Wanakena’s new history center to show how community survived and thrived

WWNY Wanakena’s new history center to show how community survived and thrived

WANAKENA, N.Y. (WWNY) - Wanakena was a logging town destined to disappear. But it survived – and thrived. A new history center will tell that story.

There’s a lot of history in Wanakena. The problem is where to find it. But that will soon become easier when the new Wanakena History Center opens next year.

“Wanakena and the Clifton-Fine community is very proud of their history,” said Allen Ditch, Wanakena Historical Association president.

That history will be showcased in a restored Second Street home. Artifacts like a surveyor’s mountaintop signal will be on display. Others are still being dug up around town.

“There were mills. There were hotels. There were the mines. All of that is gone, but yet we’re still here,” said Ditch.

A small army of volunteers is making it happen. They’re literally helping support the place by pouring concrete in the basement.

“It represents a community coming together and working at something together,” said Primrose McVay, Wanakena Historical Association trustee.

The history center recently landed $16,000 in funding from the Northern New York Community Foundation. Part of that will used for technology. A big-screen TV will go a the parlor room wall for viewing local documentaries.

The history center isn’t the Wanakena Historical Association’s first project. They rebuilt a footbridge over the Oswegatchie. Before that, they established a historic walking trail.

More than $250,000 were raised locally for the footbridge. Now they’re at it again – one can and one bottle at a time.

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