Bicentennial Snapshot # 27: “The Cooper” Tom Toal

This week in our bicentennial snapshot for September 20th, 2022 we explore Thomas F Toal a cooperage owner, a barber, and a worker from Kodak who grew up on the Parma Greece border.

Topics Covered in this snapshot

Thomas F Toal Bio

Thomas F. Toal was born on August 26, 1866, and grew up in Parma, Monroe County, New York. He was a cooper before going to work at George Eastman’s Kodak where he worked for 12 years and then retired back to the North Greece/Parma area to be back in the country. He died in 1948 and was laid to rest in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery at the corner of Latta Road and Mount Read Blvd.

Carrie L. Frisbee

Carrie L. Frisbee was born in 1864 in North Greece, Monroe County, New York she is a niece of Edward Frisbee the owner of the land that was leased to District School # 7 on the family land, the school was located on the north side of Frisbee Road, and east of North Greece Road. (Attach a Map of the location here). Carrie L. (Frisbee) Toal died on 1 January 1957 and she was laid to rest next to her husband Thomas F. Toal in Our Mother of Sorrows Cemetery at the corner of Latta Road and Mount Read Blvd.

Left Carrie L. Frisbee | Right Thomas F Toal
Left Carrie L. Frisbee | Right Thomas F Toal
This is a map of District 7 from the 1872 Map of Greece, New York you can see all the land that is owned by the Frisbee family

What is a Cooperage? What is it nowadays?

According to Wikipedia: A cooper is a person trained to make wooden casks, barrels, vats, buckets, tubs, troughs, and other similar containers from timber staves that were usually heated or steamed to make them pliable. Journeymen coopers also traditionally made wooden implements, such as rakes and wooden-bladed shovels. In addition to wood, other materials, such as iron, were used in the manufacturing process. The profession is the origin of the surname Cooper.  A Cooperage was responsible for making the barrels that were used to store foods, wines, whiskeys, and other drinks or other items that needed to be preserved compared to canning or vacuum sealing or bottling of fruits, vegetables, and drinks in glass jars.  A cooperage would make different size barrels depending on what was going in the barrel. Some of these barrels had gunpowder in the barrel, or maybe pickles, flour, crackers, dried beans, wheat, apples, corn, carrots, or other fruits and vegetables. Some were just used to hold umbrellas, tools, and other items to keep them organized.

Some of the barrels that Tom Toal made ended up in New York City to a buyer who either was for a big farm or a business in New York City that shipped products over to Europe and other places that wanted fresh goods from America in the late 19th century to the early 20th century.  Depending on what the barrel was going to be used for the cooper would choose the right type of wood the most common wood was oak it depends on where in the world it was made. Modern wooden barrels for wine-making are made of French common oak (Quercus robur), white oak (Quercus petraea), American white oak (Quercus alba), and more exotic Mizunara Oak. All typically have standard sizes. Recently Oregon Oak (Quercus Garryana) has been used. The links next to each type of oak will take you to the Wikipedia page on each of the different oaks.

Cooper Tools

Here is a picture of the tools that a Cooperage would use to make the barrels.

cooper's tools from Pinterest
cooper’s tools from Pinterest

Below is a picture of the different size barrels that a cooperage would make the smallest for dry goods would be a Rundlet which was 1/14 tun, the next size up would be a Barrel at 1/8 tun, and the next size up after a barrel is a Tierce at 1/6 tun, the next size after a Tierce is a Hogshead at 1/4 tun, followed by a Puncheon, Tertian at 1/3 tun, then a Pipe, Butt at 1/2 tun, finally the biggest barrel would be a Tun. But for liquids, there would be a gallon-size barrel that held one gallon of liquid.

