Bicentennial Snapshot # 28 – Jerome Combs, The Cobblestone Baseball Catcher

Jerome Combs from RGE news September 1938
Jerome Combs from RGE news September 1938

This week we introduce you to Jerome Combs, the cobblestone baseball player. Did you know that some baseball players would use cobblestones as baseballs?

Well, one player could catch cobblestones and played for the North Parma baseball team and practiced catching them, which people said could not be done.

This snapshot is dedicated to the late Tom Sawnor (1961-2021). We appreciated Tom’s contributions to the Greece Historical Society and Museum. We will miss him and may his love for sports live on.

Jerome A. Combs was born on September 12, 1861, to Lewis Combs and Sarah Anne Combs. His parents moved from the town of Middlesex, in Middlesex County, New Jersey, to North Greece, in Monroe County, New York around 1840 to 1850 based on census data dated 1855 for Lewis A. Combs. The birth of Lewis Combs’s first son born in 1855 in North Greece, coincided with Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter living in the area as well. Dr. Carpenter may have been the doctor who helped Sarah Anne Combs deliver both Jerome A. Combs in 1861 and his brother Lewis A. Combs in 1855, or more likely it was his son, Dr. Abdiel Milton Carpenter.

Map of North Greece 1872
Map of North Greece 1872
Jerome A Combs property in 1902 North Greece
Jerome A Combs property in 1902 North Greece

Lewis Combs owned two businesses and had a reasonable sized farm as well. The first one was the Blacksmith and Carriage shop where the North Greece Fire Department started in 1922 at the northeast corner of Latta and North Greece Road. The second business was a butter churn factory. He had a truck farm as well. His sons Lewis and Jerome helped worked the farm when they came of age. Both Combs boys went to School Number 6 on College Ave. Combs’s Truck Farm would take fruits and vegetables to local wholesalers or the Rochester Public Market in the city. They would load the truck or horse and wagon and be on the way by 4 am to the public market and would spend a good portion of the day selling what products they had from the wagon or truck depending on the day of the week. Some of the Combs’s fruits and vegetables may have been sold to H.C. Phelps General Store, Wagg’s General store on Lake Ave, or Anderson’s General store at Ridge and Greece Center Road (otherwise known as Long Pond Road). Also, the Larkin Hotel may have bought produce from the Combs to serve at meals for patrons at the hotel.

1954 Town Seal on the Town Flag
1954 Town Seal on the Town Flag
N Greece Fire House 1926
N Greece Fire House 1926
Directory of the Clio Lodge, 1927, from hipstamp.com
Directory of the Clio Lodge, 1927, from hipstamp.com

Jerome Combs was the town assessor for twelve years, and he was a volunteer with North Greece Fire Department for twenty years. Jerome Combs was one of the founding members of the North Greece Fire Department. He was a member of Clio Masonic Lodge in the village of Hilton once called North Parma.

North Parma Baseball Team, Jerome Combs is seated in on the left in the first row,  from RGE News September 1938
North Parma Baseball Team, Jerome Combs is seated on the left in the first row, from RGE News September 1938

But in the late 1880s and the early 1890s, Jerome Combs was the star catcher for North Parma’s semi-professional baseball team. In the team picture attached to the left here, Jerome Combs is seated in on the left in the first row. He propelled them through long winning streaks. But what was more interesting and made him legendary in the semi-pro leagues was his unique ability… What might that be? Was it his hitting stances? Was it his ability to communicate his signals to the pitcher?

cobblestone baseball
cobblestone used as a baseball
1887 Baseball Card from "The Baseball Glove Comes to Baseball, 1875," www.eyewitnesstohistory.com
1887 Baseball Card from “The Baseball Glove Comes to Baseball, 1875,” www.eyewitnesstohistory.com

It was none of those. It was his ability to catch barehanded. Jerome would catch either baseballs or cobblestones (that were used as baseballs when no baseballs were available to use) with his bare hands. Seen here is an 1891 catcher’s mitt vs. a modern catcher’s mitt; look at how different they are in terms of how the glove sits on the hand and how the ball rests in the pocket of a modern baseball glove.

E. H. Decker's GATGHERS GLOVE
E. H. Decker’s Catcher’s GLOVE
Wilson A2000 2021 1790SS 34″ Catcher’s Mitt

If you want to learn more about the evaluation of catcher equipment can be found on the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) website. https://sabr.org/journal/article/the-evolution-of-catchers-equipment/

Jerome would catch baseballs thrown as far as 150 feet and as close as 3 feet, but for the pitching distance, it was 50 feet. One of Jerome’s quotes from the days he played baseball was

“I guess, I was the only man who had the reputation of being willing to catch any pitcher at fifty feet using cobblestones for baseballs. Folks who didn’t know me used to bet it couldn’t be done.”

Old Time Baseball played  on the grounds of the Town Hall 5-14-16
Old Time Baseball played put on by the Rochester Baseball Historial Society on the grounds of the Town Hall 5-14-2016 – https://rochesterbaseballhistory.org/

One day he was summoned from the fields where he was working to catch for John Smith, a pitcher with a Rochester team, one of those who said it could not be done. They started throwing at 150 feet. Then, it gradually shortened the distance to fifty feet. Combs, described as a gentle giant of a man, came through with flying colors as he always did.

Did his hands suffer any damage?

They did not. He explained his technique: “I learned to absorb the shock of the stones and the baseballs at fifty feet by pulling back my hands with the catch at fifty feet. Then I kept them in shape by soaking them in hot water after each game.”

And on the day, he died his obituary headline read “Former ‘Barehand’ Catcher, Jerome A Combs, taken by death” on August 30, 1940.

If you want to learn about some of our local hometown athletes that have gone on to the pro level or just had some records set at local high schools besides Jerome A Combs, then get yourself a copy of our publication written by Marie Villone Poinan the late Tom Sawnor.

Hometown Sports Heroes of Greece NY
Hometown Sports Heroes of Greece NY
Hometown Sports Heroes of Greece NY
Facebooktwittermail

GHS AWARDED FOR EXCELLENCE IN PROMOTING LOCAL HISTORY

We are thrilled and honored to announce that on September 20th, 2022 the Association of Public Historians of New York along with the New York State Museum presented the Greece Historical Society its 2022 Award for Excellence in Promoting Local History, for “the promotion of local history through research, writing, and other related accomplishments.”

2022 Award for Excellence in Promoting Local History

Besides maintaining the Greece Museum with permanent and changing exhibits and presenting a popular lecture series. The Greece Historical Society has: published books and stories, produced videos, provided speakers to local organizations, digitized local newspapers, erected historical markers, and conducted cultural resource surveys of local architects like The Thomas W. Boyde, Jr. Project. Most recently, in celebration of the town’s bicentennial, GHS volunteers researched and published stories of pioneer families of Greece and produced a weekly 5 to 10 minutes video highlighting various aspects of the Town of Greece’s history. These videos can be found on the left column on the homepage in the section labeled Bicentennial Snapshots. The Tuesday Programs can be found under GHS Programs Archives and are in the process of being transformed into a unique experience that will make it easier to see related articles from the newsletter in the section called Living in Greece, snapshots, and landmarks as well as working on adding parts of the digital kiosk to the website over time.

The Association of Public Historians of New York State is the professional organization that represents the 1,600+ government-appointed historians in the state.

We are incredibly proud of all our volunteers who are responsible for this honor given to GHS by the New York State-appointed public historians and the New York State Historian.

Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 27: “The Cooper” Tom Toal

This week in our bicentennial snapshot for September 20th, 2022 we explore Thomas F Toal a cooperage owner, a barber, and a worker from Kodak who grew up on the Parma Greece border.

