Today we turn our attention to one of the most iconic businesses in Greece. We want to thank Jo Ann Ward Snyder and Bonnie Stemen Fiser for their collaboration on this Snapshot. Jo Ann is preparing a profile of the Buckman family for Volume II of Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece. This is just a small expert from the full profile of the Buckman’s not all photos from the profile are in this post you will have to wait for the book to come out.
Buckman’s Dairy, 1950s, from GHS, courtesy of Ralph DeStefano
Many Grecians have sweet memories (pun intended) of Buckman’s Dairy.
Homer Buckman was born in 1889, …
… the eldest child of George Buckman and Lucy Griffin. In this photo, Homer is on the far right.
In 1906 he married Alice Mitchell, daughter of Greece pioneers Thomas and Alice Corby Mitchell. The couple had one daughter Emeroy.
In 1911 Homer Buckman founded his dairy with a dozen cows. It was located on the farm his father purchased from the estate of Erastus and Sarah Walker at the northwest corner of what is today, Ridge and Long Pond Roads. Homer was able to buy the land from his father in 1915.
Homer delivered his milk in a horse-drawn wagon three seasons of the year, and used a horse-drawn sleigh in the winter. In the background of this photo is his home, located on Ridge Road adjacent to the Dairy.
Eventually, deliveries were made by a 1928 Ford Model AA 1-1/2 Ton stake truck and a Reo Truck. Homer constructed a plant to pasteurize the milk and eliminated the competition by buying out the only other dairy in Greece. To meet customer demand Homer began buying raw milk from other local farmers
as well as importing it via railroad; he’d pick up the milk churns like this one on the left arriving at the Hojack railroad station in North Greece, transporting it to his pasteurization plant to ready it for delivery. By 1931, the dairy was bottling 300 quarts of milk a day.
In the late 1920s, Homer remodeled the old barn and opened a small cash and carry store with milk, cream, and in season, ice cream. In 1931 he sold the business to Robert Peters, although he still owned all the property, lived on-site in his home, and helped out in the store.
In 1950 Ralph P. DeStephano, the owner of Bonnybrook Dairy on Lyell Avenue bought both the business and the property. He consolidated the milk processing operations on Ridge Road.
Homer even continued to work in the store for a while. He died in 1972 at the age of 88. He was a Member of Greece Methodist Church on Maiden Lane, and a Member of the Greece Grange.
In 1966, DeStephano described to a reporter the history of the building: “The hayloft at the top of the barn is now three offices, mine and two others. The main floor where the hay was carried in is the main store. The ridge drops about 20 feet and cows came into the barn from a ramp in the back. They used the pasture out there. In the basement where the cattle were fed, is our ice cream room.”
Circa 1976, the shop was renovated, and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor was added. The name changed to Buckman’s Ice Cream Village. Donuts had been sold at the shop beginning in the late 1950s, now snack items and soup and sandwiches were on the menu, and of course, ice cream. Twenty-five flavors!
They had fun inventing ice cream delights such as “the “Kitchen Sink” which had 8 scoops of ice cream (2 scoops each of vanilla, banana, chocolate, and strawberry), 4 bananas, 4 toppings, 8 shots of whip cream and 8 cherries. If you ate it all, you would get a free sundae certificate.”
DeStephano was also a community activist and was “instrumental in bringing ambulance services, a Rotary Club, a Chamber of Commerce, and Park Ridge Hospital to Greece.” It was Ralph DeStephano and Ray DeMay that started Greece Volunteer Ambulance. Greece Volunteer Ambulance Corps. (GVAC), which has since been disbanded in the last few years due to the four fire companies changing providers to Monroe Ambulance and the rising cost of Emergency services which the volunteer corp could not afford anymore.
The sign here on the left is from the Holiday Inn a few years before the tragic Holiday Inn Fire of 1978 which took the lives of ten people who were staying at that hotel.
You can learn more about Park Ave to Park Ridge from the May 2021 program that was recorded from Zoom and can be viewed by clicking the link below.
Ralph DeStephano sold the business to his son also named Ralph DeStephano Jr, in 1987.
Buckman Enterprise also included a laundry
and a car wash.
Those were the days in 1981—six car washes for $15.00!
During the 1980s through the mid-2000s the dairy, ice cream, and donut businesses were leased to several different operators. It closed in 2006.
The DeStephano family continues to own the property and today there are a variety of businesses in Buckman’s plaza.
Walgreens took a long-term lease to erect a drugstore on the site of the old dairy and barn, torn down in 2009; the pharmacy closed in 2018. Today the former Homer Buckman dairy is the site of Orville’s Home Appliances.
More on Homer Buckman and his family will be printed in the upcoming release of The Pioneer Families of Greece, New York Volume 2 coming later this year.
