The Greece Historical Society proudly announces a scholarship in honor of Warren C. Crandell, to a highly motivated, graduating high school senior from the Town of Greece who plans to further their education as a History or History Education major or minor at a two- or four-year college or university. The number of scholarships may vary annually.
Completed applications must be submitted, delivered, or postmarked by the last Monday in March. The committee will review all applications received. Three candidates will be selected as finalists and interviewed by the committee at a date and location to be determined. Announcement of Awards to be made by the last Monday in April.
To learn more about the scholarship click here which will have the link to the application, the requirements for the scholarship, and brief information on the donor of the scholarship.
From March 2022 through March 2023, in celebration of our town’s bicentennial, the Greece Historical Society produced 54 multimedia podcasts called Bicentennial Snapshots. Each snapshot, averaging five to 10 minutes, explored a different aspect of Greece’s history.
Even though all of them are available on our website, the complete series of Bicentennial Snapshots is also available on a set of four DVDs for $15.00. Click on the Buy Now button below to order your DVD set of our Bicentennial Snapshots.
If you liked our bicentennial snapshot series that was released on YouTube from March 22, 2022 through March 28, 2023, and like this short video podcast style of presenting Greece History, please let us know by sending an email to VideoProgram@GreeceHistoricalSociety.onmicrosoft.com.
If there is sufficient interest in seeing Greece history presented in this way, we will look into expanding the series beyond the snapshots that have already been produced.
Today, as we acknowledge all those who helped us produce these Bicentennial Snapshots, please enjoy photos of places and businesses no longer part of the Greece landscape.
We would like to thank the following individuals with their contributions to the snapshots:
First of all, we are tremendously thankful for all the photos provided by Society president Bill Sauers. He has a vast archive of photographs that he generously shared with us.
If he didn’t have a photo we needed, he went out and took one, especially for the snapshots.
We greatly appreciate Greece town historian Keith Suhr giving us permission to use photos from Greece Images.
Thank you also to our other photographers or those who provided photos for various episodes: Alan Mueller, Ben Kerr, Bonnie Stemen Fiser, Carolyn Kerheart, Dick Halsey, Deborah Cole Meyers,
Douglas Worboys, who worked at Chase-Pitkin and helped you find the tools and supplies for that home improvement project you had going on in your home,
Gene Preston(Retired North Greece Fire Department / Kodak Fire) and owner of Preston Fresh Produce on Long Pond Road, Gina DiBella, Gloria LaTragna, Gretchen Howe, Dr. George Sanders, “Booze, Barns, Boats and Brothers”by H. Dwight Bliss III, John Cranch, Jane Grant, Author of Barns of Greece, Kathy Gray who provided pictures of Frank Siebert that were added to the snapshot on Ridge Road Fire District, Jo Ann Ward Snyder co-author of Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Joan Winghart Wilcox Sullivan who wrote about her father, Bernie Winghart, Gordon Massecar,
Joe Vitello, Marie Poinan co-author of Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece as well as the co-author of two books with Maureen Whalen, one book with the late Tom Sawnor, and 5 books on her own, RRFD/Greece Ridge FD Historian and District Photographer Matthew Pillsbury, Battalion Chief Brian Gebo for providing Ridge Road/Greece Ridge Fire Districts 100 Years logo for our use,
Patricia Conklin, Paul Pakusch who let us use the personal home video that he recorded on his way to work at News 10 (WHEC) NBC in 1991 during the ice storm, Mike Parker, Robert Bilsky, Ralph DeStephano, Ed Spelman, Tom DiBello, Travis Beaver, Francis Howard Whelehan, Stanley Hwalek, Mason Winfield the Author of “Haunted Rochester”, William Aeberli, Helen Edson Slocum, Virginia Tomkiewicz, Shirley Cox Husted
We would like to thank the following organizations, news outlets, local colleges and libraries
North Greece Fire Department, Greece Ridge/Ridge Road Fire District, Barnard Fire Department, Barnard Exempts, FDNY(Fire Department of the City of New York), Greece Police, Center for Governmental Research,
Rochester Public Library, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s Recording Studio in the Launch Pad Maker Space at the Central Library, The University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Wayne State University, Princeton University, University of Iowa, nebraskastudies.org, SUNY School SOAR
Democrat and Chronicle, 13 Wham TV, WHEC, WROC, Spectrum News, Histrotic Detroit, The Hilton Record, Rochester Times-Union, The American Issue, New York Daily News, Global News a Division of Shaw Media, newspapers.com, Rochester Gas & Electric News Publication, Rochester Daily Advertiser,
Our Mother of Sorrows Church, Greece Baptist Church, Greece United Methodist Church,
Greece Central School District, Archive.org, BoxRec.com, US Treasury National Archives, FBI, National Archives, Department of Defense, U.S.C.G.S. ( United States Coast Guard), Library of Congress, USDA, Wikipedia, IMDB, National Weather Services, NOAA, NASA, Canadian Ice Service, US PTO(Patent and Trademark Office), Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Rochester Baseball Historical Society, Monroe County GIS Map Gallery which contains 11 interactive maps that were used in some of the snapshots as well as the parcels map that was used to verify data on certain properties,
The Landmark Society of Western New York, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, mcnygenealogy.com, New York State digital archive, Monroe Historical Society, Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, Cobblestone Museum, Buffalo Maritime Center, New York State Department of Transportation, Bob Johnson Chevrolet
We relied heavily on past newspaper accounts and are so grateful that the Greece Historical Society secured grants to have the Greece Press, Greater Greece Press, and Greece Post digitized.
History writers of the future will have a more difficult time documenting the past with fewer newspapers available.
The maps digitized by the Rochester Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Division are a marvelous resource.
If these Snapshots brought back memories or taught you something you didn’t know, then we succeeded in our endeavor. They will remain a resource for future students of local history.
We encourage you to get out and photograph what will be tomorrow’s history. Keep a journal documenting your lives and bequeath them to future generations.
Lastly, we invite you to visit the Greece Historical Society and Museum to learn more about the history of the town of Greece.
This is Maureen Whalen, on behalf of the Greece Historical Society, Pat Worboys, and myself, saying thank you to our loyal viewers and wishing you the best as Greece begins a new century.
Today we turn our attention to one of the most iconic businesses in Greece. We want to thank Jo Ann Ward Snyder and Bonnie Stemen Fiser for their collaboration on this Snapshot. Jo Ann is preparing a profile of the Buckman family for Volume II of Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece. This is just a small expert from the full profile of the Buckman’s not all photos from the profile are in this post you will have to wait for the book to come out.
Buckman’s Dairy, 1950s, from GHS, courtesy of Ralph DeStefano
Many Grecians have sweet memories (pun intended) of Buckman’s Dairy.
Homer Buckman was born in 1889, …
… the eldest child of George Buckman and Lucy Griffin. In this photo, Homer is on the far right.
In 1906 he married Alice Mitchell, daughter of Greece pioneers Thomas and Alice Corby Mitchell. The couple had one daughter Emeroy.
In 1911 Homer Buckman founded his dairy with a dozen cows. It was located on the farm his father purchased from the estate of Erastus and Sarah Walker at the northwest corner of what is today, Ridge and Long Pond Roads. Homer was able to buy the land from his father in 1915.
Homer delivered his milk in a horse-drawn wagon three seasons of the year, and used a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter. In the background of this photo is his home, located on Ridge Road adjacent to the Dairy.
Eventually, deliveries were made by a 1928 Ford Model AA 1-1/2 Ton stake truck and a Reo Truck. Homer constructed a plant to pasteurize the milk and eliminated the competition by buying out the only other dairy in Greece. To meet customer demand Homer began buying raw milk from other local farmers
as well as importing it via railroad; he’d pick up the milk churns like this one on the left arriving at the Hojack railroad station in North Greece, transporting it to his pasteurization plant to ready it for delivery. By 1931, the dairy was bottling 300 quarts of milk a day.
In the late 1920s, Homer remodeled the old barn and opened a small cash and carry store with milk, cream, and in season, ice cream. In 1931 he sold the business to Robert Peters, although he still owned all the property, lived on-site in his home, and helped out in the store.
In 1950 Ralph P. DeStephano, the owner of Bonnybrook Dairy on Lyell Avenue bought both the business and the property. He consolidated the milk processing operations on Ridge Road.
Homer even continued to work in the store for a while. He died in 1972 at the age of 88. He was a Member of Greece Methodist Church on Maiden Lane, and a Member of the Greece Grange.
In 1966, DeStephano described to a reporter the history of the building: “The hayloft at the top of the barn is now three offices, mine and two others. The main floor where the hay was carried in is the main store. The ridge drops about 20 feet and cows came into the barn from a ramp in the back. They used the pasture out there. In the basement where the cattle were fed, is our ice cream room.”
Circa 1976, the shop was renovated, and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor was added. The name changed to Buckman’s Ice Cream Village. Donuts had been sold at the shop beginning in the late 1950s, now snack items and soup and sandwiches were on the menu, and of course, ice cream. Twenty-five flavors!
They had fun inventing ice cream delights such as “the “Kitchen Sink” which had 8 scoops of ice cream (2 scoops each of vanilla, banana, chocolate, and strawberry), 4 bananas, 4 toppings, 8 shots of whip cream and 8 cherries. If you ate it all, you would get a free sundae certificate.”
DeStephano was also a community activist and was “instrumental in bringing ambulance services, a Rotary Club, a Chamber of Commerce, and Park Ridge Hospital to Greece.” It was Ralph DeStephano and Ray DeMay that started Greece Volunteer Ambulance. 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.
The sign here on the left is from the Holiday Inn a few years before the tragic Holiday Inn Fire of 1978 which took the lives of ten people who were staying at that hotel.
You can learn more about Park Ave to Park Ridge from the May 2021 program that was recorded from Zoom and can be viewed by clicking the link below.
Ralph DeStephano sold the business to his son also named Ralph DeStephano Jr, in 1987.
Buckman Enterprise also included a laundry
and a car wash.
Those were the days in 1981—six car washes for $15.00!
During the 1980s through the mid-2000s the dairy, ice cream, and donut businesses were leased to several different operators. It closed in 2006.
The DeStephano family continues to own the property and today there are a variety of businesses in Buckman’s plaza.
Walgreens took a long-term lease to erect a drugstore on the site of the old dairy and barn, torn down in 2009; the pharmacy closed in 2018. Today the former Homer Buckman dairy is the site of Orville’s Home Appliances.
More on Homer Buckman and his family will be printed in the upcoming release of The Pioneer Families of Greece, New York Volume 2 coming later this year.
Also, you can view the program titled Buckman’s Dairy and Bakery History, that Ralph Destephano put on that was recorded on July 16, 2017
and check out this article that Alan Mueller, wrote for the newsletter in 2014 called Homer J. Buckman – Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!!
Thank you for joining us today; next week we say our farewells.
This week we look at the Greece Performing Arts Society.
Before GPAS formed in 1969
Between 1930 and 1950, people in the town of Greece had many opportunities to join in performing arts centered activities. Amateur theatrics were popular; not only was there the Paddy Hill Players troupe, but a number of churches, including St. John the Evangelist Church and Bethany Presbyterian Church staged annual plays.
By 1960 whereas students could join drama club or the school chorus or band, the opportunities for adults were fewer.
1969 – the Greece Performing Arts Society was formed
So, in 1969, the Greece Performing Arts Society was formed for just that purpose—as an outlet for adults who didn’t want to give up performing just because they were no longer in school. GPAS became the “umbrella organization to pull together and coordinate all the various community performing organizations.”