Topics Covered in this snapshot

Thomas F Toal Bio

Thomas F. Toal was born on August 26, 1866, and grew up in Parma, Monroe County, New York. He was a cooper before going to work at George Eastman’s Kodak where he worked for 12 years and then retired back to the North Greece/Parma area to be back in the country. He died in 1948 and was laid to rest in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery at the corner of Latta Road and Mount Read Blvd.

Carrie L. Frisbee

Carrie L. Frisbee was born in 1864 in North Greece, Monroe County, New York she is a niece of Edward Frisbee the owner of the land that was leased to District School # 7 on the family land, the school was located on the north side of Frisbee Road, and east of North Greece Road. (Attach a Map of the location here). Carrie L. (Frisbee) Toal died on 1 January 1957 and she was laid to rest next to her husband Thomas F. Toal in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery at the corner of Latta Road and Mount Read Blvd.

Left Carrie L. Frisbee | Right Thomas F Toal
Left Carrie L. Frisbee | Right Thomas F Toal
This is a map of District 7 from the 1872 Map of Greece, New York you can see all the land that is owned by the Frisbee family

What is a Cooperage? What is it nowadays?

According to Wikipedia: A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs, and other similar containers from timber staves that were usually heated or steamed to make them pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. In addition to wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process. The profession is the origin of the surname Cooper.  A Cooperage was responsible for making the barrels that were used to store foods, wines, whiskeys, and other drinks or other items that needed to be preserved compared to canning or vacuum sealing or bottling of fruits, vegetables, and drinks in glass jars.  A cooperage would make different size barrels depending on what was going in the barrel. Some of these barrels had gunpowder in the barrel, or maybe pickles, flour, crackers, dried beans, wheat, apples, corn, carrots, or other fruits and vegetables. Some were just used to hold umbrellas, tools, and other items to keep them organized.

Some of the barrels that Tom Toal made ended up in New York City to a buyer who either was for a big farm or a business in New York City that shipped products over to Europe and other places that wanted fresh goods from America in the late 19th century to the early 20th century.  Depending on what the barrel was going to be used for the cooper would choose the right type of wood the most common wood was oak it depends on where in the world it was made. Modern wooden barrels for wine-making are made of French common oak (Quercus robur), white oak (Quercus petraea), American white oak (Quercus alba), and more exotic Mizunara Oak. All typically have standard sizes. Recently Oregon Oak (Quercus Garryana) has been used. The links next to each type of oak will take you to the Wikipedia page on each of the different oaks.

Cooper Tools

Here is a picture of the tools that a Cooperage would use to make the barrels.

cooper's tools from Pinterest
cooper’s tools from Pinterest

Below is a picture of the different size barrels that a cooperage would make the smallest for dry goods would be a Rundlet which was 1/14 tun, the next size up would be a Barrel at 1/8 tun, and the next size up after a barrel is a Tierce at 1/6 tun, the next size after a Tierce is a Hogshead at 1/4 tun, followed by a Puncheon, Tertian at 1/3 tun, then a Pipe, Butt at 1/2 tun, finally the biggest barrel would be a Tun. But for liquids, there would be a gallon-size barrel that held one gallon of liquid.

Types of barrels revolutionarywarjournal.com
Types of barrels revolutionarywarjournal.com

Below are two charts from Wikipedia that explains the English Wine and Brews barrel storage and amounts:

Wine Cask Chart

gallonrundletbarreltiercehogsheadpuncheon, tertianpipe, butttun
1tun
12pipes, butts
11 1/23puncheon, tertian
11 1/324hogshead
11 1/2236tierce
11 1/222 2/348barrel
11 3/42 1/33 1/24 2/3714rundlet
11831 1/2426384126252gallons (wine)
3.78564.14119.24158.99238.48317.97476.96953.92litres
11526 1/43552 1/270105210gallons (imperial)
4.54668.19119.3159.1238.7318.2477.3954.7litres
English wine cask units

Brewery casks

English brewery cask units[4]
gallon firkin kilderkin barrel hogshead   Year designated
        1 hogsheads  
1 1+12 barrels
1 2 3 kilderkins
1 2 4 6 firkins
1 8 16 32 48 ale gallons (1454)
= 4.621 L = 36.97 L = 73.94 L = 147.9 L = 221.8 L
1 9 18 36 54 beer gallons
= 4.621 L = 41.59 L = 83.18 L = 166.4 L = 249.5 L
1 8+12 17 34 51 ale gallons 1688
= 4.621 L = 39.28 L = 78.56 L = 157.1 L = 235.7 L
1 9 18 36 54 ale gallons 1803
= 4.621 L = 41.59 L = 83.18 L = 166.4 L = 249.5 L
1 9 18 36 54 Imperial gallons 1824
= 4.546 L = 40.91 L = 81.83 L = 163.7 L = 245.5 L

H. C. Phelps Connection with Tom Toal

When Tom Toal was 21 years old, he went to work for H. C. Phelps making barrels; some were used in H.C. Phelps’s General store or sold from Phelps’s Store. This is where Tom learned the trade of making barrels to be used for different types of goods. Within a few years of working for H. C. Phelps, Tom started his own cooper business making barrels and selling them. While Tom ran his own cooperage he had customers from local farms, general stores, breweries, wineries, and other businesses that needed barrels to store items in. In 1972 Frank Toal was interviewed and explained his dad’s cooperage and shared some of the stories with us, below are a few quotes from Frank Toal.

Phelps general store Latta and North Greece Roads sketch William Aeberli 1970 GHS
Phelps general store Latta and North Greece Roads sketch William Aeberli 1970 GHS

” … my Dad began making barrels in early, August. He bought his staves in the rough and once a year an agent from New York City came up to take the order for staves, ‘hoops and headings.”

“They were shipped out to North Greece in box cars on the old Hojack Line. We’d go down to the station with racks up on the hay wagons and load the supplies.”

“Dad’s business was spread clear down to the lake and over to the Parma town line.  He even had a warehouse down at Braddock Bay…In those days the whole section was apple orchards and Dad would ride his bicycle all around the countryside and take orders from the farmers or collect his money—he never learned to drive a car!”

The most interesting thing that Frank said during the interview was that his dad never learned to drive a car.

Larkin Hotel William Aeberli Greece Post 1971 October 14
Larkin Hotel William Aeberli, Greece Post 1971 October 14

Tom Toal and His other Trade

One of Tom’s other trades was being a barber; Tom was one of those men who believed in hard work and hardly allowed himself to have an idle moment, so he took up being the village barber. He worked two nights a week in a second-floor room at the Larkin Hotel charging the proverbial two bits (25 cents) for a shave and a haircut.

Tom’s Connection with Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

After 18 years as a cooper, Tom bought the old Conway land and became a farmer. His farm was next door to Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter. Years before, when he was a lad in his teens, he would do odd jobs for the old doctor.  The Doctor’s beautiful house and estate made a lasting impression on Toal. But you won’t believe this but after twelve years of city living, he decided to move back to the country but not to any house but the estate of Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and lived there the rest of his life.

Carpenter House sketch by Wm. Aeberli Greece Post 1972 February 17
Carpenter House sketch by Wm. Aeberli Greece Post 1972 February 17
Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 26 – Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877
Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter was born in Seneca, Ontario County, New York, on May 11, 1809. He was the son of Daniel and Lydia Smith Carpenter. He attended one of the small one or two-room schoolhouses in the town of Seneca in Ontario county, then went on to attend Geneva Academy which now is the home of Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. At the age of 17, Abdiel Bliss Carpenter was certified to teach in Benton, Yates County which is 15 minutes to the south and west of Hobart and William Smith Colleges by taking Pre Emption Road south. But Abdiel was more interested in becoming a doctor and practicing medicine; he wanted to care for people instead of teaching people. So, he began an apprenticeship with Doctor Anthony Gage in Ontario County before moving to North Greece. In 1827 he moved to North Greece / Jenkin’s Corners and continued his training with Doctor M.B. Gage who lived in North Greece.

