Project 16: Sonnenberg Mansion in Canandaigua, NY October 2012


The story: Perched atop the sun-bathed hill of the estate known as “Sonnenberg” (German for “sunny hill”) is a 40-room Queen Anne-style mansion. New York City bank financier Frederick Ferris Thompson and his wife, Mary Clark Thompson, the daughter of New York State governor Myron Holley Clark, purchased the property in 1863 when it featured just a brick farmhouse on 14 acres.As business prospered, the couple purchased additional acreage and replaced the farmhouse with the mansion, which was built between 1885-1887. Today, visitors can view many of its stately rooms, including the impressive Great Hall, the Billiard and Trophy Rooms, the Library, Drawing Room, Dining Room, and upstairs, the Master Bedroom and several additional guest rooms.


To visit the mansion is to visit take in an afternoon of beauty.  It is truly an American gem.  Talking with the volunteers one October afternoon while I strolled with a friend, I learned that the nonprofit employs 3 employees and everyone else that runs the entire mansion upkeep, events and tours is a volunteer.  I decided that for my project I would assist with the rewarding of volunteers and send volunteer of the month trophies to the organization after my visit.

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