Ararat Cornerstone Timeline

• 1825 St. Paul’s Episcopal ChurchThe dedication ceremony takes place at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Buffalo on September 15th.  Ironically, the stone does not make it to Grand Island for the dedication ceremony due to a lack of adequate transportation to Grand Island at the time.  For more information, see the Grand Island Historical Society. (From a Buffalo News article, March 1989). After Noah had gone back to New York, the stone was placed in the yard behind the church.

• ~1825 – 1834 Porter House: Sometime after that, General Peter B. Porter saw it there and out of concern for the stone’s neglect, he contacted Noah, an old friend. Noah asked the Porter to take care of it. He moved it to the lawn of his house on Niagara Street in Black Rock just north of Buffalo, near West Ferry Street on a bluff overlooking the river. The house was torn down in 1911 to make way for commercial development, but Porter donated the land for the Union Meeting House church, which still exists across Breckenridge Street, so the location of the house can be deduced with some accuracy.

• 1834 – 1850 Whitehaven Settlement: In 1834, Porter moved the stone to Grand Island where Lewis F. Allen built a stone niche for it (in the shape of an obelisk) which faced the river at  the mill near the Whitehaven Settlement. There it became a favorite stopping point for the tourist boats on their way to Niagara Falls.

“Buffalo, July 26 [1843]. The passage from Schlosser to Buffalo occupied four hours, the banks of the river on both sides presenting a succession of beautiful landscapes.  Some of us landed on Grand Island and inspected the pyramid announcing in Hebrew and in English the city of Ararat, founded by Mordecai M. Noah.”

The Diary of John Quincy Adams, 1794-1845, edited by Alan Nevins (Scribner, 1951), p. 552

• 1850 – 1854 Baxter Farm: LOCATION UNKNOWN In 1850 the mill was abandoned and the stone was moved to the Baxter farm, two miles north of Whitehaven. We have not located the Baxter Farm, but the family seems to be buried at Whitehaven Cemetery.

• 1854 Sheenwater: Four years later it was moved to Sheenwater, on the West River.

• 1855~ Allen Farm, River Lea: A year later Allen took it to his farm at the southern tip of the Island.

• ~1865 Porter House: Shortly after, having bought the Porter place on Niagara Street, he took the stone back to the point where it started its wanderings in 1834, after 31 years of traveling to four different locations on the Island.

• 1866 – 1965 Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society: In 1866, Allen gave the stone to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society where it was kept in the basement for 99 years. In 1964 the Grand Island Historical Society, Marker Committee co-sponsored an historic marker for the original proposed site.

• 1965 St. Stephen’s Church Barn: In 1965 the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society agreed to loan the stone to the Grand Island Historical Society. A ceremony commemorating the return of the stone to Grand Island took place in front of St. Stephen’s Church barn on Baseline Road in 1965.

• 1965 – 1987 Grand Island Town Hall: The stone was put on display in the lower hall of the second building of the Grand Island Town Hall, which was the former School #9.

• 1987 – 1989 The National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia: In 1987 the stone was loaned to the The National Museum of American Jewish History, Philadelphia.

• 1989 – 1994 Grand Island Town Hall: The stone was returned to the Grand Island Town Hall where it remained until 1994.

• 1994 – Present Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society: In 1989, the stone was returned to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society where it has been featured as part of the “Neighbors” exhibition.

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