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Wed., Oct. 7
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19th century stone building in Orleans being repaired with community donations


LAFARGEVILLE — A historic 19th-century stone house built by French settlers in the region is being repaired through community donations.

On Route 180 just south of the hamlet, the outer wall of this aging structure — one of the five houses built for John LaFarge, a wealthy French merchant who owned nearly all of the town of Orleans and much of Clayton in the early 1800s — has been collapsing over the past three years.

But the property's owner, Vito L. Raineri, has been ill and his insurance company refused to pay for the estimated $10,000 repairs.

So friends of the Raineri family and members of the community, including Patricia J. Drake, got together and raised $4,500 to repair the eroding mortar.

The remaining costs will be covered through labor and equipment donated by Rusty Johnson Masonry, LaFargeville.

Many in the community consider it a way to give back to Mr. Raineri.

“Whenever anybody needed a fundraiser, he would step in and organize one,” Mrs. Drake.

Mr. Raineri has lived in LaFargeville for more than 20 years and is married to Marguerite C., former executive director of the Northern New York Agricultural Historical Society Museum, Stone Mills.

“It's great we were able to raise the money to help them out,” Mrs. Drake said, adding that the community's response has been beyond anybody's expectations.

Their initial goal was to raise $3,500 at a dinner fundraiser last week and through private donations.

The repair work began Tuesday morning and is expected to be completed in three to four work days.

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