Initially there were four groups, the Community Orchestra, the Symphony Orchestra, the Choral Society, and a Summer theatre group. That first performance year, 1970-71, 165 people were in the various groups; they performed 20 concerts with an estimated total audience of 5,400 people.
GPAS was born from the adult continuing ed experience of Robert Holtz who founded the community orchestra. Dr. David Felter founded the Symphony Orchestra.
Ralph Zecchino founded the choral society and was its director for 44 years from 1970-2014.
Over the years, the theatre group usually presented two musicals a summer with a mystery or comedy play or two until 2013. Now GPAS co-sponsors a student summer production.
In 1992 Greece Performing Arts Society put on Nunsense which was an off-Broadway Production that ran for 35 weeks in 1985 and it is a musical comedy with a book, music, and lyrics by Dan Goggin, who is an American writer, composer, and lyricist. The musical Nunsense is a hilarious spoof about the misadventures of five nuns trying to manage a fundraiser. Sadly, the rest of the sisterhood died from botulism after eating vichyssoise prepared by Sister Julia Child of God. It was based on Dan’s early life experiences, including schooling by the Marywood Dominican Sisters. The musical of Nunsense did have six sequels but Greece Performing Arts Society only put on the original Nunsense the musical.
The society had a regular schedule of annual events, such as
Some of Different Concerts GPAS puts on
Winter Blah Concert
The spring concert
Concerts at the Shore
And the Supervisor’s Concert.
And they were there for special occasions such as: The 150th anniversary of the founding of Our Mother of Sorrows Church
And a solemn ceremony for healing after September 11, 2001.
They regularly perform at the Eastman theatre.
A highlight in the history of the Choral Society was performing in France for the 50th anniversary of the D-day invasion at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
Many Greece residents looked forward every summer between 1997 and 2016 to the GPAS annual garden tour fundraiser.
Today, GPAS is composed of three groups, the community orchestra, choral society, and concert band. As they have for more than 50 years, the Greece Performing Arts Society continues to offer musical enrichment to the Greece community.
Learn More about Greece Performing Arts Society and it history starting with The Prelude written by Bill Coons at www.greeceperformingarts.org/i-the-prelude. If you have any General Questions about GPAS then email them at email@example.com. Interested in becoming a member of GPAS then check out their membership page https://www.greeceperformingarts.org/membership. You can subscribe to their monthly newsletter to stay up to date on upcoming concerts, events and more. The Greece Concert Band, Choral Society, and Community Orchestra are pleased to be rehearsing at 75 Stutson Street.
This week as the country marks the beginning of National Women’s History Month, we will introduce you to some notable Greece women.
Throughout the year we’ve told you stories about places, events, and people of the town of Greece. Some of the most elusive to pursue are the stories of Greece women who lived and contributed to the town, state, or country. Before the 20th century, most women usually were written off only when they married or died.
First let us salute all the pioneer women, such as Mehitable Hincher, who helped settle the town and raised their children, and helped their spouses. Imagine what it was like for Mehitable to be the first European woman to live in the town with no others for miles around. On the banks of the Genesee river, she raised her eight children and prospered with her husband. As did many other women whose names and stories are lost to history.
There’s little documentation for Elizabeth Baker. She was born in 1813 in East Haddam, Middlesex County, Connecticut, the daughter of Josiah Jewett Baker and Alice Fox Baker. She was living in Greece circa 1840, but where or with whom is uncertain. Up until this time, there were only custom tailors in Rochester but, she opened a shop on Front Street in Rochester selling ready-to-wear children’s clothes. The boys’ trousers cost 25 cents. She was the very first clothing manufacturer in the city, a city that was on the brink of becoming a center of clothing manufacturing in the country.
Circa 1843, Meyer Greentree came to Rochester. He was one of only five Jewish people residing in Rochester at the time and he has been designated by some as the father of the Rochester Jewish community. He first worked for lace dealer Sigmund Rosenberg also on Front Street. Meyer became acquainted with Elizabeth Baker and they married in 1844. It was quite unusual for the time for a Jewish man and a Gentile woman to marry. After their marriage and the birth of their first child, Meyer took over the Front street business and “converted the place to a pants shop, and thereby began Rochester’s famed men’s clothing industry.”
Meyer Greentree is rightly called the Father of Rochester’s clothing industry, and though she is seldom mentioned, one would also have to say that Elizabeth Baker is the mother of Rochester’s clothing industry.
Sarah Cole Truesdale
On November 5, 1872, hoping to generate a legal case to take to the Supreme Court, Susan B. Anthony and 14 other women including her sister Mary voted in the presidential election. However, to stave off the possibility that this case could go all the way to the Supreme Court, the women were charged with misdemeanors, not felonies.
One of the other women who went with her was Sarah Cole Truesdale. She lived next door to the Anthonys on Madison Street. Sarah Cole was from a pioneer Greece family, growing up in Hoosick, that is South Greece. Her husband George Truesdale was from another long-time Greece family. In the snapshot, you can hear Deborah Cole Meyers, a volunteer at the Greece Historical Society describes when she discover an ancestor was friends with Susan B Anothy.
On May 22, 1873, Sarah appeared before Millard P. Fillmore, son of the thirteenth President of the United States who you may recall was from Buffalo. This is a copy of her indictment for the crime of voting for a representative of the United States Congress 29th congressional district “without having a legal right to vote in the said election district, the said Sarah Truesdale being then and there a person of the female sex.”
The court form only accounted for men voting illegally. Notice here that the clerk had to insert an “s” before “he” in this sentence.
Sarah was released on four hundred dollars bail. This is a copy of her recognizance contract. However, the government decided to try only Susan B. Anthony. The case was widely followed in the press all over the country and helped to focus the women’s rights movement specifically on suffrage. Let’s now consider Greece’s most famous suffragist.
Jean Brooks Greenleaf
Jean Brooks Greenleaf was born on October 1, 1831, in Bernardston, Massachusetts. She married Halbert S. Greenleaf, a lock manufacturer (Yale and Greenleaf and later Sargent and Greenleaf here in Rochester) in 1852. In 1867 they moved to Rochester.”
Halbert S. Greenleaf, a Democrat, also served two terms in the House of Representatives, 1883 to 1885 and 1891 to 1893.
The Greenleafs lived at 64 North Goodman Street but also spent the summer months at their home and farm in Greece—what is today all the land around Lakeshore Country Club. At that time the street was called Fleming Road; today it is Greenleaf Road.
From 1887-1890 Jean Brooks Greenleaf was president of the Rochester Political Equality Club. From 1890-1896 she was president of the New York State Woman Suffrage Association. During her administration, New York became the best-organized state in the Union.” For the women of Greece, on September 15, 1892, the Charlotte Political Equality Club was organized at her summer farm and home.
Jean’s talents were dedicated to the cause in the years immediately before and after the New York State Constitutional Convention in 1894. Woman Suffrage was the burning question of that Convention. She chaired The Constitutional Amendment Campaign as President of the New York Woman Suffrage Association. She worked very closely with Susan B. Anthony.
Although their campaign to change the New York State constitution was not successful, Jean Brooks Greenleaf did live long enough to see women win the vote in New York State in November 1917, but not long enough to actually exercise that right. She died on March 2, 1918, at the age of 86.
In 2018, the Greece Historical Society secured a grant from the William C. Pomeroy foundation and with the permission of the Lakeshore Country Club erected a historical marker on the site of her former Greece home and farm.
Emma Pollard Greer
Emma Pollard Greer was a charter member of the Charlotte Political Equality Club. Emma lived all of her life in the little white house at the corner of Lake and Pollard Avenues where she was born on December 12, 1855, the seventh and last child, and only daughter, of Henry Pollard and Martha Moxon. The Moxon family was one of the earliest settlers in Greece arriving in 1825. Henry, her father, was born in England and came to Charlotte in 1836. He was the village blacksmith.
In 1882 Emma began her 22-year teaching career, first in the Charlotte grammar school and then, beginning in 1897, as one of 8 faculty members at the high school.
At the time of her death at 88 in 1944, Emma was the oldest native of Charlotte. She was the village’s historian. She wrote about the town of Greece and Charlotte for both the Democrat & Chronicle and Times-Union newspapers. In 1933 she contributed “Home Builders of Old Charlotte” to Volume 2 of the Centennial History of Rochester published by the Rochester Historical Society. At the age of 75, she completed the manuscript for her History of Charlotte and gave two copies to the Rochester Public Library. It was published in full in 1999. It is due to Emma’s diligent history-keeping that so much is known about the early history of the village and the town of Greece. One woman she wrote about was Julia Roberts.
When they hear the name Julia Roberts, those who are familiar with the history of the Charlotte blast furnace (1868-1927), do not think of the beautiful, talented actress, rather they think pig iron. Julia Pollay Roberts’ husband, Henry C. Roberts, took the reins of the iron manufacturing company in 1879, saving it from collapsing.
Henry’s many business interests required him to take frequent trips and it was Julia who managed the iron works plant in his absence. Charlotte historian Emma Pollard Greer wrote of her: “She must have been one of the earliest women iron masters in the United States.” After Henry’s death in 1885, Julia became head of the company, successfully keeping it “one of the most complete and best-equipped furnaces in the country.” Again quoting Emma Pollard Greer, “Mrs. Roberts had an unusual grasp of business for the women of her period.”
Unfortunately, the financial panic of 1893 and the ensuing depression forced Julia to shut down the operation. It was resurrected and leased to other companies, with Julia retaining some financial rights until 1902. The blast furnace finally went out of business in 1927.
After the property was sold to the city of Rochester in 1929, Julia who had lived at 4752 Lake Avenue near the blast furnace (where the Port of Rochester Marina is today), moved to this house at 4215 Lake Avenue. Julia Roberts died in 1938 at the age of 90 and is buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery.
The only photo of Five of the Six Bonsteel sisters, Not in the picture is Annie Laurie Bonesteel, she was the only daughter who did not make it past a year old, and this photo is in the Benedict collection at The Greece Historical Society.
Laura Justine Bonesteel (1871-1932), called Jesse, was born in the town of Greece in 1871, the youngest of eleven children and one of six girls. Her parents were Joseph F. Bonesteel and Helen Norton. She was stagestruck at the age of 2 as a singer and was featured on a national tour by the age of 7. By her teens, she had leading roles in productions from the Schubert Company and pursued a career as an actress. And her paternal grandfather Heinrich “Henry” Bonsteel who ran The Bonesteel Tavern at Frankfort at High Falls at the site where the Flat Iron Cafe is located today at the intersection of Lake Ave, Lyell Ave, Smith St, and State St you can read more about Henry Bonsteel from the blog LOCAL HISTORY ROCS! by ROCHESTER PUBLIC LIBRARY/LOCAL HISTORY & GENEALOGY DIVISION titled A Genealogy of Place Pt. 3: From Frankfort Institute to Flat Iron Café. Laura Justine Bonsteel’s siblings are listed below by year of birth, two of her siblings Henry Joseph and Annie Laurie did not make it past one year old, and Frederick Henry did not make it more than 3 years old. Henry, Annie, and Federick might have passed away as a result of any of the following childhood illnesses and diseases at the time which could have been the fourth cholera pandemic, smallpox outbreaks, yellow fever, and/or some other disease from the 1850s. Thanks to Jo Ann Ward Synder who is currently working on the Pioneer Families of Greece Volume II which is in the process of being worked on right now has provided the updates on the genealogy of the Bonsteel family here and below is the complete list of the children of Joseph Frederick Bonsteel and Helen Norton.
