Peg Wiley Recognized as a Heritage Hero 2016
Genesee Community College recognized the third class of Heritage heroes on Friday, April 30, 2016 during an awards reception at GCC in Albion. The college first recognized Heritage Heroes in 2014 as part of GCC’s Civil War Encampment. The 150th anniversary of the Civil War has passed and GCC no longer hosts the encampment.
Peg and her husband, Richard purchased their marina on the Oak Orchard River in 2002 and moved to Orleans County from Rochester. Shortly thereafter, she got a “bug” in her ear from the Orleans County Tourism Coordinator that someone should rebuild the Oak Orchard Lighthouse that was washed away in a violent storm in December 1916. Peg wasted no time in posting signs in the community to bring a group of neighbors and history buffs together to begin the process of brainstorming the potential of rebuilding a piece of our maritime history – the Oak Orchard Lighthouse.
Since 2003, it has been an amazing journey as Peg researched, led the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Committee to raise over $300,000 and stood up to the “Doubting Thomas’s” to rebuild an historic structure based on a detailed 1909 survey of the old lighthouse. The committee incorporated in 2004 as the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum, a non profit organization provisionally chartered under the NYS Education Department Board of Regents. In 2010, the lighthouse was completed by Peg’s perseverance along with the efforts of the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Museum committee, partnering with New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation and Orleans County. In 2015, Peg worked with master gardeners to create a Children’s Peace Garden adjacent to the lighthouse and planted native species of botanicals to attract birds and butterflies.