A Vineyard in Greece

Most people in Greece associate the surname Fetzner with the making and repairing of means of transportation. First with a carriage and blacksmith shop and then as the “fuel” changed from hay for horse-powered carriages to gas, the family moved on to selling and/or repairing cars.

A horse drawn carriage outside a building

Drawing by William Aeberli
J.P. Fetzners’ brothers John and Frank owned and operated the J & F Fetzner Carriage Makers, Blacksmithing and Painting on Ridge Road in Greece. Frank’s blacksmith Shop was in the small building, and John’s carriage-making building was the larger.
Drawing by William Aeberli
A person with a mustache

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Joseph Peter “J.P”. Fetzner, 1901
Courtesy Lever/Henricus Family

Patriarch Frank Fetzner arrived in the United States in the mid to late 1840s from Untergrombach, Bruschal, Baden, Germany (18km or 11 miles east of the Rhine River). He married Catherine Mura, together they had eight children and resided on a farm in Greece with a blacksmith shop as one of their outbuildings. The driveway to their farm later became Fetzner Road. Sons John and Frank were the well-known carriage makers and blacksmiths whose enterprise was on the Ridge Road. Another son, Joseph Peter (1856-1909), better known in business as J.P., became a maker of wine, liquors, cider and vinegar.

Perhaps making moonshine in the still on his father’s farm, gave J.P. the idea to establish his way in the liquor business. In 1878, J.P. planted grapes for a fledgling vineyard on Long Pond Road, just north of Mill Road. He married Mary Hutte the following year. The Long Pond vineyard thrived and grew, buildings and operations expanded over time, including a storehouse, winery, mill, brandy distillery plant, and a house. There was an additional cider mill on Ridge Road. By 1881, he had founded the Rochester Liquor & Distilling Company in the city of Rochester. As growth continued, in 1899, the name changed to the Lake Ontario Wine Company and the venture went public. The company produced wine, champagne (American Eagle brand), and brandies. It was a very successful family operation with its offices and distillery then based in Rochester. The cider mill, vineyards, winery, wine cellars and woodland (to make the vineyard stakes) were in Greece.

A close-up of a map

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J.P. Fetzner Vineyard and Cider Mill location on Long Pond Road, just north of Mill Road on this (1905 Greece Map)
A couple of men in a field

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J.P. Fetzner and worker at Vineyard on Long Pond Road. History of the Brewery and Liquor Business of Rochester, N.Y., Kearse

At the business peak around the year 1900, it was very much a family affair. J.P. was president and treasurer; brother-in-law William Hutte was vice-president; brother Wendell Fetzner helped for a few years with carting; son-in-law brewer, William Kipp (married daughter Minnie), was secretary; and son Arthur Fetzner was a foreman. The company appeared to be highly successful, paying excellent dividends to their stockholders and allowing the family to live prosperously. Unfortunately, J.P. got pulmonary tuberculosis, and then died suddenly in 1909. With his passing, things quickly fell apart. J.P. had sold most of his personal land to the company as well as used personal funds to establish it. During probate, it was discovered that the stock shares were worthless. The family members involved in the business, as well as J.P.’s second wife, Josephine Neidert, and his children from both marriages, had to take other paths in life.

A large brown jug on a wood surface

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A close up of a vase

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J.P. Fetzner wine jugs. The jugs were made by Jacob Fisher’s pottery business in Lyons, Wayne County, New York. To ensure a return for refill, vendors put their business name on the jugs.

Courtesy Bill Sauers and Jane Oakes, respectively

A brown jug with a handle

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This is just a portion of the Fetzner Family, you can read more about the Fetzner family in the Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Volume 1, by Marie Poinan and JoAnn Ward Synder.

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Greece Pioneer Book 2 Project Update

Challenges faced while chronicling pioneer families and tracing their descendants.

This is an update on Pioneer Families Volume 2, content chronicles the complexities experienced when researching and documenting pioneer families and their lineage. The details for this discussion were captured on November 14th, 2023, at the Greece Office of Student Transportation Services. It underlines the remarkable yet challenging task of tracing back genealogical records, delving deep into the past of pioneer families, and sketching their subsequent descendants – an effort that requires considerable patience and meticulous research. Presented by Marie V. Poinan and JoAnn Ward Snyder.

Our eight monthly Tuesday programs from the September of 2023 to June 2024 season are being held at the Greece Central School District’s Transportation and Support Services Facility on Latta Road from 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. They featured local historians, authors, and humanities scholars. Our programs have earned a reputation throughout the region for providing high-quality, professional, and entertaining history lessons. We would like to thank Greece Public Library Director, Catherine Henderson, and the library staff for being so supportive and accommodating to our needs. To attend our Tuesday Monthly lectures it’s best to check our events list on Facebook for when the Tuesday Programs occur.

