This week we turn our attention to the central commercial district in the town most of you know as
We at the Greece Historical society bet that most if not, every person in the town of Greece has at least one point in their daily life been to some part of the Ridge, which could be to the Mall at Greece Ridge formally Long Ridge Mall, and Greece Towne Mall, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Wegmans, or the number of other shops and stores along the Ridge.
According to the Diary of Eli Granger whose dairy we share a bit from in the King’s Landing snapshot, he wrote this entry in his diary about the ridge and why he thought it would be a handsome ridge for a road
[1 June 1797] came home on a handsom Ridge suitable for a Roade — got home on Monday 29th May after Spending 14 days 3 of us — 42 days in whole — my Expence for pilott — 8 dollars for Expence at Niagary for pilote &c — 2 dolars — other Expence — $3.90Diary of Eli Granger https://rbscp.lib.rochester.edu/4044
Those who may not remember earth science class or other science classes and parts of some history classes when they talked about the Ice Age and how most of the region was covered in ice and glacial valley, also called glacial troughs as seen in this map. Almost 13,000 years ago a large glacial lake, Lake Iroquois, as it is called by geologists, lapped the far eastern portion of what became the Niagara escarpment. When the waters of Lake Iroquois receded, it left a ridge of land 400 feet above sea level. You can see on this map, the dimensions of the prehistoric lake in relation to Lake Ontario today.
Notice the line in Red that is the portion of Ridge Road from the Genesee River to Lewiston. , the /// lines going from lower left to the upper right that is the outline of Lake Iroquois, and the cross lines ### in the pen are the ice sheet as the ice continued to recede north as the time when on from the ice age.
In 1960, in front of the old Greece Town Hall, on W Ridge Road, a Monroe County historical marker was placed noting the history of the old Ridge Road. Before the town moved from the old Greece Memorial Town Hall offices in 1997 to the new Greece Town Hall located on Long Pond Road. With the center of the population being closer to the Latta and Long Pond area the town felt that they need to move all the town services to a centralized campus close to the middle of the town instead of being on a major corridor where it stood for almost 96 years. From March 20, 1960, to 1997 when you went to the Old Greece Memorial Town Halland you might have wandered over and look the historical marker that was in front of the Town Hall. On the historical marker, it explains Ridge Road was molded by glaciers and that it was a well-traveled Haudenosaunee (Indian) trail, then it was traversed by Pioneers’ ox-carts, stagecoaches, and covered wagons, and that the town of Greece was founded in 1822. The Old Ridge Road historical marker was removed for a short time while Ridge Ridge was being expanded into a six-lane with a raised median highway. It was placed in the care of the Greece Historical Society. The sign was reinstalled and now sits on the edge of the sidewalk and the strip plaza.
How much do you think it cost now to start a road like the Ridge, back then in 1813 New York State appropriated $5,000 for construction work that cost would be only $90,346.56 this was mainly to cut down trees and build basic bridges over streams this does not include the veteran’s bridge over the Genesee River, Mount Read bridge, and the bridge at Ridge and I-390/NY-390. Those bridges would be built during Part 2 of the Ridge which will be next week.
We cover more on the Rowe Tavern in our look into the neighborhoods of Greece, which will be called ADA (Ridge) note that this is the only neighborhood that uses the ridge in its title.
Travelers often stopped for the night at one of the two-story taverns along the Ridge, such as the Stone Tavern, or the Rowe Tavern.
Even though Railroads and by the time these taverns were open for business most of the transportation to these establishments was by stagecoach, and as many as twelve people might be stuffed inside the coach, but that was perhaps better than having to ride outside while being subjected to all kinds of weather that mother nature could unleash during this time period.
There were a number of small general stores that a lot of the early pioneers shopped at for daily goods and items they needed for daily living. Like Anderson General Store located at the southeast corner of Ridge Road and Mitchell Road and Gilbert C. Wagg’s emporium at Ridge Road and Pullman Ave, these two General stores as well as a well-known general store in the North Greece Area at Latta and North Greece Road will be featured in the bicentennial snapshot number 14 all about these general stores. Also, you can check out this article from October 2017, Corinthian called “A Tale of Two General Stores From Apples to Zithers” by Alan Muller
As for the nursery businesses, this was where Asa Rowe, the Lay Farm, the Ver Hulst Farm, and smaller farms operated from but most notably Asa, and the Lay Farm. In 1826, Asa Rowe established the first nursery business in Monroe County when he opened the MONROE GARDEN AND NURSERY on the north side of Ridge Road near where today, Mitchell, Long Pond, and Ridge Roads intersect. He offered a large selection of “fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, bulbous roots, and green-house plants.” The opening of the Erie Canal made transportation fast and cheap and his nursery business thrived.
The Lay Farm, which later became the Ver Hulst Farm, now sits Bob Johnson’s Chevrolet.
How many recognize these two buildings here?
These are two structures that can be seen on the ridge the first one on the left is the David Todd Mansion which became a small apartment complex and the one on the right is The Upton Manor which is now the site of Ridgemont Country Club. For more information check out this article from our newsletter about the Craig house called The Victorian Survivor on the Ridge by Alan Muller written for the September 2020 issue of the Corinthian.
We wonder how many of you know that George Eastman and Eastman Kodak Company started the first plant for filmmaking not in the City of Rochester but in Greece, New York. In the 1890s, George Eastman decided that 16 and a half acres of farmland in Greece, “out in the country” where there was fresh air, plenty of clean water, and railroad terminals, was ideal for his new film-making plant. He constructed it on the corner at Ridge and Lake across the street from Wagg’s Corner. The Town of Greece would never be the same. But that’s a tale for another episode.
Pat Worboys is one of the two Co-Director of the Greece Historical Society's Information Technology Committee. Pat is the Producer of the Bicentennial Snapshots series. Pat holds two degrees one in Information Technology (A.A.S) and the second one is in Interactive Media Design (Web Design) (A.A.S.).