LeRoy House Tour - The Parlors
by Lynne Belluscio
This is the third article in a series that will give folks an armchair tour of LeRoy House. The first article was about the Land Office and the second article was about the two parlors. This article will be about the upstairs kitchen. In some ways, LeRoy House is not a period house. That is, it is not furnished or interpreted all to one period. Rather it is a collage of a hundred years of history that was witnessed by the people who lived in LeRoy House. The house began as a land office, and to be truthful, we have no idea what it looked like or if any of the present structure contains parts of the early land office building, but the two kitchens are obvious remnants of previous occupants.
On the main floor is the 1930s kitchen. Originally in the 1830s when the LeRoy family lived in the house, it was the dining room. There still is a door to the basement that would have allowed the servants to bring food up from the open hearth kitchen. The fireplace is hidden behind the Hoosier cabinet. At one time, when the house was used as a boarding house for teachers at the Academic Institute, this room was a sitting room. When Allen Olmsted bought the property – the house and the school behind, from the Union Free School, he wasn’t too sure what to do with the house. The school building he planned to turn into a factory for his patent medicine business, Footease. He wanted to turn the house over to a historical society, but there wasn’t any, so he proposed to let the school system use the house for the superintendent. It is at that time this room became a kitchen. Edward Spry and his family, were the last people to live in the house. In 1940, the LeRoy Historical Society was formed and the house was turned over to their care. This kitchen was used to prepare tea and refreshments for their meetings. When I came here in 1988, there was an electric stove with a brass plaque, saying it was a donation of Marion Russell. There was an old working refrigerator – circa 1950 and a complete set for 100 people of white china, (identical to the set at the Presbyterian Church). The room eventually became my office, complete with file cabinets and a roll-top desk.