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.
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
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.
This week we continue looking at the hotel/inn/speakeasy/tavern that occupied the southeast corner of Latta and North Greece Road. This establishment went thru at least the same amount or more owners as the Larkin Hotel. The spot where the Larkin stood became this hotel’s parking lot when the Larkin Hotel was demolished.
This hotel would be a bit bigger than the Larkin Hotel/Tavern the Larkin would have been the same size as the Rowe Tavern this one was feature in both Ada Ridge and the Ridge Part 1 and Streb Tavern on the ridge which would have been approximately 1,514.47 square feet compared to the Hotel Demay at the end of its life was approximately 8,046.63 square feet. The North Greece Hotel had less than 50 rooms that travelers would stay in to enjoy food and drinks, then rest and set off on their next leg of their travel to either Niagara Falls or heading east towards Syracuse or other points east along the lake shore. It appears that the North Greece Hotel opened its doors around 1900 1912 at the corner of Latta and North Greece Roads. Because by opening day, January 5, 1910, it was called the Moerlbach Hotel after the new Rochester Brewery that provided the hotel with the beer it served. The Moerlbach Brewing Company opened its doors in 1909 at the corner of Emerson and Norman Steet where T & L Automatics Inc stands today just a few buildings down from where a descendant of Giddon King grew up and that descendant would be Helen Slocum. To learn more about when breweries abounded in Rochester, in the article Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history check out this article from Brain Sharp and Will Cleveland on the Democrat and Chronicle website at 8:21 am on April 6, 2018, which features some more information on the Moerlbach Brewing Company.
Now back to more on the Hotel with many names as we noted it was named Morelbach and its first proprietor was Frank Pye but he passed away in 1910. The hotel was sold to William “Bill Carroll of Frisbee Hill Road a near neighbor to Edward Frisbee who we will get to in another snapshot or two. When William Carroll bought the hotel he moved his family to North Greece four corners. William Carroll was born in 1872 and his family was a pioneer family that settled in the Parma Braddock Bay area in the early 1800s. In this picture, you can see William Carroll and his son in front of the hotel.
The Odenbachs owned a hotel and an ice cream stand out at the end of Manitou Beach Road where William Carroll worked before he became the owner of the Moerlbach Hotel it was at the Manitou Beach Hotel where he introduced Sherrif Albert Skinner to the Ice Cream Cone no details of what flavor it would have been either Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t until 1915 that he decided it would be best to revert it to the North Greece Hotel. The Frist Manitou Beach hotel was lost in a suit between Skinner and the Odenbachs, so the Odenbachs had to rebuild the hotel over and some distance from the now Elmheart Hotel that the Skinners now owned more on the Manitou Beach and the Elmheart Hotels in a future snapshot.
The Carrolls served meals at the hotel but only to guests, they could only serve 18 to 20 people in the dining room due to the size it was. One of the most served items in the dining room was claimed to be “The Best New England Clam Chowder in the town of Greece.” It cost only 20 cents. But the neighbors around the hotel would bring kettles to the back door to the kitchen to get them some of Mary’s Clam Chowder.
William Carroll had some strict rules in his hotel. One of the rules was No Children in the Barroom and that included his own children this was probably due to the drinking, smoking, and language of the older gentlemen. One of his other strict rules was towards women, if he saw or caught a woman smoking anywhere in the hotel, he would ask her to leave the hotel.
The was Dancing every Friday night in the dance room otherwise known now as a banquet room these days, each week it could be square dancing, rounds, fox trots, or waltzes, or thru out the night, it could change depending on the music, or who was playing on the stage playing the music. It cost each couple 50 cents to dance the night away starting at 9 pm sharp and ending at 3 am but with drink service cut off at 11 pm in accordance with New York State Law for serving your wines, beers, spirits, and hard drinks, minus water though that they could keep serving after drink service was cut off to the patrons. At intermission during the dances, a table would be set up with refreshments and Hors D’oeuvres in the dance room.
In the Bar room area, there were two pool tables its uncertain if they were for the game of snooker style billiards table or if it is the common pool style billiards table that people would try the game of billiards whether it was a round of 8-ball, 9-ball, 7-ball or the game of snooker billiards at least the tables were not the bumper style table, and if you are interested one of the many types billiard games you can play by going to your local library and checking out a copy of Billiards: The Official Rules and Record Book 2021/2022 edition or any of the other Billiard books in the library.
In the barn behind the hotel, he would have livestock auctions featuring local cattle owners for locals to buy the livestock to have it slaughtered for meat, or those new owners could raise the cattle themselves and have a pasture of their own for their farms. There were a number of different livestock at these auctions. Some were cows, bison, deer, chickens, pigs, sheep, lamb, and even horses that were auctioned off at these cattle auctions the bidders did have to watch out for diseases. Once in a while, there might be regular auctions like household gear, and artwork as well.
More on the Elmheart Hotel where Carroll worked before coming here.