Types of barrels revolutionarywarjournal.com
Types of barrels revolutionarywarjournal.com

Below are two charts from Wikipedia that explains the English Wine and Brews barrel storage and amounts:

Wine Cask Chart

gallonrundletbarreltiercehogsheadpuncheon, tertianpipe, butttun
1tun
12pipes, butts
11 1/23puncheon, tertian
11 1/324hogshead
11 1/2236tierce
11 1/222 2/348barrel
11 3/42 1/33 1/24 2/3714rundlet
11831 1/2426384126252gallons (wine)
3.78564.14119.24158.99238.48317.97476.96953.92litres
11526 1/43552 1/270105210gallons (imperial)
4.54668.19119.3159.1238.7318.2477.3954.7litres
English wine cask units

Brewery casks

English brewery cask units[4]
gallon firkin kilderkin barrel hogshead   Year designated
        1 hogsheads  
1 1+12 barrels
1 2 3 kilderkins
1 2 4 6 firkins
1 8 16 32 48 ale gallons (1454)
= 4.621 L = 36.97 L = 73.94 L = 147.9 L = 221.8 L
1 9 18 36 54 beer gallons
= 4.621 L = 41.59 L = 83.18 L = 166.4 L = 249.5 L
1 8+12 17 34 51 ale gallons 1688
= 4.621 L = 39.28 L = 78.56 L = 157.1 L = 235.7 L
1 9 18 36 54 ale gallons 1803
= 4.621 L = 41.59 L = 83.18 L = 166.4 L = 249.5 L
1 9 18 36 54 Imperial gallons 1824
= 4.546 L = 40.91 L = 81.83 L = 163.7 L = 245.5 L

H. C. Phelps Connection with Tom Toal

When Tom Toal was 21 years old, he went to work for H. C. Phelps making barrels; some were used in H.C. Phelps’s General store or sold from Phelps’s Store. This is where Tom learned the trade of making barrels to be used for different types of goods. Within a few years of working for H. C. Phelps, Tom started his own cooper business making barrels and selling them. While Tom ran his own cooperage he had customers from local farms, general stores, breweries, wineries, and other businesses that needed barrels to store items in. In 1972 Frank Toal was interviewed and explained his dad’s cooperage and shared some of the stories with us, below are a few quotes from Frank Toal.

Phelps general store Latta and North Greece Roads sketch William Aeberli 1970 GHS
Phelps general store Latta and North Greece Roads sketch William Aeberli 1970 GHS

” … my Dad began making barrels in early, August. He bought his staves in the rough and once a year an agent from New York City came up to take the order for staves, ‘hoops and headings.”

“They were shipped out to North Greece in box cars on the old Hojack Line. We’d go down to the station with racks up on the hay wagons and load the supplies.”

“Dad’s business was spread clear down to the lake and over to the Parma town line.  He even had a warehouse down at Braddock Bay…In those days the whole section was apple orchards and Dad would ride his bicycle all around the countryside and take orders from the farmers or collect his money—he never learned to drive a car!”

The most interesting thing that Frank said during the interview was that his dad never learned to drive a car.

Larkin Hotel William Aeberli Greece Post 1971 October 14
Larkin Hotel William Aeberli, Greece Post 1971 October 14

Tom Toal and His other Trade

One of Tom’s other trades was being a barber; Tom was one of those men who believed in hard work and hardly allowed himself to have an idle moment, so he took up being the village barber. He worked two nights a week in a second-floor room at the Larkin Hotel charging the proverbial two bits (25 cents) for a shave and a haircut.

Tom’s Connection with Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter

After 18 years as a cooper, Tom bought the old Conway land and became a farmer. His farm was next door to Dr. Abdiel Bliss Carpenter. Years before, when he was a lad in his teens, he would do odd jobs for the old doctor.  The Doctor’s beautiful house and estate made a lasting impression on Toal. But you won’t believe this but after twelve years of city living, he decided to move back to the country but not to any house but the estate of Doctor Abdiel Bliss Carpenter and lived there the rest of his life.

Carpenter House sketch by Wm. Aeberli Greece Post 1972 February 17
Carpenter House sketch by Wm. Aeberli Greece Post 1972 February 17
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 24 The Hotel of Many Names

This week we continue looking at the hotel/inn/speakeasy/tavern that occupied the southeast corner of Latta and North Greece Road. This establishment went thru at least the same amount or more owners as the Larkin Hotel. The spot where the Larkin stood became this hotel’s parking lot when the Larkin Hotel was demolished.

