Bicentennial Snapshot # 12 – The Ridge Part 2

This week we continue the look at the central commercial district in the town most of you know as

The Ridge.

The Ridge today Satellite view via google maps

In the bicentennial snapshot # 11 the Ridge Part 1 – we started out with the life of the ridge forming from the glacial thru just the starting of Eastman Kodak company at Ridge Road and Lake Ave northwest corner. This week we look at the growth and population boom on the Ridge Road.

Topics that are featured in this video

  • Plank Road
  • J. Y. McClintock and the McClintock Cubes
  • Breif overview Annexation of parts of Ridge for the City of Rochester
  • The Greece Memorial Town Hall and ADA Ridge
  • Dewey Ave at West Ridge Road
  • Plazas on The Ridge
  • The evolution of the Ridge from a Path to a Six-Lane with Median

Plank Roads

Did you know that a portion of Ridge Road was a planked road? in the 1860s there was a section that was planked it was from Long Pond Road to Elmgrove Road (Henpeck Road). It was a 2.5-mile stretch that was plank which means is the road was made of wooden planks it was thought to have been 9 1⁄2 miles (15.3 km)and chartered on October 23, 1848, and there was a court case involving Kenyon vs the Seeley over the tolls that were collected on this plank road.

This is an example of a plank road
Keene Farm

For the most part, however, the Ridge was a dirt road until the beginning of the 20th century. In the foreground of this photo is the dirt roadway. A bicyclist goes along a cinder path; this was laid out circa 1884. One had to buy a license for the bicycle to use the path—that’s how it was maintained. One resident writing about the early nineteen hundreds said that bicycles were “almost as thick on that path as the cars are on the Ridge today.” Notice, Lay farm and the greenhouses in which flowers were cultivated as well as other fruits and produce were prep for the spring planting season.

J. Y. McClintock and the McClintock Cubes

In 1900, Ridge Road became a state road, and money was appropriated for its improvement. In 1909, an experimental paving technique was used; 2-inch square cubes, which were called McClintock cubes after the Monroe County Road Supervisor who promoted their use, had to be laid by hand across the 16-foot width of the road. More than 700,000 cubes were laid. The cubes were able to withstand the heavy traffic along the Ridge for only two years and then began to fail.

  • McClintock cubes
  • J. Y. McClinstock

Annexation of parts of Ridge for the City of Rochester

The city started to expand in 1850 slowly with the annexation of Driving Park, and yes there was a horse racing track, on Driving park. Then again in 1874. The Village and the port of Charlotte were annexed next in 1916. Then just after World War One in 1919, the City took the rest of lake ave as well as portions of Dewey and, and Ridge Road and Mt. Read Blvd. Because of the Annexation of the village of Charlotte the town needed a new town hall and town center that is when the Town Memorial Hall, was built as a tribute to all the lives lost as a result of World War 1, it was completed in 1921 and then expanded in over the next 80 years. More on this topic in a future snapshot.

The Greece Memorial Town Hall and ADA Ridge

On the right is a slideshow that shows the changes of the town hall over the last 80 years until the mid-1990s when the town outgrew the town hall complex at Ridge Road, and with Ridge Road Fire District being right across the street and the pending expansion of the Ridge in 2002. Here is a small expert from an article Alan Muller Greece Historical Society’s Historian wrote in the society’s newsletter talking about the reason for the change of the town hall location and why it was needed. The population at the time of the construction of the Town Hall at Ridge, Long Pond, and Mitchell Roads was only 3,350. More on this topic in a future snapshot.

The Tale of Three Bricks Or – “It only took 25 years”

Through the next almost eighty years many additions and changes were added to increase the needed space. Again, as before, talks were started that a new Town Hall was needed. The added arrival of the computer age compounded the problem. The electrical system, as well as the telephone wiring system, was aged and obsolete. The thick brick walls did not lend themselves easily to that kind of an upgrade.

Alan Muller – The Tale of Three Bricks Or – “It only took 25 years”

Across from the Town Hall was Whitman’s Service station which later became Wittman Motors and included a tow service. Wittman’s was located at 2496 Ridge Road, across from the old Town Hall.

