ALEXANDRIA BAY (September 20, 2010)—The Cornwall Brothers Store and Museum is moving forward with ongoing restorations and renovations thanks to a $20,000 legislative grant secured by state Sen. Darrel J. Aubertine.
“We’re very appreciative of his efforts and his work on our behalf,” said Martha L. Grimes, who has spearheaded the efforts to restore the museum. “Right now, we’ll be able to use this for the windows, which are in dire need of replacement. Senator Aubertine has been attentive to our needs and it was greatly appreciated that he took the initiative to join us for our meeting.”
The Senator met with the museum board, volunteers and community members on Thursday, September 16 at the Cornwall Brothers Store and Museum to discuss the grant that he secured and the renovation efforts at the historic store along the St. Lawrence River. The funding provided by the Senator and donations made by the community will help the museum secure additional funding to complete the approximately $100,000 project, which includes the 22 windows and repairing the mortar joints of the nearly 150-year-old building.
“This museum preserves a part of our history here along the river,” Sen. Aubertine said. “This store was once a bustling center of commerce and now we can all enjoy the artifacts and history that has been preserved. Martha and all the great volunteers who keep this place going do a great job and I’m glad to have played a role in all that they are doing.”
The original building where the Cornwall Brothers Store and Museum is housed was built in 1839. That wooden structure was destroyed by fire in 1865 and replaced by the current stone structure in 1866. The store sold clothing, groceries and hardware. It closed during the Depression in 1929. Operated by the Cornwalls until the 1930s, after which it became a U.S Customs office and then a post office through the 1960s, it fell into disrepair and was slated for demolition in 1973. Landowner E.J. Noble transferred ownership to what would become the Alexandria Township Historical Society for $1. A federal grant helped to rehabilitate the building, and it opened to the public in 1982.