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June 26, 2014

Lions Club signs up for restoration work

The Cooperstown Lions Club had a busy spring restoring five historic marker signs in the village. 

Over the winter, Ellen Tillapaugh, a village trustee told the Parks Board about the deteriorated New York State Historic markers within the village. Rich McCaffery, a member of the Parks Board and the Cooperstown Lions Club volunteered to help with the project.

“We have many talented people in the Lions Club that are good at that endeavor,” McCaffrey said.

After some research, McCaffery found that the New York State Department of Education does not maintain the signs, however the NYSDE does provide guidelines for their repair.

McCaffery said he contacted George Macaluso, the chair of the Cooperstown Lions Club Community Service Committee, who took on the project after the Lions Board approved it.

McCaffery said the first task was identifying what iron signs needed to be restored. The Lions found five signs within the village that needed repair.

The signs are: the signs in front of Clinton’s Dam and Council Rock at Council Rock Park; the George Croghan sign on Main Street near the Leatherstocking Corporation; the Natty Bumpo sign near Fairy Spring Park; and the oldest church sign on the lawn of the Presbyterian Church. 

“These cast iron signs, among many others in NYS, were erected in the early part of the 20th century to designate locations of cultural significance,” McCaffery said in a media release.

The distinctive shape and blue and gold colors identify the markers.

McCaffery said it was important to refurbish the signs because of their significant historical nature.

The Lions club members involved with the restoration were Macaluso and his wife Tina, John Saphier, Tom Hohensee and John Rowley, McCaffrey said. McCaffery donated the cost for supplies; the village trustess voted Monday to accept the $150 donation.

“The Lions wire brushed the surface to remove dirt and rust flakes, cleaned, primed and then painted them,” McCaffrey said in the media release. The project took one day.

Had the signs been replaced by NYS, the cost would have been over $500 each and they would have been cast in aluminum instead of iron.

“The Lions Club is very committed to community betterment, so this fit our mission very well,” McCaffery said.

“I think most people are appreciative of historical preservation, particularly in this community,” he continued.

For more information about Lions Clubs visit

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