This hotel would be a bit bigger than the Larkin Hotel/Tavern the Larkin would have been the same size as the Rowe Tavern this one was feature in both Ada Ridge and the Ridge Part 1 and Streb Tavern on the ridge which would have been approximately 1,514.47 square feet compared to the Hotel Demay at the end of its life was approximately 8,046.63 square feet. The North Greece Hotel had less than 50 rooms that travelers would stay in to enjoy food and drinks, then rest and set off on their next leg of their travel to either Niagara Falls or heading east towards Syracuse or other points east along the lake shore. It appears that the North Greece Hotel opened its doors around 1900 1912 at the corner of Latta and North Greece Roads. Because by opening day, January 5, 1910, it was called the Moerlbach Hotel after the new Rochester Brewery that provided the hotel with the beer it served. The Moerlbach Brewing Company opened its doors in 1909 at the corner of Emerson and Norman Steet where T & L Automatics Inc stands today just a few buildings down from where a descendant of Giddon King grew up and that descendant would be Helen Slocum. To learn more about when breweries abounded in Rochester, in the article Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history check out this article from Brain Sharp and Will Cleveland on the Democrat and Chronicle website at 8:21 am on April 6, 2018, which features some more information on the Moerlbach Brewing Company.

Morelbach’s ad in the Democrat & Chronicle Tuesday, January 25, 1910

Rochester aims to recapture its rich brewery history

Recreational trail planned Rochester breweries once known as best in U.S. Breweries are part of Rochester’s business history Beer industry had to revive itself after Prohibition Touted as one of the most modern breweries in the state, Moerlbach’s sprawling campus was destined to be a jewel in a burgeoning industry.

Now back to more on the Hotel with many names as we noted it was named Morelbach and its first proprietor was Frank Pye but he passed away in 1910. The hotel was sold to William “Bill Carroll of Frisbee Hill Road a near neighbor to Edward Frisbee who we will get to in another snapshot or two. When William Carroll bought the hotel he moved his family to North Greece four corners. William Carroll was born in 1872 and his family was a pioneer family that settled in the Parma Braddock Bay area in the early 1800s. In this picture, you can see William Carroll and his son in front of the hotel.

The Odenbachs owned a hotel and an ice cream stand out at the end of Manitou Beach Road where William Carroll worked before he became the owner of the Moerlbach Hotel it was at the Manitou Beach Hotel where he introduced Sherrif Albert Skinner to the Ice Cream Cone no details of what flavor it would have been either Chocolate or Vanilla ice cream. It wasn’t until 1915 that he decided it would be best to revert it to the North Greece Hotel. The Frist Manitou Beach hotel was lost in a suit between Skinner and the Odenbachs, so the Odenbachs had to rebuild the hotel over and some distance from the now Elmheart Hotel that the Skinners now owned more on the Manitou Beach and the Elmheart Hotels in a future snapshot.

The Carrolls served meals at the hotel but only to guests, they could only serve 18 to 20 people in the dining room due to the size it was. One of the most served items in the dining room was claimed to be “The Best New England Clam Chowder in the town of Greece.” It cost only 20 cents. But the neighbors around the hotel would bring kettles to the back door to the kitchen to get them some of Mary’s Clam Chowder.

William Carroll had some strict rules in his hotel. One of the rules was No Children in the Barroom and that included his own children this was probably due to the drinking, smoking, and language of the older gentlemen. One of his other strict rules was towards women, if he saw or caught a woman smoking anywhere in the hotel, he would ask her to leave the hotel.

The was Dancing every Friday night in the dance room otherwise known now as a banquet room these days, each week it could be square dancing, rounds, fox trots, or waltzes, or thru out the night, it could change depending on the music, or who was playing on the stage playing the music. It cost each couple 50 cents to dance the night away starting at 9 pm sharp and ending at 3 am but with drink service cut off at 11 pm in accordance with New York State Law for serving your wines, beers, spirits, and hard drinks, minus water though that they could keep serving after drink service was cut off to the patrons. At intermission during the dances, a table would be set up with refreshments and Hors D’oeuvres in the dance room.

In the Bar room area, there were two pool tables its uncertain if they were for the game of snooker style billiards table or if it is the common pool style billiards table that people would try the game of billiards whether it was a round of 8-ball, 9-ball, 7-ball or the game of snooker billiards at least the tables were not the bumper style table, and if you are interested one of the many types billiard games you can play by going to your local library and checking out a copy of Billiards: The Official Rules and Record Book 2021/2022 edition or any of the other Billiard books in the library.

