Paddy Hill School

Every year or so, with shifts in population, there seems to be changes where our children go to school, but change has been going on since children have been attending school. One hundred years ago, most Greece children attended one-room schools in one of more than a dozen individual school districts. As times changed, new schools were built, old ones closed, and school districts merged. High school students even attended City high schools. It wasn’t until 1961 that Greece graduated its first high school class. All the while there has been one constant, a public elementary school has been at that intersection at Latta Road and Mt. Read Boulevard for 183 years.

Common School District #5
Common School District #5

In 1839 Bernard and Mary O’Neil, the owners of a large tract of land, at the Northwest corner of what would become Mt. Read Blvd. and Latta Road, sold one-eighth of an acre of their land to Common School District Number Five for $50.00.

A small school was soon built and used for nearly 90 years, until 1930 when a modern brick school building was built across the street. That brick building was demolished in 2021. It is said that the one-room school building was then moved down the road and became a private home of the first chief of police Milton Carter, but the school district remained the owner of the small one-eighth acre.

The remainder of the O’Neal property was purchased by Patrick and Margaret Rigney in 1850 and eventually owned by their only daughter Mary. In 1944 the land was transferred to the Diocese of Rochester, then to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery Corporation who had plans for a new cemetery. This action resulted in a three-year legal battle between the Town of Greece, and the Diocese. After several court battles, a final State Supreme court decision ruled in favor of the Town, leaving Holy Sepulchre no choice but to sell the land. You can read summary about the cases of Holy Sepulchre Cemetery v. Board of Appeals and Holy Sepulchre Cemetery v. Town of Greece at casetext.com

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery v. Board of Appeals, 271 App. Div. 33, 60 N.Y.S.2d 750 (N.Y. App. Div. 1946)

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery v. Town of Greece, 191 Misc. 241, 79 N.Y.S.2d 683 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 1947)

Holy Sepulchre Cemetery v. Town of Greece, 273 App. Div. 942 (N.Y. App. Div. 1948)

In 1948, Harmon Poray purchased most of the O’Neal-Rigney land from Holy Sepulchre, and shortly after Joan and Robert Feeney purchased the original farmhouse. By the early 1950s, Greece was becoming the fastest-growing town in New York and the need for a new school was evident. In 1954 Poray sold a large portion of the land to the Union Free School District #5 and in 1955 sold the remainder of the land to Latta Real Estate Corp. Within two years Picturesque Drive was being laid out in what would soon be a sprawling sub-division and a new school, now called Paddy Hill School would open in Sept 1956 on the very corner that its predecessor, School #5, was built in 1836. In 1956, the Greece Central School District was organized with the merging of districts 2, 5, 15, and 17.

Over the years the present Paddy Hill School has expanded to meet the needs of a growing neighborhood. But we can safely say that Paddy Hill School is the oldest school in Greece and possibly Monroe County.

In 2014, as a gift to the school, the Greece Historical Society secured a grant from the William C. Pomeroy Foundation for a historical marker commemorating the history of the school. That marker sits on that original 1839 land purchase.

Learn more about the William C. Pomeroy Foundation does by going to https://www.wgpfoundation.org/

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One-room schoolhouse to be rescued

Realtor to perk up old School 17, retaining the feel of the time

Meaghan M. McDermott
Staff writer

Originally posted on February 21, 2007, on the Democrat and Chronicle and listed with the town of GREECE next to the date

John Geisler is proud of his one-room schoolhouse.

“I’m a member of the historical society and very much interested in preserving old structures,” said Geisler, who has run his real estate agency, Geisler Realty, from the former Greece School 17 at 3100 Long Pond Road since 1977. “I like history and wanted to preserve this building by not letting it go anywhere.”

The building, with its wooden clapboards and original 12-foot by 5-foot windows on the west side, served as a school from the early 1800s with the Greece District 17 until the mid-1950s. After that, it was known as the Grog Shop liquor store, and its bright brick red facade was a familiar sight to those driving near Latta and Long Pond roads.