Also, you can view the program titled Buckman’s Dairy and Bakery History, that Ralph Destephano put on that was recorded on July 16, 2017
and check out this article that Alan Mueller, wrote for the newsletter in 2014 called Homer J. Buckman – Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!!
Thank you for joining us today; next week we say our farewells.
This week we explore some of the myths of some of the nicknames of the communities in the town. This week we look at street names, elevations, and finally the Hojack Line. Some have myths about the name, while some are named after a person or where one of the settlers came from and decided to call the Town of Greece their home.
Street Names of Greece
There are more than 1,050 streets and roads in the town. It should be no surprise that more than 80 of the street names in Greece are related to the farm families who lived along them. In 1935, town supervisor Gordon Howe proposed that some streets be renamed to honor early pioneers. The first change voted on by the town board was to rename what had been Sage or Ottaway Road to McGuire Road in honor of Felix McGuire who settled in Greece circa 1805. Here is a little bit from the Article written in the society’s newsletter by Bill Sauers you can read more by the link below the quote:
For the trivia aficionados, in the Town of Greece, there are only 25 Streets and 173 Roads but there are approximately 369 Drives, 160 Lanes, 94 Courts, 94 Circles, 40 Avenues, 25 Ways, 7 Boulevards, 21 Trails, and fewer of Commons, Coves, Estates, Landings, Boulevards, etc.*
There are over 80 streets named after the original farm families who lived there. We have some named for the seasons: Spring, Summer, and Autumn, but no Winter. There are animal streets: Fox, Deer, Hawk, Owl, Eagle. Several have female names: Judy Ann, Jackie, Laura, Roseanne, but very few have male names and there are 14 named after saints. There are “state streets”: Kentucky, California, and Florida, but no “State Street” (although one wing of the mall calls its self Main Street but that doesn’t count), and even some named after the pilgrims; (Miles) Standish and (John) Alden. Wood seems to be the most popular with 97 containing the word wood in them, but surprisingly, for a town once known for its orchards, only eight with Apple. Then there are 40 Creeks and 14 Brooks, but no Stream. We even have one named after a card game, Canasta. Of course, some developers couldn’t resist sneaking in their own names: Willis, Britton, and Alfonso (DeNardo).
*The numbers are approximate and may vary somewhat from what is stated in this story.
Scott Road was the section that ran from Stone Road to Emerson St.
On Mount Read, a famous female pilot, and no it was not Amelia Mary Earhart, but Blanche Stuart Scott, she was a Pilot, Automobile Adventurer, Actress, a museum curator. Blanche Stuart Scott, America’s first female pilot, was born in 1885 on her grandparents’ farm in Greece located on the north side of Lexington Ave, the south side was in Gates. Reading from her unpublished autobiography during a recorded interview, she said.
“My name is Blanche Stuart Scott and I come from a pioneer family, a Rochester pioneer family, who came to Rochester in eighteen hundred and ten. And settled out on what was then the old Scott Road and is now Mt Read Blvd.”
Blanche Stuart Scott
The land that was the Scott Brothers lot is now where Delphi Automotive a division of General Motors is located today and is now located in the city of Rochester.
Eddy Road ran from Stone Road to Latta. The road was named after Thomas Eddy who lived at 3205 Mount Read Blvd.
At the corners of Latta and Mount Read on the Southeast corn where Our Mother of Sorrows Church was the land once owned by Nicholas Read a pioneer family of the town of Greece and the Paddy Hill area which we will cover more in a later snapshot either on Our Mother of Sorrows Church and or Paddy Hill. It wasn’t until sometime in the 1920s that the entire stretch from Buffalo road to Latta Road would become Mount Read Boulevard.
Elevations in the town
Below is the list of different elevations in the town listed from the lowest point to the highest point the town. If you want to explore the elevation where you live you can check out the site topographic-map.com which is a great digital representation of the data from the United States Geological Surveys topographical data with color-coded elevation lines blow is low elevation and very red is higher elevations.
The lowest Elevation in the town is 243 feet and that is along the ponds at the lake which covers all the beach hamlets along the lakefront.
Mt Read at Latta Road Elevation is 345 above sea level.
North Greece Elevation at the intersection of Latta Road and North Greece Road is 338 feet above sea level
The spot where the Native American fort and Hanford Tavern were at Maplewood drive at Bridgeview drive is only 386 feet above sea level.
Barnard / Dewey Stone Area is 400 feet above sea level
King’s Landing Elevation is 415 feet above sea level
Ridge Road at Apollo Drive Elevation is 441 ft above sea level.
West Greece Elevation is 455 feet at the Hoosick Cemetary.
Ridgeway ave right at the entrance to Ridge Road Fire District Station #3 is 525 feet above sea level.
