This week we look into the area known as “Hoosick” West Greece which sits at the intersection of Ridge Road and Manitou Road at the Greece Parma town border. In snapshot 18 we listed some of the myths about how this area’s nickname was “Hoosick” some believe it was named after Hoosick Falls near Albany or the town of Hoosick near the Vermont border, or it could have been Mrs. McNeely shouting “Who’s Sick?”
The hamlet, as you see on the map was settled in the very early 1800s, and was clustered around the intersection of Ridge Road and Manitou Road. It had its own post office, two hotels, a school, a corner store, churches, a blacksmith’s shop, and a doctor’s office. The Post office in west Greece was located inside the General store of G.H. Losey we have no pictures directly looking at G.H. Losey’s General store except for this picture looking up from Dr. Samual Beach Bradley’s office close to the right foreground and in the distance, you can see the Congregation Church of Greece Parma. The end house in this picture is that of O. Wilepse and next to it is that of Mrs. McNeely who would shout to the good doctor every time he would leave. Don’t forget next week is all about Doctor Samuel Bradley.
Sherly Cox Husted wrote a column each week in the Hilton Record called Pioneer Days where she would share the history of the area and in there she shared some of Doctor Bradley’s Journal entries as well as other journal entries from other Pioneers.
In the journal, Doctor Bradley described the area “As you are aware, this is a rural hamlet of thirty or forty houses, situated on the Ridge Road, three- and one-half miles from Spencerport; it may be considered a dependency of that place, for there we go for lumber, stoves, and hardware, also medicines and medical advice and attendance. There we also sell our produce.”
Doctor Bradley along with some of the people living in West Greece attended Worship services of the Congregational Church, organized in 1819, which were first held in the school building at Parma Corners. The congregation numbered 21 members; seven men and 14 women. Construction on the church shown in this photo was begun in 1824 and completed in 1825. It was a wood structure, forty by fifty feet, and cost $2,950 (approximately $96,000 in today’s terms). It was consecrated on July 6, 1825. At the same time in Parma the Universalist Church was constructed and the two churches were in competition with each other to attract the most prominent residents to join their congregations.
The Congregational Church had followed the ideas of Jean-Frédéric Oberlin. By following the teachings of Oberlin some of the members of the congregation caused a group of Forty members of the Congregational Church, described as infected or inspired by Oberlinism depending on where one stood on the issue, and took possession of the church building by force and a legal battle ensued. By 1902 the church building had been long abandoned and it was torn down so that Manitou Road could be straightened. The only thing left at that spot today is a small cemetery still at top of the Hill where School # 13 stood until at some point when it was moved to Dean Road, in Parma off of West Ridge Road and became first an apartment and now it appears to be a private residence.
Free Methodist Church
In 1861 another church was formed just to the east of the Congregational Church on West Ridge Road later on the Free Methodist Church congregation either expanded or move to a larger place to worship or they too faced the issues in the congregation. In 1910 the Lutheran Church of Concord formed inside the old Free Methodist Church which is now the site of West Herr Ford of Rochester, The Lutheran Church of Concord moved to Holmes Road, and on September 14, 2018, the church held its last service at the Holmes Road Church and on September 16 Messiah and Concord began holding services together before the merger was official. On November 1, 2018, the merger of Concord and Messiah was officially approved by the state and the Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Now MorningStar Christian Fellowship Church worships at 485 Holmes Road.
The Case of Captain William Morgan and his disappearance
The two hotels in Hoosick flourished for a while as they were on the stagecoach route to Lewiston; the Masonic Lodge had rooms on the upper floor of one of them. In 1826, a group of Masons abducted William Morgan thinking it would stop him from publishing a book revealing their secret ceremonies. It is known that he was taken along Ridge Road to Lewiston and that stops were made at hotels, most likely including one in West Greece. The Route that the Free Masons took William was so strange that made it hard to figure out where and what routes and inns the Masons used as they took Captain William Morgan towards Lewiston and Fort Niagara. According to Court records out of CANANDAIGUA, ONTARIO COUNTY, Aug. 22, 1827. Here is an excerpt from the pamphlet which can be read on the Monroe County Public Library system https://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/Wheatland/Trial_of_James_Lackey.pdf
On Monday the 11th of Sept. 1826, about sunrise, Capt. Morgan was forcibly seized and carried away in a Stage Coach by Seymour, Holloway, Hayward, Howard, Chesebro, and Everton to Canandaigua, where he was examined before Justice Chipman on the charge of stealing a shirt from one Kingsly and acquitted; Chesebro then demanded a warrant against him for a sham tavern debt of $2, to Ackley, for which, judgment was im~ mediately rendered and an execution issued. Upon this paltry concern, he was committed to the County Jail where he laid until 9 o’clock in the evening of the next day when the debt was discharged by one Lawson ostensibly from friendly motives and he was released. But at the outside of the prison door, Morgan was violently seized by Lawson and another in the presence of Sawyer and Cheesboro who afforded him no aid. He struggled and raised a. cry of murder, but was overpowered, gagged, and thrust into a coach which drew up on a signal from Sawyer. In this coach, driven by Hubbard and filled with other conspirators he was conveyed in the darkness of the night to Handsford Landing three miles below Rochester, through which place they passed about daylight. This was the last trace to be discovered of him prior to the trial now reported. Hubbard subsequently stated that he left the whole party here and returned home. He moreover stated, that his coach was engaged by an unknown person and that all the parties were unknown to him, that he has. never received any pay for the service and he does not know whom to look to for it. It also comes out in this trial, that some unknown person hired a coach of Ezra Platt of Rochester at daylight about this time to go to Lewiston and that he doesn’t know who had it, how far it went, nor has anyone ever appeared to pay for it. But it is unnecessary to repeat the information elicited by this trial. It was for a conspiracy to kidnap Morgan from the jail of Canandaigua that the defendants in this trial were indited.