Upcoming programs when we resume in January 2024 the first one will be The Rights of Indigenous People in Western New York on January 9, 2024, and in February it will be the History of 103.9 WDKX on February 13, 2024.

Bicentennial Snapshot No. 54: Gone, but Not Forgotten

Bicentennial Snapshot # 54: Gone but not Forgotten
Monroe County Bookmobile in front of the old town hall, 1955 from the Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division

Today, as we acknowledge all those who helped us produce these Bicentennial Snapshots, please enjoy photos of places and businesses no longer part of the Greece landscape.

We would like to thank the following individuals with their contributions to the snapshots:

First of all, we are tremendously thankful for all the photos provided by Society President Bill Sauers. He has a vast archive of photographs that he generously shared with us.

Edgewater Hotel from Bill Sauers
Odenbach Shipbuilding, 2012, photo by Bill Sauers

If he didn’t have a photo we needed, he went out and took one, especially for the snapshots.

We greatly appreciate Greece town historian Keith Suhr giving us permission to use photos from Greece Images.

Dutch Mill, 2017, from the Office of the Town Historian
Mount Read Chase-Pitkin

Thank you also to our other photographers or those who provided photos for various episodes: Alan Mueller, Ben Kerr, Bonnie Stemen Fiser, Carolyn Kerheart, Dick Halsey, Deborah Cole Meyers,

Douglas Worboys, who worked at Chase-Pitkin and helped you find the tools and supplies for that home improvement project you had going on in your home,

Maiden Lanes Bowling Alley, photo by Mike Callen

Gene Preston(Retired North Greece Fire Department / Kodak Fire) and owner of Preston Fresh Produce on Long Pond Road, Gina DiBella, Gloria LaTragna, Gretchen Howe, Dr. George Sanders, “Booze, Barns, Boats and Brothers” by H. Dwight Bliss III, John Cranch, Jane Grant, Author of Barns of Greece, Kathy Gray who provided pictures of Frank Siebert that were added to the snapshot on Ridge Road Fire District, Jo Ann Ward Snyder co-author of Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Joan Winghart Wilcox Sullivan who wrote about her father, Bernie Winghart, Gordon Massecar,

Joe Vitello, Marie Poinan co-author of Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece as well as the co-author of two books with Maureen Whalen, one book with the late Tom Sawnor, and 5 books on her own, RRFD/Greece Ridge FD Historian and District Photographer Matthew Pillsbury, Battalion Chief Brian Gebo for providing Ridge Road/Greece Ridge Fire Districts 100 Years logo for our use,

Rochester Gas & Electric, Russell Station from GHS
Lincoln First Bank postcard at Dewey and Haviland

Patricia Conklin, Paul Pakusch who let us use the personal home video that he recorded on his way to work at News 10 (WHEC) NBC in 1991 during the ice storm, Mike Parker, Robert Bilsky, Ralph DeStephano, Ed Spelman, Tom DiBello, Travis Beaver, Francis Howard Whelehan, Stanley Hwalek, Mason Winfield the Author of “Haunted Rochester”, William Aeberli, Helen Edson Slocum, Virginia Tomkiewicz, Shirley Cox Husted

We would like to thank the following organizations, news outlets, local colleges and libraries

North Greece Fire Department, Greece Ridge/Ridge Road Fire District, Barnard Fire Department, Barnard Exempts, FDNY(Fire Department of the City of New York), Greece Police, Center for Governmental Research,

Island Cottage Hotel, 1977, from GHS
Streb’s Steak House from GHS

Rochester Public Library, Buffalo and Erie County Public Library’s Recording Studio in the Launch Pad Maker Space at the Central Library, The University of Rochester, Rochester Institute of Technology, Wayne State University, Princeton University, University of Iowa, nebraskastudies.org, SUNY School SOAR

Democrat and Chronicle, 13 Wham TV, WHEC, WROC, Spectrum News, Histrotic Detroit, The Hilton Record, Rochester Times-Union, The American Issue, New York Daily News, Global News a Division of Shaw Media, newspapers.com, Rochester Gas & Electric News Publication, Rochester Daily Advertiser,

Verhulst Brothers Farm Market from GHS
Our Lady of Mercy Rectory designed by James H. Johnson from GHS

Our Mother of Sorrows Church, Greece Baptist Church, Greece United Methodist Church,

Greece Central School District, Archive.org, BoxRec.com, US Treasury National Archives, FBI, National Archives, Department of Defense, U.S.C.G.S. ( United States Coast Guard), Library of Congress, USDA, Wikipedia, IMDB, National Weather Services, NOAA, NASA, Canadian Ice Service, US PTO(Patent and Trademark Office), Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), Rochester Baseball Historical Society, Monroe County GIS Map Gallery which contains 11 interactive maps that were used in some of the snapshots as well as the parcels map that was used to verify data on certain properties,

District School #5, 2007, photo by Bill Sauers
999 Long Pond Road from GHS

The Landmark Society of Western New York, Rochester Museum and Science Center, Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, mcnygenealogy.com, New York State digital archive, Monroe Historical Society, Charlotte-Genesee Lighthouse, Cobblestone Museum, Buffalo Maritime Center, New York State Department of Transportation, Bob Johnson Chevrolet

We relied heavily on past newspaper accounts and are so grateful that the Greece Historical Society secured grants to have the Greece Press, Greater Greece Press, and Greece Post digitized.

