The Grand View Beach Club

At the turn of the last century, our Town’s lakeshore was the vacation destination for many in the Rochester area. Summer cottages, hotels, resorts, and private clubs dotted the area along the eight-mile route of the Manitou Trolley. During Prohibition, this remote area also provided a haven for those who ignored the Volstead Act. All those places are now gone, although many are preserved in memories and stories about the area.

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Grand View Beach Club provided of Barb Bray
Grand View Beach Neighboord sign, taken by Pat Worboys

One of the grand old establishments in the area called Grand View Beach was the Grand View Beach Hotel, known as “Rosenbach’s by the locals. It was built in 1882 and destroyed by fire in 1947. (Learn about that hotel in Bicentennial Snapshot #45) Only a few properties west of the hotel, at 2286 Old Edgemere Drive, was the private Grand View Beach Club.

The Grand View Beach Club was organized in 1902. With a membership of over 100 cottagers, they built a pavilion/clubhouse for $3,500 (which would cost $126,295.47 in today’s value).

Not much is known about the club’s early years. A 1915 Democrat & Chronicle article stated that the building was used for entertainment, card parties, minstrel shows, dances, meetings, and other purposes, and that the club also advocated for civic improvements.

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Claim Bake Committee – from left to right Joseph C. Murrer, Joseph Mahler, Edmund M. Lambiase, Robert F. Gifford, Dr. Joseph W. Martin Jr., Harold D. Cross, and William L. Dibacco – The date of this Clambake Committee photo is unknown.

By the 1940s, on Wednesday nights, silent, black & white “kid’s movies” were shown for 10 cents, and Saturday night dances were held for the teen youth crowd. A 1947 Greece Press article stated that “the dances were described as definitely ‘swell’ by the dungaree crowd.” (See our Historic Newspapers section for links to the Greece Press newspapers that have been digitized and hosted on NYS Historic Newspapers)

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Democrat & Chronicle June 25, 1950
A black and white advertisement for a dance

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Democrat & Chronicle July 15, 1950

For adult entertainment, there were five slot machines (rumor has it that they were purchased from the mob) and a 10-15-foot bar. Behind the bar was a closet, and behind the closet was storage for the slot machines and other “paraphernalia” when not in use.

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Democrat & Chronicle Nov 14, 1949

In the mid-1940s, a well-known annual Turkey Raffle was held, which sometimes included winning a pig. Annual field days, carnivals, and clambakes were held to raise funds for the club.

Turkey Raffle Committee November 1946. Back row (Left to right) Dr. Joe Martin Sr, Joe Mahler, unknown, Jim Bell, unknown, Bill McCormick. Front row (left to right) Fred McCormick, *Leonard B. Finewood, Dr. Ed Hardenbrook, unknown, Don Blanchard, unknown. (front center) Boy with a pig, unknown.
Turkey Raffle Committee November 1946. Back row (Left to right) Dr. Joe Martin Sr, Joe Mahler, unknown, Jim Bell, unknown, Bill McCormick. Front row (left to right) Fred McCormick, *Leonard B. Finewood, Dr. Ed Hardenbrook, unknown, Don Blanchard, unknown. (front center) Boy with a pig, unknown.
*Leonard B. Finewood raised the turkeys and the pigs on his farm on Long Pond Rd. and donated them to the club. Photo provided by Pat Martin.

By the early 1950s, the club offered their clubhouse for Protestant church services as well as space to the Grand View Fire Department (see Bicentennial Snapshot No. 50: Barnard and Lakeshore Fire Districts) during the winter months. In 1951 and ’52, the place was used for public meetings asking for government help with the problems of the rising water level of Lake Ontario.

As the saying goes: “All good things must come to an end.” For the Grand View Beach Club, it was the mid-1950s when membership and attendance began to decline. In 1961, the property was listed as delinquent in its taxes. In December 1963, the Town considered using the old place for a senior citizens group, but in the spring of 1964, the club sold the building to the Mennonites who carefully dismantled it for the wood. Finally, in August 1964, the now-empty lot, was sold at public auction. The parcel stood empty until 1977 when a private home was built on it.

Nothing remains of the Grand View Beach Club except the memories of some old timers and the sign on the building that was saved by a neighbor during the building’s deconstruction. To this day that sign hangs in the living room of a Greece resident.

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A contemporary aerial photo showing the location of the former Grand View Beach Club. provided by Barb Bray
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Original Grand View Beach Club sign

Check out the following Related Snapshots that fit this story and they are Bicentennial Snapshots: # 44 RUMRUNNERS AND BOOTLEGGERS, # 45 SPEAKEASIES, and # 50 BARNARD AND LAKESHORE FIRE DISTRICTS

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Greece Little League – 70 Years Old!

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It’s a warm day in April 1954. You throw on your Keds, grab your glove and bat, then jump on your bike and listen to the ticking of baseball cards clipped to your spokes as you ride away. Fast forward 70 years to April 2024. You put on your Nike Trouts, grab your baseball bag and your cellphone, then jump in the family SUV and head out for the day. So much has changed in the world over 70 years, but one thing that is still the same, the love for baseball.

Greece Little League, Inc. (GLL) remains a constant in developing young and eager baseball and softball players. In 1954, it started as Barnard Little League and soon after changed the name to Greece Little League. For 30 years kids from Charlotte and Greece played on fields at Barnard Park, Carter Park, English Road Park now known as Basil Marella Park, and the Dorsey field at The Legion Post #486. In the 1980s, the population of GLL players grew with the expansion of eligible Hilton players. The League started using the Greece schools’ baseball fields as well.