In 1830 at the age of 21, Abdiel Carpenter married Jane Louesa Rowleyof North Greece. They settled down in a small house behind the brick church on the northwest corner of Latta and North Greece Road.

Jane Louesa Rowley grew up on the southwest side of North Greece Road not far from Jenkins’ Corners. Her family’s farm is now home to North Greece Fire Station and its North Greece Road entrance. The Rowley homestead was located directly across from the entrance to College Ave. This photo of the Rowley homestead was in a photo album recently donated to the Greece Historical Society and which we were thrilled to receive.

As you can see on this 1858 map of North Greece there are two Rowley properties one is the S.S. Rowley the other one is the H. Rowley property. The Rowley homestead in the picture to the right is that of H. Rowley.

The Rowley homestead in North Greece, from GHS
The Rowley homestead in North Greece, from GHS
North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858
Fairfield Medical College, Fairfield, NY
Fairfield Medical College, Herkimer, NY
Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Degree to be a Doctor
Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Degree to be a Doctor

It was common practice at that time for someone who wanted to be a doctor to attend medical school after acquiring some medical training. The year after his marriage, the twenty-two-year-old Abdiel Carpenter went to the Fairfield Medical School in Herkimer, New York. Fairfield Medical College closed in 1840, due to competition from other medical colleges opening in New York and surrounding states. This is when many of the other colleges and universities like Syracuse University and the University of Rochester were founded.

He attended Fairfield Medical College college 10 years before the school closed for good. He graduated and earned his degree to practice Physic and Surgery on January 3, 1830.

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter returned to North Greece upon receiving his degree to practice Physic and Surgery and purchased Dr. M.B. Gage’s practice and started practicing in North Greece. His career as a doctor spanned 34 years. During that time, he would keep a record of all the children he assisted into this world just like Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley did in Hoosick.

Carpenter ledger from Edward G. Miner Library
Carpenter ledger from Edward G. Miner Library
sketch of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Greece Post 1972
sketch of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter Greece Post 1972
double-breasted Prince Albert frock coat
double-breasted Prince Albert frock coat

Frank Milton Carpenter son of Abdiel Milton Carpenter, described his grandfather Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter as “a serious practitioner, a self-made man of no-nonsense personality.” Frank remembered that his grandfather always wore a Prince Albert Coat and top hat.

What is a Prince Albert Coat?

A Prince Albert coat: “a double-breasted frock coat usually with a flat velvet collar, becoming in vogue after a visit to the U.S. by Prince Albert in 1876.” The Prince Albert coat is a variant of a Frock Coat.

What is a Frock Coat?

According to Wikipedia, A frock coat is a formal men’s coat characterized by a knee-length skirt cut all around the base just above the knee, popular during the Victorian and Edwardian periods (the 1830s–1910s). It is a fitted, long-sleeved coat with a center vent at the back and some features unusual in a post-Victorian dress. These include the reverse collar and lapels, where the outer edge of the lapel is often cut from a separate piece of cloth from the main body, and also a high degree of waist suppression around the waistcoat, where the coat’s diameter around the waist is less than round the chest. This is achieved by a high horizontal waist seam with side bodies, which are extra panels of fabric above the waist used to pull in the naturally cylindrical drape. As was usual with all coats in the 19th century, shoulder padding was rare or minimal. Learn more on Wikipedia.

Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter served two one-year terms as town supervisor once in 1843, and then again in 1848.

Grave marker of Jane Louisa Rowley Carpenter in Falls Cemetery from Find-a-grave
The grave marker of Jane Louisa Rowley Carpenter in Falls Cemetery from Find-a-grave

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and his first wife Jane Louesa Rowley Carpenter had seven children together but she passed away in 1859. Abdiel remarried Caroline Elizabeth Carpenter and had three more children.

These are 4 of the 9 children

Two of the seven children born to Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and Jane Louesa Rowley

  • Abdiel Milton Carpenter
  • Frank Irving Carpenter

These are two of the three children that Abdiel had with Caroline Elizabeth Carpenter

  • Charles A. Carpenter
  • Helen E. Carpenter
Etching of Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter, his wife Caroline, and their home on Latta Road from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877
Etching of Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter, his wife Caroline, and their home on Latta Road from W.H. McIntosh, History of Monroe County, New York, 1877

Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter owned land on both sides of Latta at 3490 and 3491 Latta Road. As you can see in this 1887 map below, it now shows the land is owned by Doctor A.B. Carpenter and his son Doctor A.M. Carpenter who lived right across the street from each other. Their office was on the south side of Latta Road. Eventually, Abdiel Bliss Carpenter retired to devote his time to farming and turned his practice over to his son, Abdiel Milton Carpenter, or Dr. Mit as his patients called him.

1887 Map of North Greece
1887 Map of North Greece

Both houses still stand today. The original house at 3490 Latta Road was built around the 1840s as a story-and-a-half rectangular edifice; the small porch on the west is most likely a remnant of a porch running across the front. The house had 15 rooms after the second floor, front addition, and pillars were added in the early 1860s.

3491 Latta Rd
3491 Latta Rd
3490 Latta Rd
3490 Latta Rd

On the north side, on land that was once owned by Lewis Combs, he cleared a hundred acres and planted wheat; the first year of farming produced such a bumper crop, Dr. Carpenter was able to pay off all his debts.

agriculture arable barley blur
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
The grave of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter
The grave of Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

Abdiel Bliss Carpenter passed away on January 9, 1896, at the age of 86, and his remains are buried in the Falls Cemetery on West Ridge Road at Latona Road on the southwest corner.

Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 25 Hotel De May

Bicentennial Snapshot No 25 - Hotel DeMay

This week we finish looking at the hotel of many names at 3561 Latta Road. It started out as the North Greece Hotel in 1908, then went by the name Moerlbach Hotel, back to the North Greece Hotel, followed by the Domino Inn and Cosmo Inn during Prohibition, the Corner House Hotel post-Prohibition, until it finally and lastly became the Hotel De May in 1946.

How many ate at Hotel De May, for Ray’s birthday, for the restaurant anniversary, or at the end of baseball season picnic in the parking lot? Some of you may have parked here when you had to respond to North Greece Station One to put out a fire or even just operate the desk and work overnight to handle the fire calls, car crashes, brush fires, or routine fire inspections. 

Raymond Archibald De May was born on 17 March 1919, in Rochester, New York. His father, Jacob Jannis de May, was born in Holland and immigrated to the USA at age 3. Both his father and his mother, Stella Lovisa Miller, were 35 when Ray was born. They lived in Rochester’s 21st ward. Ray graduated from Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in management and then went to work for Kodak for eight years before getting into the hotel business. He married Irene in 1941.

According to the U.S., Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007, Irene Marie Reiser was born on 03 May 1916 in Rochester, New York to parents Frank J Reiser and Cecelia Bertzman. Her parents immigrated from Austria to the United States. Based on the United States Census, 1940, Irene Marie Reiser and Raymond Archibald De May met while working at Kodak. Irene Marie Reiser married Raymond Archibald De May in 1941.

In 1946 Ray and Irene De May purchased the hotel property and building. It took the De Mays nine months to remodel the entire property, starting with modernizing and redecorating the interior to make it livelier for patrons to enjoy live music and dancing on Fridays during the winter. The De Mays upgraded the kitchen to a 1946 state-of-the-art kitchen, completely fireproofing the kitchen separately from the rest of the hotel and dining area.