Bull at Scarlett’s Island Cottage from GHS
Lake Shore Drive-in Sign from GHS

History writers of the future will have a more difficult time documenting the past with fewer newspapers available.

Cine 1234 Ridge Rd (FB Gina Beebee)

The maps digitized by the Rochester Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Division are a marvelous resource.

St Charles Borromeo school photo by Bill Sauers
Movie Theatre in Stoneridge Plaza from GHS

If these Snapshots brought back memories or taught you something you didn’t know, then we succeeded in our endeavor. They will remain a resource for future students of local history.

We encourage you to get out and photograph what will be tomorrow’s history. Keep a journal documenting your lives and bequeath them to future generations.

Johnny Maier’s Hotel and Restaurant, 4454 Dewey Avenue, from GHS
Friendly’s Restaurant on Dewey Avenue from GHS

Lastly, we invite you to visit the Greece Historical Society and Museum to learn more about the history of the town of Greece.

Greece Volunteer Ambulance (GVA)
Greece Volunteer Ambulance (GVA)

This is Maureen Whalen, on behalf of the Greece Historical Society, Pat Worboys, and myself, saying thank you to our loyal viewers and wishing you the best as Greece begins a new century.

Frear’s Garden Center, 2022, photo by Pat Worboys
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Bicentennial Snapshot No. 53: Buckman’s Dairy

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

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, …

Homer Buckman, courtesy of Bonnie Stemen Fiser
May, Burl, George, Lucy Griffin, Homer Buckman, courtesy of Bonnie Stemen Fiser

… 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.

Alice, Emeroy, and Homer Buckman, courtesy of Bonnie Stemen Fiser
1902 Map of Greece from the Rochester Public Library Local History and Genealogy Division

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

Homer with his delivery truck, the 1920s, from the office of the Town Historian. The Turck in this picture most likely matches the 1928 Ford Model AA 1-1/2 Ton stake truck from 1928 in the front. The back of the 1928 Ford Model AA looks like the 1929 Ford Model AA 1-1/2 Ton stake truck in the rear. This Truck was probably built in Michigan. Based onupdated information from the Benson Ford Research Center at The Henry Ford Museum.
Antique milk churn from eBay

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.

Hojack station, North Greece, from the Office of the Town Historian
Aerial view of Buckman’s, 1940, GHS

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.

Bonnybrook Buckman’s Dairy, 2576 West Ridge Road, Photo Bill Sauers
Homer Buckman’s Obituary, on Page 7 in The Greece Post., November 16, 1972

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.”

Buckman’s, 1952, from the Office of the Town Historian
Buckman’s, 1952, from the Office of the Town Historian
Old Menu board from Buckman’s, from GHS

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!

Original Kitchen Sink from Buckman’s, Ralph DeStefano
The Kitchen Sink (Happy Days), courtesy of Jo Ann Ward Snyder

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.”

Sign honoring Ralph DeStephano, 1970s, from GHS

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.

Ralph DeStephano in his laundry center, 1970, from the Office of the Town Historian
Ralph DeStephano in his laundry center, 1970, from the Office of the Town Historian
Buckman’s Laundry Center, 1970, from the Office of the Town Historian

Buckman Enterprise also included a laundry

and a car wash.

Buckman’s car wash, 2023, photo by Bill Sauers
Buckman’s car wash, 2023, photo by Bill Sauers
From Greece Post, December 2, 1981

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.

Buckman’s ice cream from GHS
Buckman’s ice cream from GHS
Buckman Plaza as of 2-17-23, Photo by Bill Sauers
Buckman Plaza as of 2-17-23, Photo by Bill Sauers

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.

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Bicentennial Snapshot No.36: Centennial Celebration of North Greece and Ridge Road Fire District

North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
Greece Ridge / Ridge Road Fire District 100 years
Greece Ridge / Ridge Road Fire District 100 years
Greece Bicentennial 200

Today we are spotlighting the two Greece fire districts that are celebrating their centennial years and they are the North Greece Fire Department and the Greece Ridge/Ridge Road Fire District

Bucket Brigade from Monroe Historical Society

As a rural agricultural community in the 1800s, there was no formal fire brigade or fire department in Greece. Fires were common “in an era when most buildings were made of wood, when candles and fuel lamps provided lighting, and when wood stoves were used for cooking.” Bucket brigades fought fires. Water was taken from whatever source was nearby—streams, lakes, ponds, or cisterns—and a line of men formed to pass the buckets from one man to the next until it reached the fire. It was an ineffective way to fight a fire.