“When we got it, it was all one room and paneled,” said Geisler. “We converted it into an office,” he said. “The old School 17 is one of only about three of Greece’s old one-room schoolhouses that are still standing,” said Alan Mueller, town historian. “By 1900, most of the school districts were already on their second buildings,” he said, noting that many of the original one-room schools weren’t built for longevity. In the late 1800s, there were at least 17 school districts for the children of Greece and surrounding areas in Parma, Gates, Ogden, and Rochester. A report from 1881 held by the historian’s office shows those districts received about $3,000 in total aid from the county commissioner that year. “Taxes, though, they were pretty much, ‘I’ll pay $10 for books, and you fix the roof, and you shovel when it gets bad outside,'” said Mueller. He said Greece started consolidating its school districts after 1925, when the state Legislature passed the Central Rural School act, and gave state aid for libraries and special aid for building, enlarging, and remodeling school buildings as well as for transporting students to and from school.

“That’s when people really started saying we can’t have all these little rinky-dink things out in the hinterlands,” he said. He said the only one-room schoolhouses he’s aware are still standing are Geisler’s building, one on Frisbee Hill Road that has been converted into a residence, and the old School 9 on Long Pond Road, which was actually a two-room schoolhouse before being converted into a home in 1949.

Geisler said he plans for his building to keep standing: and even has some changes in the works for the old 14,000-square-foot school. He’s planned a 5,400-square-foot addition that he said will adhere to the original old-school architecture of the schoolhouse.

“You don’t see buildings like this with such high peaks,” he said, pointing to the steeply pitched roof. “There’s a lot of ambiance to this old structure.”

The addition that Geisler has proposed would have clapboard cladding similar to the original building and would replicate the old school’s high-pitched roof and large windows.

“We don’t want to detract in any way from the building we have,” said Geisler. “We want to build something that will be memorable.” The project is in the midst of Planning Board hearings, and if it is approved, construction wouldn’t begin until summer.

“I will be really happy when it’s finished,” said Geisler. “The schoolhouse is a close piece of my heart, it’s a great property.”

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Minutes School #9 1909-1946

Highlights Book donated to Greece Historical Society

August 10, 1910 Clerk Frank Herman (He later was a Town of Greece Town Justice and lived at his farm located at 1067 Long Pond Rd. Many of the young kids that worked on the farm remember the ice-cold watermelons he served from the refrigerator. In those days when doctors made house calls, the doctor would come and give him shots right thru the pants leg for medication.)

Balance on hand $36.16 paid out
Raised by tax 422.78 Teachers wage 396.00
Library money 20.00 coal 18.00
Public Money 125.00 Janitor 15.00
Total 603.94 repairs 49.32
books 40.00
total 529.08
The balance on hand was 74.37

May 1913
W. N. Britton said he would give the district a deed of the property at any time. He was requested to do so by the district. The matter of a special school meeting was held and a vote on building a new schoolhouse was voted on and carried.

May 24, 1913
The district authorized the erection of a new school building. The district would raise a tax of $4500 or as much as necessary. They would collect it in installments according to 467 of Education Laws. The vote carried 24 in favor and 16 opposed. Some of the voters were: Mrs. W. E. Justice, W. E. Justice, John Roberts, Charles Preston, Jos Kierhart, and Jos Erath (His farm was on Long Pond where Brookside school now stands.)

May 4, 1915
A building fund was set up.

The contract was awarded to Koerner & Willis on July 29 for the erection of a school building.

The cost was $4068.00.

Bonds were sold to Union Trust Co. of Rochester, N.Y. Rees & Ade were the Architects.

The cost to them was $306.79.

The cost to Koerner & Willis was $4100.50.

Hardware expense was $30.86 and refurbish and moving desks were $43.25.
For building outhouse $1.00

May 2, 1916
Sale of old school building $5.00

May 6, 1919
The painting of the schoolhouse took place.

May 5, 1925
A need was seen to replace the front door with a double door made of lighter wood.

July 20, 1927
A feasibility was considered for the uniting with districts 11, 3, and 16 in a central union school on Ridge. Rd.. W. N. Britton had donated 5 acres for a site. The vote was 10 in favor and 20 against.

May 7, 1929
The last mortgage payment was made $315.00.
Greece Central District #1 begin with merged 11, 3, and 16.