In the barn behind the hotel, he would have livestock auctions featuring local cattle owners for locals to buy the livestock to have it slaughtered for meat, or those new owners could raise the cattle themselves and have a pasture of their own for their farms. There were a number of different livestock at these auctions. Some were cows, bison, deer, chickens, pigs, sheep, lamb, and even horses that were auctioned off at these cattle auctions the bidders did have to watch out for diseases. Once in a while, there might be regular auctions like household gear, and artwork as well.

That’s Carroll and his son in front of the hotel in this photo
That’s Carroll and his son in front of the hotel in this photo

More on the Elmheart Hotel where Carroll worked before coming here.

The Elmheart Hotel

Manitou Hotel, 1920s, from the Office of the Town Historian
The cover of a promotional booklet for the Manitou Hotel, the 1920s, or the cover of a menu from the 1940s
from the Office of the Town Historian
Barroom Postcard from eBay
Lady Smoking a cigarette 1910s from ebay
Lady Smoking a cigarette 1910s from eBay
Le Billard painted by Jean Béraud
Le Billard painted by Jean Béraud
William Carroll sells hotel to Wilson HIlton Record 1921 July 28
William Carroll sells hotel to Wilson
Hilton Record 1921 July 28
Opening of the Domino Inn
Opening of the Domino Inn

On January 17, 1920, Prohibition was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation, and sale of alcoholic beverages from 1920 to 1933. Led by pietistic Protestants, they aimed to heal what they saw as an ill society beset by alcohol-related problems such as alcoholism, family violence, and saloon-based political corruption. Nowadays you can still see side effects of people that get drunk or have too much to drink, from Alcohol poisoning to DUI/DWI and other Alcohol related issues. It forced restaurants, bars, saloons, and other establishments to stop selling and serving alcohol products except for those that decide the Protestants did not have the best interest in their mind that Alcohol was like any other addiction, like smoking, chewing tobacco, gambling, and others. Some of the backers of prohibition were soda/pop, tea, and coffee makers, as well as the Protestants. Opposition from the beer industry mobilized “wet” supporters from the wealthy Roman Catholic and German Lutheran communities, as well as the local breweries like Moerlbach, and Genesee just to name a few as well as local restaurants, taverns, hotels, inns, saloons, and bars. But on July 28th, 1921 William Carroll decides to sell his hotel to Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof. Harry Wilson ran another hotel in the Brighton Twelve Corners neighborhood for several years. Harry received possession on August 1st, 1921 and on September 1st, 1921, Harry “Spike” Wilson and Louis Imhoof set to open the North Greece Hotel as the Domino Inn. Sometime during prohibition, it changed owners again and this time it became the Cosmo Inn. More on the Domino Inn and the Cosmo Inn will appear in a snapshot about prohibition.

On March 22, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt signed an amendment to the Volstead Act, known as the Cullen–Harrison Act,  allowing the manufacture and sale of 3.2% beer (3.2% alcohol by weight, approximately 4% alcohol by volume) and light wines. The Volstead Act previously defined an intoxicating beverage as one with greater than 0.5% alcohol. The 18th amendment was repealed on December 5, 1933 as part of the ratification of the Twenty-first Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. This was 6 years before the beginning of the second World War. At this time the hotel was remodeled again and opened as the Corner House Hotel and in this ad here look at the line after good food notice it says All Legal Beverages this meant any legal beverages that the State of New York allowed them to serve after prohibition was over. In 1939 World War would break out and it would cause companies to ration gas and other products that were needed for soldiers on the front lines both on the European and Asian fronts this caused the Corner House Hotel to close its doors in 1941. But just one year after the end of World War II in 1945 it would be sold again but this time to Ray and Irene DeMay, it would stay open until the early 2000s, and in November of 2017 it would be demolished for a proposed Crosby’s Convenience store and gas station but nothing has been built there as of this Bicentennial Snapshot published on August 30th, 2022. More On The DeMay Hotel and Banquet space in Snapshot # 25 – The DeMay Hotel.