In 1890, John Fetzner of Fetzner Carriage shop and Peter Knipper, owner of the Falls Hotel, (we told you about them in Snapshot 16), imported a chemical fire wagon from France. They stored the fire wagon in a shed on the hotel property next door to Fetzner’s carriage shop making it readily available to serve them and their neighbors. The apparatus was on a wheeled carriage base and had to be pulled by volunteers on foot. A chemical reaction between sulfuric acid and a premixture of sodium bicarbonate in one tank propelled water in the other tank through a hose; it could create a stream of flame retardant up to 30 feet high. This is the oldest piece of fire equipment in Greece, and one of the oldest in Monroe County. It is on display in our museum. You can read the full interview on how Society acquired the fire wagon from Bud Steeb by Kay Pollok.

Fetzner-Knipper fire wagon photo by Bill Sauers
Clip 3: Call for Service Map from Future of the Fire Service in Greece Evaluating the Existing Conditions in and Considering Options in the Town of Greece, June, 2020, prepared for: Barnard Fire District, Lake Shore Fire District, North Greece Fire District and Ridge Road Fire District by the Center for Governmental Research
Call for Service Map from Future of the Fire Service in Greece Evaluating the Existing Conditions in and Considering Options in the Town of Greece, June 2020, prepared for Barnard Fire District, Lake Shore Fire District, North Greece Fire District, and Ridge Road Fire District by the Center for Governmental Research

The Town of Greece does not have a centralized fire department; there’s no GFD on the back of our firefighters’ turnout coats. Rather the town is served by four separate fire districts: North Greece, Ridge Road (once called Greece Ridge), Barnard, and Lakeshore. North Greece and Ridge Road (once called Greece Ridge) have three stations, Lakeshore had three stations but decommissioned the station near in Braddock Bay Heights area, and Barnard has only one, which makes nine total in the town. Some calls may receive mutual aid from other fire districts they are Hilton, Spencerport/Odgen Fire, Gates Fire, and the City of Rochester, depending on the type of assistance that is needed.

North Greece Fire District

North Greece 100 Years Service Patch
North Greece 100 Years Service Patch

Founded June 1922

In June 1922 the Carriage and Blacksmith shop once owned by Lewis Combs became North Greece Fire District’s first firehouse and the town’s first fire station and their…

North Greece Fire Station, 1926
North Greece fire department testing Pierce Arrow truck, circa 1928, from the Office of the Town Historian

…Pierce-Arrow truck was the first motorized fire truck in the Town of Greece. This is their centennial anniversary.

In 1958, North Greece added a second Station on Latta Rd at Mt. Read Boulevard. Up until the mid-1980s, the fire district had an all-volunteer force.

Dedication ad from the Greece Press, July 24, 1958
Station 1, the 1960s, the Office of the Town Historian

The North Greece Fire District Headquarters were moved from Station 1 at North Greece and Latta to Station 2 at Latta and Mount Read in 1970.

In 1983, a third station was opened on English Road.

North Greece Fire District Station 3
North Greece Fire District Station 1 North Greece and Latta Roads, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers

Encompassing more than 27 miles, today, the North Greece Fire District serves the largest geographic area in the town and a population of about 41,000. As of January 2020, the district had 45 career firefighters and 33 volunteers.

Between 2016 and 2018 they responded to an average of 3,539 calls per year; 62 percent were EMS-related. [1]

Fire at Harris Dairy Farm, English Road, 1938, from the Office of the Town Historian
North Greece Fire District Headquarters, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers

In 2019, the Insurance Services Office (ISO) rated the North Greece Fire District at a 2 which places it in the top 3% of fire departments in New York State.

Greece Ridge / Ridge Road Fire District

Greece Ridge / Ridge Road Fire District 100 years
Greece Ridge / Ridge Road Fire District 100 years

August 3, 1922

The Greece Ridge Fire Department, now Ridge Road Fire District, was established on August 3, 1922. It was first located at 2550 Ridge Road West, the northwest corner of Long Pond Road and Ridge Road. The building was shared with three businesses on the upper floor: H. A. Herrick Civil Engineer and Land Surveyor, J.V. Gallagher Realtor Real Estate Insurance, and A.R. Koerner Contractor Builder. At the back of the site was Buchman’s Dairy then a Walgreens and now an Orvilles Appliance store.