May 6, 1930
A motion was made to install electricity that lost in a vote cast by 22 people, there were 10 yeas and 12 nays.

May 1931
High school tuition collected is $770.00
Grade school tuition was $200.00
The school went up through the eighth grade. If you wanted to go or could afford to go to high school you could go to John Marshall (Ridgeway Ave.) or to Charlotte (Lake Ave.)
A motion carried electricity, water, and inside toilets were to be installed.

September 16, 1931
A special meeting was held to discuss payment regarding $990 for high school tuition or having two teachers or arranging for school bus transportation. The trustee has a right to raise funds for necessary purchases. 46 votes that pupils be sent to #1 (Britton) school on Hoover Rd.

May 3, 1932
Electrical work 120.00 Water meter 15, Mr. H Clark Install water lines 152, water bill 2.50, electricity bill 7.75. A discussion took place on whether to have one or two teachers. Votes cast were 37, for two teachers 24, for one teacher 13.

May 2, 1933
As stated in the minutes it was reported that district #9 was second in cleanness in the county. Under new business, no action was taken on transportation for high school children. Money raised by public subscription to carry on the work for the Dental dispensary. Tile laid around cellar wall.

May 1, 1934
Fire extinguisher $2.75
Proposed addition for inside toilet and cloakroom to be paid by state money.

May 24, 1934
Special meeting for addition $2,400.00 to be used for flush toilets. Vote count 31, 17yea, 14 no

January 31, 1935
Special Meeting discussing transportation for high school students.14 students presently attend high school. 8 passengers could fit in one vehicle. People felt 2 buses would be necessary. The proposed tax sum of $250. or as necessary for those attending high school.

February 9, 1935
Special meeting to raise $450.00 for two school buses. The vote count was 49. Yes 22, no 26, the transportation vote lost.

May 6, 1935
Lay stone wall Gilbert Justice $35.00
Cummings new building $1325.20
School Gong 28.00

August 14, 1935
Special Meeting for transportation of academic pupils (high school) The vote went as follows: vote total 41, 31 yes, 11no.

May 5, 1936
Motion all new pupils going to high school would have to attend John Marshall High school- carried. The bus would go 1 mile east on English to pick up academic pupils.

May 3, 1938, & 1937
Taxation of $3,000.00 Bus continues the same as last year.

May 7, 1939
Motion for a sidewalk from the road to the south side of the school at a cost of $150.00.

May 1940
no special business

December 4, 1940
A special meeting discussed fixing the school bus involved in an accident and to buy a new larger bus. vote 28 25yes,3no. The board hired a lawyer to protect our interest in accident.

May 7, 1941 –
school painting, students still attend John Marshall

May 5, 1942
only business students still to go to John Marshall High school.

On May 5, 1942, was the last entry in the Minuted of Common School District Number 9.

Common School District No. 2 of Greece NY Trustees Annual Report from July 31, 1919

Most Trustees’ Reports did not tell where the school was located so as the district needed to grow to support more kids and expand lessons these districts numbers tended to move around which caused some confusion with tracking where schools were located and what number they were because they switch numbers or locations where the school was located at there were at least 3 of these districts that had this issue in the town of Greece they were Common School Districts 2, 16, 17 District 12 and 13 were affected by the relocation of Common School District 16.

Old Interviews and Stories

These are some of the old papers written by members who were long-time members. A few of these are written by George Caswell and Ed Spelman.

Our Interviews

Interview With Gordon A. Howe

George Caswell sat down with Gordon A. Howe on February 18, 1988, and interviewed him ...
Read More

A Farewell to Frear’s Garden Center

Story by Maureen Whalen

Photos by Pat Worboys

Frear's Garden Center
Frear’s Garden Center

Frear’s Garden Center

1892 to 2022

130 Years of Local Gardening Expertise

Gallery of photos at the end of the story

The Frear family has been part of the Greece landscape for 130 years, 93 of them over four generations as proprietors of one of the town’s iconic businesses. In May of this year, Warren and Lynn Frear announced that Frear’s Garden Center was closing.