Raymond installed a new 49-foot bar, enabling more patrons to sit at the bar. He could better display the different kinds of whiskey, vodka, wine, sherry, port, brandy, rum, gin, tequila, hock, vermouth, absinthe, rye, beer, ale, champagne, cognac, and saké. These were laid out in a way that Raymond felt best encouraged customers to buy lots of drinks.

Most bars and restaurants that serve a wide assortment of alcohol-based products would have a selection of what the industry calls top-shelf items. These are your higher-end priced beverages or have better ingredients, compared to your mid-tier and low-tier drinks. They did serve some of the local brews from the Genesee Brewery and others that survived prohibition.

This rough, not-to-scale hand-drawn sketch by Bill Sauers, circa 2016, shows the layout of the first floor of the DeMay Hotel. As for a ladies’ room, it probably had none for Women before the De May’s purchased the property and upgraded the plumbing. They added a ladies’ room just at the end of the bar before heading to the Ballroom / Banquet space. The men’s room was your old school trench on the edge of one wall and ran the distance of the wall with partitions for privacy, they also had some Water Closets (aka toilets) if a gentleman needed to use one. On the door was a silhouette of what appeared to be that of Clark Gable at a publicity photoshoot at MGM in 1938.

DeMay ad Greece Press 1946 November 14
DeMay ad Greece Press 1946 November 14
DeMay floor Plan sketch drawn by Bill Sauers, circa 2016
DeMay floor Plan sketch drawn by Bill Sauers, circa 2016
Ray DeMay behind the bar
Ray DeMay behind the bar
Clark Gable's MGM Publicity Still 1938
Clark Gable’s MGM Publicity Still 1938
Hotel De May dance ad Greece Press 1947 January 2
Hotel De May dance ad Greece Press 1947 January 2
DeMay Hotel Greece Press 1948 September 23
DeMay Hotel Greece Press 1948 September 23
DeMay's Beer Night ad
DeMay’s Beer Night ad

Based on the text of an ad in the Greece Press on January 2, 1947, the was a men’s bar. The first line on the right is “Always a Lively crowd at DeMay’s,” in the middle of the ad, it says “Western New York’s Largest Dance Floor”, followed by “Our Cocktail Lounge and Bar” and then finally it says “Where Good Fellows Get Together.” seemly to indicate it was a Men’s only bar and cocktail lounge. The woman or spouse accompanied a gentleman to the hotel but on Fridays and Saturdays from 9 pm to 1:30 am would be served drinks in the dining area or dancing in the ballroom area.

In 1948 Raymond A De May and the Hotel were charged with being a public nuisance. Raymond De May was arrested on September 10; the warrant was for maintaining a public nuisance and creating an environment that negatively affected the neighbors that lived around the Hotel De May. He was arraigned before Justice W. Arthur Rickman. Raymond pleaded not guilty to the charges and the case was adjourned to September 13, and then adjourned a few more times until the case was settled out of court.

Here is a link to the current wording of the town of Greece, NY Nuisance Law on the Town of Greece’s ecode360

Chapter 144: Nuisances

In the following years after the charges were settled out of court Ray, Irene, and their hotel would be at the heart of the North Greece Community.

Fire at Hotel De May

DeMay Fire D&C 12-19-1953
DeMay Fire D&C 12-19-1953

Hotel De May was almost destroyed by a fire that started in the hotel’s coal bin, on December 18th, 1953, it took North Greece, Greece Ridge, and Barnard Fire departments to put out the blaze. There was damage to a kitchen and rooms overhead the southwest wing of the hotel. Luckily no one was injured in the fire. Even though there were 2 1950s Seagrave pumpers and a 1950s Mack Fire Truck from North Greece Fire Station. The manpower of the North Greece Fire Department was not enough to put it out. That is why Assistant Fire Chief Raymond asked the chief to call for mutual aid from Greece Ridge and Barnard to assist with the fire discovered during dinner time around 5:30 pm at the hotel. It appears that the Fireproof kitchen was not completely fireproof as Ray and Irene thought it was. The total damage and repairs cost the hotel suffered was $ 4,500. The $ 4,500 they had to rebuild the southwest wing and repair the kitchen and bring it up to the Town of Greece’s building and fire codes of 1954.

Annual Events Held by Hotel De May

These are the most common Events that the Hotel De May hosted:

In October it was the annual steak dinner to mark the hotel’s opening; the annual dinner was a six-course steak dinner that ran from 1 pm to 9 pm and cost $ 6 per person according to this ad to the right in the Greece Press printed in the September 19, 1968 paper.

Every March they would celebrate Ray’s birthday and they served corned beef and cabbage for free. The bash started at 7 pm and they had an orchestra for dancing from 9 pm to midnight. As seen in this ad in the Greece Press paper on March 13, 1969.

DeMay Hotel annual steak dinner, Greece Press 1968 September 19
DeMay Hotel annual steak dinner, Greece Press 1968 September 19
Raymond A DeMay Birthday ad Greece Press 1969 March 13
Raymond A DeMay Birthday ad in Greece Press 1969 March 13

Raymond A De May’s role as a civic leader

While operating the hotel, Ray got involved in the North Greece Fire Department and served five years as an assistant fire chief. Since he owned the hotel across the street, he let the firefighters park their cars in the hotel lot and also let them park the trucks in the lot sometimes as well. Ray was a life-long member of the New York State Fire Chiefs Association.

Ray was photographed conducting a bike safety program for kids in the North Greece Area in which members of the North Greece Fire Department took part. He fastened reflectors to spurs of kids’ bicycles to help make the bikes visible to drivers at night. The attached article shows Ray installing the reflectors on David McCarroll’s bike at North Greece Fire Department Station 1. The Bike safety program also took place at 5 other points in the town besides North Greece Fire department at 3552 Latta Road; one was probably at the town hall or at Greece Ridge at the Ridge, another one was held at Barnard Fire Department, and then 3 other locations where most of the population of Greece was located during the 1950s.

Ray was also a member of the Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps. (GVAC), which has since been disbanded in the last few years due to the four fire companies changing providers to Monroe Ambulance and the rising cost of Emergency services which the volunteer corp could not afford anymore.

50s 2 seagrave pumpers with Mack
In this picture, you see two 1950s Seagrave pumpers with Mack parked in the De May Hotel Parking Lot
Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps Equipment, 1970s, from the Office of the Town Historian
Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps Equipment from circa 1970s, from the Office of the Town Historian

Raymond’s Connection to Baseball and Softball

DeMay Hotel North Greece softball league 1970 July 9
DeMay Hotel North Greece softball league 1970 July 9
DeMay Picnic G Press 9-2-1971
DeMay Picnic G Press 9-2-1971

Each year Raymond would sponsor a very competitive men’s softball and baseball teams, as well as a junior league for boys aged 7-12 that lived in the North Greece area. At the end of the season, the De Mays would host an annual picnic for the members of the junior softball league and the little league baseball players. They also let the North Greece Playground youngsters join in as well as their parents and friends. The De Mays wound up serving 500 plus people each year with free hot dogs (more than likely the hot dogs were Zweigles brand hot dogs) and soft drinks could have been either Coke or Pepsi or a local soft drink vendor.

Hotel DeMay Softball Shirt
Hotel DeMay Softball Shirt

Raymond’s Battle With Pneumonia

In 1974 at the age of 55, Raymond passed away at Rochester General Hospital fighting a battle with pneumonia. According to his obituary in the Democrat and Chronicle, he was survived by his wife, Irene, and Raymond’s last living brother Robert J. de May (1922–1984), and his wife Ruth Marie Stillman (1918–2020).

