Opendore Promo Elevation 2018.jpg

The Isabel HOwland House (Opendore)

Opendore was originally built in 1837, remodeled by William Howland in 1888, and again by Isabel Howland in 1910. Noted Syracuse architect Albert Brockway designed the 1910 renovation in a vernacular Colonial Revival style, hearkening back to pre-Revolutionary times. The 1910 structure was an expansive country estate of 6600 square feet, almost double the size of the present building.

When the Museum acquired the property in 2008, it had been neglected for decades and was nearly beyond salvaging. Opendore was purchased from Cayuga County without a clear plan for usage. An ad hoc committee formed to study the options was assisted by architect Beth Crawford and engineer Guy Garnsey. The building continued to deteriorate while a restoration plan was formulated. The Board decided to move ahead with a partial restoration which began in 2013. The severely deteriorated southern half of the building was demolished, the north wing was saved, and the middle section rebuilt.

Restoration has only been possible with multiple State grants, local funding, and significant contributions of volunteer labor. Scheduled completion is for 2019. It is on the National Registry both as part of the Sherwood Equal Rights Historic District, and separately for its connection to the women’s suffrage movement.

Rendering of Gutchess Library

Rendering of Gutchess Library


Construction Photos & Info