Pat Worboys and I visited Frear’s on June 13 and interviewed Warren and Lynn for a future Bicentennial Snapshot. Lynn explained that a series of misfortunes led to the difficult decision. First, a windstorm on March 6 of this year seriously damaged their greenhouses; they lost over 350 panes of glass and consequently, the plants that were growing in the greenhouses, particularly all their Easter lilies, died. Parts of the roof of the garden center and shingles on the barn were torn off as well. That was followed by a customer-caused small fire that produced enough smoke that they needed to hire a cleaning service to come in and thoroughly clean everything. On top of that were the supply chain problems created by COVID-19 (their vendors were telling them Christmas merchandise wouldn’t be available until January or February!). Lynn said, “it seemed like someone was trying to tell us something.” Their last day was July 31, 2022.

Left is Kerry In the Middle is Lynn and to the Right is Warren
Left is Kerry In the Middle is Lynn and to the Right is Warren.
november 9 1861
Notice on the beam here it has the date of November 9, 1861.
Aerial view of recent image.
E. Frear & Sons. sign in the section that housed the Farmall Super A.

Warren’s grandfather, Ernst Frear, a German immigrant, purchased the property on Stone Road in 1892. He was a truck farmer initially, selling vegetables to wholesalers. In the 1920s Clarence Frear, Ernst’s son and Warren’s father expanded the business, then known as E. Frear & Sons. They acquired greenhouses “from Barnard Crossing,” Warren said, (they may have been from Vick’s nurseries) and expanded to fruit trees and flowers. After Ernst’s death in 1937, the west side of the farm was being used for Frear’s Chevrolet, started by Arthur Frear in 1931. Clarence’s east side was the farm and Frear’s Florist. Clarence’s wife, Gwendolyn, took a course in flower arranging and like other florists provided arrangements for weddings, funerals, and other occasions. The public was also invited to visit their greenhouses for a wide variety of bedding plants.

It was in this barn here that Arthur Frear started Frear’s Chevrolet in 1931.

In 1958, they announced another expansion—it became Frear’s Farm Market. In addition to the bedding plants, fruits, and vegetables, they began selling garden accessories and opened a deli.

5000 gallons of oil
This held 5000 gal of oil that heats the greenhouse compared to lots of coal.
This is where a coal conveyer belt ran before switching to oil.

An ad in the Greece Post in 1965 publicized another change, Frear’s Lawn, Garden, and Greenhouse Center. That same year, Frear’s started their Christmas Tree, Trim, and Gift Center, a modest beginning to what would evolve over the years into Christmas Fantasy Land with 6000 square feet devoted to every imaginable Christmas decoration including artificial trees, lights, and creches. Eventually, it became simply Frear’s Garden Center.

Warren and Lynn took over the business in 1976; their daughter Kerry was the fourth generation involved in the Center.

Warren and Lynn escorted Pat and me around the property. Only Christmas items and indoor plants remained. The greenhouses were mostly empty. They showed us the barns, one still full of boxed Christmas trees. Built around 1902, these barns date back to Warren’s grandfather. On Stone Road not far from the garage where Art Frear started his auto dealership, stands the family homestead, Warren’s grandparents’ house. No Frears have lived there for some time, but no one resides there now due to a fire.

The Frear Family Home Stead.
To the Far Left was the Slaughter Room, To the left, is where all the Christmas Trees and where a fire in the 1960s or 70s was to the right is where a Farmall Super A stored and the picture above with the beam with the date of 11-9-1861.

From their many years at the Center, Warren and Lynn recall what was best about doing business in Greece: the many young employees who became knowledgeable about plants and serving customers well and those customers who were loyal to Frear’s and appreciated the individualized service and advice they could get from people who had been in the plant business for decades.

It was Frear’s for years. Thank you. You’ll be missed.


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Streets and Roads

 Book by May Hill & William Gray Arbuthnot January 1, 1950

Back in the 1950s many of us remember the “Dick & Jane” books or another series called “Streets and Roads. They were simple stories about living in the neighborhood and getting along with others. We never gave much thought about what a street or road was or why it was called what it was.