Corner House ad Hilton Record 1938 October 13
Corner House ad Hilton Record 1938 October 13
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Bicentennial Snapshot # 20 – “Hoosick” / West Greece

This week we look into the area known as “Hoosick” West Greece which sits at the intersection of Ridge Road and Manitou Road at the Greece Parma town border. In snapshot 18 we listed some of the myths about how this area’s nickname was “Hoosick” some believe it was named after Hoosick Falls near Albany or the town of Hoosick near the Vermont border, or it could have been Mrs. McNeely shouting “Who’s Sick?”

The hamlet, as you see on the map was settled in the very early 1800s, and was clustered around the intersection of Ridge Road and Manitou Road. It had its own post office, two hotels, a school, a corner store, churches, a blacksmith’s shop, and a doctor’s office. The Post office in west Greece was located inside the General store of G.H. Losey we have no pictures directly looking at G.H. Losey’s General store except for this picture looking up from Dr. Samual Beach Bradley’s office close to the right foreground and in the distance, you can see the Congregation Church of Greece Parma. The end house in this picture is that of O. Wilepse and next to it is that of Mrs. McNeely who would shout to the good doctor every time he would leave. Don’t forget next week is all about Doctor Samuel Bradley.

Sherly Cox Husted wrote a column each week in the Hilton Record called Pioneer Days where she would share the history of the area and in there she shared some of Doctor Bradley’s Journal entries as well as other journal entries from other Pioneers.

In the journal, Doctor Bradley described the area “As you are aware, this is a rural hamlet of thirty or forty houses, situated on the Ridge Road, three- and one-half miles from Spencerport; it may be considered a dependency of that place, for there we go for lumber, stoves, and hardware, also medicines and medical advice and attendance. There we also sell our produce.”

Congregational Church

Congregational Church
School 13 Location before Moving to Dean Road
School 13 Current Location on Dean Road

Doctor Bradley along with some of the people living in West Greece attended Worship services of the Congregational Church, organized in 1819, which were first held in the school building at Parma Corners. The congregation numbered 21 members; seven men and 14 women. Construction on the church shown in this photo was begun in 1824 and completed in 1825. It was a wood structure, forty by fifty feet, and cost $2,950 (approximately $96,000 in today’s terms). It was consecrated on July 6, 1825. At the same time in Parma the Universalist Church was constructed and the two churches were in competition with each other to attract the most prominent residents to join their congregations.

The Congregational Church had followed the ideas of Jean-Frédéric Oberlin. By following the teachings of Oberlin some of the members of the congregation caused a group of Forty members of the Congregational Church, described as infected or inspired by Oberlinism depending on where one stood on the issue, and took possession of the church building by force and a legal battle ensued. By 1902 the church building had been long abandoned and it was torn down so that Manitou Road could be straightened. The only thing left at that spot today is a small cemetery still at top of the Hill where School # 13 stood until at some point when it was moved to Dean Road, in Parma off of West Ridge Road and became first an apartment and now it appears to be a private residence.

Free Methodist Church

In 1861 another church was formed just to the east of the Congregational Church on West Ridge Road later on the Free Methodist Church congregation either expanded or move to a larger place to worship or they too faced the issues in the congregation. In 1910 the Lutheran Church of Concord formed inside the old Free Methodist Church which is now the site of West Herr Ford of Rochester, The Lutheran Church of Concord moved to Holmes Road, and on September 14, 2018, the church held its last service at the Holmes Road Church and on September 16 Messiah and Concord began holding services together before the merger was official. On November 1, 2018, the merger of Concord and Messiah was officially approved by the state and the Upstate New York Synod of the ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church in America). Now MorningStar Christian Fellowship Church worships at 485 Holmes Road.

The Case of Captain William Morgan and his disappearance

Captain William Morgan Monument in Batavia, NY

The two hotels in Hoosick flourished for a while as they were on the stagecoach route to Lewiston; the Masonic Lodge had rooms on the upper floor of one of them. In 1826, a group of Masons abducted William Morgan thinking it would stop him from publishing a book revealing their secret ceremonies.  It is known that he was taken along Ridge Road to Lewiston and that stops were made at hotels, most likely including one in West Greece. The Route that the Free Masons took William was so strange that made it hard to figure out where and what routes and inns the Masons used as they took Captain William Morgan towards Lewiston and Fort Niagara. According to Court records out of CANANDAIGUA, ONTARIO COUNTY, Aug. 22, 1827. Here is an excerpt from the pamphlet which can be read on the Monroe County Public Library system https://www.libraryweb.org/~digitized/Wheatland/Trial_of_James_Lackey.pdf

