Landmark Building in the
Neoclassical or Georgian Revival Style
The Society is privileged to have the use of the former Fairport Public Library as home to the Perinton Historical Society and location of our collections and archives.
This building is owned by the Village of Fairport and in 2008 was designated a landmark by the Village of Fairport Preservation Commission. In 2017, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
History of the Building
Robert Douglas, of Fairport’s Douglas Pectin Company, inventor of Certo and the Perinton Patriotic League donated funds for the building of a new library. The land was donated by the School District.
The Works Progress Administration (WPA) labor was used to construct the building designed by Henry A. Martin. Built in 1937, it opened for use as a library in 1938 and was in use until 1978 when the library moved to its current site in the Village Landing complex on South Main Street. At that time, the property was given to the Village for a museum and the Society has been in this location since then.
Neoclassical or Georgian Revival
The style of architecture is Neoclassical or Palladian/Georgian Revival, and is fairly representative of its era on the countrywide scene. In the context of the Village however, it is unique. Take a look as you visit and you will see a tetra style Tuscan portico, dentilated cornice, one-bay hipped wings, and a fabulous doorway with semi-circular leaded glass fanlight. The beautiful style and detail of the inner door with fanlight and natural wood continues through the whole interior space.
Mural by Carl Peters
The highlight of the interior of the Museum is the mural painted in 1938 by local artist Carl Peters (1897 to 1980). This 20’ mural depicts the history of Perinton from farming to the era of the canal industry. This work was also financed by the WPA, as were many works of art in public buildings of the ‘30s.
The painting can be roughly divided into two sections: farming and rural life on the left and industry and commercial life on the right. The figures represent the rural past and the hardworking people of Fairport. The Erie Canal runs the entire length of the work. It is also suspected that Peters painted a likeness of himself in the mural as one of the workers hauling a bag onto the barge just to the right of center.
Carl, who had a farm and studio on Jefferson Ave. in the town of Perinton, became a nationally known painter and part of a group of painters known as 'regionalists'.
For more on the artist see: Carl W. Peters: American Scene Painter from Rochester to Rockport, written by Richard H. Love and published by University of Rochester Press, 1999.
The grounds around the Museum contain a perennial garden of traditional plants and an herb garden. All of the plants are labeled. The GreenBriar Garden Club maintains the gardens. Park benches encourage visitors to linger awhile.
Carl W. Peters at the Gallery!
Memorial Art Gallery Exhibit
- Carl W. Peters Murals
Our own Carl W. Peters mural was celebrated at the Memorial Art Gallery (MAG) with the blockbuster exhibit called, Art for the People: Carl W. Peters and the Rochester WPA Murals. The exhibit ran from Oct. 2015 to Jan. 2016.
To see the mural at the Fairport Historical Museum, visit anytime during open hours. Also, on display is the painting “Winter Stream, which is owned by the village of Fairport.
Admission is FREE!
Carl Peters - The Artist
Carl Peters (1897–1980) moved from Rochester to Fairport to a small farm on Jefferson Avenue when he was fourteen years old and lived here the rest of his life.
As an adult, he spent his summers at Rockport, Cape Ann, Massachusetts painting ocean and sky–then returned to his studio in Fairport to paint local winter scenes.
Besides his individual oil paintings, he is best known locally for the 13 magnificent historical murals he painted as part of the national Works Progress Administration project. One of these murals resides in our Museum. The others are located at three schools in Rochester.
Carl is recognized as a regional scene painter working in the impressionist style. His works are well known and collected nationally. For more on Carl W. Peters - The Artist.