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Cassadaga Manor serves as a wedding venue and more | News, sports, jobs

The RED House (Retreat Event Destination).

When Cassadaga Native people Steve and Nancy Wickmark were home from Washington state in 2008, Mr. Wickmark attended an open house. Salespeople Al and Mary Kay Carpenter, former Wickmarks teachers, had owned the very large house since the 1960s. After working with teens, Steve told the agent that he envisioned the house being used for youth programs. After returning to Seattle, the Wickmarks received a call from the Carpenters. The homeowners liked Mr. Wickmark’s idea of ​​using the 1860s house, which they had cherished for many years, and invited him to make an offer.

The couple’s offer on the Pacific coast was accepted, but after they returned to Chautauqua County, they found that there were already many good youth programs in place. Although they haven’t started their own programs, the couple provide funding and enable youth groups to use the house they have called The RED (Retreat Event Destination).

Interestingly, the carpenters hired Steve as a student years ago to help install radiators and do some repairs on the house. During the same period, Nancy had helped renovate the house’s railing and her sister had done some cleaning for the previous owners.

“I always feel shear relief and comfort when I come onto the property. The area where I have the most inner feeling is when I cross the threshold into the kitchen. “ says Nancy. “I just wish the building could talk and I could learn more.”

She thinks of the women who lived in the beautiful house with no plumbing or electricity, and wondering what their life was like.

Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

The elegant 19th century house with seven chimneys was built in 1860 by the Denny family. It is suitable for business meetings or larger gatherings of up to 50 guests, but is mainly used for weddings. The entire package of mansion, barn and grounds was the scene of many weddings and receptions.

The owners do not live on the property, but live in Mrs. Wickmark’s family house. Her mother left antiques in the house that belonged to herself and her mother. Mrs. Wickmark shows many of them, and some that belong to her husband’s mother, in the RED House kitchen. The beautiful dining room now houses the porcelain that once belonged to her mother, who was a porcelain painter.

Over the years the house has been mentioned in several books and publications, including 19th Century Houses in West New York and The Sittin ‘Stone. The couple put these and old letters in the drawing room for visitors to read.

An open staircase decorated with dental work is inside the double front doors. On the second level there are several bedrooms with fireplaces. A ballroom on the third floor is often used for photography because of the lighting and unique windows. Guests climbing the stairs to the dome can see the deer and turkeys that sometimes roam below.

The mansion is used for the bride and groom to get ready for their big day. The bride and her companions use the front of the house and the groom and groomsmen use two rooms in the back of the house. There are front and back stairs so the groom doesn’t accidentally see his bride before the ceremony. Rehearsal nights and some weddings take place inside, but most weddings take place on the premises.

Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

The barn is the hotspot at the reception in bad weather. It is the perfect place for formal or informal celebrations. The current barn was built in 1910 after the first one burned down. It was built from blocks from the Cassadaga Block Company made from clay from Cassadaga Lake. The beams are built in tenon construction. The current owners poured a concrete floor, installed a pole and plank cladding on the first level. The beams on the ceiling are originally from the time the building was built. On the lower floor you can have dinner, drink cocktails, dance or whatever you can think of.

A new open staircase has been made to the second floor.

There is a unique elevator that uses a pulley system and is a carryover from the old barn. It is used to move food and drinks to the upper level, which is a large open area with vaulted ceilings and a food service area. Chandeliers illuminate both floors. A covered open attic brings nature in. It has drop curtains in bad weather. Ms. Wickmark has made a book of pictures of receptions that have taken place over the years, each of which is unique in itself.

“We only offer the venue. You can bring your own food, rather bad luck or food. “ She says.

“It’s a great mix of the eloquence of the manor and the rustic barn” adds her niece Amanda Wickmark.

The RED house is used for youth activities and special events. Photo by Beverly Kehe-Rowland

“The photographers love it” says the owner.

With the property just a short walk from the lake, many photographers snap a few pictures of the bride and groom by the water.

Most weddings are planned to take advantage of the six park-like mornings that guests can use to socialize. Some brides have decided to have outdoor games for their guests. One couple showed six tractors that belonged to a grandfather. Others have exhibited vintage cars and there was even a petting zoo at a party.

Over the years the house has served many purposes. At one time it was the Homecroft Inn and at another it was Lily Dale Sanitarium, a tuberculosis hospital. About four years ago, the couple learned that the house had a reflection chamber that was used by Freemasons as a place for candidates to prepare mentally before the dedication. The purpose of going into this room was so that the candidate could think about why they wanted to join the lodge. Another interesting feature that used to exist in the house was a tunnel that led to Lake Cassadaga.

The wickmarks have included a few recipes. The one for chocolate biscuits was given to Nancy’s sister by the previous owners. They were a hit with many students visiting the teachers in their home. The other two recipes were handwritten in a cookbook, Sense in the Kitchen – A Guide to Economical Cooking, published in 1884.

“It is likely that the ladies of the RED House, at the time Denny’s house, used this or a very similar cookbook.” says Mrs. Wickmark. “This book was Mrs. Ida Bergquist’s cookbook. It was given to her as a wedding present when she married Samuel Bergquist, the son of Swedish immigrants from Smaaland. “

The Bergquist’s, great-great-grandparents of Steve Wickmark, lived in Jamestown at 16. Eagle Street. Sam built many country-style houses on Lower Swede Hill in Jamestown, including the building that currently houses the Vietnam Veteran’s Center on Bigelow Street.

Mr. Wickmark jokes that it is doubtful that Ida ever used the cookbook or that the recipes in it weren’t very good because “She certainly did not pass on good cooking skills to her offspring because I never considered my grandmother or mother to be great cooks.” However, on page 296 he found a carefully handwritten recipe for killing flies and a family favorite for pickled herring.

RED House at 91 Frisbee Road in Cassadaga offers hourly rates for small events and daily rates for large events from May to October. Weekly prices are negotiated depending on usage. More information is available at www.the-red-house.org all (716) 595-2450.

Mary Kays Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cream together:

1 c margarine

1c sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

Mix with above:

2 eggs

2 tons of water

1 teaspoon vanilla


2 1/2 c flour (plus a little more)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1c nuts

1 teaspoon soda

12 ounces chocolate chips

Drop on a greased sheet with a tablespoon. Bake at 350 degrees until everything is ready.

How to kill flies

Half a teaspoon of black pepper, finely ground to be mixed with twice the amount of brown sugar. The compound to be moistened with cream must be placed in a place where the flies can easily reach it.

Pickled herring (pickled herring)

Two salted herrings

2 red onions, diced

1 teaspoon whole cloves

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole black pepper

5 bay leaves

1 c white vinegar

3/4 c sugar

Soak herring in cold water overnight. Cleanse, split, remove all bones and skin. Cut into small strips. Make a brine from the remaining ingredients. Put the herring, onions and brine in a bowl. Serve with Knackebrod (rye crack crackers).

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