Sullivan County Historical Society History Preserver Award 2007
A native of Ferndale, NY, Maurice attended the two room school house on what was called School House Hill, along with his brothers, Paul and Alan. A graduate of Liberty High School, Class of 1949, he served in the U.S. Navy before going to California in 1954.
He managed to come home every fall for 32 years and as his parents Bill and Naomi grew older, he started to spend longer periods of time in his beloved Ferndale.
He purchased his first house in 1981. It was the Ryan House on Ferndale-Loomis
Road. It had been empty for 42 years. It took four years of trips back and forth across the country, but in the summer of 1985, he moved back for good and took up residence in the house.
Shortly afterwards, the Ferndale Post Office closed and moved to its present location and Maurice was able to buy the building. The building housed Fred Manion’s General Store. His first summer, he operated a marketplace selling fruits, vegetables, plants and flowers. He did a lot of restoring to the building and eventually it became the Ferndale Marketplace and Antique Center.
Then he started his quest of buying and restoring the houses on “The Hill” as they became available. Across from his home, he created a wooded area with mowed lawns and stone walls and on the corner, beautiful evergreens grown on his brother, Alan’s, property and re-planted in Ferndale.
The last piece of the puzzle was the School House. Maurice was able to purchase it and have it placed on the National Registry.
The entire hill was a labor of love and today, it stands as a testament to the memory of where he grew up and a place he truly calls home.
Maurice has also been active in other community matters. At present, he is serving his fourteenth year on the Liberty Town Board. He is a charter member of the Liberty Museum and Art Center. He served as Vice-President of the Greater Liberty Chamber of Commerce and has worked on various beautification projects in the village of Liberty as well as having an active role in local festivals.