Ithaca Times, May 24, 1983.
"PEACE CAMP SITE. THE WOMEN'S ENCAMPMENT FOR A FUTURE OF PEACE AND JUSTICE WILL BE ORGANIZED ON A 53-ACRE FARM ALONG ROUTE 96 NEAR THE MAIN GATE OF SENECA ARMY DEPOT, ROMULUS. THE LAND WAS PURCHASED MONDAY BY SENECA ENCAMPMENT INC." (Times photograph by Art Foxall).
Women’s peace group buys Varick farm
By Sonni Sampson
VARICK – A Rochester-based women’s peace organization bought a 53-acre farm near the Seneca Army Depot yesterday that will become a peace camp this summer for women opposed to nuclear weapons.
The farm on Route 96 north of the hamlet of Romulus was purchased by Seneca Encampment Inc. on 713 Monroe Ave., Rochester, a non-profit organization representing women’s groups throughout the northeastern United States.
Seneca County Clerk Fred VanNostrand said the farm was sold for $37,500. The farm, which was owned by the late Ida McGrane, was sold by the executors of her estate, nieces Betty Rogers and Doris Wayne of Fayette.
The farm, about one mile north of the depot’s main entrance on Route 96, includes 35 acres of fields and 18 acres of woods. There is a two-story home with four bedrooms on the property, as well as a barn and three small storage buildings.
The closing on the property was held at 9 a.m. yesterday at the office of Geneva attorney Frederick Warder, who represented the sellers. Alaine Epenscheid, a lawyer with Legal Assistance of the Finger Lakes who said she was acting as a private attorney in the closing, represented Seneca Encampment.
The sale was announced at a news conference yesterday. Kristin Eberlein, treasurer of Seneca Encampment, said she and the directors of the organization were pleased about the purchase. She refused to identify the directors of the group, however.
About 80 percent of the funding for the purchase came from “different individuals from all over the country” who contributed from $5 to $100, Ms. Eberlein said. The remainder of the money was contributed by various women’s peace organizations.
The organizations represented by Seneca Encampment include the Upstate Feminist Peace Alliance of Rochester, Syracuse and Ithaca; Rochester Peace and Justice Education Center; Syracuse Peace Council; Women Strike for Peace of Philadelphia; Women’s Pentagon Action of New York City, Boston, Washington, D.C.; and Women’s International League for Peace and Justice of Philadelphia.
The Women’s Encampment for Future of Peace and Justice, a non-profit group from Geneva, is coordinating plans for the peace camp at the farm from July 4 to Sept. 5. Among the aims of the camp is to encourage the U.S. Department of Defense to release information about the depot, which is believed to be a repository for nuclear weapons.
“We’d like to draw attention to the fact that nuclear weapons are an incredibly dangerous threat to human beings on this planet,” said Barbara Reale of Geneva, a member of the Encampment organization.
Next week, members of the organization will begin making repairs to the property. Plans call for painting and rewiring the house, which may be used as an office or reception area, said Julie Reinstein of Hector, a member of Women Against Militarism, an Ithaca-based organization.
The group, said Ms. Reinstein, will also contact the Seneca County Soil and Water Conservation Department, to see what can be done about tiling and seeding the farm land to prevent water accumulation.
“People will be working on the land problem probably starting late this week,” she said.
About 200 campsites will be built toward the rear of the property.
“There are several fields in the back that are not visible from the road where we will be doing the camping,” said Ms. Reinstein.
Campers will be asked to provide their own tents and food, she said, adding that each site will hold about five campers.
“Care has been taken to ensure that adequate safety, sanitation and other facilities exist for these people,” said Ms. Reinstein.
The organization, said Ms. Reinstein, has a budget for the repairs and improvements to the property, but she refused to disclose any details.
When the encampment ends in September, said Ms. Eberlein, the organization will consider selling the property or donating it to an agency with a “useful purpose like social services for a battered women’s shelter.” The land may also be donated for a free medical clinic.
“At this point we really can’t say specifically what we plan to do with it,” said Ms. Reinstein.
Women interested in attending the camp should call 315-789-5610 or write the organization at 150 Castle St., Geneva 14456, for further information. There is no charge for the camp, but donations will be welcomed, said Ms. Reinstein.