Colchester Historical Society

Organization Information

P.O. Box 112
Downsville, New York 13755
Delaware County, New York

Preserving the history of :
 Cooks Falls, Corbett, Downsville, Horton and Shinhopple


    President           Arthur Merrill

Vice-President        Kay H. Parisi-Hampel

Anne Hood- Secretary             Joyce Steflik - Treasurer

Colchester Township Historian-Kay Parisi-Hampel

Board of Trustees:

Elizabeth Karl
Susan L. Koon
Judie Darbee Smith
Linda Mills
Betty Watson

Monthly meetings are generally held the last Tuesday of the month at the Colchester Town Hall, 72 Tannery Road, Downsville, New York 13755. 


April 29, 2021 CHS Meeting:

10 AM at the Colchester Covered Bridge, Covered Bridge Park, Downsville,

Bring your lawn chair and a mask.



  BYLAWS-Colchester Historical Society 2012-adopted June 26,2012, amended July 28, 2015.pdf    


The mission of the Historical Society is to promote the rich heritage of the Town of Colchester, New York; to offer quality public education programs regarding local history, and to provide access to this history through the preservation of its documents: vital records, cemetery records,  veteran's records, photographs, family genealogy, oral history, folklore and local artifacts. A Building Fund has been established with a future goal of purchasing a permanent home for the Colchester Historical Society collection.

The collection is currently housed in the Colchester Town Hall, 72 Tannery Road, Downsville, New York 13755.

Organization History

In 1982 the Downsville Women's Club sponsored the development of a local history society and the "Colchester Historical Society" was born.  The Society received their provisional charter from the New York State Board of Regents on September 24, 1982, and their permanent charter on May 22, 1984. 

The Society started early after their formation to study the feasibility of buying a building for a museum and meeting rooms.  In the mean time, permission was granted by the Colchester Town Board for a meeting and storage space in the town hall.  The Colchester Historical Society space is still in the Colchester Town Hall and we are still pursuing our goal of having our own building for a permanent museum and research facility.

In 1983 the Society outlined a plan to restore the Downsville Covered Bridge.  Out of seven covered bridges built in the township, the Downsville bridge was the only survivor.  The restoration project was completed in August 1985, at the cost of $12,500.  Monies for the restoration were raised by a variety of local fundraisers, contributions and a grant from the O'Connor Foundation and the Delaware County Highway Department Funds.  The Society received an Award of Merit from the Delaware County Historical Association on January 18, 1986 for their work on the restoration of the Downsville Covered Bridge.

Members of the Colchester Historical Society published their Bicentennial Edition of "Colchester: People and Places Remember, 1792-1992."   This project was originally the idea of Downsville residents Mary Oberg, who enlisted the aid of Muriel Barron and other members of the Colchester Historical Society.  Funding for the development and printing of this book was provided by the Marcy-South Electric Power Project.

Current Projects

Preserving items within the collection is an on going project, as well as cataloging donations, and expanding our Genealogy Surname files..  Several traveling local history exhibits are prepared and presented to the community each year. We are continuing to cataloged our large photograph and postcard collections of over 1,000 images into subject albums and this provides a visual history of our villages and events of our town.  We continue to add to our genealogy files and our obituary files are being expanded and updated.  Our visitors have found these files to be a very valuable resource for their research. 
Our on-going projects for the next year will be, the continuation of historical signs to be placed throughout our villages, updating our website, researching specific topics about Colchester and collecting, cataloging and preservation of Colchester’s history

We use the time and talent of our volunteers to promote and preserve the rich heritage of the Town of Colchester.


If you have family genealogies, artifacts, pictures or documents from Colchester and would like to share them with the Society, please contact us at: