The Grand Erie Yacht Club

Along the canal and across the way, just east of Henpeck Park, you can see, standing alone and forgotten, an old steel barge. Time and weather have taken their toll and it’s easy to miss. Still scrolled on the front side that can be made out through the chipping paint and encroaching vines are the words “Grand Erie Yacht Club.” Many have wondered …What was this place? How did it get there and what is the story behind it?

The Grand Erie Yacht Club
The Grand Erie Yacht Club photo by Laurie Eisele

Recently I met with Ross Gates, one of the original founders of the club, to gain some more insights on its history. In 1982, several members of Capt. Jeff’s Marina decided that they would create a place that would accommodate many people and be suitable for parties and camaraderie. A grown-up clubhouse! They secured a crew barge from Charlie’s Marina that cost them the meager amount of one dollar. if they could move it.

There were many hoops to jump through to secure a place on state land, just on the outskirts of the marina. Property easements, septic, well and electricity were a few of the hurdles they faced. But with perseverance, donations from Marina members, and a lot of elbow grease they were able to make it happen.

The club became very official with officers elected annually which included a Commodore, Vice Commodore, Rear Commodore, Fleet Captain, Secretary, and Treasurer. Membership was open to marina members and their friends with an initiation fee of $25 and an annual membership fee of $50. Because it was not an established business they held no liquor license. To get around that the “essentials” were purchased and dispensed via “suggested donations.”

Monthly meetings were held, and a newsletter was routinely distributed, heralding upcoming activities, recaps of boating trips and fun chatter about the members. Activities included steak roasts, spaghetti dinners, Monte Carlo nights, chicken barbecues, and nightly gatherings where members could share laughs and a few drinks. There were well over 150 members at its peak.

Then, in 1992, just 10 years after the club was started – it ended. A falling out with the owner of the marina caused its demise. The state came in and with it followed the bureaucracy that New York State is known for. With too many stipulations and red tape to navigate through, the Grand Erie Yacht club closed its doors for good.

In 1997, just after our parents (who were club members) passed away, my sister and I visited the marina to reminisce. To our amazement the barge was unlocked, and we ventured in. The bar stools and tables were overturned, litter scattered throughout. The vermin and vandals had taken their toll. And yet as we wandered around, we could still feel the memories. We could almost hear the music and the laughter and the smiling faces of our parents and their friends as we had frequented the club many times during its run.

While brief, the nostalgic era of the Grand Erie Yacht Club is a legacy of determination and perseverance that I’m sure it’s founders will never forget.

It still sits there today, alone and forlorn with its windows broken and rust spreading along its outer walls. The overgrowth has been cut away and the future of it is unknown. An eyesore to some – it is still a treasured memory to my family and all those who frequented it.

Aerial view of a river and roads

Description automatically generated
Aerial map showing the location of Grand Erie Yacht Club
A rusty metal building with many windows

Description automatically generated
Recent close-up photo
by Laurie Eisele
A rusted building with a blue door

Description automatically generated with medium confidence
Recent photo
by Laurie Eisele
A rusted building with graffiti on it

Description automatically generated
Photo from several years ago
Unknown source
A paper with text on it

Description automatically generated
1986 Club Newsletter
Provided by Russ Gates
A round patch with a map and text

Description automatically generated
Club Patch
Provided by Laurie Eisele

mail

Greece Little League – 70 Years Old!

A logo of a baseball

Description automatically generated

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.

A group of baseball players posing for a photo

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

Description automatically generated
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.

A group of kids sitting on a bench

Description automatically generated
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/

mail

A Vineyard in Greece

Most people in Greece associate the surname Fetzner with the making and repairing of means of transportation. First with a carriage and blacksmith shop and then as the “fuel” changed from hay for horse-powered carriages to gas, the family moved on to selling and/or repairing cars.

