Herb Knaack's Recollections
Recollections Of A Young Boy’s Childhood At Historic Valentown
In 1881 when Valentown originally opened my grandparents courted each otherat the dances that were held there. In 1907, my great aunt and uncle attended dances there as well. My great uncle signed his name on the graffiti wall where it still stands today. From around 1908 - 1910 my father himself delivered store goods to the surrounding areas by way of horse drawn carriage. In 1935, my family moved into what was the schoolhouse that sits on the property. What is known today as the blue house. We lived there until 1941 when we moved into town. I myself played through that area on a daily basis from 1935-1941.
My family and I were still living in the blue house in 1940 when Sheldon J. Fisher purchased the Hall. This is when I first met Sheldon. I was thirteen years old at that time. Being a curious boy, I went over and introduced myself to Sheldon who was hard at work trying to restore the Hall even then although at that time and for decades he did this virtually alone. I offered my assistance at anything I was capable of doing and Sheldon and I became friends. I spent many a day helping to carry and replace the stonework foundation that is there today.
We were friends from that time until the day of his death. He was a friend and mentor to myself as well as my children. He spent many days teaching me odd jobs and history. Once my daughter was about five years old he spent hours taking her through the Hall and teacher her as well even though at that time the Hall was closed, even when we would just show up unannounced after a five hour drive from where we were living at the time.
Now I bring my six month old granddaughter to the Hall to see all the fun artifacts and the stuffed cat her mother loved so much as a child. She also loved when the musicians came to the Hall and played as did her mother and father. My future son-in-law has also become a volunteer and does as much as he can when he is not working.
I feel that the town should be eternally grateful to Sheldon for having the foresight and determination to collect and preserve such a vast and thorough collection of local history.
We, at the Victor Historical Society are doing our best to honor Sheldon and keep his accomplishments sacred so that his memory and all his works lives on even beyond us. Our job is to preserve this local history for our children and our grandchildren so that they may understand and appreciate where they come from and continue to preserve this history.
I feel that this is a very noble effort that the town and it's people should support to the best of their ability in whatever way possible. I really think that what the town must understand most is that five generations of my family have spent their lives here and involved with Valentown Hall. The people that are there today are all volunteers sacrificing their time and effort out of love for Sheldon and the Hall and the history that it contains.
Thank you, Herb Knaak
Historic Valentown Museum