Bicentennial Snapshot # 11 – The Ridge Part 1

This week we turn our attention to the central commercial district in the town most of you know as

The Ridge.

The Ridge today Satellite view via google maps

We at the Greece Historical society bet that most if not, every person in the town of Greece has at least one point in their daily life been to some part of the Ridge, could be to the Mall at Greece Ridge formally Long Ridge Mall and Greece Towne Mall, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Wegmans, or the number of other shops and stores along the Ridge.

According to the Diary of Eli Granger whose dairy we share a bit from in the King’s Landing snapshot, he wrote this entry in his diary about the ridge and why he thought it would be a handsome ridge for a road

[1 June 1797] came home on a handsom Ridge suitable for a Roade — got home on Monday 29th May after Spending 14 days 3 of us — 42 days in whole — my Expence for pilott — 8 dollars for Expence at Niagary for pilote &c — 2 dolars — other Expence — $3.90

Diary of Eli Granger https://rbscp.lib.rochester.edu/4044

Those who may not remember earth science class or other science classes and parts of some history classes when they talked about the Ice Age and how most of the region was covered in ice and glacial valley, also called glacial trough as seen in this map. Almost 13,000 years ago a large glacial lake, Lake Iroquois, as it is called by geologists, lapped the far eastern portion of what became the Niagara escarpment.  When the waters of Lake Iroquois receded, it left a ridge of land 400 feet above sea level.  You can see on this map, the dimensions of the prehistoric lake in relation to Lake Ontario today.

Map of Lake Iroquois

Notice the line in Red that is the portion of Ridge Road from the Genesee River to Lewiston. , the /// lines going from lower left to upper right that is the outline of Lake Iroquois, the cross lines ### in the pen are the ice sheet as the ice continued to recede north as the time when on from the ice age.

Those that got to go to the town hall before its move to its new location down Long Pond Road where it is now got to see a sign on the ridge letting people know that Ridge road was molded by glaciers, well-traveled Haudenosaunee trail, then was traversed by ox-carts, stagecoaches, and covered wagons, and became one of two main town centers until the city annexed the village of Charlotte in 1916.

How much do you think it cost now to start a road like the Ridge, back then in 1813 New York State appropriated $5,000 for construction work that cost would be only $90,346.56 this was mainly to cut down trees and build basic bridges over streams this does not include the veteran’s bridge over the Genesee River, Mount Read bridge, and the bridge at Ridge and I-390/NY-390. Those bridges would be built during Part 2 of the Ridge which will be next week.

We cover more on the Rowe Tavern in our look into the neighborhoods of Greece, which will be called ADA (Ridge) note that this is the only neighborhood that uses the ridge in its title.

Falls Hotel / Rowe Tavern
Stone Tavern

Travelers often stopped for the night at one of the two-story taverns along the Ridge, such as the Stone Tavern, or the Rowe Tavern.

Stage Coach Loaded with passengers
 in the 1860s from the Office of the Town Historian

Even though Railroads and by the time these taverns were open for business most of the transportation to these establishments was by stagecoach, and as many as twelve people might be stuffed inside the coach, but that was perhaps better than having to ride outside and be subjected to all kinds of weather that mother nature could unleash during this time period.

There were a number of small general stores that a lot of the early pioneers shopped at for daily goods and items they needed for daily living. Like Anderson General Store located at the southeast corner of Ridge Road and Mitchell Road and Gilbert C. Wagg’s emporium at Ridge Road and Pullman Ave, these two General stores as well as a well known general store in the North Greece Area at Latta and North Greece Road will be featured in the bicentennial snapshot number 14 all about these general stores. Also, you can check out this article from October 2017, Corinthian called “A Tale of Two General Stores From Apples to Zithers” by Alan Muller

As for the Nursury businesses, this was where Asa Rowe, the Lay Farm, the Ver Hulst Farm, and smaller farms operated from but most notably was Asa, and the Lay Farm. In 1826, Asa Rowe established the first nursery business in Monroe County when he opened the MONROE GARDEN AND NURSERY on the north side of Ridge Road near where today, Mitchell, Long Pond, and Ridge Roads intersect. He offered a large selection of “fruit and ornamental trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, bulbous roots, and green-house plants.” The opening of the Erie Canal made transportation fast and cheap and his nursery business thrived.

The Lay Farm, which later became the Ver Hulst Farm, now sits Bob Johnson’s Chevrolet.