First Greece-Ridge Fire Station at 2550 Ridge Road West, circa 1924, courtesy of Bill Sauers
RRFD fighting a fire at Fetzner’s Garage, 1969, from ridgefire.org

By the way, Peter Knipper and John Fetzner also helped found this department.

Like North Greece, the Ridge Road Fire District is celebrating its centennial.

Long Pond Road sign, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers
Long Pond Road sign, 2022, photo by Bill Sauers
Helmet of A.R. Koerner - 2015.03.01
Helmet of A.R. Koerner – 2015.03.01

In 1922, A. R. Koerner besides being a building contractor became the first Fire Chief of the Greece Ridge Fire Department (Ridge Road Fire District). He served as Chief from 1922 to 1939, encompassing three different town administrations: Frank J. Mitchell from 1922-1927, William F. Schmitt from 1928 – 1933, and finally Gordon A. Howe from 1934-1939. Gordon A Howe was the Town Supervisor from 1934 to 1960. A.R. Koerner’s chief helmet was received into our collection in 2015 and has been on display since with the chemical fire wagon that is pictured at the beginning of this snapshot.

Like North Greece, Greece Ridge started with a Pierce-Arrow fire truck which was built in Buffalo, NY.

1st motorized apparatus 1924 Pierce Arrow pumper
1st motorized apparatus 1924 Pierce Arrow pumper
Amelia & Frank Siebert, courtesy Kathy Gray via Facebook

In 1930 Frank Siebert, a co-founder, and volunteer with the department became the district’s first paid firefighter. The firehouse was remodeled and included an apartment for Siebert and his wife and children.

Amelia & Frank Siebert (Kathy’s Great-Grandparents) with Jack – Kathy Gray’s Father, courtesy Kathy Gray via Facebook
Firefighters are pictured here in front of the 1922 Pierce Arrow pumper, celebrating their 3rd Annual Field Day. The Greece Ridge Fire Department was incorporated on August 3, 1922. The first firehouse opened in 1924 on the corner of Ridge Road and Long Pond Road. Office of the Town Historian.

He was on duty 24 hours a day, with about 8 hours off per week. He was assistant chief and later chief commanding volunteer operations during fires.  He and his wife continued to reside at that apartment above the station at least until 1953 and most likely until his retirement in 1959 at the age of 79. Frank and A.R. Koerner are in this picture to the left but without notes, on this picture, we are not sure who is all in this picture.

As the population of Greece soared, so did the demands on the department. A new firehouse was opened in 1962 at 1299 Long Pond Road. It is the district’s Headquarters. Today the district serves a population of 27,000 in an area of just under 14 square miles.

Ridge Road Fire Station, 1299 Long Pond Road, 1967, courtesy Bill Sauers
Stoneridge Station, 2020, photo by Bill Sauers

The Stoneridge Station (Station #2) was opened in 1971 and was renovated in 2001, while

Headquarters of Ridge Road Fire District
third district station at 2300 Ridgeway Avenue opened in 2007 – Matthew Pillsbury, RRFD Historian

The third district station at 2300 Ridgeway Avenue opened in 2007.

Quint 250 parked outside at Ridge Road Station #3 on Ridgeway Ave

A hallmark tradition of the Ridge Road Fire Department, begun in 1935, is that their fire trucks are white rather than the traditional red or even yellow.

Frank Siebert and the Volkmars, Democrat and Chronicle, October 8, 1962, photo by Gordon Massecar

It is often a family affair for Greece residents who answer the call to fight fires as it was for this Greece Ridge family. At the dedication of the new firehouse in 1962, three-year-old Stephen Volkmar receives a salute from his father Chief at the time John Volkmar, his grandfather, former chief Alfred Volkmar, and his great-grandfather, none other than Frank Siebert. Although the Ridge Road fire district started as a volunteer company, today it does not have any active volunteer firefighters and has not had any for the last 20 years.

You can read more about the Volkmars as well as the Fetzner and Knipper families in the Society’s Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece available in the gift shop.

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece by Marie Poinan, and Joann Ward Synder

In 1947, Ridge Road responded to 52 alarms; in 1959 it answered 126 alarms. Between 2016 and 2018, the district had an average per year of 7,390 calls for service, 68% of which were EMS calls. [1]

RRFD is the only one of the four districts in Greece and one of three in New York state to be accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International, CFAI. The District first achieved accreditation in 2005, and again in 2010, 2015, and 2020. In 2017 it also received a rating of 2, from the Insurance Services Office (ISO) which places it in the top 3% of fire departments in New York State.

With all the training and resources that these firefighters do on a daily basis from doing routine inspections of fire systems in every business, drills, learning new techniques to battle fires, rescuing you from a motor vehicle accident, providing assistance to medical facilities for lift assist and other services they provide, could not prepare them to save ten guests at the Holiday Inn on West Ridge Road, from the town’s deadliest fire at the Holiday Inn in 1978 even though the hotel had some of the fire prevention systems in place and yet it failed and Ridge Road Fire District had the equipment to fight the fire and resources to rescue the guest from the hotel and fire companies within a 6-mile radius of the hotel came to assist Ridge Road Fire District to get the fire under control, we will dig a little deeper next week into the Holiday Inn Fire.