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Barnard Little League team photo C1955
(provided by Greece Town Historian)
A group of young boys in baseball uniforms

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Greece Little League team photo 1989
(provided by Krysten Kaanana)
Greece Little League field on Latta Road.
Greece Little League field on Latta Road. (photo by Bill Sauers)

Every Saturday those fields were full of cheers and homeruns. Moms and Dads volunteered their time to make sure the players had the best experience. They gave out uniforms, kept score, coached, and even drove from park to park with a grill to make hotdogs for the hungry crowd. As the 1990s approached the GLL families and Board knew they needed to find a place to call home for Little League. Through tireless fundraising and gracious community donors, Greece Little League broke ground on their permanent home at 3641 Latta Road.

The new home for GLL brought new, exciting changes. In 1992, two new divisions were added, Softball and the Challengers Baseball for Special Needs Players. Softball was a strong addition to the GLL program and has won several D4 championships. The Challengers program has grown into a Junior and Senior division that hosts over 75 players every season. You can also catch our Challengers playing every summer at Innovative Field, hosted by the Rochester Red Wings. In 2012 the Greece Tornadoes Travel teams were formed and are still going strong. And in 2012, GLL opened the concession stand in the center of the 42-acre complex. Long gone are the days of hot dogs on a grill out of the shed. Now you can enjoy an elaborate menu while watching a game from any of the 13 fields.

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Game day at Latta Road
(photo by Krysten Kaanana)

With all these changes, there are some things that are still the same. As a not-for-profit league 501(c)(3), GLL has always depended on volunteers and sponsors. Gene and Diane Noga have dedicated over 44 years to GLL. You can still find them at the fields cooking great food and watching games. They have watched players become parents, coaching like their dads before them. They have seen thousands of players grow to play school ball for Greece and Hilton. Do you want to be part of the GLL and baseball history? Grab your glove and come play!

For More information about Greece Little League head over to their website and either sponsor the league, coach teams, umpire for the league or even if your kids or grandkids want to play sign them up and let them enjoy the game of baseball, challenger, or softball for ages 4 to16.

Website: https://www.greecelittleleague.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/greecelittleleague/

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Judson S. Kenyon

An ashtray artifact surfaced during a recent inventory at the Greece Museum. Lee Strauss and Bill Sauers were kind enough to bring it to my attention and help research what and who it was all about.

Many years ago, every time my late mother and I would drive past a certain farmhouse on English Road, she would announce, “That’s Juddy Kenyon’s house!” Kenyon being an ancestral name, I would press her for details on the relationship, but she was uncharacteristically vague, “Some sort of cousin.” As it turns out, he was my 4th cousin 4 times removed, but prominent enough for her to have claimed him.

As it also turns out, the house to which Mom was referring all those times is a good two miles west of the Judson Kenyon farm property, but the houses are very similar in appearance and if Mom ever actually set foot in “Juddy’s,” it had probably happened 85 years before.

Judson S. Kenyon was born in 1872 in Barry County, Michigan, to William James Kenyon and Elizabeth L. Rowe of Greece. Originally from Rhode Island, William’s parents, and presumably William, farmed in Michigan, but there were extensive Kenyon family ties to Greece, New York. By 1875 William, Elizabeth, and 3-year-old Judson were living in Greece.

Judson, a graduate of Rochester Business Institute, married Mrs. Kate (Rickman) Justice in the Long Pond Road home of her parents, Mr. & Mrs. Arthur Rickman, in April of 1920 (Kate was the widow of Willard H. Justice and had two children by that marriage.) After their wedding trip out west, they lived at what is now 2428 English Road, where they farmed. Both houses still stand.

Judson S Kenyon (Ancestry)
Judson S Kenyon (Ancestry)
Judson S. Kenyon
(Greece Baptist Church)
Judson S. Kenyon (Greece Baptist Church)

During his 90-year lifespan, Judson was very active in Greece political, religious, and local government roles. At one time or another, he served as: deacon, clerk, teacher, trustee, treasurer, and historian at Greece Baptist Church; tax collector, justice of the peace, and member of the Town Board of Greece, NY; life member of Greece Grange…and a member of the Greece Republican Party for most of his life.

The base of the ashtray reads:
1948 Honoring Judson S. Kenyon
Over 50 Years a Republican
Greece Republican Organization

This ashtray was presented to Judson S Kenyon in 1948, in commemoration of his long-standing involvement in the Greece Republican Party.
This ashtray was presented to Judson S Kenyon in 1948, in commemoration of his long-standing involvement in the Greece Republican Party.

The ashtray was presented to him in 1948, in commemoration of his long-standing involvement in that organization. Way to go, Cousin Juddy!

Thanks to a 75-year-old ashtray and to my mother, whose geography may have been off, but whose
interest in family and Greece history were spot-on, I was prompted to tell the story of a prominent
Greece resident.

Judson S. Kenyon died in 1963 and is buried in Falls Cemetery, among many of his relatives.

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Eighty Years Later- Camp Sawyer’s Well

In the February Corinthian, I wrote a short story, “The Stories That Find You – Camp Sawyer’s The Well”, about a well and its pump that Boy Scout Troop 14 (from a 2018 article called A Civic Club’s Legacy,) from Barnard School used at Camp Sawyer in the late 1930s and early 1940s. In the story, I wondered if the remains of the well and pump were still there. The Boy Scouts abandoned using the site in the 1950s and the Town dedicated the area as Sawyer Park in 1970.

Boy Scout Troop 14 at Camp Sawyer cabin in 1943.
Boy Scout Troop 14 at Camp Sawyer Cabin in 1943.

