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The birthplace of JELL-O and the stringless bean; home of the former Ingham University, the first women's college in the United States; and my home town from the time I was born until I left for college; Le Roy is a picturesque small town in western New York State, population just over 4,500.
It's an old village incorporated in 1813, so it's full of 19th-century houses and Victorian architecture; in fact stone carriage steps still sit in front of many of the homes. A section of one of the oldest houses in town (built in the early 1800s and rumored to still have the owner's daughter's name inscribed in a pane of glass) can be seen in the toile, right under the gazebo.
There are at least eight churches of all denominations (the First Baptist Church is the belltower-topped building in the toile and St. Mark's is the one with the steeple), lots of trees (walk a couple miles in any direction and you'll eventually end up in the woods), barns and acres of crops, a dammed-up creek wide enough to pass for a river (that's Oatka Creek which flows right by St. Mark's and makes for some great birdwatching from the gazebo... in the toile, notice my dad watching the heron!)
Right on Main St. is the Le Roy House, the first section built in 1818. It was originally home of the village's founder Jacob Le Roy and is now a historical museum. Behind the house is the 19th century school, which is now home to the Jell-O Museum and a great collection of old carriages like the ones in the toile.
One of my favorite old buildings was the Woodward Memorial Library; in the toile, it's the four columned building with the wide steps. It was built using bricks from the old Ingham University when those buildings were dismantled in the late 1800s. Inside the library was peace and quiet, books galore (reading, a favorite hobby of quiet kids like me), and -- the best part -- a secret tunnel connecting the library to the elementary school, and a locked room full of antique books and oil paintings of some of the town's early inhabitants. Creepy AND mysterious!
Most of the elements in the toile are my own sketches done over years of traveling back to Le Roy for Christmas or summer vacation. Some were done from life (sitting on the creekbank drawing St. Mark's) and some from photos (the gazebo where my husband proposed), but I bet I could draw almost everything from memory. I've lived away from that town for almost as long as I lived in it, but I think it'll always be "home," no matter where else I end up.