On a recent sunny October afternoon, three men who would normally be paying attention to their full time jobs, made the effort to do some serious repair work to the Empire State Winery cupola roof.

Stork Award recipient and alleged ‘superhero’ Norm Koek and Steamboat Landing B&B owner and politician, Jamie Sisson, were approached by friend and Cupola Project Board Member Chad Peek, to perform some much-needed, temporary cosmetic surgery. The goal? To get the exposed timbers covered with metal roofing material to weather the cold winter and wet spring.

Peek was more than grateful for the help, saying “I can’t imagine what Penn Yan would be like without Norm and Jamie having their hands in so much work. Jamie took to the task heading up the project without skipping a beat and with Norm’s seal of approval, we were able to get the job done in just one day. Without them, that would have taken me all week to do by myself.”

The cupola, temporarily stored behind Knapp & Schlappi, has been in a state of disrepair for years, since Wayne Wagner had it removed from the roof of the Empire State Winery in order to preserve it for future restoration and save it from the demolition fate the Winery faced. Fundraising for the project to this point has been spent on architectural drawings, cost estimates and site plan development.

Fundraising will begin in earnest for the restoration as soon as the Cupola Project Board is given the green light for placement by the Village of Penn Yan. The board and the cupola supporters want to see the project completed at the head of the lake where it will continue to be a historic landmark and beacon for boaters, Outlet Trail hikers, local residents, and tourists.

Peek is passionate about the project. “I just feel there aren’t many symbols of our past left here that help us identify our history and livelihood along these waterways. It would be huge to bring our past into the future development of our area. I’m in Real Estate. I talk to clients every day who want to be here - not for the chain stores, but for the charm and history. We need to show them, and the kids in schools, who we are and what we came from.”