After reading my story, Gil (Gilbert) Holts offered to help find the campsite and possibly the remains of the well. He is the man who gave us the photo of the Boy Scouts and who is in the photo of the group standing at their cabin in 1943.

Gil Holts (Left) Bill Sauers(Right) standing over the Troop 14's well at (Camp) Sawyer now Sawyer Park
Gil Holts (Left) Bill Sauers(Right) standing over the Troop 14’s well at (Camp) Sawyer now Sawyer Park August 2023

In early August, Gil and I met at Sawyer Park. Nearly 80 years have passed since he was a Boy Scout and invasive plants, mother nature, and human development have severely changed the natural landscape of this 16-acre park. Needless to say, finding the old campsite proved more difficult than anyone thought. To my surprise after more than an hour, we did find the site and the long-abandoned tile-lined well.

It was such a pleasure to listen to Gil reminisce about the scout camp he spent so much time at many years ago. He talked about swimming in the creek, playing ball where the parking lot is now, and planting the very small pine seedlings that are now nearly 100 feet tall. I was especially excited to find evidence of the campsite and verify the stories I had read about Camp Sawyer.

Clay tile lined well and pump base.
Clay tile lined well and pump base.

The well is now covered again and camouflaged, and we will let it stay buried for now knowing that a piece of history from Boy Scout Troop 14 and their Camp Sawyer still survives in the Town of Greece.

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They Gave Their Talent for the Benefit of the Community

Deep in the back of a rather large yard at Paddy Hill, hidden among the weeds and overgrown brush, is what appears to be the foundation of an old structure. Adolescents finding this structure could easily imagine themselves as an explorer discovering the ruins of an ancient civilization. A less imaginative adult might see the remains of a long-forgotten barn.

foundation to a structure that was home to the Paddy Hill Players
“THE HIDDEN FOUNDATION”

Neither a lost civilization, nor an old barn, the crumbling structure is what remains of a forgotten story in the history of the Town of Greece, a story of a community-supported theatrical group whose trophy case once contained countless awards for their outstanding contributions in the entertainment field.

The Cat and the Canary
The “Cat and the Canary” was one of their first. The Paddy Hill Players produced over 50 plays between 1931 and 1949.

It was during the early part of the last century that a group of neighbors from the Paddy Hill area got together for the purpose of entertaining themselves by putting on plays. When the new School 5 was completed in 1931, there was a need for new equipment. The president of the school’s PTA asked a young and talented Walter Whelehan to put on a play to raise money for the project, which he did, directing a successful play with those amateur actors from the neighborhood.

The play was so successful that the group was invited to a statewide contest, sponsored by Cornell University. They went on to win the contest and for the next two decades, they were the premier amateur theatrical group in this area.

Mr. Whelehan became the president and the theatrical director of the group. He was also an accomplished actor, starring in many of the plays he directed. Proceeds from their melodramas, mysteries, and comedies helped dozens of community organizations.

With no theater of their own, their plays were produced at area schools, and a few times in the late 1930s they were featured at the Auditorium Theater in downtown Rochester, receiving accolades from both the Democrat & Chronicle and the Times-Union. By 1940, they had more than 76 productions to their credit.

The group’s headquarters was a cabin or what they called a “shanty” on the Whelehan family farm. After the war, this successful and philanthropic group had a dream of building and owning their own theater. In 1946 they incorporated and in 1947 with the help of a community fund drive, purchased seven acres of the Whelehan farm.

The “Shanty”
A house with trees around it
The “Shanty”
The unfinished theater
The unfinished theater

Construction of the theater began in 1948, but near its completion, the project and the group lost its momentum. We may never know why, but the theater was never finished. The group eventually disbanded and went their separate ways. In 1955, The Democrat & Chronicle reported that the group was inactive and still waiting for their theater to be completed. In 1957, the land was sold back to the Whelehan estate, ending forever their dream. Soon new suburban neighborhood streets would all but bury the old farms and orchards of the area and the remains of that unfinished theater.

That foundation, hidden among the weeds and overgrown brush, is what remains of their unfinished dream, but it is also a hidden monument to a group of people who gave their talents for the benefit of the community. They were the Paddy Hill Players.

NOTE: This is a condensed and edited version of a story that appeared in the Greece Post, on July 13, 2006

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Longtime Agricultural Farmland Transitions

Back in early Greece history much of the farmland around Long Pond Road north of Maiden Lane was owned by the Britton Family. Opposite this land down at 1048 Long Pond Road stood a stone structure, the first location of the Greece school where the Greece Methodist Church organized in 1841, and now is around the corner at 1924 Maiden Lane. The old stone structure’s frame successor is Greece School #9 and remains today as the home of the Douglas Worboys Family.

In 1895 the Brittons sold the farm fields on the west side of Long Pond Road to John and Eva Easton. In 1901 the farm was purchased by Frank and Julia Herman, a farmer who also became a Greece Town Justice.

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In 1953 the Herman Farm, with its two gable roof barns connected by a large chicken coop, was sold by Mr. Herman’s daughter, Isabel Johnson, to Clarence and Adrienne Preston of 1036 Long Pond Road. Here fresh produce was grown and sold at the Rochester Public Market until Clarence retired in 1968. Then sons Eugene and Kenneth continued growing produce for sale at a roadside stand. Most memorable were the tall sunflowers that grew close to the road and admired every summer by motorists driving by.

