Skip to content

Schumer Presents New $370,000 Check To Sonnenberg Mansion And Gardens

Money To Be Used for Desperately Needed Repair and Restoration Work on Sonnenberg VerandaSchumer Secured Federal Funding in FY05 Appropriations Bill As Part of Save Americas Treasures Grant Program

US Senator Charles E. Schumer visited Canandaigua to present Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens with a check for $370,000 for repairs and restorations to the historic Victorian estate. Schumer, who secured funding in the Fiscal Year 2005 Omnibus appropriation bill, joined Sonnenberg supporters and local officials to discuss the vital restorations to one of the most popular landmarks in the Finger Lakes area.

Sonnenberg Mansion and Gardens is a wonderful part of Canandiaguas rich history and a jewel for the Finger Lakes region, Schumer said. Securing this funding was a critical step to ensure that this popular landmark will be around for future generations of New Yorkers to enjoy, Schumer said. This money is coming at exactly the right time and will enable us to preserve this American treasure for the residents and visitors of the Finger Lakes area.

The funding will be used for repair and restoration work on the Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens, a fiftyacre estate developed between 1863 and 1923, that served as the summer home for New York banker Frederick Ferris Thompson and his wife, Canandaigua native Mary Clark Thompson. Sonnenberg was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973 and recent assessments of the mansion by both a historic preservation architect and structural engineer have indicated an urgent need for stabilization and repair. Specifically, this federal grant will help fix the veranda, which is suffering from a sinking foundation, a leaking roof, and tilting support columns.

The Schumer grant is the first federal funding received by the Sonnenberg estate. Schumer first visited Sonnenberg Mansion & Gardens during an economic development tour of Canandiagua in 2000, before the financial crisis that jeopardized Sonnebergs existence. Two years later, the tourist attraction's chief executive officer was arrested for embezzling funds, and Sonnenberg faced foreclosure under heavy debt. Schumer publicly urged a state takeover of the estate, and promised to fight for federal funding. Last year, the state announced its intention to purchase Sonnenberg and make it a state historic park.

Save Americas Treasures is a national effort to protect "America's threatened cultural treasures, including historic structures, collections, works of art, maps and journals that document and illuminate the history and culture of the United States." Established by Executive Order in February 1998, Save America's Treasures was originally founded as the centerpiece of the White House National Millennium Commemoration and as a publicprivate partnership that included the White House, the and the Dedicated to the preservation and celebration of America's priceless historic legacy, Save Americas Treasures works to recognize and rescue the enduring symbols of American tradition that define us as a nation.