Mayor Barlow announces $15,000 grant for Richardson-Bates House Museum
City of Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow has announced a $15,000 grant for the Richardson-Bates House Museum to be put towards repairs to the roof of the museum, a repair desperately needed to prevent future damage to the museum. The Oswego County Historical Society received the historic 19th century Tuscan Villa style residence to serve as their permanent headquarters and public museum and since that time has owned and operated the magnificent Richardson-Bates House Museum, a landmark listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“I am proud to lend some assistance to the Oswego County Historical Society as they remain dedicated to promoting the history of our community, which includes, the Richard Bates House Museum,” said Mayor Billy Barlow. “Repairing the roof on the museum is critical to the preservation of this iconic Oswego structure and city government certainly has an obligation to assist the Oswego County Historical Society to ensure this historical structure remains one of the most intact house museums in New York State for decades to come,” Barlow continued.
President of the Oswego County Historical Society, Mary Kay Stone, said the contribution from the City was great news by adding “the volunteers who operate the Richardson-Bates House Museum would like to thank Mayor Barlow and the Oswego Common Council for recognizing what an important city asset we have in this beautiful gem of a historic house museum. The unique archival and artifact objects that it houses are vital to our county's story, and must be protected. We are grateful to Mayor Barlow and the City of Oswego for helping us to keep it watertight and intact.”
The Richardson-Bates House was built in two stages as a private residence for Maxwell B. Richardson, a local attorney, real estate broker, civic leader and two-term mayor of Oswego. In 1867, Max commissioned Rochester architect Andrew Jackson Warner to design the Tuscan Villa style residence for him and his family. The house was actually an addition to the Richardson family homestead built in the 1840s that once stood on the property. A lifelong bachelor, Max lived there with his widowed mother Naomi Richardson, his divorced sister Harriet Richardson Bates and her son Norman Bates. In 1887, the homestead was demolished to make way for a new south wing completed in 1889. The opulent interior decor reflects the 19th century Victorian fascination with art, culture, education and history. Norman Bates was the sole heir to the Richardson family and inherited the house in 1910. He lived here with his wife Florence and their four children, Betty, Norman Jr., Sally and Max. After the death of Norman’s widow Florence in 1945, her three surviving children donated the house and 90 percent of the original furnishing and contents to the Oswego County Historical Society for use as a public museum in memory of their family.
The Richard Bates House Museum is located at 135 East Third Street in Oswego and is open for tours by appointment only until April 4th, when regularly scheduled tours resume.