Sons of Joseph Frederick Bonesteel and Helen Norton in order of year of Birth
Henry Joseph Bonsteel (1854–1857) – Cause of death unknown,
Frederick Henry Bonesteel (1864-1865) Died from Dysentery (intestinal infection, diarrhea),
Charles Suggett Bonesteel (1866-1929),
Harry Francis Bonesteele (1869-1934)
Daughters of Joseph F. Bonesteel and Helen Norton in order of year of Birth
Georgia F. Bonesteel Raynsford (1856-1937),
Mary Lillian Bonesteel Tiffany (1858-1932),
Twins Ada Lucelle Luella Bonesteel Benedict (1860-1943) and Ida Estelle Bonesteel Webster (1860-1931),
Annie Laurie Bonesteel (1867-1868) passed away from Marasmus- in today’s world Failure to Thrive,
Laura Justine Bonesteel (1871-1932).
A printer’s error changed her professional name to Jesse Bonestelle. She starred in a number of productions, but her acting talent was limited. She found more success as a manager, producer, and acting coach.
After running her own stock companies in Rochester, Syracuse, and Northampton, Massachusetts, she moved to Detroit, where she leased the Garrick Theatre and mounted plays there until 1910; in 1923 she was back in New York City managing the Harlem Opera Theatre.
In 1924, Eugene Sloman purchased the Temple Beth El for $500,000 (about $6.7 million in 2009, when adjusted for inflation) for Jessie Bonstelle, the former synagogue got a new life as a home for the arts. Bonstelle had conducted a company at the Garrick Theatre for 15 years before finding a permanent home with the former Temple Beth El. Bonstelle was featured in a series of articles in McCall’s in 1929, giving advice to aspiring actresses.
The Temple Beth El was reconfigured by Architect C. Howard Crane into the Bonstelle Playhouse. In 1930 there was letterhead that was showing it was the Detroit Civic Theatre, the first civic theatre in America.
“Here she continued to produce plays and encourage young performers. Broadway producers respected her acumen and skill, often asking her to try out new plays for them.”
She had a brilliant knack for spotting acting talent and among her clients was Katherine Cornell
And William Powell.
Jesse’s greatest achievement as a producer was persuading the family of Louisa May Alcott to sell her the rights to Little Women and she produced the first stage adaptation of this beloved story, taking it to Broadway and London.
Laura Justine Bonesteel passed away on October 14, 1932, at the age of 60 from a heart attack in Detriot, Michigan, and was laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetary in Rochester, New York. And in 1936 a memorial Tree was planted in her honor a copy of the photo can be seen in the Wayne College library digital archives. Also to note in a post about the Bonstelle Theatre on HistoricDetroit.org there was an article written in Detriot Discovery magazine in 1974 by Mary McHenry that Jessie Bonstelle’s ghost haunts the theater, ” Her Soul was the theater, now the theater is her soul”. Wayne State University had numerous students that have gone on to star in some good movies like Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters Movies, and Mary Jean Tomlin aka Lily Tomlin starring on The Merv Griffin Show, and later she appeared on the Garry Moore Show. You can read more about the Bonstelle Theatre from Histroic Detroit as well as the Garrick Theatre from Historic Detroit to understand its history. A little update as of August 3, 2023, on the Bonstelle Theatre when I stopped in and explored the tintype studio and started to talk about tintypes and film and I brought up the Bonstelle Theatre in downtown Detriot and one of the two volunteers at Greenfield Village heard that was some talk about salting the ground around the Theatre because of how her spirit or other spirits are haunting the space but when I was going by the facility heading home on August 8, 2023, it looks like they are prepping some work to be done on the building most likely is the building is getting ready for demolition.
Some Honorable Mentions
Blanche Stuart Scott
Blanche Stuart Scott grew up on Mount Read Blvd and became a famous female pilot, an Automobile Adventurer, Actress, and a museum curator. Blanche Stuart Scott, America’s first female pilot, was born in 1885 on her grandparents’ farm in Greece located on the north side of Lexington Ave where GM’s Delphi Plant is now located, the south side was in Gates. Reading from her unpublished autobiography during a recorded interview, she said.
“My name is Blanche Stuart Scott and I come from a pioneer family, a Rochester pioneer family, who came to Rochester in eighteen hundred and ten. And settled out on what was then the old Scott Road and is now Mt Read Blvd.”
Blanche Stuart Scott
Kara Lynn Massey
Kara Lynn Massey (born February 16, 1985), was a Greece Athena grad that went on to star in some big Broadway productions and is known professionally as Kara Lindsay, is an American stage actress and singer, best known for her roles as Katherine Plumber in Newsies (2012) and Glinda in Wicked (2014, 2016, 2018, 2019).
Thank you for joining us today. Next week we look at the Greece Performing Arts Society.
This week we explore the history of Barnard and Lake Shore Fire Districts.
Barnard Fire Department
“Early in 1927, a group of civic-minded citizens of the Barnard District seeing the rapid growth of the section, decided that some form of fire protection was needed. This group set about to organize a fire department, and on April 14, 1927, this was realized by having the incorporation papers approved by the Greece Town Board.”
The firehouse was built in 1928 on land donated by George H. Clark.
Leon Cox helped found the Barnard Fire Department, was a town councilman, and was a leading businessman in the area.
The district’s approximate boundaries are Mount Read Blvd on the west, Latta Road on the north, and the city of Rochester on the east and south.
Their first piece of apparatus was a White truck, combination hose, and chemical, purchased from the City of Rochester. The new company fought its first fire on February 4, 1928, at the MacDonald residence on Wendhurst Drive.
25 to 30 firefighters responded to the fire. It was an all-volunteer company, but today is a combination of career and volunteer members.
When Greece converted from constables to a police department in 1932, their headquarters were a room in the Barnard fire station. The police department moved to the town hall in the 1950s.
The fire district operates from a single fire station approximately in the geographic center of their service area. In 1950, realizing that their iron lung machine was better off in a hospital setting, the Barnard Fire Department donated it to Strong Memorial Hospital. (Snapshot # 47 Childhood illnesses and diseases)
The firehouse was expanded in 1999.
At 3.7 miles, the Barnard Fire District serves the smallest geographic area in Greece, but it has the densest population at 5,536 per mile.
At least one of the firefighters on duty each shift is a paramedic and “Barnard is the only fire department in Greece to provide paramedic first-response.” Of their average 3,500 calls for service, 77% are EMS-related.
In 1935, the Barnard Exempt Fireman’s Association was founded to provide relief aid to disabled or indigent members and their families, to promote the volunteer department, and to foster camaraderie among current and former Barnard firefighters. Under New York State law, exempt in this case meant that the volunteer firefighters were exempt from jury duty and although not in the town of Greece from a small portion of their property taxes.
In 1937, the Exempts purchased a 16-acre tract on Maiden Lane to build not only a clubhouse for themselves but also with the intention “to turn it into the finest town small park in the state.” They laid out a baseball diamond, set out tables and benches for picnics, and constructed fireplaces for hotdog and marshmallow roasts.” Over the years the park and the party house have hosted thousands of functions.
And on the grounds of the Barnard Exempts, there is a shed that was used as a camp headquarters for a Boy Scouts troop that was sponsored by Barnard Exempt members
A staple of the Dewey-Stone area was the annual Barnard Carnival and Parade, a fundraiser for the fire district.
The Carnival was held every year from 1928 to 2016 attracting thousands of people.
It has been replaced by Bands at Barnard, a series of summer music concerts. You can find more information online for the 2023 schedule for Bands at Barnard by going to their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Bandsatbarnard.
Lake Shore Fire District
In 1957 four separate fire companies that served the lake shore communities joined together to form the Greece Lake Shore Fire District. They were the Braddock Heights Fire Department, Grand View Heights Fire Department, Crescent Beach Fire Department, and Lake View Fire Company.
In the early 1930s, Barnard and North Greece fire districts were under contract with the town to provide service to the shore communities; Barnard was responsible for Shoremont west of the city line to Island Cottage to the Buck Pond outlet and the North Greece territory was from Crescent Beach west to Braddock Heights, including Grand View Beach and Grand View Heights.
But these areas also had their own fire departments. Like Barnard, concerned citizens formed a volunteer fire department at Braddock Heights in 1930. It was located on East Manitou Road at 2nd Ave. Their nickname was The Swamp Rats.
A new station was constructed circa 1965 at 35 East Manitou Road; today, it is no longer a fire station but a studio home.
Crescent Beach Fire Department was founded in 1934 as the Crescent Beach Protective Association but changed its name to Crescent Beach Fire Department when it was incorporated in 1936. It was located on Edgemere Drive. Their symbol was an owl with the motto “We Never Sleep.”
And Grand View Heights established its fire association in 1925 and incorporated in 1936 and was chartered by New York State as a fire department in 1944. They were located at Lowden Point. In the background of the station is the fire siren that was used to call the volunteers to the station before pagers, beepers, cell phones, and radios in the firefighters’ personal vehicles.
Since they were not under contract with the town, they could not be supported by taxes. Each of these volunteer groups and their women’s auxiliaries held frequent fundraisers such as card parties, sauerkraut dinners, and annual carnivals just like Barnard.
The funds raised were used to purchase firefighting equipment.
In 1957, when they joined together a new firehouse was constructed on Ling Road and called the Lakeview Fire Company
Two of the Lake Shore Fire Department Stations suffered fires the Crescent Beach fire on February 16, 1983, and the Grand View Beach on March 15, 1983, with both stations unable to operate out of their station bays a new station was required
The Lake Shore Fire District decided to replace both stations with a new building centrally located between both Cresent Beach and Grand View Beach at 1 Long Pond Road. In 1992, the fire station was officially re-dedicated it as the Charles L. Carroll Fire Station honoring the first fire chief of Lake Shore.
The new site was centrally located in the fire district, and would provide a “more efficient reaction and response in all directions.” It became the first full-time staffed station in the Lake Shore Fire District and was designated the headquarters. It eventually incorporated Braddock Heights in the late 1990s.
The Ling Road Fire House was replaced with a new building in 2012 and on June 16, 2012, the fire station was officially dedicated in the name of Robert Brindley, LSFD life member and past fire chief of the Lakeview Fire Company. The Ling Road station covers the east end of the Lake Shore Fire District.
As of 2018, the department had 11 full-time career firefighters and 41 volunteers.
Unique to the Lake Shore Fire district, the department has two boats and crews trained in water rescue; the boats are assigned to the Ling Road Station. The fire department averages 1,000 calls for service per year, 67% are EMS-related. In 2018 there were 13 events that required the rescue boat.
All the Greece fire departments give mutual aid when required: to the other Greece fire districts, the city of Rochester, and neighboring towns, but sometimes they also provide assistance or will fill in for the fire station, and will deploy elsewhere if needed in the state and country to show support or relief for other fire companies. Most recently Lake Shore District firefighters went to Buffalo to assist them after the Christmas weekend blizzard of 2022. Below is the Map of the Walden Fire District in the Town of Cheektowaga.
As a Volunteer for the Greece Historical Society, I worked on the Extreme Weather Snapshots with Maureen, which we put together and aired in November, a month before the Christmas Blizzard hit Buffalo.
It was the second record snowfall in less than a month, from the 78 inches dropped in Orchard Park and then 64.7 at Christmas. It is the most snow in New York State to fall between Buffalo and Tug Hill for the 2022 – 2023 snow season.
I have pictures and 2 time-lapsed footage of the Christmas Weekend Blizzard of 2022 from my apartment in the City of Buffalo, where I only lost power for 24 hours.
Some of the issues that the county of Erie and the City of Buffalo had to deal with were the amount of snow that fell in the county and the number of trapped or stranded vehicles. High winds reduced visibility to zero; streets became impassable. Tragically, the City had the highest number of deaths.
