Just in time for this Thursday’s annual Ice Cream Social and Summer Concert, the Mayfield Historic Society will unveil the fresh renovations made to the the Historic Rice Homestead, located at 328 Riceville Rd., in Mayfield. Tours will be given of the historic home that evening.
Built in 1790, the Rice Homestead has merited a New York State Department of Education official Historical Marker and is on both the National and State Historical Registries. It is considered one of the few remaining colonial homes in the United States. The home is now a museum maintained by the Mayfield Historical Society and contains a assemblage of historical
treasures from the Rice family and the Mayfield area.
The interior restorations took place beginning this spring on the ground floor of the homestead. Recommendations made by Wesley Haynes, an Architectural Preservation Consultant, in a 1995 conditions report, and by Mary Ellen Hern, Museum Consultant, in December 2001 in her Interim Interpretive Plan from 2001, were heavily considered and applied to the homes update.
The renovations were listed in a report give by Mayfield Historical Society member Betsy Foster with the help of her husband Richard. The Fosters did extensive research seeking historically appropriate updates for the Rice home.
The society hired John Coons of Coons Decorating in Johnstown, to began work on the walls of the Federal dining room and Victorian parlor. He replastered the ceiling and the walls and smoothed out uneven areas. Paint colors were chosen in keeping with the historical character of the rooms and historically appropriate wallpaper was selected.
The entry hall greets visitors with brightly painted walls and an original chair rail reflecting the early Americans’ love of color in their homes.  Very early photographs of Oliver Rice, his wife, Alice Parish Rice, and their daughter in law, Harriet Cozzens Rice, are on display.
The dining room represents the Federal era which coincides with the building of the main house in 1810. The red and black painted floor was preserved as well as the beautifully crafted faux marble fireplace facade and its period dental molding. The wallpaper, “Reveillon School”, made by Waterhouse Wallcoverings of Boston, MA is a documented design appropriate to the age of the house. The birdcage Windsor chairs which belonged to Oliver Rice and the dropleaf dining table greatly enhance the authenticity of the room.
The Victorian Parlor has changed greatly through the years of the Rice family’s habitation (1790-1988). In the early days it was actually two separate rooms, Oliver Rice’s office in the front of the house and an extension of the original kitchen in the back. It is thought that sometime in the mid 1800’s a wall was added shortening the kitchen and another removed lengthening the parlor as indicated by the pattern of the floorboards and the baseboard trim. The existing parlor is a large room suited to family use and formal gatherings. The horsehair settees, gilt mirror and cornices, upholstered armchairs, petit point occasional chairs, gaming table, and period mementoes set the scene of a mid to late Victorian “best room.”  
The walls display ornately framed photos of Rice family members and their relatives reflecting the popularity and availability of photography in the late 1800’s. The new green and cream wallpaper is similar to styles widely used during this period.
The Keeping Room or Winter Kitchen represents the early Victorian era. Before the installation of a cookstove, probably in the mid 19th century, all the cooking would have been done in an open hearth over a wood fire or in the bake oven to the side of the hearth. This room was used for food  preparation, informal meals, and many other domestic activities. The soapstone sink in the southwest corner is thought to have been relocated from the original 1790 structure. The brick fireplace was originally covered with plaster. The stairway and surrounding paneling are most likely original, but the rougher and more narrow wood panels on the south wall are clearly a later addition.
The 1790 Room, which was actually a separate structure built as Oliver Rice’s first home after moving here from Connecticut, was later moved and joined to the rear of the 1810 main house. This room is now being interpreted as a simple, rustic dwelling reflecting both the age and the likely economic condition of its enterprising owner during the turn of the 18th to the 19th century.  
The Rice Home’s gardens are meticulously cared for and reflect the appropriate flora of the time period. Currently they are in full bloom, and warrant a walk around the homes exterior. Oliver Rice’s hitching post still stands and stones from the original grist mill stand as well.
Thursday’s Ice Cream Social will feature quartet music, homemade cakes, ice cream, a tag sale, and will showcase the newest renovations with tours of the home. For further information about the historic Rice Homestead, or on becoming a member or contributor to the Mayfield Historic Society,contact the society president Sylvia Parker at (518) 661-5576.