This 2016 summer season of Wegman’s Concerts by the Shore has concertgoers hearing such varied groups as The Dady Brothers Grand Band, The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, The Greece Jazz Band, and the Skycoasters, with more to come.
Looking back through newspaper files, postcards, and photos of the last century and earlier, it is quite evident that music has always had an important part of each summer season at Ontario Beach. It all began in the late
The 1870s with the opening of the Spencer House. Soon after followed the upscale Bartholomay Cottage Hotel and Pavilion. The amusement park dominated in the early 1900s. The closing of the amusement park in 1919 and many gradual transformations later, has made the park into a city-county park, as it is today. Popular music mixed with light classics dominated the early years. Solo artists usually were featured along with the orchestra. The programs of yore, like those of today, mirrored the tastes of the average public of the day. Ethnic orchestras from many nationalities were popular, as well as soloists or trios of string instruments. Several lady orchestras with soloists drew crowds.
There was a multitude of bands, orchestras, and other performers through the years. Patrick Gilmore and his band stand out and were nationally known in the late 19th century. His band was one of the first that Edison attempted to record for his recently developed cylinder phonograph.
The Lapham, Link, and 54th Regiment Bands were local and popular in the early 1900s. The Rochester Park Band was well established by the time it first performed at Ontario Beach in the early 1920s. The Dossenbachs, Theodore and Herman, were prominent in the Rochester music scene. Theodore conducted the Park band until his death in 1924. Herman then took over for a tenure of 21 years. John Cummings, who had played in the band, took over for an even longer run of forty-two years. Edna White (shown in the 1925 park band photo) was nationally known and did a number of recordings for the Columbia and Edison companies.
Every few years, if not sooner, a news article about the Ridge being expanded or improved pops up in news print or other media. From what was once the eastern edge at Lake Avenue to the western edge of Greece at Manitou Road, Ridge Road has always been in a state of fluctuation.
The early 1800s saw what had been a narrow Native American trail turns into a muddy dirt or occasional wood plank stretch of road by the mid-1860s. The fifty-year span from the early 1900s saw the fastest transformation of the Ridge in the 20th century.
Eastman Kodak, introducing folding and box cameras near the turn of the century, made outdoor photography simpler and cheaper to take satisfactory photos. Hence, we began to have photos similar to the circa 1909 view of Richard and Katherine Emrich standing in muddy Ridge Road (east of Dewey Ave.) with their home be hind them. The other photos from the early 20th century speak for themselves. How many of the shops and stores do you recall? If you are younger than a certain age…..all would be foreign to your eyes…
Alteration, transition, variety, and diversity would apply to “The Lewiston Road”, one of several variations given to Ridge Road as it traversed our town. For further information and history about the Ridge, check out our ever-popular publication, Eight Miles Along the Shore, available in several formats at our museum shop.
More of this can be seen in the Bicentennial Snapshots episodes 11 and 12
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.
In the early 1900s, going to the general store such as H.C. Phelps General Store and Anderson’s Store (just east of Mitchell Rd. on Ridge Rd.) would mean you could buy not only staple goods, such as flour, sugar, and canned goods but also kerosene, shoes, baskets, and hardware. You might even pick up your mail and give the tag-along-kids a couple of coins for the penny candy counter. Soon general hardware stores began to take over that part of the general store.
The Phelps Store and Ridge Road Food Store now concentrated on groceries, fresh fruit, and vegetables.
The view of children buying a quart of milk pretty well gives you a glimpse of a grocery store in the late 1920s or early 1930s. Most of the items are behind the counter for the clerk to get for the customer. A long pole with a clamp on the end retrieved items from the top shelf or a narrow ladder attached to a track ran the length of the shelves. The clerks were very agile and got plenty of exercise on busy days. The owner might man the cash register. In the larger stores, the cashier might be behind a slightly raised, caged booth and take the cash, make change, and stamp the receipt paid. Many stores had a sign that read, Cash Only – No Credit. But that was often amended if you were known by the grocer and deemed trustworthy.
A credit balance could be carried and paid at the end of the week or month.
As the 1930s progressed, hard times made it difficult for the smaller stores to hang on. Gradually chain stores, such as The Red and White, appeared along with the A & P or the local Hart’s Stores (with their redeemable coupons). One of the favorite premiums was the orange and black Hart’s cart, available in two styles: the one with removable delivery wagon sides or the rounded corners sturdy model preferred by boys. Mom did a lot of shopping at Hart’s to add up enough coupons for one of those.
As the 1930s folded into the 1940s pioneer “almost supermarkets” began to appear, but the local markets such as Reichenberger’s had expanded from just a meat market to a full-fledged grocery. Along with McBride’s and several other stores, they served the Barnard area well for many years. Cooper’s Deli-Grocery and Service Station on Dewey near the city line, operated by the well-known Norman Cooper, preceded our present drive-by and 7-Eleven convenience stores. A similar operation was the Wind Mill Grocery and Gas Station at the northeast corner of Latta and Long Pond Roads.
This is just a small sampling of the many smaller stores that once dotted the Greece area seventy to ninety years ago.
Photos, data supplied by Alan Mueller, Historian’s Office.