Historic landmark continues to unite community

Built along Geneseo’s South Street and bordering the Geneseo Historic Landmark District, the iconic stone wall remains under reconstruction. Undergoing refurbishment for the past year, “the wall” generated local cooperation by inspiring the “Save the Wall” campaign. This campaign encouraged over 200 volunteers of all ages to join together in order to rebuild the landmark.

The importance of the wall, according to the Association for the Preservation of Geneseo website, lies in its role as a gateway into the Geneseo historic village.

“In fact, the Homestead is listed on the National [Register] of Historic Places,” associate professor and Chair of Sociology Kurt Cylke said. Cylke is head volunteer coordinator of the “Save the Wall” project.

Cylke outlined a five-year plan that is currently in effect. Since last year, Cylke said, “We had over 100 people actually work on the wall contributing over 650 hours, and other[s] contributed money and equipment.” These volunteers worked on season one of the plan, which included clearing behind and opening up the eastern section of the wall.

With a successful season one completed, the community is currently working on season two – rebuilding the eastern portion of the wall – and will transition into other seasons. These will include moving to the western portion of the wall, where volunteers will need to clear away brush, allowing stone masons enough room to properly and efficiently rebuild.

“This [2013] season runs until the last Saturday of October, and volunteers will have logged just over one thousand hours,” Cylke said, weather permitting.

According to Cylke, Geneseo students have also contributed time and effort into the project over the last year.

“There are over 200 people involved directly or indirectly,” he said. “Students have played a fantastic role.”

On Saturday Sept. 7, 30 student volunteers will participate in rebuilding the wall during the Knights First Day of Service.

“The project seems interesting, and I can’t wait to see if I’ll be one of those volunteers on site this weekend,” freshman Sana Ansari said. “It would be cool to be involved in something that directly benefits this town. I want to get to know this community.”

Cylke said that the men’s hockey team also plans to volunteer this fall, as it has done in previous years.

According to Cylke, donations for the project’s first year came in at over $13,000, and supporters plan to raise over $16,000 by the end of season two in October. In total, Cylke said he and the project committee hope to earn $50,000 to put toward materials and the preservation of the historic landmark.

“The Save the Wall project is a community project,” Cylke said, adding that the involvement of the community over the next three years is integral to its success.υ