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Local house to soon help preserve Elmira's role in the Civil War

ELMIRA, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - The Civil War didn't scathe Elmira, but it housed a prison camp, buried Union and Confederate soldiers and also had this: the Foster House.

"Well the Foster House, if you look at a lot of the pictures, you'll see that it was right across the street from the main gate of what was barracks number three," Terri Olszowy, a board member with the Friends of the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp, said. "It served both as a training draft rendezvous for Union troops as well as later on in the war as a war camp for Confederate troops."
 
The building is going to house nine new apartments, but it's also going to house a historical library to preserve some of Elmira's history.

"This, where we're standing in today, this would've been an apartment but it's going to be a research library," James Capriotti, the home's owner and developer, said.
 
"We're going to install shelving around the room so that we can put in archival storage," Olszowy said. "We'll be using this area as a workroom area, the out foyer is more for a conference area."

James Capriotti bought the home last year in April.

He and the Friends of the Elmira Civil War Prison Camp are spearheading the effort at a cost of half-a-million dollars coming from private funding.
    
"I love history and this is a great historical home." Capriotti said. "So this house is over 180-years-old. It's one of the oldest structures in Elmira, in fact it's rumored to be the first brick house to be built in Elmira."

When it's complete, scholars, researchers or just about any history buff can access the library.
 
"We're hoping that people get a better sense of the role Elmira played in that Civil War period," Capriotti said.

The library is expected to be done by the end of July. As for the apartments, they're already rented out.


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