Anderson General Store is located at the southeast corner of Ridge Road and Mitchell Road. circa 1912
 Gilbert C. Wagg’s emporium
Gilbert C. Wagg’s emporium was located at Ridge and Pullman Ave where the Tim Horton’s is now located. and a portion of the smaller shops attached to Wagg’s still stands on Pullman ave as apartments.

How many recognize these two buildings here?

Craig Apartments
David Todd Mansion from History of Monroe County, W. H. McIntosh, 1877
Ridgemont Country Club
Upton Manor from GHS

These are two structures that can be seen on the ridge the first one on the left is the David Todd Mansion which became a small apartment complex and the one on the right is The Upton Manor which is now the site of Ridgemont Country Club. For more information check out this article from our newsletter about the Craig house called The Victorian Survivor on the Ridge by Alan Muller written for the September 2020 issue of the Corinthian.

We wonder how many of you know that George Eastman and Eastman Kodak Company started the first plant for filmmaking not in the City of Rochester but in Greece, New York. In the 1890s, George Eastman decided that 16 and a half acres of farmland in Greece, “out in the country” where there was fresh air, plenty of clean water, and railroad terminals, was ideal for his new film-making plant. He constructed it on the corner at Ridge and Lake across the street from Wagg’s Corner. The Town of Greece would never be the same. But that’s a tale for another episode.

Kodak Park, 1894, Office of the Town Historian
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 02: The Onödowá’ga (Oh-n’own-dough-wahgah) (Seneca is the English name)

The Greece Historical Society presents these weekly Bicentennial Snapshots to mark the 200th Anniversary of the founding of the Town of Greece. Each week we feature a particular aspect of Greece, New York history. Each Bicentennial story will be unique in nature and over the course of the 52 episodes, you will learn about the people and events that comprise the vibrant history of Greece from its earliest days to the present.

In this week’s Bicentennial Snapshot, we will look at the indigenous people of the Genesee Valley, the Onödowá’ga (the Seneca). Onödowá’ga means “People of the Great Hill.” They have always lived in western New York, and the Town of Greece is on their land. As part of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Confederacy, they were “the keepers of the Western Door.”

Map of Town of Greece, New York, Exhibiting known aboriginal villages campsites and trails. Presented to the Rochester Historical Society by Harrison C. Follett in 1918. Seen on pg 15 in Eight Miles Along the Shore
Map of Town of Greece, New York, Exhibiting known aboriginal villages campsites and trails. Presented to the Rochester Historical Society by Harrison C. Follett in 1918. Seen on pg 15 in Eight Miles Along the Shore

Numerous tribal sites have existed in Greece, New York, particularly near Braddock Bay, where they would camp during the summer months to hunt and trap game and gather cranberries from the bogs of Cranberry Pond. To the left is a drawing of a map showing all the locations of the Onödowá’ga campsites, villages, trails, and burial sites in the town of Greece.

Suppose you would like to learn more about the Onödowá’ga or the Seneca. In that case, we have a chapter called Indian “Giants” in the Earth in the book Eight Miles Along the Shore, is where you can learn more about where they lived in the town and the discovered archaeological sites.

Eight Miles Along the Shore
Eight Miles Along the Shore By Virginia Tomkiewicz and Shirley Cox Husted
Haudenosaunee Painting
Haudenosaunee mural Painted by Walt Goulding

The cover art for this clip was the mural painting that is in the Haudenosaunee exhibit area before entering the Newcomb Museum Wing. The mural was painted by a long-time member and former President of the Historical Society’s Walt Goulding.

The graphics used in the video are from Public Domain Sources; each image has the source of the clip or vision as attributions to the original.

The mission of the Greece Historical Society is to discover, research, and preserve the history of the Town of Greece and to share that history with its residents and the local community through public programs, publications, museum exhibits, and accessibility to its archives and artifacts.

If you like to learn more about the Town of Greece’s history, consider Subscribing to Our YouTube Channel Greece History and when you are there don’t forget to click that bell icon 🔔, you will be notified when new content comes out for the Bicentennial Snapshots or other programs that the Society puts on about the Town of Greece and its past so future generations can understand how the town has taken us on multiple journeys.

As the line in West Ridge Elementary School theme goes, “We all come from different parts of the Greece Community.”

West Ridge Elementary Theme

The Bicentennial Snapshots video is assembled and produced by Pat Worboys, who manages video and Information Technology services for the Greece Historical Society and Museum.

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