Today we are talking about the Dewey-Stone neighborhood, first called Barnard’s Crossing or simply Barnard.
After the annex of Charlotte by the city of Rochester in 1916, Dewey-Stone became the first and is now the oldest neighborhood in the town of Greece. It’s bounded on the south by the railroad tracks at Barnard’s Crossing, on the north by English Road, on the east by Stonewood Avenue, and on the west by Mount Read Boulevard.
Reflecting the times in which they were built, the homes are smaller and closer together than more modern houses, an arrangement that fostered neighborliness. Here you will find mostly Cape Cod-styled homes, but some lovely craftsman bungalows such as the one pictured here on Briarcliff Road. Dewey Stone has the largest concentration of bungalow homes in Monroe County and…
Unique garage homes. During the Depression, the town allowed people who couldn’t afford to build a home to build a two-story garage and live there until they could build a standard home. But in many cases, the larger house was never constructed. These homes are set far back from the road because the main house was going to be built in front of it.
There are even a few Sears homes built in the Dewey Stone area, these houses are assembled from a kit ordered through Sears Roebuck & Company. “Sears provided building plans and specifications, along with the lumber and any other materials needed. The shipment included everything from nails, screws, and paint, to prebuilt building parts, such as staircases and dining nooks.” This house located here on Swansea Park was constructed from The Barrington No. 3260 which was printed in the 1930s Sears, Roebuck & Company catalog and built-in 1935. There are a few other Sears houses built in the Dewey Stone area and throughout the Rochester area and other parts of the country, some are even built in the backyard of the Sears Roebuck & Company offices in Illinois. If it is a Sears house kit there will be located on one of the joists or beams in the basement with the Model information on it that’s if it is still there on the wood.
On this 1902 map, you can see that the area is still mostly farmland.
But by the 1920s, the land was being sold for residential development.
With the highest concentration of residents in the town, naturally, businesses and other services gravitated to the area. The logical site to establish a hub was the Dewey, Stone, and Maiden Lane crossroads. One of the earliest establishments was Norman Cooper’s grocery on the northeast corner of Dewey Stone. The gas station was Essig’s.
In 1928, next to Norm Cooper’s businesses, John Reid purchased the corner lot from Dewey Avenue to Almay Road, building a “block of five stores on Stone Road.” It was the first shopping center in Greece.
Reid ran the Barnard Market and was succeeded after his death in 1957 by his two sons, Jack and Jim.
This is what the Reid Block looks like today.
Leon Cox helped found the Barnard Fire Department, was a town councilman, and was a leading businessman in the area.
In the summer of 1929, he and his wife Bertha opened a simple roadside hotdog stand which eventually morphed into one of the best-known establishments in Greece—the Dutch Mill. They expanded the business into a bar and restaurant after Prohibition ended.
Over the years the building was renovated and enlarged to hold all sorts of gatherings from card tournaments to wedding receptions. The name changed to the New Dutch Mill but reverted to simply The Dutch Mill under its last owners. In April 2022 after 93 years the Dutch Mill closed its doors for good.
One of the first strip malls, The Dewstone Shopping Center opened in 1948,
and featured Star Market.
The year before Dewstone opened, in a building just to the west, Jack Symonds opened a bakery. In 1960 he purchased property across the street at 614 Stone Road for his Jackson’s Bakery. Today, “It still operates in its original 2,400-square-foot footprint, with a small retail area in front and production room in back.” People from all over the county come to Jackson’s for their kuchen, cakes, and cookies.
People who lived and grew up in the Dewey Stone neighborhood characterize it as a village. All the shops and services they needed were close by.
This ad listing the businesses in the neighborhood was prefaced with the text. “The thriving Dewey-Stone Rd. Shopping Section offers residents of this pleasant residential community a concentrated shopping service that is complete in every respect. All types of stores are included and they offer a large variety of merchandise at fair prices. You’re doing business with a friend when you shop at the Dewey-Stone Rd. center. You’ll find it most convenient, too. The professional services of doctors and dentists are also available in the neighborhood as part of this well-organized community.”
