UTICA — On Saturday night, the password to get into the Miller-Conkling-Kernan Mansion was "Roscoe."
The password was asked of those attending the Ritz & Ragtime fundraiser at Rutger Park in Utica. The event, in its third year, was put on by the Landmarks Society of Greater Utica as organized by the group's program and events committee.
Boas, bow ties, pearls and more were on full display inside the mansion as many dressed in their best flapper or gangster garb inspired by the Prohibition era. Lively music coursed through the salon as attendees enjoyed touring the mansion as well as food and giggle water from an open bar.
The volunteer-driven Landmarks Society will use the proceeds to help with the restoration of the historic mansion, which was completed in 1830, said Steven Grant, Landmarks Society president.
"It's going well. It's not going as quick as we hoped, but it's taking a lot of money to restore it — in some cases, moreso than we planned," Grant said of the restoration. "We've come a long way, and we have quite a ways to go, but we're going to get there."
The ragtime party was on the mansion's first floor in several of the rooms recently renovated by the Landmarks Society, including the salon.
Grant said the group's next big project is the restoration of the mansion's rear porch. Since the rear porch foundation has failed, Grant said the Society hopes to use a photograph taken in the 1890s to make the building's rear look as it once was.
The Landmarks Society president said it is unclear how much the porch restoration will cost.
"This is arguably the most historic home in Utica. Many famous people lived here and owned this home, including famous Uticans. Many famous people also visited this home here," he said, citing President Chester Arthur, Elizabeth Hamilton and other historic figures.
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