the more than 70 cemeteries in the town; full sets of The Accordian which has been published quarterly since 1989; numerous volumes on local history; and, notebooks with photographs and written material on many historic assets of the town – stone, frame and brick houses, barns and other outbuildings, railroad stations, churches, and one- and two-room schoolhouses.

The museum itself can be open by special appointment. Please call 845-626-7104 or 845-256-5587.