Civil engineers might define a street as something that connects people for interaction, while a road connects towns and cities for travel. Although in the real world these distinctions aren’t always made.

In the Town of Greece, there are over 1,050 streets and roads with all kinds of names. But are they streets or roads? Or does anyone really care?

For the trivia aficionados, in the Town of Greece, there are only 25 Streets and 173 Roads but there are approximately 369 Drives, 160 Lanes, 94 Courts, 94 Circles, 40 Avenues, 25 Ways, 7 Boulevards, 21 Trails, and fewer of Commons, Coves, Estates, Landings, Boulevards, etc.*

There are over 80 streets named after the original farm families who lived there. We have some named for the seasons: Spring, Summer, and Autumn, but no Winter. There are animal streets: Fox, Deer, Hawk, Owl, Eagle. Several have female names: Judy Ann, Jackie, Laura, Roseanne, but very few have male names and there are 14 named after saints. There are “state streets”: Kentucky, California, and Florida, but no “State Street” (although one wing of the mall calls its self Main Street but that doesn’t count), and even some named after the pilgrims; (Mi/es] Standish and (John] Alden. Wood seems to be the most popular with 97 containing the word wood in them, but surprisingly, for a town once known for its orchards, only eight with Apple. Then there are 40 Creeks and 14 Brooks, but no Stream. We even
have one named after a card game, Canasta. Of course, some developers couldn’t resist sneaking in their own names: Willis, Britton, and Alfonso (DeNardo).

You can explore the Interactive Map Here it has at least 80 of the most important named roads in Greece, NY on the map to provide you with some of the information on the naming of that road, street, drive, or other types of roads.

*The numbers are approximate and may vary somewhat from what is stated in this story.

**Our museum has a free-standing kiosk with an interactive map explaining the origins of at least 80 names.

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Manitou Beach Hotel – “From the Historian’s Files”

By far the largest and the most elegant of all the late 19th and early 20th century hotels along Lake Ontario in Greece was the Odenbach Manitou Beach Hotel. It was located at the far western end of the Manitou Beach Trolley. Built in 1888 by the Matthew and Servis Co. of State Street in Rochester, a wholesale and retail liquor and tobacco dealer, it was named for the resort of Manitou Springs, Colorado.

By the mid-1890s it had been taken over by Frederick Odenbach, who already had a modest restaurant on State Street. The Hotel had 25 guest rooms, a well-appointed lobby, a men’s bar, and a ladies’ salon, plus a restaurant.

Frederick S. Odenbach 1853-1919, Courtesy of Marie Poinan

The building was lit by acetylene gas lamps from the gas plant on the property. The frontage on the lake was almost 800 feet with an expanse of sandy beach. The Manitou Trolley began frequent daily, seasonal service in 1891.

Along with the trolley, the steamer Rosalie (owned by the Odenbach family) ran from about 1912 through 1916. It docked at a pier that was about 800 feet in length, built of cement piers and steel decking. A round-trip ticket from Charlotte was 25 cents.

Fred Odenbach and Matthew John Fred and Charley

After Fred Odenbach’s death in 1919, the hotel passed to his four sons, Fred J., John H., Matthew P., and Charles P. Odenbach. Matthew took over running the hotel from then on, making many improvements through the years. A major renovation was the enlargement and enclosure of the front porch. The spacious room could easily seat 500 patrons and included a raised bandstand and a dance floor.

Cover of The Manitou Beach Hotel Menu
Main Dining Room at Manitou Beach Hotel

From then on, the hotel became famous for its marvelous food, wonderful dance music, and panoramic view of Lake Ontario. Nationally known orchestras of the day such as Vincent Lopez and Tommy Tucker played engagements there, as well as favorite local bands such as Sax Smith and Damon’s Orchestra.

By 1925 the trolley had bowed out to the ever-increasing automobile traffic and the improvement of Manitou Rd. to a two-lane paved road. World War Il had begun in 1939 and the United States went to war at the end of 1941. Curtailment of unnecessary travel by car and gasoline rationing brought an end to the 55-year run of the grandest hotel between Charlotte and Olcott Beach to the west.

