Travel down memory lane…

Travel down memory lane this weekend with Oswego County Historian Justin White as he recounts Oswego’s Kingsford family history at the Richardson-Bates House Museum. The museum itself was once the home of another well-known Oswego family, the Richardson’s.

The Richardson-Bates House Museum in Oswego, N.Y.

This beautiful Italianate Villa-style home was built between 1867 and 1890 for Maxwell Richardson, a local attorney and real estate developer who served two terms as Oswego’s mayor. The house and its luxurious interiors reflect Richardson’s wealth and position as a civic leader.

The reception room

The period library

The museum features 95 percent of the original furnishings and much of the house is preserved as the Richardson family knew it. Visitors are amazed at the grand reception hall upon entering the front door. The exotic and opulent furniture and decorative arts provide a unique glimpse at Victorian America’s fascination with history, art, education and travel.

Today, the Richardson-Bates House Museum is home to the Oswego County Historical Society and its collection of nearly 25,000 artifacts, documents and photographs that trace the significant history of the area.

Their latest exhibit, “The Oswego Starch Factory and the Kingsford Family” is on display now and will run through the spring of 2011.

The Kingsford Family Starch Company Exhibit

A former chemist with William Colgate & Company, Thomas Kingsford invented a process for manufacturing corn starch, which was superior to any other on the market and sold the world over. In 1846, Thomas established T. Kingsford & Son with his son Thomson and developed an award-winning starch company.

The Kingsford Starch Factory
In 1848, the family relocated the entire operation to Oswego, N.Y. from Bergen, N.J. for better manufacturing resources. The Oswego Starch Factory occupied nearly twenty acres and used 850,000 bushels of corn to produce 8,250,000 tons of starch each year. A major employer in Oswego, the company employed thousands of residents over generations of families.

To hear more about the Kingsford family and the starch factory, come to the Richardson-Bates House Museum on 135 East Third Street in Oswego. The Oswego County Historical Society will host a special presentation at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 7. Admission is free and donations are appreciated.

Visit the exquisite Richardson-Bates House Museum to view more fascinating artifacts from Oswego’s history. The museum is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from April to December and by appointment as well. Regular admission prices are $5 for adults and $4 for seniors and students. For more information, call the museum at 315/343-1342.

Don’t forget to stop by the museum’s annual Christmas Open House from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, December 5. Enjoy refreshments, entertainment and free admission while you browse the museum, fully decorated in fresh greenery for the holiday season.