A horse drawn carriage outside a building

Drawing by William Aeberli
J.P. Fetzners’ brothers John and Frank owned and operated the J & F Fetzner Carriage Makers, Blacksmithing and Painting on Ridge Road in Greece. Frank’s blacksmith Shop was in the small building, and John’s carriage-making building was the larger.
Drawing by William Aeberli
A person with a mustache

Description automatically generated
Joseph Peter “J.P”. Fetzner, 1901
Courtesy Lever/Henricus Family

Patriarch Frank Fetzner arrived in the United States in the mid to late 1840s from Untergrombach, Bruschal, Baden, Germany (18km or 11 miles east of the Rhine River). He married Catherine Mura, together they had eight children and resided on a farm in Greece with a blacksmith shop as one of their outbuildings. The driveway to their farm later became Fetzner Road. Sons John and Frank were the well-known carriage makers and blacksmiths whose enterprise was on the Ridge Road. Another son, Joseph Peter (1856-1909), better known in business as J.P., became a maker of wine, liquors, cider and vinegar.

Perhaps making moonshine in the still on his father’s farm, gave J.P. the idea to establish his way in the liquor business. In 1878, J.P. planted grapes for a fledgling vineyard on Long Pond Road, just north of Mill Road. He married Mary Hutte the following year. The Long Pond vineyard thrived and grew, buildings and operations expanded over time, including a storehouse, winery, mill, brandy distillery plant, and a house. There was an additional cider mill on Ridge Road. By 1881, he had founded the Rochester Liquor & Distilling Company in the city of Rochester. As growth continued, in 1899, the name changed to the Lake Ontario Wine Company and the venture went public. The company produced wine, champagne (American Eagle brand), and brandies. It was a very successful family operation with its offices and distillery then based in Rochester. The cider mill, vineyards, winery, wine cellars and woodland (to make the vineyard stakes) were in Greece.

A close-up of a map

Description automatically generated
J.P. Fetzner Vineyard and Cider Mill location on Long Pond Road, just north of Mill Road on this (1905 Greece Map)
A couple of men in a field

Description automatically generated
J.P. Fetzner and worker at Vineyard on Long Pond Road. History of the Brewery and Liquor Business of Rochester, N.Y., Kearse

At the business peak around the year 1900, it was very much a family affair. J.P. was president and treasurer; brother-in-law William Hutte was vice-president; brother Wendell Fetzner helped for a few years with carting; son-in-law brewer, William Kipp (married daughter Minnie), was secretary; and son Arthur Fetzner was a foreman. The company appeared to be highly successful, paying excellent dividends to their stockholders and allowing the family to live prosperously. Unfortunately, J.P. got pulmonary tuberculosis, and then died suddenly in 1909. With his passing, things quickly fell apart. J.P. had sold most of his personal land to the company as well as used personal funds to establish it. During probate, it was discovered that the stock shares were worthless. The family members involved in the business, as well as J.P.’s second wife, Josephine Neidert, and his children from both marriages, had to take other paths in life.

A large brown jug on a wood surface

Description automatically generated
A close up of a vase

Description automatically generated

J.P. Fetzner wine jugs. The jugs were made by Jacob Fisher’s pottery business in Lyons, Wayne County, New York. To ensure a return for refill, vendors put their business name on the jugs.

Courtesy Bill Sauers and Jane Oakes, respectively

A brown jug with a handle

Description automatically generated

This is just a portion of the Fetzner Family, you can read more about the Fetzner family in the Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Volume 1, by Marie Poinan and JoAnn Ward Synder.

mail

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.

mail

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.

A picture containing garden

Description automatically generated

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.

A person wearing a hat Description automatically generated with medium confidence

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.

mail

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.

mail

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.

PXL_20210721_133733481.jpg

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.

mail

Milton H. Carter Park

What’s the story on….Milton H. Carter Park?

Carter Park is a 12-acre recreational landscape located on Long Pond Road near The Mall at Greece Ridge. It hosts a playground, baseball fields, basketball, and tennis courts as well as an open pavilion. It is a representation of the long tradition and commitment to recreational investment and development by the town and it is named after a particularly meaningful historical local figure; former Greece Police Chief Milton H. Carter.

The park was part of a recreational development wave in Greece during the 1950s and the former American Legion property was previously identified as the “Long Pond Road Recreational Area.” On 15 September 1970, a Town Board resolution moved to change the name to “Milton H. Carter Park,” in honor of the former chief following his death in 1968.

