Not NYC or Chicago. But a City All the Same.

Another day when we left the dogs at home and headed south and east, to another small town that describes itself as a city. And not a big city, as in NYC or Chicago, but a city all the same.

A city that Native Americans named Canandaigua, which means the Chosen Place. Which includes Canandaigua Lake, which I have featured in several of my blog posts.

In 1863, a husband and his wife purchased 300 acres of farmland known as Sonnenberg (Sunny Hill). His name was Frederick Ferris and her name was Mary Clark Thompson.

He was:  a NYC banker.

She was:  the daughter of a NY state governor.

The farmstead residence was torn down and replaced with a home they called the Sonnenberg Mansion.  By this time, 24 years had elapsed, bringing us up to 1887.

Theirs is a much loved story that’s well known among the locals and, if you’re curious, you can read about it here.

It’s not so much the Sonnenberg story that I want to tell as much as I want to ponder the implications of what it means to build a legacy … of which the Sonnenberg Mansion is but one example.

Do you think Frederick Fred and Mary ever wondered about what their house and grounds might be like almost 150 years into the future?

Could they have imagined that some of their stories would be told to visitors coming to some of the events held on the estate grounds every year?

Like the trip to Africa that Mary and a few of her friends took so that they could collect rare orchids to add to Mary’s collection?

And that the orchids they’d collected were tossed out by an unsuspecting train employee because he thought they were trash and Mary was too sick to tell him otherwise?

I’ll bet she was really pissed mad about that!

Do you think that Mary had even the tiniest inkling that THAT story would be retold more than a century later?

And what about the artisans? The metal workers who made the elaborate fencing that marks the entrance to the grounds?  The mason who etched the name “Sonnenberg” into the stone pillar on one side of the gate?

Do you think that they stepped back, when their work was finished, and asked themselves if they had created something that would last for more than 150 years?

Step back and take one more look:

Does this look like a legacy?

I think it does. And, sadly, the names of its creators might be lost for all time.  Which brings us to the next bit of pondering: do their names matter if what we have is the evidence that they were here?

And, would that be an underlying question to ask yourself each day?

Does your name really matter if, in 150 years, there is some evidence that you were here?   [gplus count=”true” size=”Medium” ]






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