One of the more unique problems was that the power substations that are built in what look like fake buildings ended up becoming frozen. Because of the way the heat systems in those substations operate, some of the stations did not allow the snow to pass through nor had very good snow barriers to prevent snow from building up in them; the accumulation of snow and ice inside them caused the grid to crash in certain parts of the City of Buffalo.
Thank you for joining us today. Next week we will talk about some of the notable women in the history of Greece.
Today we are talking about the Dewey-Stone neighborhood, first called Barnard’s Crossing or simply Barnard.
After the annex of Charlotte by the city of Rochester in 1916, Dewey-Stone became the first and is now the oldest neighborhood in the town of Greece. It’s bounded on the south by the railroad tracks at Barnard’s Crossing, on the north by English Road, on the east by Stonewood Avenue, and on the west by Mount Read Boulevard.
Reflecting the times in which they were built, the homes are smaller and closer together than more modern houses, an arrangement that fostered neighborliness. Here you will find mostly Cape Cod-styled homes, but some lovely craftsman bungalows such as the one pictured here on Briarcliff Road. Dewey Stone has the largest concentration of bungalow homes in Monroe County and…
Unique garage homes. During the Depression, the town allowed people who couldn’t afford to build a home to build a two-story garage and live there until they could build a standard home. But in many cases, the larger house was never constructed. These homes are set far back from the road because the main house was going to be built in front of it.
There are even a few Sears homes built in the Dewey Stone area, these houses are assembled from a kit ordered through Sears Roebuck & Company. “Sears provided building plans and specifications, along with the lumber and any other materials needed. The shipment included everything from nails, screws, and paint, to prebuilt building parts, such as staircases and dining nooks.” This house located here on Swansea Park was constructed from The Barrington No. 3260 which was printed in the 1930s Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog and built-in 1935. There are a few other Sears houses built in the Dewey Stone area and throughout the Rochester area and other parts of the country, some are even built in the backyard of the Sears Roebuck & Company offices in Illinois. If it is a Sears house kit there will be located on one of the joists or beams in the basement with the Model information on it that’s if it is still there on the wood.
On this 1902 map, you can see that the area is still mostly farmland.
But by the 1920s, the land was being sold for residential development.
With the highest concentration of residents in the town, naturally, businesses and other services gravitated to the area. The logical site to establish a hub was the Dewey, Stone, and Maiden Lane crossroads. One of the earliest establishments was Norman Cooper’s grocery on the northeast corner of Dewey Stone. The gas station was Essig’s.
In 1928, next to Norm Cooper’s businesses, John Reid purchased the corner lot from Dewey Avenue to Almay Road, building a “block of five stores on Stone Road.” It was the first shopping center in Greece.
Reid ran the Barnard Market and was succeeded after his death in 1957 by his two sons, Jack and Jim.
This is what the Reid Block looks like today.
Leon Cox helped found the Barnard Fire Department, was a town councilman, and was a leading businessman in the area.
In the summer of 1929, he and his wife Bertha opened a simple roadside hotdog stand which eventually morphed into one of the best-known establishments in Greece—the Dutch Mill. They expanded the business into a bar and restaurant after Prohibition ended.
Over the years the building was renovated and enlarged to hold all sorts of gatherings from card tournaments to wedding receptions. The name changed to the New Dutch Mill but reverted to simply The Dutch Mill under its last owners. In April 2022 after 93 years the Dutch Mill closed its doors for good.
One of the first strip malls, The Dewstone Shopping Center opened in 1948,
and featured Star Market.
The year before Dewstone opened, in a building just to the west, Jack Symonds opened a bakery. In 1960 he purchased property across the street at 614 Stone Road for his Jackson’s Bakery. Today, “It still operates in its original 2,400-square-foot footprint, with a small retail area in front and production room in back.” People from all over the county come to Jackson’s for their kuchen, cakes, and cookies.
People who lived and grew up in the Dewey Stone neighborhood characterize it as a village. All the shops and services they needed were close by.
This ad listing the businesses in the neighborhood was prefaced with the text. “The thriving Dewey-Stone Rd. Shopping Section offers residents of this pleasant residential community a concentrated shopping service that is complete in every respect. All types of stores are included and they offer a large variety of merchandise at fair prices. You’re doing business with a friend when you shop at the Dewey-Stone Rd. center. You’ll find it most convenient, too. The professional services of doctors and dentists are also available in the neighborhood as part of this well-organized community.”
There were ten grocery stores, a shoe store, a jewelry store, barbers, a tailor, ice cream shops, and a candy store, such as Johnny’s Sweet Shop at the corner of Dewey and Beverly Heights where you’d also learn the latest gossip.
On the southeast corner of Dewey and Stone for many years was McBride Brothers Grocery which then became McBride’s Tavern and Restaurant.
McBride’s stood on the site of the old SCHUYLER family home.
John and Maria Davis Schuyler and the other couple is John’s nephew John Simpson with wife Sarah Veness.
Not surprisingly, in addition to the commercial establishments, schools, and churches were centered here as well. Barnard School otherwise known as Common School District # 15 was located at Dewey and Maiden Lane.
The predecessor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, the Dewey Avenue Union Church, located at Dewey and Haviland Park, was founded in 1898. Bethany Presbyterian church was founded in 1910. In 1929 it was received into the Presbytery of Rochester and changed its name.
They moved to their current location, just north of the Reid Block on Dewey in 1952. Look closely at the church in the background of this photo we showed you before from the blizzard of ’66. Notice that there is no steeple.
The steeple which now dominates the skyline was completed in 1989.
St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Parish was established in 1929 with a church and school building across the street from Barnard School. On land that once was John H. Sheehan’s Property in 1924.
St. Charles Borromeo School did suffer a fire in 1938 and you can read about that story called A Community that Saved a School it was first published in the Greece Post on February 21, 2008 issue.
The church was completely remodeled in 1952 with a Spanish mission motif.
In 1966 ground was broken for a new church which would be set closer to Dewey Avenue.
It opened on Easter Sunday 1967.
“Early in 1927, a group of civic-minded citizens of the Barnard District seeing the rapid growth of the section, decided that some form of fire protection was needed. This group set about to organize a fire department, and on April 14, 1927, this was realized by having the incorporation papers approved by the Greece Town Board.” We’ll talk more about the Barnard Fire District in our next snapshot.
Property north of stone on the east side of Dewey Avenue, formerly the Vick Seed farm Snapshot 13, was purchased by George H. Clark in the early 1900s and was known as Glendemere Farm.
George Clarke donated 1.90 acres of that land to Barnard Fire Department in 1928 and sold 36.29 acres of the 55 1/2 acres of his property to the Diocese of Rochester in 1937 for $25,000.00. The Diocese then in turn donated it to the Sisters of St. Joseph who operated as an orphanage called St. Joseph Villa, which later became Villa of Hope.
The Remaining 20 acres north of the Villa of Hope were split into lots for single-family homes and then land to the south of the St Joseph’s Villa and in the back of Barnard Fire Department went to parking lots for Barnard Fire Department, Rochester Telephone, and Bethany Presbyterian Church.
In the late 1930s, as foster care was beginning to supplant orphanages, three in the city of Rochester closed their doors, but there were about 70 boys and girls for whom homes could not be found. The Sisters of St. Joseph opened St. Joseph’s Villa. Eventually, their mission transitioned to helping children in crisis.
The children were housed in “English Cottages.” Thomas Boyde, Jr., Rochester’s first African American architect, had a hand in designing some of the features of these cottages. You can learn more about Thomas Boyde, Jr. and the Boyde Project at the top of the page.
In 2013, since it was no longer affiliated with the Diocese of Rochester or the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Joseph’s Villa became Villa of Hope.
The Dewey Stone area had regular library service, but not its own public library. The book caravan stopped at the Dewey Avenue Union Church beginning in 1923 and was succeeded by the Monroe County Bookmobile for decades. The Willis N. Britton school library served as a public library for the community every six weeks the county library truck would drop off 50 books and the school would open up each night for a few hours so that adults could borrow books to read as well as the caravan traveling around the town to other spots so people could borrow books. In Hoover Drive’s Odyssey on page 7, the fourth sentence states “One should note that the Greece Public Library was not organized until the late 1950s, and there was no actual library building until the early 1960s.”
The Greece Public Library was established in 1958 with its first home in Greece Olympia high school. Between 1959 and 1963 before the Mitchell Road Library opened the library was housed at Greece Olympia High School, Greece Baptist Church, and Ridgecrest Plaza.
A main library was constructed on Mitchell Road in 1962. Above is the Groundbreaking for the Mitchell Road Branch. The Mitchell Road Branch officially opened in April 1963, and the hours of operation at that time were Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 1 to 5 p.m.
Four additional branches were added, to the Town’s Library system as well as the Monroe County Library system in order of library the year the branches came to exist, starting Paddy Hill in 1968 when the library board and the town entered into a lease with Mother of Sorrows Parish Committee to renovate the old church as a library, then came the North Greece branch which was located in the North Greece Plaza at 610 North Greece Road and that sits behind where Station 1 used to be for North Greece Fire Department and some people may have gone to the library there and then went to Hotel De May for Dinner or Lunch, that was followed by Lowden Point branch which was at 105 Lowden Point Rd, Rochester, NY 14612, not too far from where Milton “Midge” Staud’s Cottage you can learn more about the Staud Brothers in Bicentennial Snapshot No. 44: Prohibition, Rumrunners, and Bootleggers and just up the block was Grand View Heights Frie Company located and finally Dewey-Stone in 1980. This branch was a storefront library located in the Dewstone Shopping Center. The Dewstone was not the only storefront library before the Mitchell Branch opened it was in a storefront at the Ridgecrest Plaza.
The branch was moved to Dewey Avenue at Florence Avenue in 1998 and was the only branch retained after the new main library opened on the town hall campus in 2000.
In 2014 it moved again, a bit to the north on Dewey Avenue between Odessa and Shady Way. It was refashioned into a popular reading library.
During the Covid pandemic, Barnard Crossing was closed and there are no plans to re-open it.
Over the years some annual traditions developed in the Dewey-Stone neighborhood. For example, every summer Norman Cooper would give a bicycle to a lucky child. In this photo, children are gathered around Mr. Cooper in hopes that their name would be called.
From 1938 to the early 1960s, the holiday season ended and the new year was celebrated with a Twelfth Night bonfire on January 6. Residents would bring their Christmas trees to a site, for many years at St. Joseph’s Villa on the baseball field, and it was a huge controlled bonfire lit by members of the Barnard Fire Department in case the bonfire got out of hand. In 1938 there were more than a thousand trees in pile 20 feet high.
Barnard Carnival a fundraiser for the Barnard Fire Department
Every year people would line the streets to watch the parade that kick-offed the annual Barnard Fire Department’s Carnival and Parade. The Carnival was held every year the week after the Fourth of July from 1928 to 2016. Here is a collection of photos that we have in our digital files of the parade and the carnival as well as the Barnard Carnival Rest In Peace T-Shirt.
The Barnard Carnival and Parade were replaced with Bands at Barnard. You can find more information online for the 2023 schedule for Bands at Barnard by going to their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Bandsatbarnard.
Some additional related content to the Dewey Stone Area are:
Thank you for joining us today; next week we look at the Barnard and Lake Shore Fire Districts.
Today our topic is Gordon A. Howe, longtime Monroe County and Greece political leader whose career spanned 43 years.
When he died in 1989, Gordon A. Howe was eulogized by US Representative Frank Horton: “He was a great leader and an unusual person in that everyone respected him. He made tremendous contributions to county government and to Greece.”