Chief Carter was a resident of Greece from 1904 until his death. Prior to serving as chief, he was a farmer and a decorated World War I veteran. He was the first full-time Greece police officer and with the support of his wife Edna, served as chief from 1931 until his retirement in July 1960. He was instrumental in the creation of the Greece Volunteer Ambulance Service, shepherding the growth of the department from a small town force to a leading, sophisticated, police agency. He developed and implemented the first professional training of the department well ahead of a New York State law that required it in 1960.

At the testimonial dinner celebrating his retirement, leaders of the community spoke of Chief Carters’ “ramrod straight integrity,” his kindness, and his leadership abilities. Former Greece Town Supervisor Gordon A. Howe said of him at the time, “He bears without burden the grand old name of ‘gentleman’.” So was his mark on our history and Milton H. Carter Park stands as a remembrance in his honor.

“Talk of the Town” Newsletter Article, January 2020, Issue by Keith C. Suhr, Assistant Director, Greece Public Library and Greece Town Historian

Here are some facts and images not mentioned or shared in the original story are:

Chief Milton Carter (Right)
Chief Milton Carter (Right)
The flag of stars flew at Greece Town Hall to call attention to the number of Greece Men and Women in service during World War II. Additional stars were added as the numbers grew. From Left to Right Town Supervisor Gordon Howe, Police Chief Milton Carter, and Lucius Bagley World War I Veteran
The flag of stars flew at Greece Town Hall to call attention to the number of Greece Men and Women in service during World War II. Additional stars were added as the numbers grew. From Left to Right Town Supervisor Gordon Howe, Police Chief Milton Carter, and Lucius Bagley World War I Veteran

Chief Carter purchased the shell of the old one-room common school district number 5 school and moved it down the road. He was at the storm headquarters for the blizzard of 1966.

mail

Bible School Association of Greece

Last year the Greece Historical Society acquired a handwritten book containing the secretarial notes and minutes of the Bible School Association of Greece dated 1905-1921. Kate Huppé, a recent graduate from SUNY Geneseo, offered to write this story about what she discovered reading these minutes.

This year marks the one-hundred-year anniversary of the discontinuation of the Bible School Association of the Town of Greece. At that time, the Bible School Association was reorganized to better represent the needs of Greece and the surrounding areas. Yet, what led to this reorganization by the end of 1921?

The Bible School Association of the Town of Greece convened three times yearly, once in the winter, once in the spring, and once in the summer to elect officers, according to the Association’s constitution. These meetings strove to bring together “the Bible school workers of the town, to promote more thorough study of the Bible and better teaching of its truths.” Miss Mary Moall, secretary of the Bible School Association, kept meeting minutes for each of the meetings, allowing for a deeper under­ standing of how the people of Greece, and eventually other towns, approached promoting and teaching the Bible. Record keeping by Miss Moall began on December 5, 1905, and continued through December 15, 1921.

Topics frequently discussed were the creation of an effective Sunday School, the characteristics of an excellent Sunday school teacher, and the mission of the school itself. Naturally, these topics turned towards the youth of Greece, and how to keep them involved in the church and Sunday School. Especially mentioned were young men and how to keep them in attendance – a comment which may sound familiar one hundred years later!

Meetings typically opened with a devotional led by a minister followed by the discussion topics of the day. On April 9, 1906, the Bible School Association convened at the Baptist church. A presentation, ‘The Bible- Where Is It?” given by Reverend J.J. Kelly led to the discussion of what makes a good Sunday School teacher. Miss Moall told the group “of an old Scotchman who held a class of boys by throwing out the lessons … and teaching first about the Bible.” A. E. Truesdale, a frequent attendee of the Bible School Association meetings, responded that “The most successful teachers always carry their Bibles. If we use it, and are familiar with it, it will make us tactful, it has magnetism which gives tact. Religion cannot be described but felt.” In this way, the attendees seemed to believe that a good Sunday School teacher had distinct vindication for the teachings of the Bible. They should empha­size its importance by leading through example.