There were ten grocery stores, a shoe store, a jewelry store, barbers, a tailor, ice cream shops, and a candy store, such as Johnny’s Sweet Shop at the corner of Dewey and Beverly Heights where you’d also learn the latest gossip.
On the southeast corner of Dewey and Stone for many years was McBride Brothers Grocery which then became McBride’s Tavern and Restaurant.
McBride’s stood on the site of the old Sklar family home.
Not surprisingly, in addition to the commercial establishments, schools, and churches were centered here as well. Barnard School otherwise known as Common School District # 15 was located at Dewey and Maiden Lane.
The predecessor of Bethany Presbyterian Church, the Dewey Avenue Union Church, located at Dewey and Haviland Park, was founded in 1898. Bethany Presbyterian church was founded in 1910. In 1929 it was received into the Presbytery of Rochester and changed its name.
They moved to their current location, just north of the Reid Block on Dewey in 1952. Look closely at the church in the background of this photo we showed you before from the blizzard of ’66. Notice that there is no steeple.
The steeple which now dominates the skyline was completed in 1989.
St. Charles Borromeo Roman Catholic Parish was established in 1929 with a church and school building across the street from Barnard School. On land that once was John H. Sheehan’s Property in 1924.
St. Charles Borromeo School did suffer a fire in 1938 and you can read about that story called A Community that Saved a School it was first published in the Greece Post on February 21, 2008 issue.
The church was completely remodeled in 1952 with a Spanish mission motif.
In 1966 ground was broken for a new church which would be set closer to Dewey Avenue.
It opened on Easter Sunday 1967.
“Early in 1927, a group of civic-minded citizens of the Barnard District seeing the rapid growth of the section, decided that some form of fire protection was needed. This group set about to organize a fire department, and on April 14, 1927, this was realized by having the incorporation papers approved by the Greece Town Board.” We’ll talk more about the Barnard Fire District in our next snapshot.
Property north of stone on the east side of Dewey Avenue, formerly the Vick Seed farm Snapshot 13, was purchased by George H. Clark in the early 1900s and was known as Glendemere Farm.
George Clarke donated 1.90 acres of that land to Barnard Fire Department in 1928 and sold 36.29 acres of the 55 1/2 acres of his property to the Diocese of Rochester in 1937 for $25,000.00. The Diocese then in turn donated it to the Sisters of St. Joseph who operated as an orphanage called St. Joseph Villa, which later became Villa of Hope.
The Remaining 20 acres north of the Villa of Hope were split into lots for single-family homes and then land to the south of the St Joseph’s Villa and in the back of Barnard Fire Department went to parking lots for Barnard Fire Department, Rochester Telephone, and Bethany Presbyterian Church.
In the late 1930s, as foster care was beginning to supplant orphanages, three in the city of Rochester closed their doors, but there were about 70 boys and girls for whom homes could not be found. The Sisters of St. Joseph opened St. Joseph’s Villa. Eventually, their mission transitioned to helping children in crisis.
The children were housed in “English Cottages.” Thomas Boyde, Jr., Rochester’s first African American architect, had a hand in designing some of the features of these cottages. You can learn more about Thomas Boyde, Jr. and the Boyde Project at the top of the page.
In 2013, since it was no longer affiliated with the Diocese of Rochester or the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Joseph’s Villa became Villa of Hope.
The Dewey Stone area had regular library service, but not its own public library. The book caravan stopped at the Dewey Avenue Union Church beginning in 1923 and was succeeded by the Monroe County Bookmobile for decades. The Willis N. Britton school library served as a public library for the community every six weeks the county library truck would drop off 50 books and the school would open up each night for a few hours so that adults could borrow books to read as well as the caravan traveling around the town to other spots so people could borrow books. In Hoover Drive’s Odyssey on page 7, the fourth sentence states “One should note that the Greece Public Library was not organized until the late 1950s, and there was no actual library building until the early 1960s.”
The Greece Public Library was established in 1958 with its first home in Greece Olympia high school. Between 1959 and 1963 before the Mitchell Road Library opened the library was housed at Greece Olympia High School, Greece Baptist Church, and Ridgecrest Plaza.
A main library was constructed on Mitchell Road in 1962. Above is the Groundbreaking for the Mitchell Road Branch. The Mitchell Road Branch officially opened in April 1963, and the hours of operation at that time were Monday through Friday, 1 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m.; Saturday 1 to 5 p.m.
Four additional branches were added, to the Town’s Library system as well as the Monroe County Library system in order of library the year the branches came to exist, starting Paddy Hill in 1968 when the library board and the town entered into a lease with Mother of Sorrows Parish Committee to renovate the old church as a library, then came the North Greece branch which was located in the North Greece Plaza at 610 North Greece Road and that sits behind where Station 1 used to be for North Greece Fire Department and some people may have gone to the library there and then went to Hotel De May for Dinner or Lunch, that was followed by Lowden Point branch which was at 105 Lowden Point Rd, Rochester, NY 14612, not too far from where Milton “Midge” Staud’s Cottage you can learn more about the Staud Brothers in Bicentennial Snapshot No. 44: Prohibition, Rumrunners, and Bootleggers and just up the block was Grand View Heights Frie Company located and finally Dewey-Stone in 1980. This branch was a storefront library located in the Dewstone Shopping Center. The Dewstone was not the only storefront library before the Mitchell Branch opened it was in a storefront at the Ridgecrest Plaza.
The branch was moved to Dewey Avenue at Florence Avenue in 1998 and was the only branch retained after the new main library opened on the town hall campus in 2000.
In 2014 it moved again, a bit to the north on Dewey Avenue between Odessa and Shady Way. It was refashioned into a popular reading library.
During the Covid pandemic, Barnard Crossing was closed and there are no plans to re-open it.
Over the years some annual traditions developed in the Dewey-Stone neighborhood. For example, every summer Norman Cooper would give a bicycle to a lucky child. In this photo, children are gathered around Mr. Cooper in hopes that their name would be called.
From 1938 to the early 1960s, the holiday season ended and the new year was celebrated with a Twelfth Night bonfire on January 6. Residents would bring their Christmas trees to a site, for many years at St. Joseph’s Villa on the baseball field, and it was a huge controlled bonfire lit by members of the Barnard Fire Department in case the bonfire got out of hand. In 1938 there were more than a thousand trees in pile 20 feet high.
Barnard Carnival a fundraiser for the Barnard Fire Department
Every year people would line the streets to watch the parade that kick-offed the annual Barnard Fire Department’s Carnival and Parade. The Carnival was held every year the week after the Fourth of July from 1928 to 2016. Here is a collection of photos that we have in our digital files of the parade and the carnival as well as the Barnard Carnival Rest In Peace T-Shirt.
The Barnard Carnival and Parade were replaced with Bands at Barnard. You can find more information online for the 2023 schedule for Bands at Barnard by going to their Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/Bandsatbarnard.
Some additional related content to the Dewey Stone Area are:
Thank you for joining us today; next week we look at the Barnard and Lake Shore Fire Districts.
Today we will talk about how past epidemics and pandemics affected the town of Greece.
Here’s a graphic we’ve become familiar with. Since March 2020, we have been living with the COVID-19 virus.
During the pandemic of the last three years, we have had to make numerous adjustments to mitigate the impact of this deadly virus.
Some of the same mitigation supplies and tactics were used in at least one other pandemic which was the Spanish flu in 1918. They included wearing masks, and gloves and people started washing their hands. But there was no officially created hand sanitizer designed per se but they did use 70% or higher alcohol as a cleansing agent to ensure certain tools and supplies were clean and ready to be used.
In the early days, masks became obligatory. Some people felt it was not necessary for the mask to be used but the stores that were deemed essential services because of the type of industry they were in required patrons to mask up, keep them six feet or two meters apart, constantly sanitize hands, if you touch it take it do not put it back for someone else to take, most Restaurants that allowed you to dine-in had to resort to take-out only because they could not allow anyone in the restaurant unless they worked at the restaurant. Banks were drive-thru or atm-only. Government offices, schools, and most businesses switch to remote work and or eLearning for most of 2020 and part of 2021. Some other businesses were closed altogether because of federal, state, county, or local laws that were issued to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Almost the entire country was shut down except for Flordia which did not close anything down but the companies that did operate in Flordia that had national chains took the preventive measures to close and do what was best for their customers.
Town Board Meetings were not held in person but on Facebook Live.
Even our Tuesday Programs for a bit were put together using Zoom.
And everyone found different ways to meet instead of face to face.
Tens of thousands of people were stricken with the disease; our hospitals and other medical facilities were overwhelmed. Too often family members could not be with patients. Sadly, presently more than 1700 in Monroe County have died.
Throughout its history, the people of Greece have had to endure other deadly diseases. You may recall seeing this drawing in an earlier Snapshot, but we want to again point out how swampy the shoreline of the Genesee River was, not only at the mouth of the river but along much of its length in the 9 miles upriver to Rochesterville. A perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. An octogenarian wrote in 1868.”This country was sickly, as all new lands are, particularly at the mouth of the river, where two or three sets of inhabitants died off, and indeed the whole country was infected with agues and fevers.”
It wiped out the early settlement of King’s Landing which we told you about in Snapshot 4. The early settlers called it Genesee Fever; it was a relentless cycle of fever and chills that plagued them during the warmer months—the cold and snowy months brought them some relief. People blamed it on a miasma, that is, a “noxious vapor rising from marshes or decomposing matter that infected and poisoned the air.” They did not realize that the mosquitos which thrived in the swampy waters of the river banks was the cause.
One historian says, that about twenty graves were made in 1798, at King’s Landing, for people who had succumbed to the Genesee Fever. One of them was Gideon King, founder of the settlement. After his widow died in 1830, a tombstone was erected on her husband’s grave; it was inscribed with these words: “The Genesee Fever was mortal to most heads of families in 1798, and prevented further settlements till about 1815.” It was half a century before medical professionals diagnosed Genesee Fever as malaria.
Another deadly illness ascribed to miasma was cholera. Greece settlers were affected by two epidemics, one in 1832 and one in 1852. Much like the COVID virus was introduced to this country by travelers, so too was cholera. According to “Letters on Yellow Fever, Cholera and Quarantine; Addressed to the Legislature of the State of New York: With Additions and Notes,” in 1852, cholera originated in India. In the early 1800s, it started to spread out of Asia, eventually making its way to North America in 1832. It arrived on the continent in Quebec and Montreal, brought via emigrant ships. It then made its way to New York State. Cholera officially reached Rochester on July 12, 1832.
Cholera is caused by contaminated water and food. A toxigenic bacterium infected the small intestine triggering an acute, diarrheal illness. Sanitation was extremely poor; sewer systems were non-existent and people did not connect the disease to polluted water, but to miasma.
Most of the cholera victims lived close to the Genesee River or the Erie Canal into which raw sewage was dumped. Public wells became contaminated as did private wells as they were very often located close to outdoor privies.
Cholera was also called the Blue Death; the severe dehydration caused by diarrhea turned a victim’s skin blue. “The seemingly vigorous in the morning were carried to their graves before night,” wrote Jenny Marsh Parker in 1884.
In 1832, the cholera epidemic broke out in Rochester and the surrounding towns. In just six short weeks, the epidemic took almost 2,500 lives, or 1% of the population of the area. During the months of July and August business and travel were almost entirely suspended. Giles Holden, head of the Board of Health centered in Charlotte, closed the port and posted guards on Ridge Road to keep infected parties out of Greece.
One reference said that the people who succumbed to cholera in the 1832 epidemic were buried in unmarked graves in the northwest corner of the Charlotte cemetery, in the area surrounding Sam Patch’s grave.
There were a series of deadly outbreaks of cholera in the mid-1850s. 1852, 1854, and 1856. In 1854, one of the victims was Belinda Holden Marshall, married to ship’s captain Steven Marshall and sister of Giles Holden. In September of 1856, twelve immigrants, sick with cholera, were left at Charlotte. Henry Spencer, the poor master, had them taken in a wagon to a building near the pier so they would be isolated from the villagers. Some of them were children who were so delighted with the ride to the lake that they shouted and waved their hands. They all died the next day. They too are buried in the Charlotte Cemetery also in unmarked graves.
But the hardest hit area was Paddy Hill.
A newspaper article in 1879, said about the 1852-54 epidemic: “The writer of this can go back in memory to the great cholera plague of over a quarter of a century ago which rendered this city desolate and populated its graveyards. The surrounding towns were free from the visitation of this destroyer except for the town of Greece immediately about Mount Reed, predominantly south of Our Mother of Sorrows church. Cholera held fatal revel for many days and swept away to eternity members of the best families in the locality. There was terror everywhere around and the little graveyard that caps the hill witnessed more corpses at a time to the burial than there were mourners able to be present.” In the ensuing years, the residents of Paddy Hill predominantly south of Our Mother of Sorrows church were particularly susceptible to dysentery as well as cholera and had a high rate of fatalities as the headline states.
Medical professionals concluded that well water was being contaminated from run-off from the cemetery.
There are many parallels between the 1918 Spanish Flu Pandemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, measures to prevent the spread of the flu were the same later recommended for covid.
Where ships and boats were agents spreading the cholera contagion in the 19th century, trains were the agent in the 20th and would give way to airplanes in the 21st century.
Most of the documentation for the Spanish flu in Monroe County is about the city of Rochester, but one can still get a sense of its impact on Greece. There were three deadly waves of the flu between the spring of 1918 and the spring of 1919. Rochester was most seriously affected by the fall of the 1918 wave. In the two months between the middle of September and the middle of November, more than 10,000 people caught the flu, and 1,000 of them died. But health authorities acted quickly to contain the spread; two weeks after the first cases occurred, they closed schools, theatres, churches, sports venues, hotel bars, and other places where people gathered.
Troop transports facilitated the spread and infections at military posts were high. That was the case in Greece. At the time of the Spanish flu, Kodak Park was still a part of the town of Greece. There was an aerial photography school posted there.
Fifty-seven men from the school came down with the flu.
So, the old Infant Summer Hospital on Beach Avenue was reopened to care for them.
The towns around Rochester fared much better than the city; the number of infections was manageable.
Nevertheless, school nurses from the city visited homes in Greece. One nurse, Rose Weber, visited a family of eight in Greece, and every single member of the family was infected; the youngest child was little more than an infant. “No one was dying but every person was in need of care. Miss Weber saw that the family was made as comfortable as possible. A doctor interested himself and toward midnight went to the home with a woman who had consented to care for the family.”
Thank you for joining us this week; next week we will look at those diseases that greatly impacted children.
Seventeen-year-old WIiliam J. Thomas immigrated to Greece from Cheddar, Somerset County, England, in 1882. The following year, he purchased 11 acres of farmland on Stone Road, not far west of the intersection of Eddy Road (now Mt. Read. Boulevard).
At that time, the average size of a Greece farm was less than 100 acres, only rarely exceeding 200 or more acres.
By the late 19th century, Greece farmers were principally raising root vegetables, such as carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips, etc. Some farms with larger acreage had apple and peach orchards as well
The Thomas farm had a large greenhouse, kept warm by hot water piping, the heat coming from a coal-fired boiler. Here, early spring crops such as radishes were raised.
A large root cellar (an insulated building, partly underground) stored the root vegetables through the winter. Gradually, these vegetables were, taken to market all through the non-growing season.
Several times a week, the horse-drawn wagon (shown in the circa 1912 photo with William at the reins) would be loaded with produce and taken to the public market or several wholesalers in Rochester. The wagon left at 4 am for the market, and the wagon and driver often did not return until early afternoon.
By the late 1930s, tractors were replacing horses for farm work, and by the 1950s, horse-drawn equipment and wagons were completely gone.
Through the years, more farmland was added to Thomas’ original 11 acres, and his three sons continued to operate the farm after their father’s death in 1938.
By the 1960s, however, it was apparent that a moderately large-sized farm could no longer be profitable in Greece. After more than 65 years, farming finally ended on the Thomas property in 1960.
By 1963, the land had been sold to developers.
Similar to the majority of former farms in Greece, only the sturdy 2½-story farmhouse remains, shielded from the road by tall shrubs. These farm houses remain as ghosts of an important era in local history.
Photos of the Thomas farm from Mr. Frank Thomas, the grandson of Willam Thomas.