Gordon Howe was born January 19, 1904, the son of Frank Howe from Hamilton County, New York, and Agnes Murray, a native of Scotland. He was one of five children. They moved to Greece in 1919, residing on Denise Road (where the Pine Grove apartments are today).
Howe was an all-around student at Charlotte High School this was when the high school just getting ready to move across the road to its new location to house more students.
an outstanding athlete,
member of the student council, president of his class his senior year,
and on the yearbook staff.
He even drew the cover for the 1921 Witan.
He graduated in 1924 and although he wanted to go to Columbia University and major in journalism, he had to forgo college and worked several years for Rochester Gas And Electric (RG&E).
However, it didn’t take him long to find his true calling—a life dedicated to political service. He became involved with Republican politics as soon as he could vote. In 1930 at the age of 26, he was elected to the position of Justice of the Peace—he was the youngest person in the state at the time ever elected to be a JP. He was self-educated in the law.
In 1933, due to the Depression, he lost his job as an insurance adjuster. He said: “I had to do something” so he decided to run for Greece Town Supervisor in 1934. He won at the age of 29, and continued to win, ultimately serving 13 two-year terms as Supervisor.
In 1937 Howe married Lois Speares, a former schoolmate.
They first lived in the historic Dennis Denise home at 486 Denise Road not far from his parents.
They had three children, Gordon II, Gretchen, and David.
In 1941, they purchased the historic Larkin-Beattie home, which was then located at 3177 Latta Road. Today it is the home of the Greece Historical Society on Long Pond Road.
The house came with 25 acres of land, perfect for hosting the annual picnic for the Greece Republican committee or the Barnard Fire Department of which Howe was a former volunteer.
Howe, along with his good friend and fellow Republican Al Skinner, who was Monroe County Sheriff from 1938 to 1973, dominated Greece politics for years.
During the Depression years, Howe secured WPA funds to improve roads, including filling in marshland to extend Edgemere Drive from Island Cottage Road to Manitou Road and Braddock Bay,
providing employment for 1500 Greece families on welfare. Another project was the installation of sanitary sewers in the Dewey-Stone area.
During Al Skinner and Gordon’s Political term, they also had to deal with the Second World War 1940-1945. More on World War II and its effects during Gordon’s Term.
While supervisor, Howe saw the town grow from a population of 12,000 to well on its way to becoming the largest Rochester suburb. The population of Greece rose 402% between 1930 and 1960.
The frist recorded population for the town of Greece was in 1825 it showed that the town had One Thousand Five Hundred Forty Seven people living in the town. In 1830 Depending on the U.S. Census or Landmarks of Monroe County Published in 1895 reports two different populations either it is 2,574 or 2,571 Depending on which data you are looking at in terms of the population.
The biggest change in population amount from 1910 to 1930 was when the city of Rochester wanted the Port of Rochester and the Lake Ave corridor this caused the town to lose population from 7,777 in 1910 and in 1920 to a population of 3,350 and a lose of 56.9% of the towns population. But in 1930 after the dust finally settled from the annexations of parts of the town of Greece it rose 261.60% to a population of 12,113, and every year after 1930 the town grew in leaps and bounds and in 2010 the town reached a population of 96,095. In 2019 the town started to see the population dip under 96,100, some of that is because of how New York State is ran, but also people move to where the work is and able to make more income and have better life for their families.
Under Howe’s leadership, Greece set the standard for housing tracts, requiring developers to meet requirements regarding the installation of asphalt highways, concrete curbing and sidewalks, street lights, and sanitary and storm sewers.
In 1948 Howe was elected as chairman of the Monroe County Board of Supervisors a position he held until 1960 when the Board appointed him County Manager.
During his twelve-year tenure, Howe was responsible for building the Civic Center Plaza,
And expanding the airport
He was a pioneer in consolidating county and city services “moving the community toward a more metropolitan government. Parks, health services, and social services were taken over by the county when he was manager.”
Others have praised him for his “far-sighted” initiative of the Pure Waters Project beginning the process of cleaning up Lake Ontario and the Genesee River by halting the discharge of sewage into them. One editorial said: “Today at a time when other metro areas face disastrous water-contamination problems, the Monroe County Pure Waters System, in the opinion of many, is the finest in the country.”
For Gordon Howe, personally, was proudest of establishing Monroe Community College, as seen in this oil painting it was once in the dining room at the Society but has since been transferred and put in archive storage for safekeeping and better preservation of the picture.
Howe served as County Manager until 1972. Former long-time Monroe County Sherriff Andy Meloni said about Howe: “He was a quiet man…a good man…a very kind man who could settle disagreements and never provoke animosities.”
After his death in 1989, the Monroe County Office building was named for him.
And the Portrait seen on the left is located in the Gordon A Howe Monroe County office building on the first floor.
And in 1988 the House where he raised Gordon II, Gretchen, and David grew up was moved to the location it is today as it became the home to the Greece Historical Society and Museum.
Thank you for joining us today, next week we’ll tour the Dewey Stone neighborhood.
Today we will look back at some of the illnesses and diseases that affected the lives of many children.
When we conduct walking tours of local cemeteries, we get asked about all the small tombstones. Yes, they usually indicate the grave of a child. Here in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery are the graves of eight Newell children: Anna, Edward, George, another George, Hattie, Henry, Julia, and Willard.
The child mortality rate in the United States, for children under the age of five, was 462.9 deaths per thousand births in 1800. This means that for every thousand babies born in 1800, over 46 percent did not make it to their fifth birthday. Over the course of the next 220 years, this number has dropped drastically, and the rate has dropped to its lowest point ever in 2020 where it is just seven deaths per thousand births. Although the child mortality rate has decreased greatly over this 220-year period, there were two occasions where it increased; in the 1870s, as a result of the fourth cholera pandemic, smallpox outbreaks, and yellow fever, and in the late 1910s, due to the Spanish Flu pandemic. source: UN DESA; World Population Prospects 2019, Online Edition
Most of the Newell children lived less than a year, one died at the age of three, and the longest surviving child died at the age of 12. In the United States during the 1850s and ‘60s, 42% of children died before the age of five. There were numerous communicable diseases prevalent in the 19th century. These included smallpox, diphtheria, measles, meningitis, scarlet fever, and whooping cough. Cholera infantum was also common.
One historian wrote: “Up until the 1930s, infant mortality, especially in the cities during the summers, was ferocious. Infant susceptibility to a variety of respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders was exacerbated by poor sanitation, overcrowded tenements, contaminated milk supplies, and lack of refrigeration.” Cholera infantum was a gastrointestinal disease of infants and children. “Various strategies were devised to remove infants from danger during the hottest months.” One strategy was tent hospitals. One was set up in the Town of Greece along Lake Ontario on Beach Ave where Waterview Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center and some parts of where Lakeshore Country Club holes 16 and 17 were used as walking paths before the country club was formed in 1932 on the Greenleaf Estate.
Believing that the pure air and salubrious effects of breezes off Lake Ontario could benefit the health of sickly children, Dr. Edward Mott Moore established the Infants Summer Hospital circa 1885 on land
…donated by Halbert S. Greenleaf. Greenleaf and his wife, Jean Brooks Greenleaf, had a summer residence on the property that extended from Latta Road to Beach Avenue. It was also the largest stock farm in Monroe County.
The land was situated on a bluff overlooking Lake Ontario just west of the village of Charlotte. The tent hospital was on today’s Beach Avenue. The Greenleaf’s Summer property was 167 acres. His neighbors were the Flemings, the Lings, Mrs. G.C. Latta, J.G. Martie, David Tennison, Orin Hoxey, and the McManus.
They first erected tents to house sick children. Ample accommodations were provided for mothers who expected to stay with their children. There were no charges for any service or care.
By 1888, some permanent buildings had been erected.
Once milk began to be pasteurized there were fewer cases of cholera infantum and children suffering from cardiac conditions or orthopedic injuries needing a lengthy recuperation were admitted here for care.
The Map to the right is the 1932 Plate Map of the City of Rochester which shows the Greenleaf Property subdivided at the Clarence S. Lunt Property.
This 1935 Plat Map shows a better close-up of the Infants Summer Hospital listed on the map.
In 1929 the name was changed to Convalescent Children’s Hospital. It operated at the Beach Avenue address until 1960. Today the building is Waterview Heights Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
Another challenging disease for doctors was diphtheria,
What is Diphtheria?
The definition of diphtheria according to the Oxford Dictionary is an acute, highly contagious bacterial disease, causing inflammation of the mucous membranes, formation of a false membrane in the throat that hinders breathing and swallowing, and can cause potentially fatal heart and nerve damage by a bacterial toxin in the blood. It is now rare in developed countries because of immunization.
Since the disease was so contagious people were quarantined for a range of 12 days to several weeks. Emma Pollard Greer writes in her History of Charlotte that an outbreak in the summer of 1881 delayed the opening of school in the fall.
In 1913, a boy in the Brown family of West Greece was stricken; his older brother was a teacher at the Brick School, District School No. 10 on Lake Avenue. That school was shut down in the hopes of stopping the spread of what was also called “the choking disease.” You can learn more about this district school in Bicentennial Snapshot # 43
A native of a small town in Illinois, Dr. George Sanders settled in Greece after serving in World War I. He would maintain a practice in Greece for almost 50 years, serving as the Town health officer as well from 1920 to 1944, and as the school district’s physician from 1960-1968.
You can read the digitized copy of his autobiography here on our site
His home and office were on Ridge Road in a beautiful old house.
In his reminiscences, Dr. Sanders describes his campaigns to keep children in Greece safe from the communicable diseases that so often took the lives of children at an early age—smallpox, measles, scarlet fever, and diphtheria. Using horses who were immune to it, an anti-toxin was developed to inoculate children against diphtheria.
Dr. Sanders wrote: “The year before I arrived in Greece the last case of smallpox occurred. Vaccinations had been started and with everyone vaccinated today the disease has disappeared, but diphtheria was a dreaded disease; I got in on the first diphtheria anti-toxin treatments.”
“The groundbreaking campaigns against diphtheria in the 1920s and ’30s evolved into a universal program of infant vaccination in the United States. A DTP vaccine, created in the 1940s, combined diphtheria and tetanus toxoids with an inactivated version of the bacteria that causes whooping cough (pertussis).”
Between 1945 and 1955, those earlier diseases were supplanted by another that struck terror in the hearts of parents—polio. Polio (short for poliomyelitis, once called infantile paralysis), is used to strike thousands of children in the United States each year. According to one historian: “By mid-century, polio had become the nation’s most feared disease. And with good reason. It hit without warning. It killed some victims and marked others for life, leaving behind vivid reminders for all to see: wheelchairs, crutches, leg braces, and deformed limbs. In 1921, it paralyzed 39-year-old Franklin Delano Roosevelt, robust and athletic, with a long pedigree and a cherished family name. If a man like Roosevelt could be stricken, then no one was immune.” Look at this picture of him attending the Mother of Sorrow's Church centennial celebration on June 8, 1930, we may not know what was to the right of him in the picture but look at how the Governor left hand is gripping the right arm of his secretary Guernsey T. Cross, a certain way, so that FDR could stand up for this picture, in the back of him he may have some sort of device to help him stand up because of the state of paralysis from polio but because this was a photo for the Public we do not have the full picture to the right of the governor in this picture.
In 1945, there were 12 Grecians suffering from polio. More than half the men, women, and children attacked by polio recovered with no enduring effects 29 percent were left with a slight residual paralysis, 18 percent remained handicapped, and three percent died. It was most fatal to children under the age of 10.
