Historical treasures, some dating back hundreds of years, now line the second floor hallway and a dedicated room inside the Red Brick Municipal Building. In total, a few thousand items are on display, courtesy of Russell H. Piper Jr.
"As a seventh-generation descendent of the Piper family, it is with great pleasure for the first time to share my private lifetime collection of the history of Western New York and Canada with focus on the history of the Village of Lewiston," he said. "Prompted by my family heritage, I have amassed a vast collection of paintings, prints, engravings, newspapers and newspaper articles, along with postcards, a rare, antique and contemporary collection of books and other memorabilia pertaining to the history of our area. Also included are items from my ancestors' estates and pieces from prominent Lewiston estates."
Piper called the room full of rare and antique items "round one," and said it was his goal that visitors would see something new from every angle. He plans to expand the collection in the fall, when he'll move into the former boardroom next door.
"With encouragement from Mayor (Terry) Collesano and the Board of Trustees, along with Village Clerk/Treasurer Amy Salada, I have decided to place on loan and eventually gift to the Village of Lewiston my collection for preservation and safe keeping to ensure it will be made available for viewing to all who shall pass through its door," Piper said. "This will be an ongoing collection with additional items to follow over time with the possibility of future expansion into additional space."
He added, "It is my sincere hope that all those who view the collection will appreciate the rich history the village holds."
Piper said it took more than a month to create the room, which is dripping with history: books, plates, paintings, furniture, etc., etc.
In the main hallway, visitors will see a display of maps, prints, photographs, paintings and even an early advertisement for goods by Calvin Hotchkiss.
Hallway items can be seen during regular Village of Lewiston government weekday business hours. For now, the room is only open by appointment. Piper said additional hours would be set once volunteers are in place.
The Red Brick Municipal Building is located at 145 N. Fourth St.