As the meetings continued, readers of Miss Moall’s secretarial notes will see, attendance increased, both from individuals and representatives of churches in the surrounding areas. Publications in the Democrat & Chronicle also record an increased geographic scope. By the December 15, 1921 meeting, Miss Moall writes not of the reconvening of the Bible School Association of the town of Greece, but of the Bible School Association of the Town of Greece and vicinity. That being said, the meeting on December 15 was held at the Dewey Avenue Reformed Church, located in the Town of Greece.

It appears by the end of 1921, it made sense to reorganize the Bible School Association to better address the needs of the churches of Greece and the surrounding area. Miss Moall concludes her book of meeting minutes writing that the Bible School Association was discontinued, and the First District of Monroe County Sunday School reorganized at Hilton. A new secretary’s book was established. One may assume that topics of discussion of this new Sunday School organization followed suit of those discussed by the Bible School Association, as those remained overwhelmingly similar over the course of Miss Moall’s dedicated meeting minutes. Yet an expanding jurisdiction could have prompted discussions of various kinds.

Thank you to Professor Michael Oberg, Geneseo Center for Local and Municipal History, SUNY Gene­seo for connecting us to Kate.

mail

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

mail

The Rochester Park Band at Manitou Beach in 1906

1900s Manitou Beach Postcard

Want to have some fun? Let’s go on a company picnic to Manitou Beach in the summer of 1906. We’ll join the nearly 1,000 employees of James Cunningham & Sons, a huge company with several factories, which, in 1906, was still making horse-drawn carriages, but by 1908, would transition to that new kind of horseless carriage called an automobile.

“We’ll meet at 7:30 am in front of the main factory on Canal Street. And then the celebration begins! We’ll march together, grouped into our different factories, each one with its large silk and gold banner, from Canal Street to the New York Central train station.

And what is a parade without a band? And why not two? The Rochester Park Band with its handsome director, Theodore Dossenbach, and all its musicians in their glorious cream-colored suits, will lead us today, with Fred Zeitler and his 54th Regiment Band. And as we march along, people rush to the streets from their houses, or watch us pass from the windows of their workplaces, perhaps wishing they worked for James Cunningham & Sons.”

Rochester Park Band

“We have a special train waiting for us at the station which brings us to Manitou Beach, and right away we join in the many sports and contests. Want to see how we had fun in 1906? Well, there was the baseball game between the married men and the single men. There was the married women’s race, the little girls’ race, the old men’s race, and who can forget the fat men’s race? And so many prizes – for the oldest man present, the youngest man, and the man having the reddest nose!”

Orphan’s Day Picnic

The Rochester Park Band played often at Manitou Beach in the first few decades of the 20th century. On July 14th, 1920, the annual Orphans Day, sponsored by the Automobile Club, was held at Manitou Beach. It began with the car parade, starting at East Avenue and Brunswick Street, with Theodore Dossenbach and the Rochester Park Band and autos filled with excited orphans.

At Manitou Beach, the orphans rode the loop-the-loop and scenic railway and felt so much joy, which we hope lingered in their memories in their days to come. They were given lunches with two sandwiches, a banana, cake, and candy, and there was orangeade and ice cream sandwiches free throughout the day. There were games and dances and contests, and at the end of the day was the grand march with 1200 children. William Bausch, such a goodly man, chaired this event; we are so thankful to him.

The amusement park at Manitou Beach existed roughly from the 1890s to the 1920s and boasted some of Lake Ontario’s grand hotels, including the Manitou Hotel and the Odenbach Hotel. Reachable by the Manitou Beach Trolley until 1924, with its trestle over Braddock Bay, the park and beach lingered long in the memories and stories of those who were fortunate to experience its special good times.

Sources:

D&C, ‘Big Picnic at Manitou Beach”, 8/18/1906

D&C, “Wonderful Time for Orphans on Outing of 1920,” 7/15/1920

Albert R. Stone photos used with permission

mail

Greece Link to the National Football League

As we celebrate Super Bowl LIV and the NFL’s 100th season, we might want to consider the very “focal” Greece’s con­nection to the game.

