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Oswegoland Heritage Association honors late, long-time board member

The Oswegoland Heritage Association Board of Directors honored the late Fred Mitchell with the association’s highest honor, the Mary Cutter Bickford Award for Excellence in Local History, at the board’s May 26 meeting.

Mitchell resigned from the board in December 2020 due to health reasons and passed away Jan. 8, 2021. He had served on the board of directors since May 1981.

The award, named for lifelong Oswego resident and local historian, the late Mary Cutter Bickford, is presented to recognize truly outstanding efforts to preserve Oswego area history. Mary Bickford’s collection of hundreds of photographs, documents, and books and ledgers formed the basis for the Little White School Museum’s archival collection that currently stands at nearly 35,000 items.

Mitchell is the eighth winner of the heritage association’s most prestigious award. Previous winners were John Hafenrichter, Ted Clauser, Helen Zamata, Stephanie “Stevie” Todd, Glenn Young, Cathi Mundsinger, and Bob Stekl.

During his board tenure, Mitchell served in a variety of offices. Most recently he was acting as the OHA’s fundraising chair. In the 1980s he worked on some of the museum’s original collections cataloging. He also organized and conducted the OHA’s popular “Antiques Road Show” fundraisers, among other projects.

Mitchell, a retired chemist, owned Ancient Argosy Antiques with his wife, Lurena “Renie” Mitchell for more than 45 years. They enjoyed living in the stately and historic Gorton-Bartholomew House on Route 25 in the village.

“Over the years, Fred was one of the heritage association’s most faithful members,” said Judy Wheeler, board president. “Fred was one of the members we could always count on when projects were ongoing.”

The Little White School Museum is a joint project of the Oswegoland Heritage Association and the Oswegoland Park District.

Regular hours are Thursdays and Fridays from 1 to 5:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; and Mondays, 4 to 9 p.m. The museum is closed to visitors on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Admission is free.For more information, call the museum at 630-554-2999, visit their web page at, or email

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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