Sunflowers at 1036 Long Pond Road at Sunset – (Doug Worboys)

In 1965 Rochester Telephone Company constructed a brick operations center at 1041 Long Pond Road said to be exactly in the geographical center of Greece. This land was the private dwelling of Earl and Anna Davis, a Kodak employee.

Getting up in years, I am approaching 82, the Prestons agreed to sell the couple acres of farmland remaining on the west side at 1043 and 1051 Long Pond Road to The Arc of Monroe for the purpose of building two single-family homes. Nestled to the west of the property lies Preston Circle, named after my family, when that portion of the farm was sold more than 50 years ago.

On March 31, 2023, an official Groundbreaking Ceremony was held beneath a large tent, beginning with delightful entertainment by residents of the Arc. Speakers included Arc of Monroe officials including Tracy Petrichick, President and CEO, Tracy Crosby, Executive Director, Arc of Monroe Foundation, and Town of Greece 2nd Ward Councilman, Bill Murphy. Among invited friends, neighbors, and bystanders, I deeply appreciated the opportunity to speak briefly on the family history and the bittersweet feelings of seeing the rich agricultural farmland transition into residential use.

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Remembered were tales of my family working the land and caring for the crops, going way back to a period in the late 1940s when, as youngsters, we would be treated to huge slices of cold watermelon on a hot August day by the grand old, retired gentleman, Frank Herman who still lived in the farmhouse on the property at the time. I recall that years earlier when we kids were too young to pull weeds, we’d play beneath the farm wagon with our homemade wooden tractors out of the hot summer sun.

Wonderful refreshments were provided as media personnel finished up their interviews and everyone disbursed into the light rain that was falling. So, another chapter is completed in the history book of the Preston Family Farm on Long Pond Road. Below are some additional pictures from the event taken by Doug Worboys.

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Happy Birthday Monroe County

On February 23, 2021, we celebrated the Bicentennial of the founding of Monroe County. Named for President James Monroe, the county was carved out of land taken from both Ontario and Genesee Counties; it became a new county on February 23, 1821, by decree of the New York State Legislature.

After the Revolutionary War, a treaty of 1783 established the Great Lakes as the northwestern border of the United States. This treaty was referred to as “The Thirteen Council Fires” by Native Americans who were attempting to peacefully co-exist with the new Americans. Unscrupulous speculators often attempted to swindle the natives by tricking them into surrendering their land. Meanwhile, George Washington had sent General Sullivan into western New York to forcibly remove the Seneca by burning their crops and destroying their villages.

Land speculators Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham purchased over six million acres in western NY from Massachusetts in 1788. The land extended all the way from Lake Ontario at the north to the Pennsylvania state line on the south. Phelps also negotiated a treaty with the Seneca, who had originally refused to sell any land west of the Genesee River. Phelps “convinced” the native Americas to part with an area 12 miles wide by 28 miles long for the construction of a mill on the west side of the Genesee. This area became known as the “mill seat tract” and was the site of the first mill built by Ebenezer “Indian” Allan in 1789 (the mill site was just west of today’s Court Street Bridge).

When Phelps and Gorham were unable to pay their debts, their unsold lots were sold to Robert Morris of Philadelphia in 1790. Morris was a financier who quickly turned over the sale of a million acres of Genesee land the very next year to Sir William Johnstone Pulteney. Due to a NY State law that said that a foreigner could not pass title to any New York property, Charles Williamson became Pulteney’s land agent and he held the legal title to the Genesee lands. He opened a land office in Bath, Steuben County.

The settlements on the east side of the Genesee became the Town of Northfield created in 1796. This land was originally a part of Ontario County with the county seat at Canandaigua. It later was known as “Boyle.” The towns split off from Northfield were: Penfield (1810), Perinton (1812), Pittsford and Brighton (1814), Henrietta (1818), Irondequoit (1839) and Webster (1840). Mendon was taken from Bloomfield in 1812 and Rush was taken from Avon in 1818.

March 18, 1806 record
book of Northampton
mentions money payable
to Asa and Frederick Rowe.

Settlements on the west side of the Genesee River were part of the Town of Northampton created in 1797. Originally a part of Genesee County, the county seat was at Batavia. Towns split off from Northhampton were: Parma and Riga (1808), Gates (1808*), Sweden (1813), Ogden (1817), Clarkson (1819), and Greece and Chili (1822). (The reason for the asterisk after Gates 1808 is due the fact that the petition was presented to Albany in 1808, but it took four years to pass in the legislature and an additional year to take effect!) Wheatland was originally called “Inverness” when created in 1821 and Hamlin was originally called “Union” when formed in 1852 before being renamed in 1861. The county seat of Northampton was at Batavia.

In March of 1801, Abel Rowe built a cabin in Batavia and Joseph Ellicott moved his Holland Land Company office into Rowe’s cabin. Abel Rowe soon became a pioneer settler of Gates (later the Town of Greece) and marries the daughter of William Hincher of Charlotte in 1804. Their son Asa would become the famous nurseryman of Ridge Road in Greece.

In 1805, Pulteney land agent, James Wadsworth (1768-1844), offered land for sale in a letter written at Geneseo in 1805. (see at right- New Lands for Sale)

At first, there were very few permanent settlers in our area. Pioneers included Orringh Stone, Daniel Penfield, Glover Perrin, and William Hincher who built log cabin in 1792 on the bluff where the Charlotte Genesee Lighthouse now stands. The “Genesee Fever” pretty much wiped out the settlers at King’s Landing where Gideon King and Zaddock Granger had bought 6000 acres in 1796. The earliest settlers of the Town of Greece are buried at the Hanford Landing and the Charlotte Village Cemeteries.