Raymond A De May Obit DandC
Raymond A De May Obit DandC

Irene De May Takes over Operations

In the neighborhood around Hotel De May, Irene was known as Mother De May, that because she would take in boarders who had nowhere else to go, those who worked as migrant workers at the nearby farms, and in 1991 she opened the hotel for those who needed a place to stay warm while they did not have electricity, heating oil, wood or other heating sources to keep warm during the 1991 Ice Storm. More on the 1991 Ice Storm to come later in a future snapshot on Extreme Weather that affected the Town of Greece.

Irene De May kept the tavern and Hotel running until her death in 2000.

Irene De May, 1977, courtesy of Gina DiBella
Irene DeMay, 1977, courtesy of Gina DiBella

The Fall of Hotel De MAY

Hotel DeMay Latta Rd 2007 with sign
Hotel DeMay Latta Rd 2007 with sign
Come What DeMay tee shirt
Come What DeMay tee shirt

The hotel sat empty for many years; those who cherished this historic building hoped it would be restored to a functional community asset, but developers were more interested in tearing it down and replacing it with a (Crosby’s) gas station and convenience store.

Gina Dibella and Marie Poinan led a grassroots movement, to convince the town to preserve it and make it into a functional hotel, restaurant, and party house again. The group had a slogan printed on shirts that read “Come What DeMAY this Hotel Stays!”

But the grassroots movement could not sway the town board and supervisor that the De May Hotel could return to life and in early 2017 the Town approved the demolition in favor of a Crosby’s Gas station with a Dunkin’ Donuts attached. Still, to date, nothing has been built on the site, because of concerns about contaminated soil. As of this post, the current value has dropped from nearly $ 250,000 to $ 50,000. Below is the current information on the lot according to Monroe County Records for the parcel; the last table is from propertyshark.com which says it was sold to another property broker or developer, but no records are available to verify this information only the property details, lot size, and current tax and land value have been verified using the Monroe County Tax assessment page.

At Least one part of the Hotel DeMay lives on it is the 49-foot bar that Raymond DeMay installed at the hotel, which survived demolition, and has a new home at the My Apartment bar on West Outer Drive off of Mount Read Blvd.

Demolition of Hotel DeMay 11-17-17
Demolition of Hotel DeMay 11-17-17
DeMay Bar
DeMay Bar

Property Details

Property Address:3561 Latta Rd, Rochester, NY 14612
County:Monroe
Parcel ID:44.40-1-1
School district: 264001 – Hilton

Lot Size and Property Type

Acreage:0.75
Frontage:274
Depth:119
Property Class: Vacant Land Located in Commercial Areas (330)

Current Tax and Land Value

Tax year:2022
Property tax:$ 1,973
Land value:$50,000
Market value:$50,000

Reported Last Sale of Lot

Sale date:8/9/2019
Sale price:$595,000
This is not referenced from Monroe County records this record is from propertyshark.com
Facebooktwittermail

Our Annual Pasta Dinner

The Annual Greece Historical Society and Museum Pasta Dinner Fundraiser Sunday, September 18th, 2022 from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm at Barnard Restaurant & Party House (Barnard Exempts) 360 Maiden Lanes.

Barnard Exempts

Dine-in or Take-Out

Food Catered by
Forest Hill Catering
cooked pasta with sliced tomatoes and green leafy
Photo by Angele J on Pexels.com

Please help us with this major fundraiser by ordering your tickets now and your tickets will be waiting for you at the dinner. Tickets may also be purchased at our museum during normal open hours or call 225-7221. Although walk-ins are welcome, we appreciate pre-orders, as we need to guarantee a minimum number to reserve the facility. For those that are dining in, there will be a cash drink and dessert bar. There will be a silent auction featuring a range of items from local businesses who are willing to help the Greece Historical Society and Museum continue their mission of discovering, researching, and preserving the history of the Town of Greece and share that history with its residents and the local community through public programs, publications, museum exhibits in digital or physical form, and accessibility to its archives and artifacts. We will be running a 50/50 raffle as well during the event. Here is a picture from our 2018 Event at the Barnard Exempts.

From our Pasta Dinner October, 2018

Every ticket ordered before September 10 will be eligible for a drawing to win a historic Greece, N.Y. 36” x 48” coverlet or a copy of the Pioneer Families of Greece book.

Coverlet
Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Volume 1

If you Like to Order tickets to the event are $ 12.00 for adults and $ 6.00 for children 5-12.

To pre-order your tickets via mail, the fillable pdf file is below that you can fill out and either email or print out and mail back to the museum.

Mail the form to:
GREECE HISTORICAL SOCIETY

PO BOX 16249

GREECE, NY 14616

Email the Museum:

greecehistoricalsociety@yahoo.com and in the Subject line please put 2022 Pasta Dinner Ticket order this way we can tell the email is for the Pasta Dinner

Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 24 The Hotel of Many Names

This week we continue looking at the hotel/inn/speakeasy/tavern that occupied the southeast corner of Latta and North Greece Road. This establishment went thru at least the same amount or more owners as the Larkin Hotel. The spot where the Larkin stood became this hotel’s parking lot when the Larkin Hotel was demolished.

This hotel would be a bit bigger than the Larkin Hotel/Tavern the Larkin would have been the same size as the Rowe Tavern this one was feature in both Ada Ridge and the Ridge Part 1 and Streb Tavern on the ridge which would have been approximately 1,514.47 square feet compared to the Hotel Demay at the end of its life was approximately 8,046.63 square feet. The North Greece Hotel had less than 50 rooms that travelers would stay in to enjoy food and drinks, then rest and set off on their next leg of their travel to either Niagara Falls or heading east towards Syracuse or other points east along the lake shore. It appears that the North Greece Hotel opened its doors around 1900 1912 at the corner of Latta and North Greece Roads. Because by opening day, January 5, 1910, it was called the Moerlbach Hotel after the new Rochester Brewery that provided the hotel with the beer it served. The Moerlbach Brewing Company opened its doors in 1909 at the corner of Emerson and Norman Steet where T & L Automatics Inc stands today just a few buildings down from where a descendant of Giddon King grew up and that descendant would be Helen Slocum. To learn more about when breweries abounded in Rochester, in the article Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history check out this article from Brain Sharp and Will Cleveland on the Democrat and Chronicle website at 8:21 am on April 6, 2018, which features some more information on the Moerlbach Brewing Company.

Morelbach’s ad in the Democrat & Chronicle Tuesday, January 25, 1910

Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history

Recreational trail planned Rochester breweries once known as best in U.S. Breweries are part of Rochester’s business history Beer industry had to revive itself after Prohibition Touted as one of the most modern breweries in the state, Moerlbach’s sprawling campus was destined to be a jewel in a burgeoning industry.

Now back to more on the Hotel with many names as we noted it was named Morelbach and its first proprietor was Frank Pye but he passed away in 1910. The hotel was sold to William “Bill Carroll of Frisbee Hill Road a near neighbor to Edward Frisbee who we will get to in another snapshot or two. When William Carroll bought the hotel he moved his family to North Greece four corners. William Carroll was born in 1872 and his family was a pioneer family that settled in the Parma Braddock Bay area in the early 1800s. In this picture, you can see William Carroll and his son in front of the hotel.

The Odenbachs owned a hotel and an ice cream stand out at the end of Manitou Beach Road where William Carroll worked before he became the owner of the Moerlbach Hotel it was at the Manitou Beach Hotel where he introduced Sherrif Albert Skinner to the Ice Cream Cone no details of what flavor it would have been either Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t until 1915 that he decided it would be best to revert it to the North Greece Hotel. The Frist Manitou Beach hotel was lost in a suit between Skinner and the Odenbachs, so the Odenbachs had to rebuild the hotel over and some distance from the now Elmheart Hotel that the Skinners now owned more on the Manitou Beach and the Elmheart Hotels in a future snapshot.

