OK! What’s in a name? When the new hotel (replacing the earlier Larkin Hotel) was built at Latta and North Greece Roads it was simply called The North Greece Hotel. That was in 1909; but not long after it opened, it be came the Moerlbach Hotel named for a new local brewery that supplied its beer to the hotel bar. Just prior to World War One the name again reverted to North Greece. The start of the 1920s saw the 13-year run of Prohibition, a change of ownership, and the new name, The Domino Inn. Newspapers of the period often mention the federal agents raiding the hotel and seizing illegal beer and liquor or the running of a still. Because of the numer ous saloons along Latta Road, certain local clergy of the time called Latta Road, “The Road to Hell”. This did not stop the popular spot from hosting political functions and local fire company events with good food featured in the enlarged dining room at the rear. Dancing to live music was featured at least four nights a week.
For a very short period in the early 1930s, the name was again changed, this time to Cosmo Inn. Nineteen thirty-eight saw new owners now calling it the Corner House Hotel. Their annual Valentine, St. Patrick, Mother’s Day, 4th of July, Halloween, and Thanksgiving events continued until the beginning of World War Two. Partially because of rationing and scarcity of goods, the Hotel closed for a few years after 1941.
The end of the war saw the final and most memorable years ahead for the hotel. Raymond and Irene DeMay bought the closed building in late 1945. A thorough refurbishing, updated restrooms and kitchen greeted the eager clientele at its reopening. More popular than ever, the celebration of holidays, banquets, and parties continued. The usual Fish Fry on Friday night was followed by a Teen-Hop from 8 to midnight.
The husband and wife partnership continued until Ray’s passing on June 23, 1974. “Ma or Mother DeMay”, as Irene became known, continued the business. She celebrated the 40th anniversary of the DeMay Hotel on April 4, 1985, with a special Genesee Beer Night. With each passing year, it became harder to continue as it once was, but it did go on until Irene’s death, at age 83 on March 10, 2000.
Now, thirteen years after the Demay Hotel was shuttered, a malaise of melancholy and decay has overtaken all the happy times and memories the tired walls shelter. Unless a buyer is found soon, “father time” will claim one more historic building in Greece.
Photos, data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office.
More on the Hotel of Many Names is featured in the following Bicentennial Snapshots:
After turning the corner at Latta Road to go south on North Greece Road, one might quickly pass a plain red brick building at the rear of a small parking lot. Across the right front of the building are the letters, United States Post Office. If you aren’t from the area you might not know you are in the hamlet of North Greece. This area was one of the earlier settlements in Greece. It has had a Post Office since 1850 (from the government records, a few say earlier).
Over the last 163-year period the mail operation has occupied at least six known locations, never more than a block away from each other. The first location was a small space in the store of Alfred Phelps at the Southwest corner of Latta and North Greece Roads.
For a short period of time in the early 1870s the location moved across North Greece Road to a store operated by William T. Filer. By 1880 it was back again, operating out of the Phelps store by Alfred’s son Henry. For the next sixty-five years, it was to share space with the ever-expanding general merchandise. Changing times in the early 1900s saw the gradual demise of the pickle and cracker barrels. Molasses was no longer dispensed into a jug. Kerosene found fewer uses as Greece gradually saw the extension of electrical service to North Greece and beyond.
Nineteen forty-five saw the end of World War II and the Post Office found it necessary to relocate again as building material were in short supply then. A small building was found on a nearby farm and moved on a flatbed truck to the rear of the original North Greece Fire Station on the Northeast corner of Latta Road at North Greece Road. Remember by older local residents was Mrs. Melinda Germeroth (Right), the postmistress from the opening of the small office in August 1945 to her retirement in December 1967.
A major remodel and addition to the fire station made room for the post office to lease a much larger space from the fire department in 1964.
As a second-class contract post office, it could offer all the amenities of a first-class post office. Mail delivery was not offered in this post office, except to the rented post office boxes on the premises. It also was not necessary for the U.S. Post Office Service to own the building.
Another twelve years and the fire station was bursting at the seams. However, no remodeling was done this time. The entire old building was demolished and a new fire station was erected. There was no small, used building for the post office this time. It was decided to move the post office into a temporary, cramped 12′ By 50′ trailer until a new permanent building was built. The trailer was put on rented property down North Greece Road, barely a block south of the fire station. The postal service put out a call for bids on a building that would have 1,056 sq. ft. of space. George and Florence Germeroth Jr. were the successful bidders and the Post Office would lease the building from the Germeroths. Florence had taken the place of her mother-in-law (Melinda) on her retirement in 1967.
The present facility is a one-person operation, except during busy seasonal and special times. Numerous postal clerks served there and at the other earlier locations. A more recent clerk with many years of service was Doris Cutter, who is fondly remembered. Doris retired in early 2004 with many years of faithful service. Another is Ann Piazza who worked with Mrs. Cutter for many years.
Though only a mile and a half west of the main Greece Post Office, it is a much slower-paced opera tion. It closes for an hour at lunchtime; the outer lobby has a bank of private mailboxes with a special Zip Code of 14515 for those only.
If you are still writing by “snail-mail” or sending cards, a North Greece cancellation mark is available by dropping your correspondence in a special slot. North Greece is the only location that has a Greece cancellation. A visit there recently found I was in a friendly, unrushed flow of patrons in what seemed to be a flashback to another time. With the postal service running up red ink more every year, will North
Greece eventually cease to have its own post office…?
Photos, data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office. If you have any information on our photos, call Alan at 663-1706.