The 1971 Monroe County Sesquicentennial booklet, Preface to Tomorrow, referred to our area as: “a God-forsaken place, inhabited by muskrats, visited only by straggling trappers, and through which neither man nor beast could gallop without fear of starvation, or fever or ague.” Nevertheless, in 1803, Charles Carroll, William Fitzhugh, and Nathaniel Rochester contracted to buy the “Genesee Fall mill tract” property (100 acres) from Sir William Pulteney, through his attorney Robert Troup.

But it was the area’s waterways that were key to the early growth of Monroe County. The arrival of the Erie Canal was a huge boon to the local economy by providing a cheap and efficient way to get bountiful crops to market. The waterfalls of the Genesee River provided power to its flour mills, mills that shipped over 200,000 barrels of flour in 1826, the very next year after the Erie Canal opened. Schooners and steamers at the busy port at Charlotte brought in lumber from Canada and exported finished wood from its sawmills and flour from its gristmills.

Early settlers planted fruit orchards and grain fields of wheat and barley. Wheat was ground into flour and the excess was turned into whiskey. An early census of western New York noted that there were more distilleries than gristmills.

The population of Rochesterville was less than 5000 people when it became an incorporated village in 1817. That number grew to over 12,000 residents when it received its charter as a city in 1834 and annexed another 4000 acres of land obtained from the surrounding towns of Gates, Greece, Brighton, and Irondequoit.

Both Genesee and Ontario Counties fought the establishment of Monroe County and it took four more trip to Albany to persuade state legislators. But the locals grew tired to long and arduous journey to either Batavia or Canandaigua to record land transactions. Monroe County was approved by the NYS Legislature on February 23, 1821.

Today, the County of Monroe has a total of 19 towns. The current Monroe County Office Building is on the same spot that the first courthouse building of 1829 occupied. After two hundred years, most of the farmland is now gone, but Monroe County can trace its roots back to the farming pioneers who came to the area after the Revolutionary War.

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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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Greece Special Police, the Former Civil Defense Auxiliary Police

The Special Police Unit of the Greece Police Department was also known as Auxiliary Police. In 1951 the Federal government passed legislation that civil defense would be a vested joint effort between the federal government and states, to protect against communist government attack of the United States with atomic bombs or other radiological weapons. New York State created the Defense Emergency Act of 1951 which required each county to create a civil defense plan to control traffic, crowd control, assist and manage fallout shelters and have many other entities like medical and construction units available to manage, control, and rebuild in event of an enemy attack.

The County of Monroe instructed each town to create a defense plan which included Auxiliary Police. They had to train and equip the auxiliary police to control traffic and perform other police/civil defense functions as may be required during and after an attack.

The Greece Auxiliary police was formed in 1951 and they were trained to assist with Civil Defense needs such as traffic control, crowd control, shelter security, and more as needed. As the years went on the Auxiliary Police Department stayed active in Greece assisting with traffic during parades, carnivals, and other large gatherings where additional police manpower was needed. Auxiliary Police personnel assisted with traffic control at polling stations and several churches in the town during the 1960s and early 1970s. Through the years the Auxiliary Police Unit picked up additional responsibilities such as issuing parking tickets and patrolling town parks and schools, while still providing traffic control for special events within the town.

In 1997 the County of Monroe disbanded the Auxiliary police for Monroe County. This meant the Town of Greece would have to adopt a new law to create a Special Police Unit which would be under the control of the Town Board and the Greece Police Department. Since then, we have continued to support the Town for all special events and emergency situations caused by serve weather and man-made events.

The members of the Special Police unit are all certified New York State Peace Officers. All members have attended an Academy which involves 160-plus hours of training. They have the authority to enforce laws and have powers of arrest. Their goal is to continue to assist the Police Department with public safety.

They have additional responsibilities such as ATVs and snowmobiles, patrol as needed for nuisance complainants in the town, and they continue to provide an extra set of eyes and ears for the force, along with providing a police presence within the Town as they patrol the town’s parks and schools.

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The office of the Special Police is located at 647 Long Pond Road. The Unit is a volunteer organization which has 35 active members. We are always looking for qualified candidates. This Unit is a great opportunity for young people interested in law enforcement or established individuals in our community who want to volunteer in this capacity. Anyone interested should visit our website www.greecespecialpolice.com or call 585-581-6325.

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Rotobowling Never Quite Caught on in Greece

In the late 1940s, as bowling was becoming more popular, the residents of Greece had several choices of where to bowl, including Boem’s on Edgemere Drive and the Charlotte bowling hall on Stutson Street. Along the Ridge, there was the Lyon’s Den, Damm Brothers, and Ridge Bowling, but with no AC and the dependence on pin boys, they were not what anyone to­ day would call truly modern. The first truly “modern” bowling hall in the Town of Greece was first proposed by the Fasano fam­ily. Their plan would not only bring a modern bowling hall to the town, but at the same time introduce a new game that might revolutionize the bowling industry.

In 1946, Michael Fasano and his sons, Ernest and Donato, purchased the Lee property at the intersection of Dewey Avenue, Maiden Lane, and Stone Road and within a year proposed building a “Huge” Shopping Plaza which would include a 24-alley bowling hall. The facility would not be the standard bowling game, however, but a new revolutionary game called Rotobowl­ing.

First patented by Orville Whittle of Florida and being franchised around the country, it was unlike regulation bowling. The game used a 94-foot carpeted alley with lights along the edge, rubber cushion banks on each side, and hazard pins suspended over the courts. The balls were propelled down the alley with a device that looked similar to an upright vacuum cleaner. The game was dependent upon a player’s ability to bank shots rather than on physical ability. Scoring combined the total number of pins downed and the number of times the ball was banked.

