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!
The Greenleaf Flying Club owned a small private airfield in Greece. It closed sometime in the 1970s and is now a tract of homes. The first person to guess exactly where it was will win a Greece coffee mug. The Contest to guess where this sign has ended, thanks to all those that guest different answers.
The answer to last month’s question about the location of the Greenleaf Flying Club was correctly answered by Gene Preston. The Club was located on Kuhn Road northwest of St. Mark’s Church. This aerial photo was taken in 1970 and clearly shows their field and several airplanes.
Not much is known about this private club including why it was called Greenleaf, although we do know that a 17-year-old tried to steal a plane in 1964, there was a tragic accident in 1969 that killed two pilots and in 1974 or 1975, a student pilot from the field got in a little trouble with the Greece Police when he did some low flying over his high school, Greece Arcadia. Sometime in the early 1980s, the owner of the land got an offer he couldn’t refuse, so he sold the land, most of the members moved to Ledgedale Airpark near Brockport, and Sweet Acres Drive was built.
If you have any more information or stories about the club or its grass landing field, let us know, Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Bill at 225-3760.
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.