We at the Greece Historical Society & Museum would like to congratulate the Ridge Road and North Greece Fire Departments on Celebrating their Centennial anniversary.

Thank you for joining us today.

Citations

[1] source from Future of the Fire Service in Greece Evaluating the Existing Conditions in and Considering Options in the Town of Greece June, 2020, https://www.cgr.org/greece-fire/docs/GreeceFireStudyBaselineOptions.pdf

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 16 – ‘ADA’ Ridge Hamlet

Map with each hamlet listed click to view a larger image

In the early years of the town, there were little hamlets or unincorporated villages that people called different sections of Greece, for example, you have ADA Ridge which is the intersection of Mitchell Road Long Pond Road, and Ridge Road, Jekin’s Corner/North Greece is located at Latta Road and North Greece Road, South Greece is at Elmgrove Road at the Erie Canal, Dewey Stone Hamlet is right at where Dewey ave meets Stone Road, Paddy Hill/Read’s Corner is at Mount Read and Latta.

This week we explore the Hamlet of Ada which is at the intersection of Mitchell Road, Long Pond Road, and Ridge Road, this is where the center of town offices was except for the Department of Public Works until 1997 when the complex moved to the Greece Center area just north of Latta on Long Pond. We first told you about how the ridge was a glacial ridge, then the stagecoach route in episode 11, and the toll plank road from Long Pond Road to Elmgrove Road in episode 12, we introduce you to William Anderson General store and that was the post office for Ada in episode 14. You might have learned about the early Rowe family with the settlement at King’s Landing in the 4th snapshot. and we look at Asa Rowes’ Nursery business in snapshot 13.

Anderson’s General Store

In Snapshot 14 we told you that there were many general stores that people would shop at to get items for everyday living and one of these stores was William Anderson general store. William H Anderson was born in October 1849 in a small community called Ada Michigan, and he came to Greece, New York later in life with his wife Lois E. (Hyatt) Anderson. It was in Greece that he became a postmaster and opened his general store on the southeast corner of Ridge Road and Mitchell Road.

William H Anderson General Store
William H Anderson General Store

Did you know that a portion of Ridge Road was a toll-based planked road?

1872 map by F. W. Beers
1872 map by F. W. Beers

Note on the map on the left the Y-shaped conjunction of Long Pond Road, then known as Greece Centre Road, on the left, and the road that borders the property of farmer Erastus Walker on the right. 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 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. Locals didn’t think it was necessary to pay to use the road. Erastus Walker used to cut across his fields to bypass the toll gate. After being used by so many, so often it became a right of way. Just south of the Walker property was land owned by the Mitchells. Eventually, the Mitchells would own the Walker Land and the name of the road changed to Mitchell Road.

Greece Baptist Church

Greece Baptist Church was one of the first churches in the town. The first building for Greece Baptist Church was built in the 1830s at the corner of Ridge Road and Long Pond Road. Picture in the video was its home until 1962 when the new home for Greece Baptist church was built at the end of Walker St a street that runs east-west and parallels just north of the ridge it runs just behind Buckman’s Plaza and now it connects the newly formed Greece Baptist Church Parkway. The Cole and Kenyon families are founding members of the Greece Baptist Church, Cousins Deb Myers and Maureen Murphy are descendants of the families who attended this church and help found Greece Baptist Church. The reason for the Church to move 700 feet was the community was growing by leaps and bounds after world war 2 and Ridge road expanded from one lane in each direction to a four-lane with two lanes going eastbound and two lanes going westbound. It recently turned 190 years and in ten years it will be celebrating its own bicentennial.

The Rowe Tavern

The original Rowe tavern that Asa’s father started in the early 1800s no exact date of the day it opened but we believe it was somewhere around circa 1804 but with no exact records or proof other than on a map showing that shows where it was located. The Rowe Tavern burned down in 1845 while being operated by R.P. Edgarton at that time while Asa was running his Horticultural and Nursery farm. It was later rebuilt.

St. Johns Church, the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church.

1875 Picture of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
1875 Picture of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church
St Johns 1964 Church
2014 Picture of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church Now photo by Bill Sauers

St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church was founded as a satellite parish of Our Mother of Sorrows Church. The original 20 congregants met in the Rowe tavern building from 1865 until 1876 when they were able to construct a church on the site. The tavern building became the priests’ rectory. Later on, the Church would expand to add a school and then a completely new structure set back further from the road to its new Church which is featured in two separate recordings about the Architect James H. Johnson (May 2012) and the Architecture of James H. Johnson (May 2019) but later on the church would sell the old rectory and school. The St Johns school lot became a Royal Car Wash.