It seems the Fasinos had some trouble explaining the game to the Town leaders who had the mistaken impression that it was a gambling game with an elaborate pay-off device.

Gambling of any kind, including bingo, was illegal in New York State at the time. There was also the fear that the bar in the facility would be too close to Barnard School. By the time things were worked out with the Town, the Fasinos began to realize there was no future in the game. They probably discovered that people were not amused with a noiseless game that took no physical effort.

The Fasinos then looked for other opportunities and in 1954 opened their plaza with a new modern Loblaw’s grocery, Cramer’s Drug Store, and several other stores, including a restaurant with a bar. We can wonder if the Fasano’s realized that as they opened their plaza, bowling was in fact, being revolutionized. Down the road a mile and a half, Sam Mink at his Ridge Bowling Hall was introducing the Rochester area public to the AMF “pin spotter”, the first automatic pin setting machine, the single most revolutionary item in bowling history.

Modern bowling halls would eventually come to Greece, but not without a struggle. In 1956 Schantz Construction proposed a bowling hall opposite the new Northgate plaza and in 1957 a hall was proposed at McCall and Stone Roads on the Frear Estate. They were both opposed by neighbors and the Town. But soon Dewey Gardens and nearby Terrace Gardens were opened, followed by Maiden Lanes in 1960.

History has all but forgotten the Rotobowling game, and the Fasino’s proposed plan. Luckily for the Fasinos, they realized the public didn’t want to play their game and gave up their Rotobowling franchise before construction began. They did build a plaza, and although the tenants changed throughout the years, the plaza itself lasted nearly a half-century.

This is a condensed version of a story that first appeared in the November 9, 2006, Greece Post

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The History of Jazz 90.1 WGMC-FM

Did you know that one of the nation’s last 24/7/365 public jazz radio stations resides in Greece, New York?

Jazz 90.1 FM (WGMC-FM) has been an important part of the town’s history since 1971, providing jazz and big band music, community events, concerts, public service programming, and instructional opportunities for students.

In 1971, The Greece Central School District sought out community involvement in the establishment of a community FM radio station. On August 31, 1971, the Greece Central School District Board of Education approved the concept of launching a community radio station, and the process to apply for an FCC license began.

On November 1, 1973, 90.1 WGMC went on the air for the first time. Broadcast hours for the first ten weeks of operation were 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., and on Monday, December 17, 1973, WGMC expanded its hours to run from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. During the early years, the station was run mainly by students, under the direction of faculty advisors at Greece Athena High School. Community members were also able to host programs on the station during school breaks, evenings, and weekends. At just 10 watts of broadcast power, WGMC was heard only within the immediate Greece area. The station broadcasted Greece Town Board meetings, Board of Education meetings, and more.

Over the years, WGMC-FM now called Jazz90.1 has seen significant growth moving to 2,050 watts, then eventually to 15,000 watts of power after an extensive multi-year fundraising effort in the early 2000s. The station does not receive any funding from the Greece Central School District, however, the license for WGMC-FM remains under the school district and is housed at Greece Olympia.

Jazz90.1 is one of the last full-time community jazz radio stations left in the United States; it relies solely on donations from listeners and area businesses. The station will celebrate 47 years on the air in November and continues providing its listeners unique local programming such as the Live Studio Concert Series, Greece Olympia Jazz Radio Hour, and more. Jazz90.1 prides itself on also providing great learning opportunities for Greece students who wish to pursue careers in media and broadcasting. Staff of Jazz90.1 work hand in hand with district teachers and leaders, giving Greece students a one-of-a-kind learning opportunity, both behind the scenes and on the air.

At Jazz90.1, they believe that jazz is a living music. Half of their broadcast hours are focused on current artists who are committed to moving the music forward. Jazz90.1 plays more new music than any radio station in the U.S. but also offers a heaping portion of the classics, like Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Wayne Shorter, and many more.

Jazz 90.1, is also an important outlet for music and voices that don’t make it onto commercial radio. Their longest-running show is The Polka Bandstand Show heard every Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon. The station also features the Lithuanian-language Dainos Aidas and the German Radio Program. As well as the longest locally-running Tech Show Soundbytes as well.

More information can be found at www.jazz901.org. More information on Soundbytes can be found at soundbytes.org

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History of Historical Roadside Markers in Greece

Roadside historic markers are our windows to the past. They educate us, they make us curious to investigate, or they provide a nice excuse to take a break and stretch our legs while we read what happened here.

These markers tell about historic events and locations and provide the public with knowledge about our history. In New York State they were first created to commemorate the American Revolution.

Although no longer funded by the State, historic markers are still being installed throughout New York State by indi­viduals, town and county governments, historical organizations, and individuals. Historic markers have become a ma­jor way to inform the public and tourists about local history.

There are thousands of “official” New York State markers around the State. They were recommended by Town Histori­ans. Because the Town of Greece did not have a historian until the mid-1940s, there are no State markers in Greece. The County of Monroe did initiate a program for a short time in the 1960s resulting in four County markers in Greece. Nearly a quarter century went by before the Canal Society installed another new one at Henpeck Park.

Nearly two decades passed until 2011 when the Town installed the Northgate marker funded by Walmart. In 2014 the Greece Historical Society learned about the William Pomeroy Foundation which would fund the purchase of a marker if the information were well documented. This resulted in the first Pomeroy- funded sign in Greece noting the history of Paddy Hill School which was the Society’s gift to the School.