No one knows what happened to Morgan; it is thought that he was murdered. But his abductors got off lightly. However, it had a profound effect on how people regarded Masons. Dr. Bradley, himself a Freemason, wrote in his journal: “The Masonic lodge flourished for a few years, but in consequence of the excitement caused by the untoward abduction of Morgan, it ceased to exist, together with all the secret organizations in the state.” The outrage over the Morgan affair led to Thurlow Weed founding the Anti-Masonic party the first third party in American political history.
The Hotels/Inns/Taverns In West Greece
The Manchester Inn
The Manchester Tavern or Inn depending on the time period you would refer to the place for historical reasons. The Manchester Inn sat on what today is the West Herr new vehicle storage lot. The Manchester Hotel was built in the 1850s and was known for its second-floor ballroom with a sprung floor which made it a popular place for dances in Hoosick. According to Wikipedia, A sprung floor is a floor that absorbs shocks, giving it a softer feel. Such floors are considered the best kind for dance and indoor sports and physical education and can enhance performance and greatly reduce injuries. Modern sprung floors are supported by foam backing or rubber feet, while traditional floors provide their spring through bending woven wooden battens. No wonder why the Manchester Hotel was a popular dance place back in the late 1850s and up and till the day it closed due to bankruptcy. The Manchester Hotel changed hands before the bankruptcy to Oscar Winslow and he changed the name to Winslow Hotel. The reason behind the bankruptcy was not the way you think it would happen because of a lack of guests, but because at around 7 or 8 pm on March 25, 1916, with the temperatures near the upper 30s or low 40s, the Hotel owner Oscar Winslow was doing his routine walk and checking the lights and making sure that they were working as soon as he went to light one of acetylene light fixtures in the hotel it exploded with a big bang and the explosion was felt at least in a 3-mile radius around the Hotel. Oscar suffered a broken leg even though the explosion could have killed him from lighting the match to check the acetylene plant. The levels of Carbon-Monoxide were at the right levels that the spark from one match could cause enough damage to the structure.
The force of the explosion was felt by people a mile away. The hotel was massively damaged. Walls were splintered and the hotel was partially shifted from its foundation. The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered. However, true tragedy was averted by the timing of the explosion; forty couples were due to arrive at the hotel for a dinner and dance party. If the explosion had occurred an hour later, it most likely would have resulted in some loss of life. After the explosion, Winslow had to file for bankruptcy and he sued the manufacturer of the gas machinery. The hotel was rebuilt and was used as a rooming house until the mid-20th century.
The Arlington / The Streb Hotel
The Arlington was built in the 1850s as well but this hotel was down the road a little bit from where the Manchester hotel was located. The Arlington hotel or known as the Streb Hotel is now the site of the Bob Johnson Pre-Owned Certified Collection. In Circa 1906, Thomas Streb became the owner of the Arlington Hotel and changed the name to Streb’s. His son Raymond took over in 1936 until his death in 1956. Like the Manchester Hotel, Streb’s also was almost destroyed. About 1:30 pm on Sunday afternoon August 21, 1938, with the temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s that day a nurse driving by the hotel on Ridge Road noticed “smoke curling from the corner of a three-story barn joined to the hotel by a long car shed.” She ran into the hotel and alerted Ray Streb. The barn “blazed up in a flash” endangering the hotel. The nurse then helped Streb’s mother and aunt who were dining with Streb at the time, and who both were in ill health, to the safety of a neighboring home. After summoning a doctor for the two elderly women, the unidentified nurse quietly left the scene. Volunteer firefighters from North Greece and Greece-Ridge battled the blaze. “Passing motorists assisted Streb in removing furniture and other valuables from the hotel, but the fire was brought under control before it could damage the hotel. Streb and two firefighters suffered burns.
The Centennials of Ridge Road and North Greece Fire Department
And in this Bicentennial year of the Town of Greece, two out of the four Fire Districts are celebrating their Centennials this year. We at the Greece Historical Society and Museum would like to Salute and say Thank you to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day whether it is putting out fires, rescuing you from a car accident, or even providing non-life threatening services like free blood pressures checks, smoke detector reminders, car seat checks or other basic services. The two fire companies we are celebrating today are the Members of The North Greece Fire Department and The Greece Ridge Fire Department on their 100 years of service to the Greece Community.
Luckily with the help of both fire departments, the Strebs Hotel would later become just a restaurant in 1960 and the restaurant would last until the early 2010s in 2013 it was torn down to make way for more places to buy your shiny new or used car.
Here is an ad from the Streb’s Restaurant Greece Post, September 7, 1983