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"These are well known all over the world and thus probably Wellsville’s chief and most lasting claim to fame." What are they? According to E. R. Eller, assistant in invertebrate paleontology at Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, the answer is fossilized sponges. Mr. Eller made the comment in 1937.

Edwin B. Hall (1852 – 1908), an avid naturalist, spent fifty years collecting fossils in Wellsville and the surrounding area. Mr. Hall founded Hall’s Drugstore and built the now famous Pink House. He devised the secret formula for the distinctive color. His 30 by 60 foot private museum adjoined the residence. He filled it with over 5,500 sponges of 80 distinct types. With his scientific research, he proved prehistoric sponges were members of the animal kingdom and not of the plant (algae) as popularly believed. The collection was awarded first prize when exhibited at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo in 1901. After his death, his family donated the collection to the Carnegie Museum. In 1937, the museum gave some representative pieces to our library to honor the life of Mr. Hall.

During the Devonian period over 410 million years ago, seas covered New York State. The Sphenotus contractus fossil is a striking example of a seashell found in Wellsville. The sponge, Ceratodictya carpenteriana, was named for Mr. Hall’s daughter, Fannie Hall Carpenter. The library will display the collection through the end of November.


This "Spotlight on the Library" article was written by Mary Jacobs, the David A. Howe Public Library director. Articles are written and published monthly in the Wellsville Daily Reporter.

Click on a date below to read a recent article. 

Find a complete list of articles on the Search the Library page.

Click here to read the Wellsville Daily Reporter online

Another special collection owned by the library contains Indian artifacts. Avery Mosher collected projectile points along the Genesee River from Wellsville to Letchworth State Park. According to Mr. Mosher, Indians camped on the riverbank near the current locations of the Country Club and Woodlawn Cemetery.


The "Bulletin of the Rochester Museum of Arts and Science" of 1959, states the majority of specimens indicate an occupation some 3,500 to 5,500 years ago. The Early Woodland period is represented by some broad blades, stemmed projectile points and ovate cache blades. During the Late Woodland period, pottery fragments and triangular points prove the Owasco and Iroquois visited the area. A fluted point shows Hopewellian occupation, which represents the earliest known people in the Northeast.

In 1938 at age 80, Mr. Mosher sold his collection to the library for a price of $10 per month for 24 months. The library also agreed to purchase a headstone for his grave. There is a permanent display of artifacts near the Large Print Room in the library.

This page was last updated December 22, 2005.

David A. Howe Public Library, 155 N. Main St., Wellsville, NY 14895
Phone: 585-593-3410   Fax: 585-593-4176   Email: