Carter Park is a 12-acre recreational landscape located on Long Pond Road near The Mall at Greece Ridge. It hosts a playground, baseball fields, basketball, and tennis courts as well as an open pavilion. It is a representation of the long tradition and commitment to recreational investment and development by the town and it is named after a particularly meaningful historical local figure; former Greece Police Chief Milton H. Carter.
The park was part of a recreational development wave in Greece during the 1950s and the former American Legion property was previously identified as the “Long Pond Road Recreational Area.” On 15 September 1970, a Town Board resolution moved to change the name to “Milton H. Carter Park,” in honor of the former chief following his death in 1968.
Chief Carter was a resident of Greece from 1904 until his death. Prior to serving as chief, he was a farmer and a decorated World War I veteran. He was the first full-time Greece police officer and with the support of his wife Edna, served as chief from 1931 until his retirement in July 1960. He was instrumental in the creation of the Greece Volunteer Ambulance Service, shepherding the growth of the department from a small town force to a leading, sophisticated, police agency. He developed and implemented the first professional training of the department well ahead of a New York State law that required it in 1960.
At the testimonial dinner celebrating his retirement, leaders of the community spoke of Chief Carters’ “ramrod straight integrity,” his kindness, and his leadership abilities. Former Greece Town Supervisor Gordon A. Howe said of him at the time, “He bears without burden the grand old name of ‘gentleman’.” So was his mark on our history and Milton H. Carter Park stands as a remembrance in his honor.
“Talk of the Town” Newsletter Article, January 2020, Issue by Keith C. Suhr, Assistant Director, Greece Public Library and Greece Town Historian
Here are some facts and images not mentioned or shared in the original story are:
Chief Carter purchased the shell of the old one-room common school district number 5 school and moved it down the road. He was at the storm headquarters for the blizzard of 1966.
“Your Bathing Suit Must be Right Kind in Greece or You’ll Visit the Judge“
This was a headline in an August 1934 issue of the Greece Press newspaper. Of course, it was about modesty, but you may not have guessed it was directed towards men.
It seems in the early 1930s, men were beginning to follow the new fashion trend of sunning themselves without the benefit of a shirt top. Greece authorities were determined to officially end this custom and return dignity to public bathing by enforcing a bathing ordinance that had been enacted a year earlier.
The ordnance stated,
”No person over the age of 12 shall loiter on the shore, swim or bath in open water exposed to the public within or bounding at any place in the Town of Greece without covering above the waist”
Section 141-C sub-section 2 from Greece Town Law in 1933
Public beaches adjacent to Greece were being patrolled regularly. Enacted primarily to end instances where the public was subjected to shocking scenes of topless men, people were learning that Town government demanded dignity and decency in the gentle art of public bathing.
Greece was not the only local municipality concerned about decency. Earlier in June 1934, the Democrat & Chronicle reported that the City of Rochester Public Safety Commissioner, Walter Cox, stated “the topless bathing suits for men that arein vogue on the West Coast, will not be permitted on Rochester public beaches.”
One wonders how long this ordinance stayed on the books. In 1937, the Greece Press reported that Chief Carter was still stressing the enforcement of the bathing ordinance, but after 1937 no mention is ever seen again.
Apparently, the topless fashion took hold and today the only reference to bathing in the Town Code refers to the restriction of bathing in certain areas.
1933 Greece Town Law
Section 2. No person over twelve years of age shall loiter on the shore, swim or bathe in open water exposed to the public, within or bounding at any place the Town of Greece, with out covering above the waist.
Section 3. No person shall swim or bathe in open water, exposed to the public, within or bounding at any place in the Town of Greece, between the hours of 12 P. M. and 5 A. M.
Section 4. Violation of this· ordinance is hereby declared to be a misdemeanor and shall be punishable by a fine or penalty of $10.00 for the first violation and $20.00 or imprisonment for not exceeding thirty days, or both, for each subsequence violation.
The opening of the outdoor skating rink on the Greece Town Campus should bring back memories of the “good old days” to many of us who have lived in the area for a half century or more. Back then there were many opportunities for outdoor ice skating, including public schools, community parking lots and natural ponds.
Residents of Greece were frequent visitors, until 1991, to the Maplewood Park pond. In fact, the building near the pond that is now City offices was specifically built with ice skating in mind. The Ontario Beach Park parking lot was another favorite spot for us as were the nearby ponds along the lake. A January 4, 1948 Democrat & Chronicle article talked about the thousands that crowded area skating rinks.
In the 1940s and 50s Barnard and Britton schools, and I am sure other schools, were also sites of public ice skating and they were true community endeavors. The DPW would roll down the snow and bring in an old voting booth as a shelter. The local volunteer fire department would flood the field. (No plastic liner or safety bumpers back then.) When the snow needed to be cleared off the ice, plenty of shovels were available for anyone who wanted to help clear the snow. In 1948 a group of volunteers from the Greece Youth Foundation cleared four acres of land on Britton Rd near Forgham Road for a rink with water supplied from Fleming Creek. It was on private property but was used by anyone who came by.
By the 1960s, the Town converted the lighted tennis courts at Carter Park into an ice rink in the winter and in 1975 built a shelter large enough to provide a place to change skates.
We all had ice skates back then, whether you were a good skater or not. New skates were always a great Christmas gift. If not a Christmas gift there was always Cooks Hardware who did a thriving business in used and new skates along with sharpening skates.
As indoor rinks opened and times changed, outdoor ice skating seemed to disappear around the early 1990s, albeit for a few artificially cooled rinks around the County. Maybe it was the changing climate or other activities to keep us occupied, but it seems kids don’t own skates anymore. If the weather cooperates and more outdoor skating becomes available, things may change or maybe we just never will go back to the “good old days”.