Matthew Odenbach

It closed in 1943, never to reopen. A headline in the Rochester Times Union on May 19, 1955 states: “Famed Lakeside Dining Spot, Hotel Manitou, Coming Down.” Matt Odenbach (manager since 1919) was quoted as saying the work had started several weeks before and would be completed by July 4.

The furnishings had been sold and the lumber recycled. The property was still owned by Matt and his three brothers. The land was split into building lots shortly after. Nothing remains as a reminder of the wonderful times that untold thousands of people enjoyed there…..only the expansive view of the lake remains and a faint musical refrain from long ago, whispered by a few remaining poplar trees along Manitou Road.

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Homer J. Buckman – Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!!

It might be a surprise to learn that a man that founded one of the first dairies in Greece also sold “suckers” in his very modest store, attached to his dairy barn. Last month in the Corinthian was a “Guess What?” photo. Readers were asked to identify, what looked like an overturned, double sifter. No one ventured a guess but it was once used to hold Lollipops on Buckman’s diary store counter. It might well have been fashioned by Mr. Buckman or made for him (one of a kind).

1934 Map of the Hamlet of Ada Ridge Top Right is Homer J Buckman Property

A short biography of the Buckman family seems in order, since the recent Buckman’s Diary and Donut Shop may not be known to the younger generation.

The Buckmans came from England in the mid-19th century. The Buckman name appears in the 1875 local census with Job and his wife, Harriet Benedict, and their three children, George, Jennie, and J. Frank living in Greece. Job is listed as a farmer with the eldest George being a farm laborer. George is married to his wife Lucy about 1881 and Homer Jay Buckman is born two years later. Moving ahead to the twentieth century, we find the Buckmans on a Road north of the Ridge which will bear their name. Papa George farms a rather modest plot of 9 acres, plus maintains a modest greenhouse. When a 50-acre plot becomes available on the north side of Ridge Road, just west of Long Pond Rd., he purchases it from a Sarah Walker.

1911 is an important year as he sells almost all of the fifty acres to his son George. A house and sturdy barn are already on the property, so George moves in with his wife, Lucy, and year-old daughter, Emeroy. He soon adds twelve cows….George is in the dairy business! He does fairly well but finds he has competition selling milk. By 1914 the competition is gone as George buys that small business and starts to pasteurize milk and deliver it to customers in a one-horse wagon. Business increases and his own cows can’t produce enough milk for the demand. He soon is receiving raw milk dropped off at the North Greece “Hojak” railroad station. He needs a better delivery system than “ole Bessie and wagon”.

Ford Model T truck

A Ford Model T truck does the trick for a few years until a more rugged REO truck takes its place. Homer adds a small cash & carry business store next to the barn. Milk, cream, and in season, ice cream are the main products with a small assortment of gum and candy (hence the suckers). By the late 1920s, his driver is delivering 300 quarts of milk per day, 7 days a week. Because of ill health, Homer sells his business in 1931 to Robert Peters. Buckman still owns the buildings and continues to live in the house just to the west of the business.

Buckman’s

In later years Homer moves to Walker Street (once part of the Buckman pasture) and dies in 1972, at the age of eighty-eight. Ralph DeStephano Sr. had purchased the dairy and property in 1950. The DeStephano’s Buckman Bonney Brook Dairy story has been told a number of times in the past. It could be retold in the near future….. Buckman’s Dairy History (July 2017) and now will be featured as a Bicentennial Snapshot this will be Snapshot # 53.

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What’s in a Street Name? From the Desk of the Historian

What are the origins of many of the Greece Street names?

From Arlidge Drive and Armstrong Road to Weiland Road and Wendhurst Drive, you will also find the oddball names of, Canasta Road and Hojack Park! Who named these Greece streets and why do they have these varied names? Why was McGuire Road originally called Sage or Ottaway Road? Podunk Road became Mill Rd., which actually had a Cider Mill on a Creek near Long Pond Rd. English Road was not named after The United Kingdom, but for the Nathan English family who were farmers in the area, and Eddy Road, north of the Ridge, became Mt. Read Boulevard.

