Bicentennial Snapshots are being created by the Greece Historical Society to mark the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Greece. They will tell the story of our town by sharing details about the people and events that influenced its evolution. Researched, written, and narrated by Maureen Whalen, a former librarian, we hope that you will find these weekly historical snapshots about the Town of Greece both interesting and informative.
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,