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Wayne Post
  • Images reveal Macedon's history in new book

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  • MACEDON — A new book takes readers on a pictorial walk through Macedon’s history.
    “Macedon” is the newest addition to Arcadia Publishings’s Images of America series. Author Reginald W. Neale brought together several sources in a compilation that tells of Macedon’s establishment and the people who lived there.
    “One thing that makes Macedon special is the many individuals who are committed to maintaining the records of its history,” Neale said. “Macedon Town Historian June Hamell oversees a large collection of historical material, and is also the curator of the Bullis Collection at the Macedon Library. Village Historian Sally Millick conducts walking tours of historically significant locations in Macedon. Sandy Pagano is the president of the Macedon Historical Society, which houses a huge collection of artifacts and documents at the former Macedon Academy building in Macedon Center.”
    But it was Neale’s discovery of a huge collection of historical images of the town that convinced him to write the book.
    “Most people have never seen these,” he said of the book’s photos. “Macedon resident Hod Conant and his son, Dan, graciously shared some images from their magnificent collection of photo postcards.”
    Neale grew up in Palmyra and graduated from Palmyra-Macedon. His love for history grew over the years, but it wasn’t until he retired that he was able to write about it. His first book, “Farmington,” where Neale and his wife now call home, was published by Arcadia Publishing in 2011.
    The people in Macedon’s history have been playing key roles in important social issues for many years. Notably, it was Macedon residents who signed the Declaration of Sentiments in Seneca Falls that led to women’s right to vote. In the late 1800s, the village was a manufacturing center for agricultural equipment. Major local employer Bickford & Huffman's "Farmer's Favorite" grain drill, made in Macedon, is credited with opening up the western plains to settlers, Neale said. The Erie Canal also had an enormous influence on the growth of the community as an outlet for agricultural machinery and goods to be shipped across the continent, he added.
    “In many ways, the story of Macedon is similar to other villages that were settled about the same time,” Neale said. “Quakers and other New Englanders bought land in the giant Phelps & Gorham Purchase as soon as treaties with the Native Americans made it possible.”
    The book boasts over 200 images, including the history of Macedon Academy, founded in 1841, that served the area for 50 years and drew students from all over due to its curriculum and reputation. The building still stands today as home to the Macedon Historical Society.
    Photos of the Drill Works, stores on Main Street that no longer exist, influential graduates of Macedon Academy and photos of Barge Canal construction are among Neale’s favorites in the book.
    Page 2 of 2 - “I hope (the book) will raise public awareness of Macedon’s rich history and historical importance,” he said.
    The 128-page, soft cover book is available at several area retailers and online retailers and at www.arcadiapublishing.com.

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