Wittman’s Carriage shop became Wittman’s Motors at 2496 West Ridge Road

Dewey Ave at West Ridge Road

Corner of Ridge Road and Dewey Avenue looking west down Ridge, 1940s.
Corner of Ridge Road and Dewey Avenue
looking west down Ridge, 1940s.
Office of The Town Historian

With the invention of the Automobiles, it would allow thousands of Greece Residents to commute to Kodak or many other places throughout the town in the picture to the left you can see how busy the intersection of Dewey Ave and West Ridge Road was in the 1940s. More On the Dewey Ave corridor in a future episode of the Bicentennial snapshot.

Plazas on The Ridge

In the years after World War 2, the town started to explode with population growth, and with that, it brought a number of new plazas and centers to buy your households, groceries, home improvements supplies, and many other goods. Here is a list of the Plazas from the Mount Read to Elmgrove Road goes as the follows:

  • Staples/Home Depot or Lowes Theater plaza at Mount Read and Ridge (not included below),
  • Stoneridge is named for the plaza at the corner of Ridge Road and Stone Road,
    • Total Square Feet: 180,000
  • Ridgecrest – Located at Ridge Road and Fetzner Road,
  • Buchman’s – Buchman’s Bakery / Dairy
  • The Mall at Greece Ridge is the merger of Greece Towne Mall and Long Ridge Mall
    • Total Square Feet: 1,675,000
  • Ridgemont Plaza is the longest strip mall in Greece and has a post office in the plaza
    • Total Square Feet: 320,844
  • Lowes Plaza now or AMES plaza before 1997 whichever one you know it as
    • Over 295,000 Square feet but not Larger then Ridgemont
  • Finally, Elmridge Center which is Elm of Elmgrove Road and Ridge of West Ridge Road

If we are missing a name of a plaza that should belong on this list that it has to be on West Ridge Road and located between Mount Read Blvd to Elmgrove Road please let us know on our Facebook page if we are missing it and we will at it to this post.

in 1968 The Town’s first indoor mall opened with only 16 stores filled and by Christmas, all 46 shops were filled. More on the 2 malls and the merger will be a future snapshot.

One of the deadliest fires in the town of Greece occurred across from Stoneridge Plaza The Holiday Inn, we will cover it in a special of it is own due to the amount of information from the fire. And with that this was not the only building that had a fire on the Ridge in the Ada Ridge snapshot we tell you about an another fie and this is at the Rowe Tavern and that St. John’s helped moved a building to so the Rowe Tavern could reopen.

The evolution of the Ridge from a Path to a Six-Lane with Median

On the New York DOT they a pdf with the Annual average Daily Traffic what do you think is the annual average daily for the range from Maplewood to elmgrove. This was from a 2003 report from the New York State Department of Transportation Traffic Volume Report for MONROE COUNTY.

RouteLengthStart DescriptionEnd DescriptionYearAADT
1040.98Manitou Rd (RT 261) W GREECEN Greece Rd0329742
1040.09N Greece Rd(NY-386) Elmgrove Rd0020930
1041.87(NY-386) Elmgrove RdLONG POND RD SB0133317
1040.92LONG POND RD SBFETZNER RD0321607
1040.09FETZNER RDACC RT 3909847261
1040.62ACC RT 390STONE RD9944342
1040.26STONE RDMT READ BLVD ROCH W LN0049547
1041.14MT READ BLVD ROCH W LN(NY RT-18) DEWEY AVE9838514
1040.64(NY RT-18) DEWEY AVERT 940M LAKE AVE0139107
1040.06RT 940M LAKE AVERIDGEWAY AVE0035421
1040.23RIDGEWAY AVEACC MAPLEWOOD DR0054558
Total Vehicle travel414346
2003 NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Traffic Volume Report for MONROE COUNTY

This was the reason the Ridge evolved from a path to a two-lane road to a four-lane to now a six-lane with raised medians from coming off the Keeler St Expressway to Palm St and then the median picks back up at Dewey Ave and continues from there until Elmgrove Road/North Greece Road.

Lay Farm

The Corner of West Ridge road and West Outer Drive where Bob Johnson Chevrolet stands today started out as the Lay Farm it the became the Pine Tree Inn, and then Ver Hulst Farm and Ver Hulst Brothers Farm Market from 1936-1993. From 1998 and currently, Bob Johnson Chevrolet, one of the largest automobile dealerships in the country occupies the site.