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Mary Lyon Church steeple fundraiser in Buckland Saturday

BUCKLAND — Spend an afternoon in the summer kitchen of the Major Joseph Griswold House, see a detailed replica of the historic Mary Lyon Church and help raise money for the church steeple.

From 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sue and Hank Samoriski are hosting a fundraiser to benefit the steeple fund of the Mary Lyon Church, in memory of Edie Gerry, a neighbor and 86-year-long church member who died last month.

The Samoriskis recently restored a summer kitchen in their historic homestead, at 8 Old Upper St. The house was built in 1818 for Major Joseph Griswold, the son of an American Revolution-ary War soldier. The Federal-style house was a center of the town’s social scene, with Griswold opening the third-floor ballroom for public events. Between 1824 and 1829, Griswold allowed Buckland native and Mount Holyoke College founder Mary Lyon to set up a school for women in the ballroom. She used it until 1829, and began to seek larger facilities to meet demand. This resulted in the 1837 founding of what is now Mount Holyoke College. Sue Samoriski is executive director of the Mary Lyon Foundation, which is devoted to raising money for educational programs in western Franklin County.

Samoriski says a summer kitchen is a small outbuilding or shed that is usually built next to a house and is used as a kitchen in warm weather. She said this summer kitchen is thought to have first been used in 1874. For the past decade, it has served as a storage area, until the renovation.

Besides having refreshments in the summer kitchen, guests can see Arnold Purinton’s miniature replica of the church, as he remembers it, from his childhood. This tabletop miniature of the church took Purinton about 100 hours to make. Its granite steps were built with schist from Ashfield Stone. It has replicas of the church’s stained-glass windows, doors that open and even a tiny bell in the belfry that rings when a cord in the entryway is pulled. Purinton donated the replica to the church in memory of Edie Gerry.

Gerry had once remarked, “We should all feel a touch of reverence, to know Mary Lyon was baptized in this church in 1822.”

The church steeple repairs have already been made, because there were support beams that had to be replaced as soon as possible. Donations will help to offset the cost. Samoriski said she is hoping this event will raise $1,000.

Those planning to come are asked to “RSVP” by email at:


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