The Carrolls served meals at the hotel but only to guests, they could only serve 18 to 20 people in the dining room due to the size it was. One of the most served items in the dining room was claimed to be “The Best New England Clam Chowder in the town of Greece.” It cost only 20 cents. But the neighbors around the hotel would bring kettles to the back door to the kitchen to get them some of Mary’s Clam Chowder.

William Carroll had some strict rules in his hotel. One of the rules was No Children in the Barroom and that included his own children this was probably due to the drinking, smoking, and language of the older gentlemen. One of his other strict rules was towards women, if he saw or caught a woman smoking anywhere in the hotel, he would ask her to leave the hotel.

The was Dancing every Friday night in the dance room otherwise known now as a banquet room these days, each week it could be square dancing, rounds, fox trots, or waltzes, or thru out the night, it could change depending on the music, or who was playing on the stage playing the music. It cost each couple 50 cents to dance the night away starting at 9 pm sharp and ending at 3 am but with drink service cut off at 11 pm in accordance with New York State Law for serving your wines, beers, spirits, and hard drinks, minus water though that they could keep serving after drink service was cut off to the patrons. At intermission during the dances, a table would be set up with refreshments and Hors D’oeuvres in the dance room.

In the Bar room area, there were two pool tables its uncertain if they were for the game of snooker style billiards table or if it is the common pool style billiards table that people would try the game of billiards whether it was a round of 8-ball, 9-ball, 7-ball or the game of snooker billiards at least the tables were not the bumper style table, and if you are interested one of the many types billiard games you can play by going to your local library and checking out a copy of Billiards: The Official Rules and Record Book 2021/2022 edition or any of the other Billiard books in the library.

In the barn behind the hotel, he would have livestock auctions featuring local cattle owners for locals to buy the livestock to have it slaughtered for meat, or those new owners could raise the cattle themselves and have a pasture of their own for their farms. There were a number of different livestock at these auctions. Some were cows, bison, deer, chickens, pigs, sheep, lamb, and even horses that were auctioned off at these cattle auctions the bidders did have to watch out for diseases. Once in a while, there might be regular auctions like household gear, and artwork as well.

That’s Carroll and his son in front of the hotel in this photo
That’s Carroll and his son in front of the hotel in this photo

More on the Elmheart Hotel where Carroll worked before coming here.

The Elmheart Hotel

Manitou Hotel, 1920s, from the Office of the Town Historian
The cover of a promotional booklet for the Manitou Hotel, the 1920s, or the cover of a menu from the 1940s
from the Office of the Town Historian
Barroom Postcard from eBay
Lady Smoking a cigarette 1910s from ebay
Lady Smoking a cigarette 1910s from eBay
Le Billard painted by Jean Béraud
Le Billard painted by Jean Béraud
William Carroll sells hotel to Wilson HIlton Record 1921 July 28
William Carroll sells hotel to Wilson
Hilton Record 1921 July 28
Opening of the Domino Inn
Opening of the Domino Inn

On January 17, 1920, Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. Led by pietistic Protestants, they aimed to heal what they saw as an ill society beset by alcohol-related problems such as alcoholism, family violence, and saloon-based political corruption. Nowadays you can still see side effects of people that get drunk or have too much to drink, from Alcohol poisoning to DUI/DWI and other Alcohol related issues. It forced restaurants, bars, saloons, and other establishments to stop selling and serving alcohol products except for those that decide the Protestants did not have the best interest in their mind that Alcohol was like any other addiction, like smoking, chewing tobacco, gambling, and others. Some of the backers of prohibition were soda/pop, tea, and coffee makers, as well as the Protestants. Opposition from the beer industry mobilized “wet” supporters from the wealthy Roman Catholic and German Lutheran communities, as well as the local breweries like Moerlbach, and Genesee just to name a few as well as local restaurants, taverns, hotels, inns, saloons, and bars. But on July 28th, 1921 William Carroll decides to sell his hotel to Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof. Harry Wilson ran another hotel in the Brighton Twelve Corners neighborhood for several years. Harry received possession on August 1st, 1921 and on September 1st, 1921, Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof set to open the North Greece Hotel as the Domino Inn. Sometime during prohibition, it changed owners again and this time it became the Cosmo Inn. More on the Domino Inn and the Cosmo Inn will appear in a snapshot about prohibition.

On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act, known as the Cullen–Harrison Act,  allowing the manufacture and sale of 3.2% beer (3.2% alcohol by weight, approximately 4% alcohol by volume) and light wines. The Volstead Act previously defined an intoxicating beverage as one with greater than 0.5% alcohol. The 18th amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933 as part of the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This was 6 years before the beginning of the second World War. At this time the hotel was remodeled again and opened as the Corner House Hotel and in this ad here look at the line after good food notice it says All Legal Beverages this meant any legal beverages that the State of New York allowed them to serve after prohibition was over. In 1939 World War would break out and it would cause companies to ration gas and other products that were needed for soldiers on the front lines both on the European and Asian fronts this caused the Corner House Hotel to close its doors in 1941. But just one year after the end of World War II in 1945 it would be sold again but this time to Ray and Irene DeMay, it would stay open until the early 2000s, and in November of 2017 it would be demolished for a proposed Crosby’s Convenience store and gas station but nothing has been built there as of this Bicentennial Snapshot published on August 30th, 2022. More On The DeMay Hotel and Banquet space in Snapshot # 25 – The DeMay Hotel.

Corner House ad Hilton Record 1938 October 13
Corner House ad Hilton Record 1938 October 13
Facebooktwittermail

“Set in Stone”: The History of Cobblestone Masonry

Our new season of Second Tuesday of the Month programs begins on September 13, 2022, at 7 pm, in the Welsh Room at the Greece Public Library, with “Set in Stone: The History of Cobblestone Masonry”, by Douglas Farley.

Mr. Farley looks at the geological and social factors that created the perfect storm for a truly unique, regional architectural phenomenon that lasted from roughly 1820 to the end of the Civil War. Also covered is the creation of the Cobblestone Society & Museum and its growth to include its award-winning National Historic Landmark campus.

The Cobblestone Church at the Cobblestone Museum in Albion, NY
The Cobblestone Church at the Cobblestone Museum in Albion, NY
Douglas Farley
Douglas Farley

Douglas Farley is the current director of The Cobblestone Society located in Albion (Orleans County) NY, a position he has held since 2017. The Cobblestone Society interprets three National Historic Landmark cobblestone buildings and several other historic structures on their large campus. You can learn more about the Cobblestone Museum at https://www.cobblestonemuseum.org/

REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED for this program. Please click the link below to register or you can call the Greece Public Library by phone

Set in Stone: The History of Cobblestone Masonry

Presented by Douglas Farley, Director of the Cobblestone Society in Albion, NY, in cooperation with the Greece Historical Society.

A recording of this presentation will be available at a later date for reference only.

A brief note: In the town of Greece, there is an example of cobblestone architecture at 978 North Greece Road just south of Mill Road. You can learn more about this building by clicking the link below. Also – look for more information about the role of cobblestones in Greece in our upcoming Bicentennial Snapshots 28 and 29.

The Covert-Brodie-Pollok House

Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 23 – The Larkin Hotel

This week and in the next two snapshots we look at the Tavern / Hotel / Inn / Speakeasy that occupied the southeast corner of Latta Road and North Greece Road. The first hotel we will look at will be named after its last owner Joseph Larkin, not its first owner or subsequent owners. Back in the early years of the country and in some really rural communities the hotel, tavern and post offices, and general stores were all in one building or sometimes in separate buildings depending on the size of the community it was located in. But for North Greece, it appears that on the map in 1858 the Post Office was located in the store that belonged to Mary Phelp, and across the street before H.C. Phelps had a store it was A. W. Dickerson General Store.