Polio was one of the costliest diseases known to medicine. Some Insurance Companies set up insurance policies for people with Polio to be able to cover the costs of Polio treatments and medical bills related to pay for care if someone had Polio, yet today the same insurance companies no longer will set up coverage to pay for treatments for Cancer, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19 related health issues or other diseases because they are now at the whims of shareholders and Wall Street over the policyholders.
Treatment of the disease in its acute stage required constant skilled nursing, extensive physical therapies, and frequently expensive equipment. That care and treatment often extended for months afterward.
“During the epidemics of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, some patients with serious breathing problems were placed in an "iron lung," a cylindrical chamber that surrounded a patient's body from the neck down, which used rhythmic alterations in air pressure to force air in and out of the individual's lungs.” In 1950, realizing that their iron lung machine was better off in a hospital setting, the Barnard Fire Department donated it to Strong Memorial Hospital. We will get to Barnard Fire Department in Snapshot # 50. And in 2020 at least one company at least in the state of Kansas started to make a modern-day version of the Iron Lung to help build them because of the short supply of ventilators in the country because of COVID-19. As of this post currently, there are at least 2 people left living using Iron Lungs in the United States.
Every January for more than 10 years, the women of Greece participated in the campaign to raise money to find a vaccine to prevent polio. The campaign culminated in the Mothers March, a night when everyone was asked to leave their porch lights on and the mothers went from door to door in their neighborhoods soliciting donations. Every home in the town was canvassed. In 1952 almost 2,000 mothers participated. It was an all-out effort joined by many others in the community to contribute to the campaign to fund research for a vaccine.
Every year the Men’s Brotherhood of Bethany Presbyterian Church held a dance; two of the organizers were polio survivors. There were collection boxes in all the schools. The Paddy Hill Players put on a benefit show.
And every year they hoped for an effective vaccine. That hope was realized in 1955; The Jonas Salk vaccine was first to be approved that year; it was made from completely inactivated polio viruses and injected into the body. The oral vaccine developed by Albert Sabin was made from weakened polio viruses. It was introduced in 1963. A kindergarten class in a Greece school was a testing site for the Salk vaccine; the children were given two shots over a two-week period in May 1954. They were part of the largest human experiment in history. Although recently in the news, still, because of the polio vaccine, cases in the United States are very rare now.
Thank you for joining us today, next week we look at Gordan A. Howe
Today we will talk about how past epidemics and pandemics affected the town of Greece.
Here’s a graphic we’ve become familiar with. Since March 2020, we have been living with the COVID-19 virus.
During the pandemic of the last three years, we have had to make numerous adjustments to mitigate the impact of this deadly virus.
Some of the same mitigation supplies and tactics were used in at least one other pandemic which was the Spanish flu in 1918. They included wearing masks, and gloves and people started washing their hands. But there was no officially created hand sanitizer designed per se but they did use 70% or higher alcohol as a cleansing agent to ensure certain tools and supplies were clean and ready to be used.
In the early days, masks became obligatory. Some people felt it was not necessary for the mask to be used but the stores that were deemed essential services because of the type of industry they were in required patrons to mask up, keep them six feet or two meters apart, constantly sanitize hands, if you touch it take it do not put it back for someone else to take, most Restaurants that allowed you to dine-in had to resort to take-out only because they could not allow anyone in the restaurant unless they worked at the restaurant. Banks were drive-thru or atm-only. Government offices, schools, and most businesses switch to remote work and or eLearning for most of 2020 and part of 2021. Some other businesses were closed altogether because of federal, state, county, or local laws that were issued to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Almost the entire country was shut down except for Flordia which did not close anything down but the companies that did operate in Flordia that had national chains took the preventive measures to close and do what was best for their customers.
Town Board Meetings were not held in person but on Facebook Live.
Even our Tuesday Programs for a bit were put together using Zoom.
And everyone found different ways to meet instead of face to face.
Tens of thousands of people were stricken with the disease; our hospitals and other medical facilities were overwhelmed. Too often family members could not be with patients. Sadly, presently more than 1700 in Monroe County have died.
Throughout its history, the people of Greece have had to endure other deadly diseases. You may recall seeing this drawing in an earlier Snapshot, but we want to again point out how swampy the shoreline of the Genesee River was, not only at the mouth of the river but along much of its length in the 9 miles upriver to Rochesterville. A perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. An octogenarian wrote in 1868.”This country was sickly, as all new lands are, particularly at the mouth of the river, where two or three sets of inhabitants died off, and indeed the whole country was infected with agues and fevers.”
It wiped out the early settlement of King’s Landing which we told you about in Snapshot 4. The early settlers called it Genesee Fever; it was a relentless cycle of fever and chills that plagued them during the warmer months—the cold and snowy months brought them some relief. People blamed it on a miasma, that is, a “noxious vapor rising from marshes or decomposing matter that infected and poisoned the air.” They did not realize that the mosquitos which thrived in the swampy waters of the river banks was the cause.
One historian says, that about twenty graves were made in 1798, at King’s Landing, for people who had succumbed to the Genesee Fever. One of them was Gideon King, founder of the settlement. After his widow died in 1830, a tombstone was erected on her husband’s grave; it was inscribed with these words: “The Genesee Fever was mortal to most heads of families in 1798, and prevented further settlements till about 1815.” It was half a century before medical professionals diagnosed Genesee Fever as malaria.
Another deadly illness ascribed to miasma was cholera. Greece settlers were affected by two epidemics, one in 1832 and one in 1852. Much like the COVID virus was introduced to this country by travelers, so too was cholera. According to “Letters on Yellow Fever, Cholera and Quarantine; Addressed to the Legislature of the State of New York: With Additions and Notes,” in 1852, cholera originated in India. In the early 1800s, it started to spread out of Asia, eventually making its way to North America in 1832. It arrived on the continent in Quebec and Montreal, brought via emigrant ships. It then made its way to New York State. Cholera officially reached Rochester on July 12, 1832.
Cholera is caused by contaminated water and food. A toxigenic bacterium infected the small intestine triggering an acute, diarrheal illness. Sanitation was extremely poor; sewer systems were non-existent and people did not connect the disease to polluted water, but to miasma.
Most of the cholera victims lived close to the Genesee River or the Erie Canal into which raw sewage was dumped. Public wells became contaminated as did private wells as they were very often located close to outdoor privies.
Cholera was also called the Blue Death; the severe dehydration caused by diarrhea turned a victim’s skin blue. “The seemingly vigorous in the morning were carried to their graves before night,” wrote Jenny Marsh Parker in 1884.
In 1832, the cholera epidemic broke out in Rochester and the surrounding towns. In just six short weeks, the epidemic took almost 2,500 lives, or 1% of the population of the area. During the months of July and August business and travel were almost entirely suspended. Giles Holden, head of the Board of Health centered in Charlotte, closed the port and posted guards on Ridge Road to keep infected parties out of Greece.
One reference said that the people who succumbed to cholera in the 1832 epidemic were buried in unmarked graves in the northwest corner of the Charlotte cemetery, in the area surrounding Sam Patch’s grave.
There were a series of deadly outbreaks of cholera in the mid-1850s. 1852, 1854, and 1856. In 1854, one of the victims was Belinda Holden Marshall, married to ship’s captain Steven Marshall and sister of Giles Holden. In September of 1856, twelve immigrants, sick with cholera, were left at Charlotte. Henry Spencer, the poor master, had them taken in a wagon to a building near the pier so they would be isolated from the villagers. Some of them were children who were so delighted with the ride to the lake that they shouted and waved their hands. They all died the next day. They too are buried in the Charlotte Cemetery also in unmarked graves.
But the hardest hit area was Paddy Hill.
A newspaper article in 1879, said about the 1852-54 epidemic: “The writer of this can go back in memory to the great cholera plague of over a quarter of a century ago which rendered this city desolate and populated its graveyards. The surrounding towns were free from the visitation of this destroyer except for the town of Greece immediately about Mount Reed, predominantly south of Our Mother of Sorrows church. Cholera held fatal revel for many days and swept away to eternity members of the best families in the locality. There was terror everywhere around and the little graveyard that caps the hill witnessed more corpses at a time to the burial than there were mourners able to be present.” In the ensuing years, the residents of Paddy Hill predominantly south of Our Mother of Sorrows church were particularly susceptible to dysentery as well as cholera and had a high rate of fatalities as the headline states.
Medical professionals concluded that well water was being contaminated from run-off from the cemetery.
There are many parallels between the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, measures to prevent the spread of the flu were the same later recommended for covid.
Where ships and boats were agents spreading the cholera contagion in the 19th century, trains were the agent in the 20th and would give way to airplanes in the 21st century.
Most of the documentation for the Spanish flu in Monroe County is about the city of Rochester, but one can still get a sense of its impact on Greece. There were three deadly waves of the flu between the spring of 1918 and the spring of 1919. Rochester was most seriously affected by the fall of the 1918 wave. In the two months between the middle of September and the middle of November, more than 10,000 people caught the flu, and 1,000 of them died. But health authorities acted quickly to contain the spread; two weeks after the first cases occurred, they closed schools, theatres, churches, sports venues, hotel bars, and other places where people gathered.
Troop transports facilitated the spread and infections at military posts were high. That was the case in Greece. At the time of the Spanish flu, Kodak Park was still a part of the town of Greece. There was an aerial photography school posted there.
Fifty-seven men from the school came down with the flu.
So, the old Infant Summer Hospital on Beach Avenue was reopened to care for them.
The towns around Rochester fared much better than the city; the number of infections was manageable.
Nevertheless, school nurses from the city visited homes in Greece. One nurse, Rose Weber, visited a family of eight in Greece, and every single member of the family was infected; the youngest child was little more than an infant. “No one was dying but every person was in need of care. Miss Weber saw that the family was made as comfortable as possible. A doctor interested himself and toward midnight went to the home with a woman who had consented to care for the family.”
Thank you for joining us this week; next week we will look at those diseases that greatly impacted children.
Today we continue our Prohibition in Greece story with a look at the speakeasies that dotted the town.
Clinton N. Howard
Clinton N. Howard was a powerful, passionate, and persuasive advocate against alcohol. He was called the “Little Giant” (he was only five feet tall) and the “Apostle of Prohibition.” Widely known as a brilliant orator, it was said that between 1901 and 1920 when the 18th amendment was passed, he had addressed more people than any other living individual. He visited almost every town and city in the nation. He gave more than 3500 sermons just in the Rochester area alone.
Howard damned Latta Road as “the Highway to Hell” because of the number of speakeasies along its length. Once Prohibition went into effect, Howard was a constant watchman to see that it was enforced. He disguised himself (sometimes as a woman) and went into places to obtain evidence the law was being violated in more than 300 cases. During the first week of April 1921 alone, a disguised Howard (he looked like a derelict), along with two US Secret Service agents. visited 138 bars and was served whiskey at 137. He did so to prove his claim that the Rochester area was openly flouting the law and that local police were doing little or nothing to enforce it.
But the beach resorts and hotels that catered to the tourists and summer vacationers were going to continue to give their clientele what it wanted, law or no law.
Grand View Beach Hotel
Anthony Kleinhans built the Grand View Beach Hotel circa 1882 at 2200 Edgemere Drive (today Old Edgemere Drive). Joseph Rossenbach, Sr. took over and then was succeeded by his son, Joseph Rossenbach, Jr. who was a proprietor during Prohibition. Newspapers referred to the Grand View Beach Hotel as an “exclusive lakeshore nightclub.” Thousands of dollars had been spent to transform the wooden building, which faced the lake, into an attractive resort. It was “one of the most exclusive of the lakeside night clubs…having long been popular with merrymakers who seek recreation at the midnight hour.” Right from the earliest days of Prohibition, the Hotel was a favorite target of dry agents.