Joseph McShea was a talented athlete who grew up on his family’s farm on Dewey Avenue, just north of Latta Road. His great-grandparents emigrated to the town shortly after the potato famine of the 1840s and by the 1880s, the family had accumulated over 180 acres of land. Part of their family farm became the site of the Odenbach Shipbuilding Corporation.

Joe attended Holy Cross School in Charlotte (Greece had no Catholic school at the time) and graduated from the first Charlotte High (at the triangle) in 1919. He played a number of sports and also boxed under the name of “Irish Joe” McShea. After returning home from the University of Rochester to help on the family farm, Joe signed a contract to play football for Leo Lyons and the Rochester Jeffersons. His contract was signed by his aunt, Miss Marguerite McShea, a beloved teacher at Holy Cross and later Our Mother of Sorrows grammar school. Joe was paid $25 per game!

Leo V. Lyons was born in 1892 and started playing football for the “Jeffersons” in 1908 at the age of 16. He later became their coach, manager, and owner. In 1919, the Jeffersons won the city’s semi-pro championship. Leo was one of the pioneer founders of the National Football League. On September 17, 1920, he represented Rochester at a meeting of the nation’s pro team managers held in Canton, where they created the American Professional Football Association. The league became the “National Football League” in 1922 and the Rochester was one of its 14 original teams.

Lyons lost his NFL franchise in 1928 but never lost his love of the game, serving as “Honorary Historian” of the NFL from 1965 until his death in 1976 at the age of 84. Lyons was present at the opening of the Hall of Fame in 1963. Although nominated several times, he was never inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Lyons moved to 604 Beach Avenue in 1938. His contributions to football are numerous, not to mention that he collected all types of memorabilia on the game. Joe McShea lived in the area at 305 Beach Avenue.

Greece Link to the National Football League
Greece Link to the National Football League

My thanks to Tom McShea, who provided the info on his grandfather Joe is a featured athlete in our local sports exhibit chaired by the Late Tom Sawnor. A book on our local sports figures is sold in our gift shop.

For more on Lyons and the Rochester Jeffersons, see www.nfl.com and www.rochestetjeffersons.org

mail

Richard Laurette – Memories of Dewey Stone Area

After reading Bill Bartling’s story about Dewey Stone in the 1940s in our May Corinthian, GHS member, Richard Laurette sent us his story about the 1950s.

My parents moved to the suburbs in February 1944. I came along in November. (You can do the math.) Coincidental­ ly to Mr. Bartling’s previous piece, we moved to 42 Dalston Rd. We lived four houses from the two pillars at Dewey, Gulf & Sunoco Gas Stations. Moving north there was a building between the Gulf station and Beaumont Rd. Like an­cient Gaul, it was divided into three parts. Esler’s was on the South, Lincoln Bank in the middle, and a toy store on the north next to Beaumont. The toy store had Yo-Yo contests at the beginning of each summer. It was quite some­ thing when my sister won one summer and beat all the boys. The toy store moved out and Loblaw’s moved in. Eventually, Loblaw’s moved into the field just east of Barnard school. Esler’s moved to the north end and Cadet Cleaners took its place on the south end.

Dew-Stone plaza was built north of Beaumont. It was cool because you could enter Star Market from either Dewey Ave. or Stone Rd. On the south end next to Beaumont was a bakery and then later Fay’s Drug Store. The Dutch Mill was always a presence. One thing I could never figure out was when I delivered the Times-Union newspaper, how could so many guys work at Kodak days and yet be on a bar stool at 3:00 p.m.

I happened to know that Mr. Jackson learned the bakery business at Schliff Bake Shop downtown, went in the Navy, and then came home and opened his business at the corner on Beaumont & Stone. He moved his place across the street for better parking. Have you tried parking in front of Jackson’s lately?

Directly across the street from Dalston was a Laundromat, and then going north was Veltri’s Shoe store and then a children’s clothing store on the corner of Shady Way. I still see Carl Veltri at the YMCA.

Across Shady Way, the central point of the neighborhood (except for those on the bar stools at the Dutch Mill) was, for some, Johnny’s Sweet Shop Restaurant (a place to also buy your Easter candy). Next to Johnny’s was the Towne Men Shop. I personally worked there for Harry Melon for 10-12 years. Going north in the same building: a Barber Shop, Dance Studio, and Mortillaro’s Paint Store as well as Mortillaro’s Jewelry Store.