On January 17, 1920, Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. Led by pietistic Protestants, they aimed to heal what they saw as an ill society beset by alcohol-related problems such as alcoholism, family violence, and saloon-based political corruption. Nowadays you can still see side effects of people that get drunk or have too much to drink, from Alcohol poisoning to DUI/DWI and other Alcohol related issues. It forced restaurants, bars, saloons, and other establishments to stop selling and serving alcohol products except for those that decide the Protestants did not have the best interest in their mind that Alcohol was like any other addiction, like smoking, chewing tobacco, gambling, and others. Some of the backers of prohibition were soda/pop, tea, and coffee makers, as well as the Protestants. Opposition from the beer industry mobilized “wet” supporters from the wealthy Roman Catholic and German Lutheran communities, as well as the local breweries like Moerlbach, and Genesee just to name a few as well as local restaurants, taverns, hotels, inns, saloons, and bars. But on July 28th, 1921 William Carroll decides to sell his hotel to Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof. Harry Wilson ran another hotel in the Brighton Twelve Corners neighborhood for several years. Harry received possession on August 1st, 1921 and on September 1st, 1921, Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof set to open the North Greece Hotel as the Domino Inn. Sometime during prohibition, it changed owners again and this time it became the Cosmo Inn. More on the Domino Inn and the Cosmo Inn will appear in a snapshot about prohibition.
On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act, known as the Cullen–Harrison Act, allowing the manufacture and sale of 3.2% beer (3.2% alcohol by weight, approximately 4% alcohol by volume) and light wines. The Volstead Act previously defined an intoxicating beverage as one with greater than 0.5% alcohol. The 18th amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933 as part of the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This was 6 years before the beginning of the second World War. At this time the hotel was remodeled again and opened as the Corner House Hotel and in this ad here look at the line after good food notice it says All Legal Beverages this meant any legal beverages that the State of New York allowed them to serve after prohibition was over. In 1939 World War would break out and it would cause companies to ration gas and other products that were needed for soldiers on the front lines both on the European and Asian fronts this caused the Corner House Hotel to close its doors in 1941. But just one year after the end of World War II in 1945 it would be sold again but this time to Ray and Irene DeMay, it would stay open until the early 2000s, and in November of 2017 it would be demolished for a proposed Crosby’s Convenience store and gas station but nothing has been built there as of this Bicentennial Snapshot published on August 30th, 2022. More On The DeMay Hotel and Banquet space in Snapshot # 25 – The DeMay Hotel.
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.”
“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!”
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.
D&C, ‘Big Picnic at Manitou Beach”, 8/18/1906
D&C, “Wonderful Time for Orphans on Outing of 1920,” 7/15/1920
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.
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.
A Roadhouse (United States, Australia) or stopping house (Canada) according to a recent dictionary is Roadhouse: a tavern or inn along a country road, as in the 1920s.
John Frank Maier was born and grew up along with his siblings on Hague St. in Dutch (Deutsch) town. Both his parents were immigrants from Germany. His father, Wenzel, was employed by a local brewery but also was involved in a local Rochester restaurant. During the summer season, young John F. worked for the Beatty family at the Island Cottage Hotel.
He became familiar with the western area not too far from the Island Cottage Hotel. John was just 19 years old in 1919 and eager to own some property in the area of Dewey Avenue and Latta Road. Farmlands spread out in all directions. John purchased a large plot of land at the northeast corner of Dewey and Latta Roads. Within a few months, a low white building appeared at the corner with MAIERS name above the row of front windows. John was in the hot dog and sandwich business. This business prospered just as the automobile was becoming more available.
Thanks to Henry Ford and the Dodge Brothers the price of cars gradually came down and were more reliable. The wage earner and his family could now journey to the Lake or take an afternoon trip all the way to Hilton on improved gravel or stone main roads. On the return trip, the hungry family spotted Maier’s ‘hotdogs, sandwiches, cold drinks’ sign. “Can we stop there, Pop?”, went up the cry. Stop they did and enjoyed Maier’s “eats”!
Fast forward a few years to 1923. John is recently married to Olive Hager and they are looking for a home close to the hot dog stand. It’s at that point they decide, why not build a roadhouse and live on the second floor? The main floor would be a full-service restaurant. Much to the surprise of the local farmers a full two-and-a-half-story building appeared in front of the hot dog stand, which, after a bit, became a two-car garage.
Neon signs were just becoming vogue, so up went a nice sign on the top of the building advertising Maier’s Restaurant. The second floor had several bedrooms that could be rented out to boarders. Through the years, family members in need of temporary housing were always welcomed.
Prohibition, the 18th Amendment, and the Volstead Act became law in January 1920 so there was no bar built in the restaurant. But there was a small bar in the basement where liquid refreshments could be had by select patrons, friendly politicians, and the local constabulary who might wish to wet their whistle!
A great story related to me by one of John F.’s grandchildren was about three “occasional Rum Runners”. The occasional runners were all women! John’s wife Olive, her sister, Midge, married to John’s brother, George, and a friend from Island Cottage Hotel would take an inboard motorboat, on a calm day, from Island Cottage to across the Canadian line into Canada. They loaded the boat with good Canadian liquor and scoot back to Island Cottage. The border patrol never stopped them. The three women were just out for a pleasure cruise! Women don’t smuggle booze????