The end of World War II saw a huge influx of street development and housing. Multiple adjoining streets were named after wildflowers, types of fruit, variations of common names, etc. A housing tract running north of Ridge Rd., East of Long Pond Rd. acquired a group of early New England names of towns and illustrious citizens. Some of the names are Alden, Cabot, Duxbury, Nantucket, Standish, etc.

The Corner of West Ridge Road and Hoover Drive
The corner of West Ridge Road and Hoover Drive looking north, the 1980s. There is now a footbridge over this intersection allowing for access to the Route 390 bike trail.

When the Greece High Schools were built, starting with Olympia in the late 1950s, they would all carry Greek names. It was natural that Greek names would be used for new streets near the schools, i.e.: Olympia Drive, Arcadia Parkway, Athena Drive, etc.

The introduction of full Zip Codes caused a rethinking of how streets would be named. The Postal Dept. and Town Hall certainly were in frenzy during those years. According to data from our DPW, the town presently has 261 miles of roads it maintains. Monroe County maintains 72 1/2 miles and New York State has 19 miles. There are 1000 roads in Greece, plus 57 which are private.

1909 – New Cement Cube Paving on Ridge Road Office of the Town Historian
1950 – View of Woodcroft Drive During Residential Development “Boom” Office of the Town Historian

The compiled list shown below is what I have been able to gather with over seventy Greece Street names that are linked to early settlers, farm families, and tract developers, plus a few miscellaneous names not directly connected to the Greece area.

See last month’s June 2014 Corinthian on page 5, for the first article on “Google Mapping” the street names. In the future, you will be able to go to Google Map Engine Pro and find some of these streets with a short sentence about the origin of their names and more. That will be an interesting but ongoing project. The Latest on the Project can be accessed in a future post the Naming of Streets and Roads has an interactive map in the post and this is a project that Joseph Vitello and Alan Mueller are working on.

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“A stone is a stone is a Cobblestone!”

Webster’s New World Dictionary (College Edition) has the following: Cob-blestone (kabI ston’) A rounded stone of a kind formerly much used for paving. 

First Christian Church then Greece Methodist Church Latta Road GHS
First Christian Church then Greece Methodist Church Latta Road GHS
School district 9 school also Greece Methodist Church mid1800s GHS
School district 9 school also served as Greece Methodist Church in the mid 1800s GHS

Well, that is fine, but mention Cobblestone to the average Western New York resident (especially those living in the northern counties) and your answer could well be; “Oh, those buildings from the 19th century faced with round stones all in rows”. The Town of Greece is fortunate to have four surviving Cobblestone buildings. All are private homes, but there once were several schools and at least one church that are now long gone from Greece. In western New York, they are concentrated along route 104 from Wayne County westward to Niagara County. Workers who mainly learned their trade working on the first Erie Canal, which opened in 1825, built most of these beautiful stone buildings. The sandy soil near the Ridge Road and northward to Lake Ontario yielded stones (formed by the Glaciers) of rounded or oblong shapes in the recently cleared farm fields. A special mix of slow-drying cement was used to set the stones. Patterns of stones and the way the stones were set varied for the 25-year period this type of construction was in vogue. Although Western New York has the largest concentration of Cobblestones, they can be found in Ohio, Michigan, and as far west as Wisconsin, plus the Provence of Ontario, Canada. 

Distribution of cobblestone structures in NYS
Distribution of cobblestone structures in NYS

Cobblestone buildings were costly to build so only the more prosperous could afford to have them built. The rising cost of labor and the further distance it was necessary to travel to acquire the proper stones eventually caused this unique type of construction to be obsolete. Variations of the Greek revival style were common during this period. The costly, but sturdy Cobblestone style and cheaper wood frame construction prevailed during the 1830s to 1850s. 

978 North Greece Road
978 North Greece Road
543 Mill Road
543 Mill Road
Davis-Bagley-Hazen home from Town Historian
Davis-Bagley-Hazen home from Town Historian

The four Greece buildings shown are all on the Historical Survey of 101 selected sites in the Town of Greece, completed by the Landmark Society in 1995. One, the Covert-Pollok house is also listed on the National Landmark site. 