Since that time, the Town has received two Pomeroy grants for markers: for the Odenbach Shipbuilding plant in 2015 and for the Revolutionary War Veteran at Peck Rd Cemetery in 2019. GHS received a Pomeroy grant for the Jean Brooks Greenleaf marker in 2018 at the Lakeshore Country Club.

As time goes by there are few physical reminders of history in our community, so take a break and stretch your legs while we read what happened here.

NOTE For a photo of each of the historical markers in Greece and all of them in Monroe County check out Dick Helsey’s website at· https://mcnygenealogy.com/pictures/2200/

One of four Pomeroy Foundation-funded markers in Greece

Walmart funded this one in 2011

One of Four Monroe County markers in the Town of Greece

Unlike many other states, New York State does not currently manage a historical marker program. Instead, local authorities are responsible for the approval, installation, and maintenance of historical markers. Anyone interested in placing or repairing a marker should thus check with appropriate county, city, town, or village historians or officials. Source https://www.nysm.nysed.gov/research-collections/state-history/resources/historicalmarkers

To learn more about the William G. Pomeroy Foundation and how the foundation is helping people celebrate their community’s history by visiting https://www.wgpfoundation.org/

HMDB.org lists

Charlotte Markers – https://www.hmdb.org/results.asp?Search=Neighborhood&Neighborhood=Charlotte&FilterCountry=United%20States%20of%20America&FilterState=New%20York&FilterCounty=Monroe%20County&Town=Rochester&u=

Greece Markers – https://www.hmdb.org/results.asp?Search=Town&FilterCountry=United%20States%20of%20America&FilterState=New%20York&FilterCounty=Monroe%20County&Town=Greece&u=

Historical Markers in Maplewood Historic District in Rochester, New York this one does not list Hanford Landing in their list https://www.hmdb.org/results.asp?Search=Neighborhood&Neighborhood=Maplewood%20Historic%20District&FilterCountry=United%20States%20of%20America&FilterState=New%20York&FilterCounty=Monroe%20County&Town=Rochester&u=

https://www.hmdb.org/results.asp?Search=Neighborhood&Neighborhood=Maplewood%20Historic%20District&FilterCountry=United%20States%20of%20America&FilterState=New%20York&FilterCounty=Monroe%20County&Town=Rochester&u=
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The Tale of Three Bricks Or – “It only took 25 years”

More than a month ago we received a call from a fellow inquiring if our museum collection would be interested in having a few bricks gathered from one of the many piles around the demolished Greece Town Hall on West Ridge Road. The Town offices had already moved into the new town Hall in December 1999. Demoli­tion began in April 2001 on the West Ridge Road site. The answer was a tentative, YES, but we would have to see them to decide. A few days later a box arrived on our front porch with the three bricks. Just like people, a brick can come in many forms, small, big, thin, or husky and rough! Our three, which we did accept, were of the latter two types, HUSKY & ROUGH! Those ‘Three Musketeers Bricks” could have been used for the rougher interior. More of a dense and harder finished brick was used for the exterior.

“It only took 25 years?” That was the length of time it took the town of Greece to finally come to realize they desperately needed a town hall. The first such request came about in 1895 and several more times in the early 1900s. No action was ever taken then. First came the annexing of the Village of Charlotte by the City of Rochester in 1916.

The United States entered World War I in 1917 and by 1919 the “dough boys’ were returning from the war and a surge of marriages followed. A building boom soon began. The Town government needed more space than a rented room in Charlotte or the town clerk’s office in his home. A special proposition was put to the citizens of Greece to vote (May 9, 1919) on building a Town Hall. It was approved by a vote of 169 to 72. The 1920 U.S. Census put the total population of Greece at 3,350.

Through the next almost eighty years many additions and changes were added to increase the needed space. Again, as before, talks were started that a new Town Hall was needed. The added arrival of the computer age compounded the problem. The electrical system, as well as the telephone wiring system, was aged and obsolete. The thick brick walls did not lend themselves easily to that kind of an upgrade.

Our vintage Town Hall bricks are rather insignificant compared to the cupola that once crowned the top of the building. It was saved and restored by members of the Greece Historical Society. It now is part of a welcome sign on the grounds of the Society at 595 Long Pond Road. The two Doric col­umns that stood at the main entrance to the former Town Hall are now in the lobby of the Community Center at the North end of the present Greece Town Hall. All these varied artifacts help to tell the story of the Town of Greece’s first public building.

originally printed in the Greece Historical Society’s Corinthian newsletter, June 2020

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How Different It Might Have Been?

The fall of 1953 was a rapidly changing time for the residents of the town of Greece. The Lake Ontario State Parkway (LOSP) was under construction and contractors had all they could do to build new homes for Greece’s growing population, as 100 people a month moved into the town. According to Ray Cole, the town’s building inspector at the time, 55 new home permits were issued in September alone. Then there was the Northgate Plaza grand opening, a three-day event that drew crowds of up to 75,000. A new shopping complex today would cause little excitement, but back then it was to be the very first suburban shopping center in Monroe County.

Meanwhile, in October, a small group of town citizens would affect the future of Greece. A grassroots group, the Shoremont Association, headed by Mario Berardi of Edgemere Drive, was protesting the proposed construction of a factory at Dewey Avenue and Ling Road. It seemed that a 47-year-old local company with 800 employees was rapidly outgrowing their plant on Hollenbeck Street and other sites scattered around the City of Rochester.