We also had a Tuesday program with one of the families that were part of the original St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church her name is Carolyn Kerhaert a descendant of the VOLKMAR family who came to Greece about 1865 and help found St. John’s Church.

Up Close with Two Greece Pioneer Families – the Volkmar and Cole/Kenyon families May 10, 2022

The Falls Hotel

A little way down no more than 30 feet was the Falls Hotel. It opened under the ownership of William Fall, later it was operated by T. B. Hiett this would explain why the street Hiett Rd runs parallel to the Ridge and ends when you enter into the parking lot of St. Johns Church, the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church.

Second Falls Tavern from GHS
Second Falls Tavern from GHS

The Falls hotel also had a fire this was not till 1883 when the hotel was under the management of Willam Gentle who was the proprietor at the time of the fire. The Falls Hotel would later be reborn but it took some skills and lots of logs to basically move the Old Rowe Tavern from where the old Rectory for St. Johns Church stands today and move it across the road to where the entrance to Red Robin at the Mall at Greece Ridge is at today. The deal made to move the Tavern involved the congregants, the Pastor of the church, and the proprietor of the building moving it across the way to build the church.

The Fetzner Family

Fetzner Blacksmith and Carriage shop

The Fetzner family ran a Blacksmith and Carriage shop also they were one of the first families that ran a fire company in the hamlet of Ada at the intersection of Ridge, Long Pond, and Mitchell Roads. In 1876, two brothers, Frank and John Fetzner, opened the Fetzner Brothers Blacksmith and Carriage shops on West Ridge Road across the street from the St. John the Evangelist Church and next door to the Falls Hotel. Peter Knipper who was married to the Fetzner’s cousin, Mary Mura, bought the Falls Hotel in 1889.

In this 1960s picture on the Left is Fetzner Garage | Richards on the Ridge to the right
In this 1960s picture on the Left is Fetzner Garage | Richards on the Ridge to the right

They were one of the groups of merchants who went in on a soda acid chemical to fight fires in the area of Ada in the museum we have a soda acid chemical hand-pulled truck.

Buckman’s

Stay tuned for a snapshot of Buckman’s Dairy and Bakery but in the meantime, we have a program on Buckman’s Dairy History recorded in July 2017, and here is an article from our newsletter titled Homer J. Buckman – Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!! – From the historian’s Files. Also Homer J. Buckman will be featured in the upcoming Pioneer Families Volume II coming 2024 stay tuned to our Facebook page when the book goes live for orders.

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Greece Historical Society’s Annual Strawberry Festival Fundraiser

Strawberry & Dessert Tasting Festival

🍓 🍓🍓 🍓

Strawberry Festival June 20th 4 p.m to 7 p.m. $8.00 Adults, $ 5.00 for Kids 6-12, Free for Kids Under 5

Date And Time:

Monday, June 20, 2022
4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Location:

Greece Town Hall Pavilion
3 Vince Tofany Blvd, Greece, NY 14612

Admission:

$ 8.00 – Adults
$ 5.00 – Children 6-12
Free for 5 & Under

FREE PARKING

The Admission includes

Strawberry Short Cake and other Cake Samples from

Dessert Samplings from The following vendors

Barton’s Parkside Hots

Hots, Burgers, Sausages, etc. will be available for purchase.

Music for the event is provided by:

DJ Flyin Brian of Party Productions

Other Activities include:

  • Children Activities
  • Grease Paint Alley Clowns
  • Community Displays
  • A Square Dance demonstration at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • There will be Door Prizes
  • A Chinese Auction
  • As well as a chance to win one of these interesting Bicentennial Pioneer Families Signs
    • The Tickets are $ 5.00 for one
    • 3 for $ 10.00
    • The Drawing for this Raffle will be done on July 10th, 2022.
    • You Could Win one of these five Unique designs
Second Prize
First Prize
Fifth Prize
Fourth Prize
Third Prize

Sponsors of this Year’s Strawberry & Dessert Tastings Festival

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Greece Pioneer Family Project, Vol. 2

Greece Pioneer Family Project, Vol. 2

If you are a member of a Pioneer Family who was living in the Town of Greece before 1872, we would like to hear from you. Co-authors Marie Villone Poinan and Jo Ann Ward Snyder are now accepting additional family submissions for Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece, Volume 2, which will be published in the fall of 2022.

This second volume will honor families who settled in the area before 1872 but were not included in volume 1. It will contain vignettes, photos, and input from current family members, highlighting each family’s contribution to the town.

If your family qualifies and you would like to be included in volume two, please download and submit the five documents below by August 1, 2022. You will be contacted by Marie or Jo Ann within 30 days.

