Saturday, December 17, 2011

Opendore and the Howland Family

Opendore was the name given to Isabel Howland's home in Sherwood, NY. I have been reading some old news articles at and it appears that this was an apt name. Weddings were held with attendants from as far as Buffalo, NY; lectures, meetings, and many events are cited in these older articles.
I also found the notice of the death of Herbert Howland, Isabel's brother. He was residing in Paris, France when he suffered what we would call a stroke in 1932. Isabel traveled there leaving Opendore in the care and custody of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Koon, also of Sherwood, and except for one visit home to Opendore, stayed in France and attended to her brother for about 6 years until his death.
Herbert was moved once, when the hospital was evacuated when it came under attack near the outbreak of World War I. Born in 1863, Herbert was 76 when he died but led what appears to be an interesting life. A graduate of Cornell University in nearby Ithaca, NY, he was a member of the Wells College Board of Trustees. For some years, he was Director of the Cayuga County Bank. Herbert owned a yacht once owned by the German Empress. He traveled the world in it, not having been home to speak of since 1882.His estate was valued at about $490,000. Using the Consumer Price Index, that is the equivalent of $7.5 million of today's dollars. Not bad for a boy from Sherwood!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Howland Stone Store Museum

Great news for local historical preservationists! The determined volunteers at the Howland Stone Store Museum (HSSM) were successful in their grant application to restore Opendore, a historically significant property dating from early Scipioville days and the Howland family, early settlers and influencers of the area.
In danger of falling apart, neglected for many years, the clean up of Opendore has begun since the HSSM took ownership and the $400,000 grant from NYS will allow them to proceed with stabilizing and restoring that property.
This group of dedicated residents already succeeded in having the HSSM listed as a site on the Underground Railroad Heritage Trail. The Hamlet of Sherwood and several individual properties within Scipio are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also due to their efforts.
Visit the HSSM website at to see their YouTube video and to learn about the Howland family and their influence upon the greater Scipio area, as it was carved out of the wilderness that was central New York in the 18th century.