The company had acquired an option on the land and was seeking a zoning change to build their proposed “campus­ type” research and production facility. The group of residents was afraid that a factory “would destroy the natural beauty of the lakeshore site, increase traffic, cause a smoke and industrial dirt nuisance and depreciate nearby proper­ ty values and those of Greece as a whole.”

A Democrat & Chronicle editorial praised the residents for their opposition to changing the towns zoning laws “that might allow the installation of a big factory in their neighborhood.” The editorial stated that “the company was one with a conscience and a sense of civic responsibility. Its officers were public-spirited, and it could be taken for granted they would not willingly ruin a great public asset”. (Indeed, the president of the company had been mayor of the City only 20 years before). ‘The citizens were wise to move rapidly in trying to repulse an effort to change the zoning laws.” Because of the residents’ protest, the company pulled out of the deal and began the search for another site.

Were the right decisions made that first week in October of 1953? Certainly, it would have changed the character of the neighborhood and we now know the site that the company had chosen would have been woefully inadequate.

Would they have soon abandoned the site when they ran out of room, leaving another empty building, such as the old Odenbach shipbuilding factory that was unoccupied for many years, or would they have continued to expand throughout the town of Greece? We will never know.

The Town of Greece certainly did prosper over the years without that factory, but so did the community that eagerly welcomed it. In 1954, Joseph C. Wilson, the president of the Haloid Co. announced his com­pany’s plans for a new complex in the town of Web­ster. Several years later in 1961, the company changed its name to Xerox.

The area as it looks today (Google Maps)

This is an edited version of a story by me that originally appeared in the Greece Post Oct 16, 2003.

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Willow Creek Ranch

Located at 1118 Long Pond Road about 80 years ago was the Willow Creek Ranch. Far in the rear of the 10 acres was a farm house. Owner, Irving James Thompson known as ‘Tommy” Thompson, was a big strong fellow weighing near­ly 400 pounds at one time, who could pick up a heavy iron anvil by its point with one hand. He was a cowboy who created Willow Creek Ranch where he had several horses and a large pasture. In the late 1940s, he went to Nebraska and brought back several horses to his ranch where he broke them and sold many of them. Others he trained for rodeo events. There was never a horse he couldn’t ride. Rodeos, combined with a western theme parade, became a very popular event at the Long Pond Road location.

A Greece Press newspaper dated August 4, 1944, shows an advertisement headed, “Come One! Come All! Come to the home town rodeo at Willow Creek Ranch, Long Pond Road near Maiden Lane, Sunday, August 6, 1944, at 1 PM, with a parade at 2 PM led by Monroe County Sheriff horses. Thrills for young and old.” It goes on to say: “Bucking broncos, calf roping, knot tying, bull dragging, bronc­ busting, and a western horse show. Local amateur cowboy entries invited. Cash prizes and trophies.” It shows Tommy Thompson and his trick horse, Duke Thun­derbolt, an Arabian gelding. Said the poster: ‘Tommy Thompson, Ray Slaght, Lucky Boy Williams, managers. 10% goes to Red Cross.”

Duke Thunderbolt performed amazing tricks such as pulling the family wash off the clothesline, blowing the horn on the family car with his nose, counting, rocking a chair, and executing a horse prayer. Other tricks included: taking off Thompson’s hat, rolling over and playing dead, and holding an American flag in his teeth. Thompson would demonstrate his rope skills and knot tying.

Much of this information I learned from sons Gary and Bob Thompson. Bob is my brother-in-law and lives in Greece. Today the Willow Creek Ranch site is the Ronald J. Arndt Funeral Home. Nothing remains but memories from the days of the Thompson family being there and the excitement of the rodeos. Mr. Arndt was in awe learning of the history of his place.

At the rear of the property was Round Pond Creek. Our family farm was not far away at 1036 Long Pond Road where the same creek flowed through our property. As a lad, I remember the “ranch” being up the road and Tommy Thompson who always wore a large western cowboy hat and leather boots. My dad, “Cap” Preston, was a friend of Tommy’s and would take my brothers Eddie and Ken and me along to visit at Willow Creek Ranch. It was named that because of the many large willow trees along the creek.

Tommy Thompson was also a heavy equipment operator at Kodak and retired in 1969. He was born in Napanee, Ontario, Canada, arriving here at age 18 on a ferry boat from Cobourg, Canada to Charlotte. He passed away in 1982 at his Hamlin, NY home at age 72.

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Greenleaf Flying Club

Guess Where?

The Greenleaf Flying Club owned a small private airfield in Greece. It closed sometime in the 1970s and is now a tract of homes. The first person to guess exactly where it was will win a Greece coffee mug. The Contest to guess where this sign has ended, thanks to all those that guest different answers.

The answer to last month’s question about the location of the Greenleaf Flying Club was correctly answered by Gene Preston. The Club was located on Kuhn Road northwest of St. Mark’s Church. This aerial photo was taken in 1970 and clearly shows their field and several airplanes.

Not much is known about this private club including why it was called Greenleaf, although we do know that a 17-year-old tried to steal a plane in 1964, there was a tragic accident in 1969 that killed two pilots and in 1974 or 1975, a student pilot from the field got in a little trouble with the Greece Police when he did some low flying over his high school, Greece Ar­cadia. Sometime in the early 1980s, the owner of the land got an offer he couldn’t refuse, so he sold the land, most of the members moved to Ledgedale Airpark near Brockport, and Sweet Acres Drive was built.

Photo supplied by Gene Preston. That’s Gene with the large white dry chemical fire extinguisher in the left portion of the picture.

If you have any more information or stories about the club or its grass landing field, let us know, Email us at greecehistori­calsociety@yahoo.com or call Bill at 225-3760.

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