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New York


     My HBW Collectibles book makes no mention of Rome, New York, Wright’s birthplace.  But recently the son of Lawrence V. Tagg, HBW biographer, discovered that the home in which Wright was born still exists but has been moved to the Griffiss Air Force Base where it serves as the clubhouse on the base golf course.  I am not sure of the current status, since the base has been closed and is being converted to private property.

As reported in the June 15, 1999 Harold Bell Wright Gazette, “It was here, in the home of his grandfather William B. Wright, that Harold was born on May 4, 1872. The house was once in the Wright Settlement, about a quarter mile from its present site.  It was one of six saved when the Air Force took over the site for the Base. In May 1952 it was moved and placed on new foundations, given a facelift, and for many years it was the residence of the commanding officer of the Base.

“Inside the front door of the building is a plaque noting ‘Wright Settlement House.  Built 1819.  Moved to Present Site May 1952.  Home of author Harold Bell Wright.’  According to Tagg, it is 'stretching the point' to call the house 'Home of HBW', as he left when he was still a baby, and remembered nothing about it.  His parents soon moved to Whitesboro, where they lived in more or less of a slum. (see To My Sons, page 32), and it was downhill from there.  One might erroneously conclude, from the plaque, that the author grew up in a nice middle-class, farm home." --from HBW Gazette, vol. 7, no. 4, June, 1999.

In 2006 I received this message with additional information about the history of the home in Rome. Chuck has promised to send photos and more information.

Dear Gerry Chudleigh:
 
I am very fortunate to have found your web site, as I have been exploring various sources for information about the Harold Bell Wright home for several months.  I am asking the Jervis Public Library in Rome to do a microfiche search for information archived in the Rome Sentinel.
 
You may be interested to know that I lived in the Harold Bell Wright home at Griffiss Air Force Base from 1951 to 1954.  My Father (now deceased) was Col. Franklin K. Paul, and he requested the home be moved to its present location for the family to live in.  My Father was at that time the Deputy Base Commander (not the Commander, the Commander was General Daniel C. Doubleday).  Gen. Doubleday passed away in early 2001, and I have found his son Bob Doubleday (whom I ran around with) in Crossville, Tennessee.  He confirms my recollection of the move of the Harold Bell Wright home sometime between October 1951 and January 1952.  We arrived at Griffiss in August 1951, stayed in the barracks located near the main gate at Floyd Avenue, and I seem to remember us moving into the Wright home after the move by Christmas 1951.
 
I still have several photos (inside and out) of the old home taken while we were there, plus some very fond memories.  I have returned twice to see the home, the last time being May 2005, when I visited the personnel using the home now as a golf club, as you point out on your web page.  I am doing additional research to learn as much about the home and Harold Bell Wright, and would appreciate any additional information or sources that you may have.
 
Best regards,
 
Chuck Paul

 

Thank you Larry Tagg, Quentin Burke and Chuck Paul for sharing this information.


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This Harold Bell Wright web site is written and produced by Gerry Chudleigh with the help of many friends.
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Last updated 05/26/11