Norway History Center and Historical Society

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Norway History Center and Historical Society center at the former Norway Baptist Church (c. 1803)

The Norway Historical Society is located in the former Baptist church and serves to preserve and house historical documents concerning the local area.

The not-for-profit Norway Historical Society (est. 2007) operates its museum and history center in the former Norway Baptist Church (c. 1803). The building is listed on the NYS Registry of Historic Churches. Helen Wheatley was instrumental in establishing the Norway Historical Society. Extensive building restoration efforts have been undertaken since 2007.

The Norway Rural Cemetery is located on the Newport-Gray Road in the village of Norway.

One acre of land was deeded by Dudley Smith (a direct decent of Robert and Janet Burt) in 1803 for cemetery purposes. It had been used for a burying ground for at least the years previous to 1803.  There are soldiers buried in this cemetery from the French and Indian War, Revolution, War of 1812 and the Civil War.  There are other soldiers also in this cemetery from more recent wars.  In 1832 the Department of Education placed a historical marker at the entrance of the cemetery.

The Norway Baptist Church was built in 1831 and operated until 1997, when the pastor died and the few remaining members could not find another pastor, or the funding to pay a full-time pastor or complete the much needed repairs.  Helen Wheatley headed an effort to get the church listed on the New York State Registry of Historic Churches. Some former parishioners wanted to sell the fixture and demolish the building. Through Helen’s leadership the town acquired the former church. After acquiring the building the town board established a commission to oversee the History Center.  The Commission established an exhibit area on the first floor for records and artifacts of the history of the town and its early settlers.  Recognizing the need for get help with funding to restore the building, the Commission asked the Town Board to be dissolved in order that a not-for-profit historical society could be set up.  In 2007 the Norway Historical Society was chartered by the NYS Education Dept. The Norway Historical Society continues to use the Norway Baptist Church as a museum/history center.

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