But the year 1930 was extraordinary; in August three raids were made on the Hotel in quick succession. The raids marked the first time within the memory of any of the Rochester agents that a place had been visited two nights in succession. When the agents staged their surprise raid on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 6, four barrels of beer, immersed in the cool waters of Lake Ontario which flowed through a cellaret under the bar room were found.
The warrant used in the raid on the night of August 7 was executed in Buffalo on a complaint of two special agents, who reported they had made several “buys” of liquor at the Hotel on Wednesday night, scarcely two hours after the first raid. Agents swarmed into the crowded barroom just as the evening’s gaiety was getting underway. Catching a glimpse of the raiders approaching the door, Harry Lames, the bartender, began smashing every bottle within reach. The tinkling glass spurred the agents to greater speed. One started to leap over the bar shouting threats. Lames desisted in his efforts to destroy the evidence.
Although the agents did not enter the crowded dining room of the Grand View Beach Hotel on August 7, “news of the raid spread quickly and in a moment the place was in an uproar. Glasses were emptied surreptitiously under the tables or tossed into handy flowerpots. Agents reported several cuspidors in the barroom were filled to overflowing with liquid smelling strangely like alcohol as worried customers stood awkwardly nearby with empty glasses in hand.” On August 9, in the third raid in four days, State Troopers seized liquor samples in a midnight raid on the luckless hotel once again. Ultimately, the Grand View Beach Hotel Bar was ordered padlocked for six months in October 1930.
Sea Glades Hotel/Bar/Restaurant
The Sea Glades hotel/bar/restaurant located at 788 Edgemere Drive was known by various names over the years, Outlet Cottage, Lake View, The Breakers, Surf Club, and Edgewater, but during the height of the Prohibition era, it was called Sea Glades. The proprietor, Ward Vaughn, was considered the most genial of hosts and a “highly personable character.” At the Sea Glades, Vaughn had a “class trade” who liked to spend freely and stay late. It became Vaughn’s custom to invite his customers to the darkened porch of the Sea Glades to watch the cases of whiskey and bags of ale as they were “imported” from Canada from a boat idling just beyond the sandbar. He figured it proved his claim that his product was “right off the boat.” The rumrunners, however, didn’t like so many witnesses, so they shifted to a nearby cove and loaded the liquor into an automobile, and then delivered it to Sea Glades. Vaughn, reluctant to give up his nighttime drama, just substituted his own employees offloading empty wooden cases from a boat borrowed from a friend, his customers none the wiser about the charade.
Mike Conroy Boxing Career
An immigrant from Watervliet, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium whose real name was Clement J. Versluys, Conroy made his professional boxing debut on May 31, 1920; and during his ten-year career, with 57 bouts he won 34, 22 of them were KOs, Lost 19, 8 of them were KOs., and 4 Draws. The remaining matches for Mike Conroy’s carrier were before he turned pro which put his record at 31 Wins, 22 of them were KOs, and 2 were either losses or draws before he went pro which puts his overall wins at 65 wins of his 79 bouts, 42 of them by knockouts (KOs). He also won several heavyweight titles here in New York State and on December 13, 1924, Mike Conroy won his match in Havana, Cuba against Antolin Fierro the match was planned to be a 10-round match but by the 5th round, Mike had successfully Knocked out Antolin Fierro and took home the Cuban Heavyweight title to Greece, New York. He was a sparring partner of Gene Tunney during the five years leading up to Tunney’s defeating “Battling Jack Dempsey” (Henry Peaks) for the heavyweight crown. Conroy also fought exhibitions with Jack Dempsey. Dempsey and Tunney were the two leading boxers of the Prohibition era.
Mike Conroy Stats from BoxRec.com and according to BoxRec.com the stats they have for Mike Conroy’s professional debut. any Fights listed in his record before that date of this fight, in record published in THE RING, were amateur affairs.
Clement J. Versluys
Rochester, New York, USA
Watervliet, Oost-Vlaanderen, Belgium
Mike Conroy’s Professional Boxing Stats
Pine Tree Inn
Mike Conroy’s Pine Tree Inn, located at 1225 Ridge Road West at the terminal of Mount Read Blvd, was formerly the home of the Lay family, one of the early settler families in Greece. The name comes from the pine trees which used to surround the apple orchards. It was converted to a tavern-hotel around the turn of the 20th century and was purchased by Conroy in December 1928. The congenial Conroy, known as the Bull of Ridge Road, didn’t let the Volstead Act get in the way of his turning the Pine Tree Inn into a local hotspot. His establishment was raided by dry agents in August 1929 and in May 1930 and padlocked in December 1932. Conroy’s inn straddled “the line between the town of Greece and the city of Rochester,” and his lawyers used that quirk to beat convictions. If the warrant said the property was in Greece, the lawyer produced a paper, such as a gas bill, saying it was in the city and vice versa. In due course, agents learned to make out warrants both ways.
Domino Inn / Cosmo Club
As we told you in Snapshot 24, the hotel at Latta and North Greece roads had many names during its 108-year history. It was the Domino Inn and Cosmo Inn during Prohibition. In August 1922, private detectives caught proprietors Harry Wilson and Lewis Dustin serving highballs, cider, and whiskey. Wilson and Dustin were ordered to appear in court to show cause why they should not be removed from maintaining their property. On April 16, 1926, the Domino Inn was raided by a squad of federal agents; they confiscated a pint of gin and proprietor Lewis Dustin again had to answer for it in court. Under new ownership with a new name, the Cosmo Club, the inn was again a target for dry agents in 1932 when proprietor Ray Keck (who previously owned a restaurant at the intersection of Latta Road and Long Pond Road) was arrested for possession of two half barrels of beer and a small quantity of liquor.
T.W. Beatty & Son. Island Cottage Hotel
Beatty’s Island Cottage Hotel, at 953 Edgemere Drive near Island Cottage, was a lakeshore landmark built by Thomas Beatty in 1891 shortly after the opening of the Charlotte Manitou rail line. It soon became the spot to go for summer outings and picnics. Raymond Beatty took over the operation of the hotel in 1917. It was nearly destroyed in a fire in 1932. Ray Beatty and Walter Riddell, the bartender, were arrested after a raid on July 23, 1932, when seven half-barrels of beer, 330 gallons of cider, and assorted liquors were impounded. Riddell was arrested and fined again in May 1933 just months before the law’s repeal.
Reardon’s Inn / Braddock Bay Grill
Reardon’s Inn, later the Braddock’s Bay Hotel, was located at 372 Manitou Road. William and Jane Reardon owned and operated Reardon’s Inn. Jane Reardon was arrested on August 13, 1931, for possessing two half barrels of beer, two gallons of cider, two ounces of whisky, and two ounces of gin. She pleaded guilty in September and was fined $100.00. Today it is the Braddock Bay Grill.
Grove House, located at 187 Long Pond Road was established at least as early as 1880. It was considered a roadhouse compared to more upscale speakeasies.
The arrests made during raids were for comparatively little alcohol; there was “some beer, wine and cider” on August 28, 1929; 16 one-gallon jugs of cider on November 29, 1929; and a mere two gallons of cider and one barrel of beer in August 1931.
The bar was padlocked for several months in 1932.
Grove House’s alcohol was supplied by the Staud Brothers. According to Dwight Bliss, George Staud told him that they kidnapped a federal agent, who infiltrated the Staud organization and held him in the basement of Grove House where they threatened him with a “one-way ride to Lake Ontario.” The agent managed to escape, but possibly still in fear of the Stauds, requested a transfer to Detroit where he thought he’d be safer.
After Prohibition, George and Eddie Staud operated the restaurant at Grove House.
After the Staud brothers, Fred Rotunno owned it for a bit before it became Barnard’s Grove you can read more on the Grove house from Fred Rotunno and Edmond Uschold interview that was done by George Caswell and Edwin Spelman on August 10, 1977.
Today, it’s Barnard’s Grove Restaurant.
Explore the Prohibition and Speakeasies Exhibit – Ongoing
To learn more about the Prohibition Era in Greece visit the Greece Historical Society and Museum at 595 Long Pond Road, where Rumrunners, Speakeasies, and Bathtub Gin is an ongoing exhibit. The Museum’s hours are Sundays, 1:30-4 pm, March through December.
Below is a custom map created by members of the society that shows all the locations of the speakeasies.
On the Map Below the Reardon’s Inn is actually supposed to be marked on the John Mose 4 acres lot and not on F.H. Straub land
Today we are exploring the wild and lawless days of Prohibition.
In 1909, a vote to make Greece a “dry” town was narrowly defeated. The agricultural interests of the town clashed with the beach resorts and tourist attractions that catered to a clientele that drank. One newspaper account said, “The grudge of the farmers was that their hired help deserted as soon as they got a month’s pay and bathed in the alcoholic delights of Charlotte and Ontario Beach.” On the other side of the debate were the many town residents of Irish, German, and Italian descent for whom wine and spirits were an everyday part of their culture.
By the time Congress took up the question of national prohibition, 33 of the 48 states were already dry. When Congress sent the eighteenth amendment to the states for ratification, where it needed three-fourths approval, they allowed a generous seven years for its passage, but in just 13 months enough states said yes to the amendment. Drinking liquor was never illegal. People were allowed to drink intoxicating liquor in their own homes or in the home of a friend when they were a bona fide guest. And it was legal to make or consume wine or cider in the home. Buying and selling it was illegal; people were not allowed to carry a hip flask or give or receive a bottle of liquor as a gift.
Exempted from the law was the use of alcohol in lawful industries, for religious practices such as communion wine, and for scientific and medicinal purposes. Intoxicating liquor could be obtained via a doctor’s prescription; the rate of sales for medicinal alcohol went up 400%.
The poem to the right says it all; ordinary people, probably law-abiding citizens before 1920, were defying the law. And many were living in the town of Greece.
Rumrunners were smuggling liquor from Canada by sea and bootleggers carried it over the roads. With eight miles of shoreline and roads leading to downtown Rochester and points west and east, Greece was a hotbed of prohibition defiance.
Some of these prohibition slang were used during the era of prohibition and speakeasies
*got to see someone about a dog –going out to buy bootleg whiskey
*needle beer –filling a syringe with pure alcohol and piercing the cork on a bottle of “near beer”
*whisper sister, ladylegger –female proprietor of a speakeasy
*white lightning –whiskey
*giggle water –alcoholic beverage
*hooch, bathtub gin –illegal moonshine
*cutting –making counterfeit liquor by mixing it with artificial ingredients to simulate the real thing
*set-up –ginger ale or soda served by speakeasies, to which customers added their own liquor from hip flasks
Canadian Ben Kerr, the self-styled “King of the Rum Runners,” was one of the most successful of the rum smugglers. He made regular trips to the beaches from Greece east to Pultneyville; he refused to land on American shores, customers had to row out to his boat, he frequently changed his drop days, and he wouldn’t travel under a full moon, preferring dark, foggy, or hazy nights. There are used copies available on Amazon via Thriftbooks or you can get it on the kindle https://smile.amazon.com/Whisky-Ice-Canadas-Daring-Rumrunner/dp/1550022490 you can preview the book here on the right.
As of this post there is 1 new copy and 11 used copies available on Amazon
Preview of The Saga of Ben Kerr
Preview of Berine you’re a Bootlegger
Joan Winghart Wilcox Sullivan wrote about her father, Bernie Winghart, her paternal uncle, Ernie, and her aunt, Mamye (who was a Schaller); they were known as the Bootlegging Trio. As of this post, there are 5 new and 2 used paperback copies available on Amazon and it is also available to read on the Kindle. Check out the preview of the book on the left.