North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858

The Background of the Hotel and its similarities to the H. C. Phelps building

The Larkin hotel was build sometime before the civil war, based on research and architectural details that William Aeberli and Shirley Cox Husted found based on similarities between the design of the H.C. Phelps General Store and the Larkin hotel.

Larkin Hotel William Aeberli Greece Post 1971 October 14
Larkin Hotel William Aeberli, Greece Post 1971 October 14
Phelps general store latta and north Greece roads sketch William Aeberli 1970
Phelps general store Latta and north Greece roads sketch William Aeberli 1970

The owners of the location

North Greece map 1858
North Greece map 1858
Map of North Greece 1872
Map of North Greece 1872

From what we can tell there could have been as many as 4 or more owners of the hotel the list of people we have based on available data and records is Mary Phelps, then we have a record of Archaeus Johnson (A. Johnson) buying it from Henry and Melvina Hazen on April 1, 1869, after that its a mystery, and without any other information and the information that children of Joseph B Larkin had with them when they passed away, so we will never know its full past or what made it a thriving spot for stagecoaches to stop and rest for the evening.

Peter Larkin

Peter Larkin

Born: 1810 in Ireland no date or month available other than based on the year of death and the text on the grave which reads DIED 14 Mar 1884 of 75 years.

Rose Larkin

Born: 1816 in Ireland

Died: April 25, 1881, at 65 years of age

Peter Larkin was a successful farmer, entrepreneur, and three-term supervisor of the Town of Greece, as well as a member of Mother of Sorrows. In the 1870 census, it lists him as owning nearly $ 500,000.00 in real estate. We have a record of him owning a hotel near Latta Road and Long Pond Road, but he was not the proprietor of the hotel. Also in the 1870 census, we learn that his nephew Joseph was living with him and his wife Rose Larkin.

Peter Larkin 1870 census
Peter and Rose Larkin, and Nephew Joseph in the 1870 census
Larkin, Joseph 1880 census
Peter and Rose Larkin, and Nephew Joseph in the 1880 census the year after this entry Rose would pass away.

Joseph B. Larkin

Joseph B. Larkin

Born: September 1855 in New York

Death: 15 April 1907

Married: Elizabeth Anna Slater

In the 1870s we learn that Joseph moved in with his uncle in North Greece and started out attending what would have been District School Number 6 and then went on to Charlotte or John Marshall for high school or entered the workforce sometime between the 1870 and 1880 census

Children

  • Rose Mary Larkin
    • 1882–1955
  • Anna G. Larkin
    • 1884–1954
  • Elizabeth M. (Larkin) McKenna
    • 1886–1961
    • This was the only daughter that got married but had no heirs
    • Married Frank J. McKenna
  • Frances J. Larkin
    • 1889–1971
Joseph Larkin, and family entry in the 1900 Census

Based on the Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies and the newspaper report below:

Larkin’s Hotel Burglarized

The hotel of Joseph Larkin at North Greece was entered by burglars last Tuesday Night and Mr. Larkin’s watch was stolen. Money was also taken from the clothing of both Mr. and Mrs. Larkin. No trace of the thieves has been discovered.

In 1891 we learn that Joseph was the proprietor of the hotel and he and Elizabeth were either out or asleep when the Larkin Hotel was burglarized by thieves, and from the records show an undisclosed amount of cash was taken from the clothing of Joseph and Elizabeth Larkin, as well as Joseph’s watch which could have been from his Uncle or another family member or one that he saved up and bought we will never know.

We do know that both He and His Uncle were both Democrats and the hotel was used as a site for Democrat Political Caucuses.

The Larkin Hotel was demolished around 1912, that was probably because the four daughters did not want to take it over or could not take over the hotel.

Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 22 – North Greece / Jenkin’s Corners

This week and in the following 6 six snapshots we will be exploring the North Greece area and the people, Hotel DeMay or the hotel with many names that it had over time, Jerome Combs a baseball player, Doctor Abdiel Carpenter, and so much more. North Greece Fire Department will be covered in a later snapshot along with the other fire districts in the town. But this week we will give you an overview of the area and give you a breakdown of what is in the North Greece Area.

North Greece Overview

The North Greece area is located at the intersection of North Greece Road and Latta Road the streets that are included in this area are the east side of Manitou Road, The North side of English Road from North Greece Road to the intersection of English and North Ave if Pickering and Flynn Road Connected that would be the edge of the east side of the district up to the HoJack Line on Flynn Road, it then follows the Hojack line but it drops south of G. W. Northrup’s Property on North Greece Road, then down the back sides of the properties that sit on the west side of North Greece Road as soon it comes up to Latta and head west back to Manitou Road.

North Greece Area Map
North Greece Area Map

Latta Road

Latta Road
Latta Road highlighted in red

Latta Road is one of the Oldest Routes in the county but Latta only runs from Manitou Road to Lake Ave. But as for State Route 18 otherwise known as NY 18 begins at a junction with NY 104 south of a complex grade-separated interchange that includes NY 18F, NY 104, and the Niagara Scenic Parkway on the eastern edge of the village of Lewiston. to NY 104 in Lewiston then it zig-zags thru Orleans County until it passed thru Hilton and Parma then it turns on Manitou Road then on to Latta road and passes right thru the Hamlet of North Greece it then intersects NY 390. After a small distance east of NY 390, NY 18 passes Greece Arcadia High School as well as the newly built Greece Central School District Transportation and Support Services facility, Paddy Hill School, Mother of Sorrows, and intersects Mount Read Boulevard at the Paddy Hill Hamlet before intersecting Dewey Avenue a half-mile to the east. NY 18 turns south onto Dewey Avenue; however, state maintenance continues to follow Latta Road east to where it crosses into the Rochester city limits at Charlotte. This section of Latta Road is designated as NY 941A, an unsigned reference route. NY 18, meanwhile, becomes maintained by Monroe County as part of CR 132, an unsigned designation that follows Dewey Avenue north to its end at the Lake Ontario shoreline. The route continues south on Dewey Avenue to the Rochester city line, where CR 132 ends, and maintenance of the route shifts to the city of Rochester. NY 18 ends about 1 mile (1.6 km) later at a junction with NY 104 in an industrialized area known as Eastman Business Park.

North Greece Road

Surveyed in 1807, North Greece Road started out as just a dirt road that connected these two travel arteries.  Initially, it ended at Latta Road but was eventually extended to the south shores of Braddock Bay at the point where North Greece Road turns left and becomes Hincher Road and Buttonwood creek discharges into Braddock bay. North Greece Road and Elmgrove were realigned to meet at one light between 1988 and 1993 when Elm Ridge Shopping plaza was constructed to help get commercial trucks into Sam’s Club and Walmart as well as the Hess Gas station now Speedway and Pep Boys.

1988 North Greece Road at Ridge Road1993 North Greece Road at Ridge Road
Left 1988 – Map of North Greece Road at Ridge Road – Right 1993

The Hamlet of North Greece

North Greece map 1858 from Rochester Public Library
North Greece map 1858 from Rochester Public Library

Not surprisingly a hamlet sprang up at the crossroads of Latta and North Greece Roads. Although not denoted on a map, the hamlet was often called Jenkins’ Corners. We don’t know for sure why it was called this; there was a local farmer, William Jenkins, who may have given his name to the community, or perhaps it was named after an itinerant preacher, the first Methodist circuit rider to the area, the Reverend Amos Jenks. The natives of North Greece would sometimes say that they lived “down at the Jenks.”