Continuing north, they tore down an apartment building on the corner of Shady Way. Lincoln Bank built a new building and moved from across the Street. Jumping up to Stone Road there was the Corner Service (my favorite place to get junk food), Barnard Meat Market, another bakery, Bill’s Barbershop, and Kujawa’s Television Re­pair. West across Dewey was a Rotary Gas Station. Between it and Barnard were the new Loblaw and Cramer’s Rexall Drug Store.

Beyond the two schools (Barnard & St Charles) & the two churches (St. Charles & Bethany Pres) was the firehouse. Where would any kid have been without the 12:00 & 5:00 whistle or the field next to Clark Park to play sports?

Finally, Nick & Erwin’s Dry Cleaners certainly added to the neighborhood.

mail

Bill Bartling’s – Memories of Dewey Stone Area

This is what it was like in the 1940s growing up in Greece in the Dewey Stone area.

When I was 5 we moved to 22 Dalston Road. It was the first house on the street behind Sarvey’s Gulf station. Across Dewey, one block toward the city, was Shorty Junker’s Barnard Grill. Directly across from Sar­vey’s was a Hart’s grocery. It was sort of a 7-11 before there were 7-11s. Next to Hart’s going toward Stone Road was Veltri’s shoe repair. Back on the West side, next to Sarvey’s was Esler’s, which sold records and probably some other electronic stuff. Back on the East side was a little strip shopping center with a little haberdashery shop and on the corner of the center was Johnny’s Diner. Then there was Cowan’s drug store. Across from Cowan’s was, and still is, the Dutch Mill. There was nothing behind the Dutch Mill at the time, just an open field. Back across Dewey there was a small country store on the Northwest corner. Going East on Stone there was McBride’s Tavern. Heading west on Stone was Barnard School and behind Barnard was St. Charles. Back on the other side of Dewey was a church and farther down the Barnard Fire House. The firehouse was much smaller then. There was a large home just before the firehouse with a large open lot between the house and the firehouse. The homeowner let the firefighters make a large garden on the lot where they grew food for firehouse use.

You’d find mostly homes from there to the Britton Road area except for Hope Lutheran Church. Every day at noon the firefighters sounded the siren. I don’t know if that was to test it or to let everyone know it was time for lunch. The si­ ren’s real purpose was to alert the volunteers that it was time for action when there was a fire. When the siren sound­ ed shopkeepers would come running out of the stores, jump into their cars, and head for the firehouse to learn where the fire was.

Kids would be out all day in the summer and after school when it was in session. Parents didn’t worry about the chil­ dren’s safety and usually the Barnard school playground was the destination. Smaller children played on the swings, slides, monkey bars, and whatever else was there while the older kids played baseball, football, or soccer, whatever was in season. With no assigned teams, we chose up sides, and had no coaches or even adults. I almost think this was better. We learned a lot about life without an adult directing what we should do and how we should act. There were no school buses; we all walked to school.

Every year a group of Gypsies came and camped in the lot behind the Dutch Mill. We youngsters always went there to talk to the exotic people who were really quite nice to us. Today people would never let their children go there un­ supervised. Later, the shopping area around the back of the Dutch Mill was built and the Gypsies’ camping grounds were no more. One of the shops there was a bakery. A young ex-sailor by the name of Jackson started his bakery which still exists today now found across the street.

One event we always looked forward to was the minstrel show performed by the Barnard firefighters and exempt members. It was amazing to see people we knew performing- some with great talent and others with great enthusi­asm. The shows were stopped because they were considered racist I believe. We were too young and innocent to understand racism and we all wanted to be one of the End Men (as they were called) when we grew up.

Another annual event we looked forward to occurring was the Christmas party the Fire Department conducted for children of the firefighters. We always were given a net stocking filled with hard candy, a little toy, and an orange which was a real treat. We only had whatever fruit was in season in those days and seldom from a faraway place like Florida……… So many more memories…..

mail