Submit all supporting documentation, to us by e-mail at greecehistoricalsociety@yahoo.com or via US mail to: Greece Historical Society, PO Box 16249, Greece, NY 14616

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 1 is available from Amazon, from our online museum gift shop, or by visiting our gift shop in the museum during our regular office hours. (Visit our “200 years” section above to see the complete list of included families.)

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Pioneer Families Publications

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 1

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece - Vol. 1
Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 1

This book is researched and written by Marie Villone Poinan, and JoAnn Ward Snyder, and honors the families who settled in the area before 1872. It contains vignettes, photos, and input from current family members that highlight each family’s contribution to the town.

The following families are featured in Volume 1: Baker, Beaty, Bemish/Lane/Wilder, Britton, Captain, John Burns, Terry Burns, Butts, Carpenter/Toal, Cole/Kenyon, Denise, Eddy, Farnan, Fetzner, Joseph and Patrick Fleming, Robert Fleming, Goodwin, Hogan, Janes, Johnson, Kirk, Latta, Lay, Lowden, Mitchell, Mura, Nash, Newcomb, O’Neil, Perrin, Preston, James, Reilly, Reniff, Shearman, Speer/Carroll, Thorpe, Tiernan/McGee, Upton, Veeder, Veness, Volkmar.

(Available on Amazon, and in museum gift shop, or by visiting our gift shop in the museum during our regular office hours.)


Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 2 (Expected to be available in Late 2023)

This book researched and written by Marie Villone Poinan and Jo Ann Ward Snyder, honors the families who settled in the area before 1872. It contains vignettes, photos, and input from current family members that highlight each family’s contribution to the town.

This second volume will honor families who settled in the area before 1872 but were not included in Volume 1.

Below are the families that will probably be featured in Volume 2 depending on family approvals and signatures to allow the families to appear in the book:

Allen
Andrews
Beattie
Beck
Benedict
Blackwell
Bonesteel
Buckman
Budd
Burger/Phillips
Burns (Michael)
Button
Clarke
Coffey
Combs
Cottrell

Davis/T. Mitchell
Defendorf
Dorsey
English
Faker
Falls
Frisbee
Glass
Hadlock
Hincher
Hickox
Hopper
Keene
Lochner/Goodell
Justice
Marchant

McShea
Meech
Phelps
Quinn
Rowley
Ruggles
Sage/Cason
Sharpe
Spaulding
Vick
Weitz
Whelehan
Wietz
Williams
Worboys



(Will be available on Amazon, and in the museum gift shop, in Late 2023.)

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece - Vol. 2
Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 2

200 Years

In 2022, the Town of Greece will celebrate its 200th birthday. In recognition and celebration of the momentous event, the Greece Historical Society will be producing books and programs throughout the year to educate town residents on the people and events that contributed to establishing the town as we now know it.

This section of our site will be our conduit to share this information with you, our fellow residents. We expect to provide new information frequently throughout 2022 so please plan to stop by from time to time to view the latest additions.

INFORMATION VIDEOS

To understand the process that the writers went thru to research, create, and produce this two-volume publication, which highlights contributions to the town of families who settled in the area before 1872 with vignettes, photos, and input from current family members. This was recorded on November 9, 2021.


These brief videos will be posted by the Greece Historical Society throughout 2022 to mark the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Greece. They will share details about the people and events that influenced its evolution.


PUBLICATIONS

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 1

Out Now
By here or Buy on Amazon

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 1 & 2

These books are researched and written by Marie Villone Poinan and Jo Ann Ward Snyder. Want to learn more about the Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece? Click on each book to read the description about the importance and discover the pioneer families and where they came from to be members of Greece, New York.

Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece - Vol. 2
Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece – Vol. 2

Coming 2023

Researching Your Town of Greece Family (June 2021)

A presentation about researching your family in anticipation of the town’s Bicentennial in 2022. With Barb Koehler, JoAnn Ward Snyder, and Marie Poinan.

JoAnn Ward Snyder, and Marie Poinan followed up with a program in November with a look at who was in volume I and three family members that were featured in the book joined us for the talk called A Visit with Pioneer Family Descendants and it featured a visit by the descendants of the Volkmar and Cole/Kenyon families.

Here is the Next Chapter in the Process after this program was recorded.

After the Making of Book 1 Program, the presenters brought in three members of the Pioneer Families and let them talk about them to the members.

Volume 1 of The Pioneer Families of the Town Of Greece is out now,

Volume 2 of The Pioneer Families of the Town of Greece will be released mid to late 2023 depending on final revisions and last-minute touches on the book. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates on when the book will go live for sale.

An update on Volume 2 status has been recorded and here is the link to the updates on where the book stands as of November 14, 2023, currently they are waiting on final sign-offs from families to print the stories in this volume.