Article From the Fall 2001 Issue of
The Journal of the New York Museum of Transportation
We’re fortunate that our museum is situated in a beautiful part of the Genesee valley amid acres of woodlands and rolling hills. Luckier still, our next-door neighbors to the north are two of the nicest people, who appreciate history and actually enjoy having us nearby. Meet Bill Shattuck and Ann Stevens…neighbors, museum members and volunteers.
Bill’s background goes back to dairy farming in Monkton, Vermont, south of Burlington. He studied dairying at the University of Vermont, and went on to help run the family farm. It had been in the family for six generations, and there were about 60 Holsteins milking.
Ann hailed from Perinton, where her parents still live, and majored in cinema studies at New York University, with a minor in art (weaving). Ann found her way to Vermont and a job working for Bill on the farm, and they married in 1986.
Bill eventually decided to pursue career directions other than dairy farming. He had always loved woodworking, so he and Ann headed for Pennsylvania where Bill took up an apprenticeship with Jeffrey Greene Design Studio in New Hope. While there, Ann pursued her interest in weaving and other crafts. After a year or so, they relocated back to the Rochester area where Bill made custom hardwood furniture for private and commercial customers. Meanwhile, Ann had jobs in various arts organizations here and became production editor of publications at the George Eastman House. They both pursued crafts and often showed their works at area events like the Clothes Line Art Show.
Soon, the call of the outdoors took Bill first to a job at Rodney Farms and then to several years with Conservation Associates, a small environmentally sensitive landscaping firm. Ann joined the Saunders Group’s Silver Pixel Press Division, and served as an editor there for four years.
Bill Shattuck and Ann Stevens talk over the next phase of their house restoration project. Tyler is all ears, so to speak.
Currently, both are in business for themselves. Ann’s "East River Editorial" operation has her editing books on cameras, photography, and related technical subjects. Her customers include Xerox and RIT students. Bill does landscaping, landscape architecture, woodworking and house restoration, and his business is known as "Bill Shattuck Restoration". His mission is to "bring back the old", and he is currently reglazing windows for a customer with a large old house in Attica, NY.
Ann and Bill’s home is a continuous restoration project as befits a structure that dates back to 1830 with an addition in 1860. Originally built in the Federal style, the house was remodeled to Greek Revival with the 1860 addition. Bill has repaired major structural damage caused by water. The wood sill foundation has been restored and much of the siding repaired too. They both take pride in keeping the house and grounds as original as reasonably possible, and the split rail fence along our mutual property line enhances the period look of both our properties. By the way, among the previous owners of the Shattuck/Stevens house are museum members John and Marion Remelt, whose son Charlie, also one of our members, grew up there.
Both Bill and Ann keep an eye on our museum when we’re not there, and there have been several occasions in the past when they’ve called to alert us to questionable circumstances. It’s comforting to have alert and caring neighbors. More than that, Bill has over the years done a lot of mowing for us, and helped us with trimming of tree limbs and branches that overhang our rail line and trolley wire. He has donated (and planted!) a maple tree, a buckthorn tree, a pine tree, a forsythia bush and a barberry bush for future generations of visitors to enjoy. They both like to see the activity next door, with the track cars arriving and departing, visitors coming and going, the calliope tooting away. We’re sure it helps that we keep the curve greased to minimize flange squeal, but they say all the activity is "just perfect".
In fact, Bill and Ann have a special affection for history and our nation’s heritage. They seek out other transportation museums when they travel, and Ann tells us, "We believe in having museums in our lives, teaching the community about our history". They are "thrilled" to have a museum for a neighbor and appreciate our community service, sharing our love of transportation history with the visiting public.
Well, we appreciate having such interested and understanding neighbors, with the extra benefit of having them as members and helpers as we continue to grow. Thanks to you both!