South Greece Elevation at School 12 at Old Ridgeway and Elmgrove Road is 525 feet above sea level.
The highest point in the town is where the BJ’s Wholesale Club is located on Bellwood Drive which is 558 feet above sea level.
Hojack Line / Lake Ontario Shoreline Railroad / Rome, Watertown, Ogdensburg Rail Road (R.W. & O.) line and New York Central Railroad
If you are in your 30s or older at least once in your lifetime saw the swing bridge rotate for the trains to cross over the Genesee River at Port of Rochester. The Lake Ontario Shoreline Railroad began operating in 1871. Ownership and the name of the railroad changed hands over the years including the Rome, Watertown, Ogdensburg Rail Road (R.W. & O.) line and New York Central Railroad. But it was colloquially known as the Hojack line. There are to this day speculations of how the line became known as the HoJack Line.’
Hojack Line Myth # 1
“It seems that in the early days of the railroad, a farmer in his mule-drawn buckboard was crossing the tracks when the mule stopped and wouldn’t move. When the farmer saw the fast-approaching train, he began shouting, “Ho-Jack, Ho-Jack.” Amused by the incident, the trainmen began calling their line the “Ho-Jack.”
Hojack Line Myth #2
According to a story published in the Greater Greece Post in 1965, “when it was necessary to hurriedly assemble a train crew in the wee small hours of the night, the call Ho Jack would boom through the halls of the rooming houses where railroad men stayed.”
Hojack Line Myth #3
A farmer, turned train engineer by the name of Jack Welch would yell Whoa, Jack when he stopped the train as if he were still stopping a horse. It was picked up and passed on as Hojack.
The More Plausible answer to the Hojack Line Myth
From a scientific standpoint if you listen to the sound of a train whistle as the sound travels thru the air it sounds more like hojack or Whoa Jack but even this could be seen as a myth to the nickname of the line.
Want to Explore More on Snapshot 19
Consider the following the following books for more information on the information in this snapshot:
The Hojack Line Remembered Oswego to Lewiston by Richard Chait is available in the gift shop at the museum and where ever books are sold just not available in our online store.
That is just what families and couples might do in the summer of 1912. Sunday was the ideal time for an outing as the aver age work week was 5 and one-half days. The Rochester area was lucky to have Lake Ontario and Irondequoit Bay close at hand where they might travel for the cool breezes. Remember, it was before the days of inexpensive room fans or air conditioning. Between 1900 and 1924, Mr. J.D. Scott (a very resourceful entrepreneur) came up with a scheme he called “The Pink Ticket Trip”. He offered tickets from a small tent he would put up at the downtown four corners (Main and State). For a special 50-cent ticket (that’s $11.15 today) you boarded the Lake Avenue Trolley to Charlotte and Ontario Beach Park to see the sites there and perhaps have a ride on the circle swing or the “The Breezer” (Roller Coaster). You might have a photo taken at the outdoor tintype photographer with your “sweetie”, as it was an inexpensive and nice souvenir.
Then it’s off to board the J.D. Scott for a short lake trip to the dock at Sea Breeze. At the end of the dock is a small restaurant called “The Hawaiian Gardens”. A dance floor with automatic music provided by a Wurlitzer Orchestra Piano entertained the early afternoon crowd, Later on, a five-piece live orchestra was on hand to keep the dancers feet tapping to lively two steps, waltzes, and the Turkey-Trot! Then over the railroad tracks of the “Hojack Line” to Sea Breeze Park with a small coaster and a carousel built and run by the Long family of Philadelphia. The cotton candy is quite good as well as the fresh roasted peanuts.
Down a path which leads to Irondequoit Bay, there’s a Naphtha or Gasoline Launch, waiting to take passengers down to the end of the Bay. Stops could be made at any of the numerous hotels along the west bank, such as Pt. Pleasant, Birds and Worms, the Newport House, etc. The final stop on the Bay was Glen Haven Park with its large hotel, beautiful grounds, and an amusement park on the south end. If lunch had not been had earlier, but brought along (which was often the case), this was the place to spend some time. A large stage with vaudeville acts always attracted large crowds.
Boarding a Sodus Bay & Rochester Trolley for a trip back to the station on East Main Street, the car went through a num ber of lrondequoit’s wooded glens and over several streams. Gathering umbrellas, coats, ties, large ladies hats, and lunch baskets for the last time, you rode the West Main trolley back to Main and State Street and to transfer points at Clinton or St Paul Street. The trip could be made in reverse and the length of time at each stopover was only governed by the ticket holder. The only caution being, the final boats on the bay and lake stopped running around dusk.
Wouldn’t it be fun to take a trip back in time to enjoy the one-day excursion??? Remember, all electronic devices must be left at J.D. Scotts tent fore boarding the trolley……..
Photos, data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office.