4350 Ridge Rd W.-Westfall-Mercier house
4350 Ridge Rd W.-Westfall-Mercier house

Sadly, the Westfall-Mercier house at 4350 West Ridge Rd. may not be standing much longer. It has been offered to anyone willing to move it off the property as development is planned for that site. Thus far there have been no takers. It will more than likely end as a casualty of progress. That is what tragically happened to a Cobble- stone at Parma Corners on Ridge Road West at route 18. For more information about these four buildings or the other 97 sites, go online to Historic site survey, Town of Greece: http://greeceny.gov/ghcp/main. 

For more interesting details about Cobblestone buildings and their construction go to The Cobblestone Society website at www.cobblestonemuseum.org. The Cobblestone Society complex in Childs, N.Y. is closed for the season, but if you travel west on Ridge Road you can easily view that complex and 40 plus Cobblestone homes along the way to Niagara County. Going eastward out of Monroe County on old Route 104, you can easily pass just as many, if not more than the West Ridge route. Don’t forget that a Cobblestone building is just as often found on a side road as on the main roads. Enjoy our unique concentration of Cobblestone structures here in Western New York State.

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Why was it called the Elmheart – “From The Historian’s Files”

Back in the early 1890s, Frederick Odenbach, a Rochester liquor dealer, bought land on Manitou Beach and started to build a hotel. The newly built Manitou Trolley from Charlotte had finally been extended over a trestle across Braddock Bay to just beyond the Odenbach property. The Skinner family that owned property just to the east of the partially built hotel claimed it was on their property. A court trial in 1890 ruled in favor of the Odenbachs; however, that did not end the dispute. Odenbach ran his new hotel for several years, but the Skinners did not accept the court’s decision, so they filed an appeal in May 1894, the plaintiff being Faulding W. Skinner (father of Albert, Sheriff of Monroe County 1930s to 1950s). Faulding’s father had purchased the land from Nathaniel Rochester in the very early 1800s. After a long trial with many witnesses, the deciding evidence would be the surveyor’s marks put in a tree when the land had first been surveyed in 1802. After much controversy and subsequent new surveys, the tree was found and cut down, and indeed the faint markings on the trunk* indicated the original surveyor’s marks. The authenticity of the marks was proved by the growth rings. This proved the plaintiff’s appeal should prevail. The Skinners had a new hotel and in honor of the fact that a tree proved the point of their ownership, the hotel was called “The Elmheart Hotel” from then on.

Frederick S. Odenbach 1853-1919
Frederick S. Odenbach 1853-1919

The Skinners ran the hotel until about 1903 when they sold it to a Mr. Johnson who resold it to Michael O’Laughlin and George Weidman (they were related) of Rochester and the Weidmans ran the hotel. After the early nineteen-thirties rooms were no longer available. Only the bar was open after 1933 and light refreshments and ice cream were served. George Wiedman (the way he spelled his name) ran the bar only, usually on weekends and other times when “regulars” and friends might stop by. George died in 1986 and the aged hotel was sold to several investors in 1988. They had hoped to restore the hotel and run it as a lounge, restaurant, and inn. The town granted them a permit in December of 1988 for one year. By the end of 1989, no action had been taken and it remained a shuttered ghost from another day. A few years went by with several break-ins and minor damage reported by Greece Police. The end was at hand in the early morning hours of September first, 1992 when a spectacular fire burned the hotel to the ground. Saved from the fire was a nearby dance hall (built in the 1930s by Wiedman) which was also torched by arson in May 1995. What happened to Fred Odenbach after his loss to the Skinners? The larger Hotel Manitou (just west of the Elmheart Hotel and built by the Mathews and Servis Company) was purchased by Odenbach. He and his sons operated it until it closed in 1943 and never reopened after World War II. The Odenbachs had an auction of the contents in 1955 and tore the hotel down. Manitou Beach (Hick’s Point) is now residential, it’s past glory days faded almost beyond recall.

*Two sections of the Elm tree (actually an Oak) were given to the Greece Town Historian. They have been on display from time to time here at the Greece Historical Society Museum.

Below the images is the 1977 Interview with George Wiedman conducted by George Caswell and Ed Spelman.

1977 Interview with George Wiedman

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