H.C. Phelps

We took a look at this general store as well as two other general stores in Snapshot # 14 – General Stores

North Greece Fire Department

William Schmitt, a Buick dealer, formed the North Greece Fire District. A Pierce-Arrow truck was purchased for $6,700, the first motorized fire truck in the Town of Greece. In June of 1922, the Blacksmith Shop once owned by Lewis Combs at the corner of North Greece and Latta Roads became the first firehouse, and William Schmitt, the first chief. During the ’20s the Department responded to many fires and traveled out of the District to assist surrounding Fire Departments.

In 1935, Chief William Schmitt declared 1922 Pierce-Arrow unsafe; two 1936 American-La France pumpers were purchased. The Fire Department had grown to 55 members.

On July 27, 1958, the new house at Latta Road and Mt. Read Blvd. was dedicated. In September of 1958, two new Seagrave pumpers were placed into service at the new firehouse.

On September 15, 1963, the construction of a new communication center and three-bay addition was dedicated at the station at North Greece and Latta Roads. This building replaced the Lewis Comb’s carriage and wagon manufactory with a more state-of-the-art building for fire departments in the 1960s.

More on the history of the North Greece Fire Department up to 1982 was can be found in the book Milestones Along The Way 1922 to 1982, written by Eugene Preston and John Stageman. Just this June the North Greece Fire Department Celebrated its Centennial years of service to the North Greece Community

We at the Greece Historical Society say thank you for your service to the folks that live within the North Greece Fire Department District and that the department can grow and evolve its firefighting efforts with new technology and equipment to battle fires better, as well as better building techniques that different engineering and building codes change because of fires, accidents, water rescues and some of the different natural disaster that is occurring now due to climate change.

N Greece Fire House 1926
N Greece Fire House 1926
North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
Engine 5 at Station 1
Engine 5 at Station 1
September 15, 1963, Station 1
September 15, 1963, Station 1

Hiram Bice and Lewis Combs Butter Business

North Greece business notices 1872 Map from Rochester Public Library
North Greece business notices 1872 Map from Rochester Public Library

Lewis Combs and Hiram Bice went in together on a butter business together.

As their business notice said, they manufactured a butter-churn that was “acknowledged as the best churn in the United States.” 

The churn had a horizontal shaft that extended the length of a rectangular box on its legs.

A series of radial beaters was attached to the shaft. According to his patent filed in 1865, the inventor, J. F. Sanborn of Hardwick, Vermont, said that he wanted to “contrive a churn that would be efficient for producing butter from cream, and then serve as a butter worker for washing and mixing salt with the butter…” Individuals such as Lewis Combs and Hiram Bice used the design to make these churns which could produce butter in eight to fifteen minutes, half the time or less of a vertical hand churn, and much easier on the arms.

Drying House

North Greece had a fruit drying house. Drying was a major method for preserving fruit, especially apples, to export to Europe.  LeFrois’ was used into the first decades of the twentieth century until supplanted by cold storage and canning factories.

School District #6

School # 6 before 1927
School 6 1927 -1949
Present Day Private House

Perhaps reflecting the hopes of parents and students, the North Greece school was located on College Avenue. It was also called the “gooseneck” road by local residents because of the bend in the road. 

This is the old brick school.

In 1927 the school had swings, slides, and teeters outside. The pupils in the upper grades played baseball in the back of the school on the baseball field. The school had two rooms, with four grades in each room. The school was heated with a coal furnace. They had a bathroom for boys and girls. This year they had regular electric light.

In 1949, the North Greece school district joined the Hilton Central School system.

Aerial Photos of North Greece 1930-1999

You can explore some Historic Aerial photos of the North Greece area on the Monroe County Interactive Historic Data Map website it has from 1930 to 1999 aerial photos in black and white whereas Google Maps and other modern map sites now have color Satellite images on their platforms.

North Greece Post Office

The North Greece post office moved around from H. C. Phelps on the Southwest corner of Latta and North Greece Roads to the hotel on the Southeast Corner then it moved behind what was Lewis Combs’s carriage and wagon manufactory. Then at some point in the 1950s or 1960s, it moved to a brick building at 640 N Greece Rd, North Greece, NY 14515 which is south of where the DeMay Hotel stood at the corner of Latta and North Greece Road.

The Hotel of Many Names Hotel Larken, Hotel Domino, Hotel DeMay, and more names

The next 3 Weeks will be About the Southeast corner and the Hotel of Many Names. One Hotel in our Hotel of Many names is actually the Manitou Beach Hotel and which was located at the western end of the Manitou Beach Trolley Line in 1943 it closed and never reopened after that year.

If you have memories or pictures of the inside of the DeMay consider posting some to our Facebook page so you can share a piece of Greece History for the rest of us to read and see what it looked like before it left us as a staple in the North Greece area.

Till Next week… This has been your look into the hamlet of Jenkin’s Corners / North Greece.

Related Material to this snapshot:

Manitou Beach Hotel by Alan Mueller

DeMay Hotel 1909 by Alan Mueller

North Greece Post Office by Alan Mueller

Related Snapshots:

Bicentennial Snapshot # 14 – General Stores
Bicentennial Snapshot # 10 – Samuel and Lydia and George and Frances Latta
Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 21 – Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley

This week we take a look at the life and accomplishments of Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley.

Doctor Samuel Beach Bradley

Date of Birth: August 14, 1796, Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York

Death: October 8, 1880 West Greece/Parma Townline

Year of First Marriage: 1817, with Cornelia

Second Marriage to Sarah “Sally” Bartlett Bradley

Children William Bradley (1838–1907), Sarah Bradley (Cromwell) (1840-1930 (aged 89–90)), and a twin sister.

Other Rolls:

1823 served a term in the New York State Assembly

Greece Supervisor (1836-38), postmaster (1828-1838), assessor (1841), and was superintendent of the schools for twenty-two years during this time it would be for District 6.

Samuel Beach Bradley was born on August 14, 1796, in Westmoreland, Oneida County, New York, to Reverend Joel Bradley and Mary Anne Beach Bradley. In 1814, Samuel, graduated from Union College in Schenectady, New York, and after college, he went to study Medicine, with Dr. Seth Hastings of Clifton, Oneida County. In 1817, at the age of 21, Bradley married 18-year-old Cornelia Bradley, but she died just a few months later, “a sorrow that shadowed his life for many years” and although he later remarried, he wrote in his diary of his “dear Cornelia” until the day he died.

Samuel started practicing in Eaton, New York, and in 1820 moved to Parma, New York; in 1823 he settled in West Greece, Monroe County, which became his home for the rest of his life. Samuel expanded from just practicing medicine to being a botanist as well.

He is cited as an authority in Gray’s Botany (5th ed.); in Paine’s “Catalogue of Plants of Oneida County and Vicinity” (1865) he is given as the sole authority for twenty-one species of plants found in the neighborhood of Rochester; and in the “List of Plants of Monroe County, New York, and Adjacent Territory,” published by the Rochester Academy of Science (1896), he was credited with eleven species not hitherto reported. A close and accurate observer, his work along the lake shore, inlets, and ponds was particularly thorough.

Facebooktwittermail

Bicentennial Snapshot # 20 – “Hoosick” / West Greece

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.”

Congregational Church

Congregational Church
School 13 Location before Moving to Dean Road
School 13 Current Location on Dean Road

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

Captain William Morgan Monument in Batavia, NY

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

1902 Map of West Greece Showing the two Hotels on Ridge Road

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 porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered from light one gas light fixture the location of the fixture had very high levels of Carbon Monoxide build up in the area
The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered from light one gas light fixture the location of the fixture had very high levels of Carbon Monoxide build up in the area

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

Ridge Road / Greece Ridge 100 Years Logo
Ridge Road / Greece Ridge 100 Years Logo
North Greece 100 Years Logo
North Greece 100 Years Logo

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

Facebooktwittermail