Andrew Wiedenmann was born on November 15, 1865, to Michael and Anna (Merdler) Wiedenmann who had eleven children together. His father Michael Wiedenmann was a cooper and worked in that trade just like Tom Toal we talked about in a previous snapshot. Anna (Merdler) Wiedenmann survived until May 1909. Three of the Wiedenmann children served in three different parts of the City of Rochester Government, William served on Detective Force; Frederick was an Attorney of the city and a member of the City Council representing the 15th ward for thirty-two years, and Andrew featured in the picture to the right, his other brother George Wiedenmann died in 1905 and was a Profession Baseball Player for the Detriot Ball Club. Anna and Edward died young. His sisters included Katherine, Julia, Minnie, and Anna (Wiedenmann) Kugler.
Andrew Wiedenmann was Collector of the Port of Rochester for much of Prohibition and as such he supervised many of the sorties against rumrunners on both lake and land throughout his district. This area covered 178 miles from the western end of Orleans County east to Oswego County. He was diligent, aggressive, and resourceful in his quest for Prohibition scofflaws.
But before he became the Customs Collector at the Port of Rochester, he attended the Whitney school as a boy later he attended the Rochester Free Academy. From 1886 to 1890 he was a Professional Baseball player for Rochester, Buffalo, Hamilton, Ontario, and Portland, Maine clubs. He went on to hold his first public office as the deputy collector for the Internal Revenue Service for his district from 1897 to 1901, then made a police court investigator for sixteen years, and then in 1917 he was elected sheriff of Monroe County and held that role until December 31, 1920, and in 1924 President Calvin Coolidge appointed Andrew Wiedenmann as the Collector of the Port of Rochester.
His keen eyes and his investigative skills came in handy as well he was the Collector of the port of Rochester when he was the Head Sheriff of Monroe County he knew places where he would watch for people to sneak stuff into town and where to spring traps to collect the crooks. He once walked the beach from Charlotte to Manitou investigating rumors of liquor shipments being off-loaded in obscure spots. On the walk, he came across a group of people hiding under a tarp with contraband alcohol.
As the Customs Collector at the Port of Rochester, Wiedenmann often accompanied the Coast Guard (U.S.C.G.S) in their pursuit of rumrunners in the darkest hours of the night. He would shout: “We are United States Customs Officers. I order you to halt.”
On July 12, 1924, he and his agents chased a truck laden with 1200 bottles of ale 18 miles along Ridge Road. Bullets flew as gunfire was exchanged.
Andrew Wiedenmann caught both Ben Kerr and the Bootlegging Trio. But his biggest challenge was the notorious Staud brothers from the town of Greece. By the way, all three of the books mentioned here today are in the museum’s reference library. You can at least get the first two books on a Kindle by Amazon but the book Booze, Barns, Boats, and Brothers which is about the Staud brothers is only in the museum reference library and can be viewed when the museum is open or by making an appointment to look at the book.
On July 8, 1930, the Democrat & Chronicle wrote this about the Staud brothers: they are “The most dangerous and intrepid gang of rum runners in Western New York.” Local newspapers also characterized the brothers as the “most daring,” “most powerful,” and “notorious” of smugglers. The gang operated out of a home on Grand View Heights Road (today, South Drive).
Look pretty innocent, don’t they? But they were ruthless thugs when they grew up. From right to left, Karl, George, Edward, and Milton, called Midge.
They were the sons of George C. and Ida Staud (the couple also had three daughters); their father was the postmaster of Rochester from 1917-1921 while Andrew Wiedenmann was the Sheriff from 1917-1920. He had plenty of trouble with them as teenagers, but did not live to see their Prohibition notoriety. Their mother had also died, but their stepmother was living. Between Andrew Wiedenmann and his brothers, William who served on Detective Force; and his brother Frederick who served as an attorney for the City of Rochester may have had other run-ins with the Staud Brothers. Before the Staud Brothers went into the bootlegging business during prohibition.
Karl was the eldest, born about 1895. His nickname was “K-the Bishop.” He had a muscle infirmity and walked with a limp. He acted as the gang’s accountant, keeping the books for shipments and payments, and also for Midge’s speakeasies. He also frequently provided bail for George and Eddie. George was born in early 1900. He was described as a “scrapper,” tall and lean. Eddie, born also in 1900, “did most of the dirty work.” “Midge” was born in 1901. He was broad-shouldered and tall at 6’3”. Although the youngest, he was the boss and brains of the gang. The newspaper called him the “‘Little Caesar’ of Rochester’s rum-running hierarchy.” The reference of course being to the Edward G. Robinson movie.
The brothers quickly established the lakefront from Sodus Point to Oak Orchard as their “domain” and were ruthless in enforcing the boundaries.
Midge Staud had a fleet of large cars, Pierce-Arrows, and Studebakers, which he altered so they could stash up to 500-quart bottles of whiskey “in the seats, in backs of the seats, false floors and even false side panels in the doors.” The Stauds’ uncle, Fred, owned a shoe store and they would hide whiskey bottles in shoeboxes at the rear of the store until they could sell or transport them.
If you want to learn more about Pierce-Arrow cars you can visit the Buffalo Transportation Pierce-Arrow Museum before you go to their museum check out their website to view their current museum hours at https://pierce-arrow.com/.
The Stauds altered this car so that poisonous mustard gas was emitted from the exhaust pipe. It was registered under a false name or now it is referred to As Known As or AKA or an alias which would allow someone to hide their identity or business from either the government, local authorities, or other gangs that were in the business of rum running, but there was enough evidence that proved that the car was owned by Midge. George was arrested wearing only his underwear trying to escape capture after the car was stopped by agents. This same car was involved in a Christmas Eve raid led by Andrew Wiedenmann.
The Stauds would find a cooperative farmer who would let them hide the liquor in a barn. Some had underground tunnels linking the shore to barn basements. Late at night, the beer, whiskey, ale, and wine would be transported in modified cars to speakeasies all around the area including the many that populated Greece.
This photo shows 200 cases of assorted liquor which was seized by border patrolmen Monday, December 24. Midge and George Staud along with four other men in their gang were arrested in connection with the raid. The liquor, which was composed of whisky and champagne, was intended for the Rochester holiday trade. Tire tracks in the snow alerted agents to this cache in a farmer’s barn.
George served some jail time on a few occasions, but nothing major. Authorities could never get a conviction against Midge. Later in life, Midge ran the Towne Tavern (Left) on Gibbs Street in Rochester and for many years he, George, and Eddie had an interest in the Grove House in Greece. Their career as rumrunners and bootleggers was mostly forgotten.
So where was all that booze going? Quite a bit of it was staying right here in Greece. And that’s the subject of our next Snapshot.
Thank you for joining us today. Next week we take a look at Greece speakeasies.
The original No. 7 schoolhouse was torn down in 1899 and replaced with this one-room wood-frame building located on the north side of Frisbee Hill Road just east of North Greece Road. The belfry-topped schoolhouse closed its doors to students in 1944. Two years later, the property and building reverted to the Frisbee family who had made an initial agreement with the school district for it to be used solely as a schoolhouse.
District 7 Loses old-school by Court rule. Florence Haskins 150 Frisbee Hill Rd. sued Myron B. Kelly, as trustee of the school district for possession of the schoolhouse and the quarter-acre of land her great-grandfather had turned over for school purposes.
Justice Cribb upheld the decision that The $1 lease terminated in 1944 and the school building goes with the land.
The school was abolished in 1944 when they agreed to send pupils to Union Free School District #4 Parma, Hilton School districts.
This information came from the Democrat Chronicle on May 11, 1948.
The schoolhouse was built at a cost of $700 on a quarter-acre plot of land leased by Edward Frisbee, a North Greece pioneer, in September 1833, as long as it was used as a school. Mrs. Cancella was a teacher at the one-room schoolhouse. Lou Frisbee was the bus driver. The school had about 15 students and went from K – 10 or 11 grade.
Dorothy Frisbee used to serve soup, sandwiches, and cookies to the kids if they didn’t bring any lunch says Ruth a former student. The most difficult time was in the winter on the bus because she said the winters were tough and it was difficult for the bus to get through the snow. The roads weren’t plowed like today and the drifts were quite high. She didn’t remember how they heated the school but she said it got quite cold inside on occasions in the winter.
Common School District # 8
Other than its location on the south side of Mill Road, also known as Podunk Road, just west of North Greece Road, little is known about this school. No doubt it was similar to the other schools. Each of the common school districts had a one-room school building with a single teacher who taught all grades. There is only one building left in this area and that is the Covert-Brodie-Pollok House at 978 North Greece Road the other house was another cobblestone house at 543 Mill Road but that one had to be demolished due to it being structurally unsafe, you can learn more about these two houses in the Cobblestone house snapshots.
Common School District # 9
District 9 had two different schools on the east side of Long Pond Road bordering Round Pond Creek between Mill Road and Maiden Lane. The earlier schoolhouse was made of fieldstone (hence the name “Stone Schoolhouse”)
One out of the 17 common district schools and the 2 joint districts in the 1800s were built using fieldstone the rest of the school districts were built with wood. The cobblestone school was in school district 9 on the 1872 map of the town of Greece and it was located at 980 Long Pond Rd.
In 1917 it was replaced by a two-room schoolhouse. The Fieldstone school was sold for $ 5.00. Arthur Koerner and Willis construction firm was awarded the contract to build the new two-room wooden school at 1048 Long Pond Road. Also, The Greece United Methodist Church formed inside School Number 9 on July 25, 1841, when Reverend William Williams met with a group of people to start the church, and then another group meeting at the Greece Center schoolhouse at district school number 17 on Latta Road and the church grew to 21 members. Students were educated in that building for 30 years until it closed its doors around 1944.
The current two-room schoolhouse was later sold at a district auction at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, 1949, and was purchased by Harold Tebo. Harold then hired Arthur Korner to draw up plans to convert the schoolhouse into a private home and one of the features of the old school hidden above the now lowered ceiling is a tin ceiling that was used to reflect the heat and keep it in the building.
One Day in 2003 during the summer an elderly lady had shown up at Gene Preston’s stand and said she had attended the two-room school what I don’t remember from that day was whether she was a student or a teacher at the school, she did say that the teachers entered from the rear of the building as seen in this picture here they did have 2 classrooms and at this school, they broke the class in half were grades 1 to 4 were in one class and students grades 5 thru 8 were in the other side this way they could teach more students and possible a couple of the students were that of W.N Britton who had a house on Long Pond Road 8 houses south of Common School District # 9.
In the photo with the students, you will notice the water well pump to the left of the doors.
You can read what the society has in terms of minutes from Common School District Number 9 it contains not that many entries but it starts on August 10, 1910, and ends on May 5, 1942. It contains some interesting facts about how much it costs to install electricity, and water in the school and how much tuition costs.
The school had a sidewalk running to the street from the front doors. This was twice as wide as sidewalks today. When the sidewalk was removed after the house was sold the old sidewalk was put along the banks of the creek.
Ever since my mom, Barb Worboys’s Grandfather Harold Tebo bought the house from the District in 1949 did not modify the exterior except for removing the front entrance and adding a large slab concrete pad in front of the front door and a second chimney at the end of the south end classroom.
The only modifications were done on the interior of the structure only where Arthur Korner and Harold Tebo agreed on changes regarding where the stairs are to be moved to, how to use the coal chimney that was in the center of the house with a second chimney at the end of the south classroom, a garage door, and basement access below and in the rear on the north side above ground was where the teachers had once entered the school from to open the school up for the students to enter for school, and above the lowered ceiling in some parts is still a tin ceiling which helps in a few small areas to help with heating the house.