The depression was full-blown by 1933, the year Prohibition was repealed. John quickly closed the basement liquid refreshment bar. Remodeling of the first floor was in order. The kitchen was enlarged and moved to a new addition on the buildings rear. The former kitchen became the new Bar with entrances from the outside and from the Dining room. A small combo group, pianist, or accordionist performed in the dining room, and those who wished danced in a modest area near the music.
Other small changes occurred as time went along. After WWII, the Bar was again given a facelift with new bar chairs, and a Juke Box was added. The main kitchen staff for many years were Jim Davis and Eddie Surridge. The wait staff changed through the years with members of the family, young and old, pitching in to help.
In fact, the Maier Restaurant was the hub of most family special occasions and every holiday. That gradually diminished after Olive’s passing in 1958 and then John’s in 1965. The family gathered for the last full-service dinner in August 1968.
The bar limped along alone for a couple more years. A petroleum company made an offer to buy the land for a gas station. It was accepted, but all the buildings would be demolished. By chance, a Mr. Wagner heard about that and mentioned his interest in buying the main building. It was agreed he would buy the building, sans the one-story kitchen, for one dollar, then move the building to another location at his expense. There was just one problem. The new location was north of the Lake Ontario State Parkway and the underpass was too low for the building to pass through. The moving company solved the problem by going up the down ramp, over and down the up ramp to its new location on Kirkwood Rd. John’s “Roadhouse” was saved and has been a single house ever since. John F. and Olive Maier would have been quite happy…
A grateful THANKS to John Maier III for sharing with the Greece Historical Society the photocopies of his grandfather’s restaurant and other family photos, as well as his help in sharing many family memories of the restaurant operation. Without John, this article could not have been written.
We’ve explained apples and pine trees…… What about boxing gloves…?
Mr. Edward Sturm had once been in the furniture business on Joseph Ave. and knew well how to greet custom ers and run a successful retail venture. The tavern business was a bit different, but Edward slowly built the Pine Tree Inn into a profitable enterprise. Ridge Road West would become completely paved (two lanes) from Lake Ave. to Manitou Road, the town of Greece line, and beyond. Yet, with all its popularity, Sturm decided to put the Inn up for sale in the fall of 1928.
A strapping, young, and gregarious fellow by the name of Clement Versluy, who had immigrated here with his family to the United States in 1914, bought the Pine Tree Inn in December of 1928. Despite the depression of the 1930s and prohibition until 1933 (he was cited and fined several times for having illegal spirits on site), the Inn soon became one of the most popular eateries along the greatly improved West Ridge Rd.
Clement Versluy, having dropped his Belgian name, was now calling himself, MIKE CONROY – “the boxer“‘“! Mike’sprofessional boxing career had its start in the spring of 1920 with his first fight in Rochester. Boxing was second to baseball in popularity during the 1920s-1950s. He was named one of the heavyweight contenders of Western New York in the early ’20s.
With Mike and his wife Alice as congenial hosts, “Mikes Pine Tree Inn” became one of the most favored spots on the west side of Monroe County. The walls of the barroom were covered with framed, autographed boxing greats and other local and national luminaries Mike had befriended. The Inn was enlarged and updated in 1948 and now had a capacity to serve 300 people in the dining room and 100 more in the “tap room”! There was also space for a band stand and a dance floor. Boxing legends from around the country often held gatherings at Mike’s place.
The Democrat and Chronicle on Nov. 11, 1953 headline on the sports page read: “Mike Conroy to Quit Business, To See Sights with Alice”. Their plan was to lease the business for a period of ten years so he and his wife, Alice, could travel.
The business was leased to Shale (Sol) Gans. Shale had been in the restaurant business on Brown St. for many years. Mike and Alice traveled to Europe, Cuba, and Mexico. Within a few years, the lease led to a sale to Gans. Shale took little time in a complete redecoration of the venerable Inn with new drapes, wallpaper & carpet, soft lighting, and over head stars above the dance floor. Gone were Conroy’s photo collection of boxers and notable personages. Shales was a bowling fan, sponsoring several leagues. The name was now SHALE’S and in small print for a while, “Formerly Mike Conroy’s’.
Mike and Alice enjoyed their retirement years, still traveling and visiting old friends until Mike’s health declined. Mike was “on the ropes and would soon be counted out” as longtime friend and columnist Henry Clune said in his column. When Mike Conroy (nee Clement Versluy) passed in July 1964, Clune said about his friend: “a big, blustering, immensely good-natured man, who loved life and the hard sport of professional boxing” “Mike died the other day, and another colorful character departed the Rochester scene.”
As a post-script to this tale, Mike was lucky he never saw the final chapter to his once beloved Pine Tree Inn.
Shale Gans filed bankruptcy in 1964 and The County of Monroe seized the property at 1225 Ridge Rd. for back taxes. That is the end of “Apples, Pine Trees & Boxing Gloves” plus a few nicked bowling pins!