On Monday the 11th of Sept. 1826, about sunrise, Capt. Morgan was forcibly seized and carried away in a Stage Coach by Seymour, Holloway, Hayward, Howard, Chesebro, and Everton to Canandaigua, where he was examined before Justice Chipman on the charge of stealing a shirt from one Kingsly and acquitted; Chesebro then demanded a warrant against him for a sham tavern debt of $2, to Ackley, for which, judgment was im~ mediately rendered and an execution issued. Upon this paltry concern, he was committed to the County Jail where he laid until 9 o’clock in the evening of the next day when the debt was discharged by one Lawson ostensibly from friendly motives and he was released. But at the outside of the prison door, Morgan was violently seized by Lawson and another in the presence of Sawyer and Cheesboro who afforded him no aid. He struggled and raised a. cry of murder, but was overpowered, gagged, and thrust into a coach which drew up on a signal from Sawyer. In this coach, driven by Hubbard and filled with other conspirators he was conveyed in the darkness of the night to Handsford Landing three miles below Rochester, through which place they passed about daylight. This was the last trace to be discovered of him prior to the trial now reported. Hubbard subsequently stated that he left the whole party here and returned home. He moreover stated, that his coach was engaged by an unknown person and that all the parties were unknown to him, that he has. never received any pay for the service and he does not know whom to look to for it. It also comes out in this trial, that some unknown person hired a coach of Ezra Platt of Rochester at daylight about this time to go to Lewiston and that he doesn’t know who had it, how far it went, nor has anyone ever appeared to pay for it. But it is unnecessary to repeat the information elicited by this trial. It was for a conspiracy to kidnap Morgan from the jail of Canandaigua that the defendants in this trial were indited.

No one knows what happened to Morgan; it is thought that he was murdered. But his abductors got off lightly. However, it had a profound effect on how people regarded Masons. Dr. Bradley, himself a Freemason, wrote in his journal: “The Masonic lodge flourished for a few years, but in consequence of the excitement caused by the untoward abduction of Morgan, it ceased to exist, together with all the secret organizations in the state.” The outrage over the Morgan affair led to Thurlow Weed founding the Anti-Masonic party the first third party in American political history.

The Hotels/Inns/Taverns In West Greece

1902 Map of West Greece Showing the two Hotels on Ridge Road

The Manchester Inn

The Manchester Tavern or Inn depending on the time period you would refer to the place for historical reasons. The Manchester Inn sat on what today is the West Herr new vehicle storage lot. The Manchester Hotel was built in the 1850s and was known for its second-floor ballroom with a sprung floor which made it a popular place for dances in Hoosick. According to Wikipedia, A sprung floor is a floor that absorbs shocks, giving it a softer feel. Such floors are considered the best kind for dance and indoor sports and physical education and can enhance performance and greatly reduce injuries. Modern sprung floors are supported by foam backing or rubber feet, while traditional floors provide their spring through bending woven wooden battens. No wonder why the Manchester Hotel was a popular dance place back in the late 1850s and up and till the day it closed due to bankruptcy. The Manchester Hotel changed hands before the bankruptcy to Oscar Winslow and he changed the name to Winslow Hotel. The reason behind the bankruptcy was not the way you think it would happen because of a lack of guests, but because at around 7 or 8 pm on March 25, 1916, with the temperatures near the upper 30s or low 40s, the Hotel owner Oscar Winslow was doing his routine walk and checking the lights and making sure that they were working as soon as he went to light one of acetylene light fixtures in the hotel it exploded with a big bang and the explosion was felt at least in a 3-mile radius around the Hotel. Oscar suffered a broken leg even though the explosion could have killed him from lighting the match to check the acetylene plant. The levels of Carbon-Monoxide were at the right levels that the spark from one match could cause enough damage to the structure.

The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered from light one gas light fixture the location of the fixture had very high levels of Carbon Monoxide build up in the area
The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered from light one gas light fixture the location of the fixture had very high levels of Carbon Monoxide build up in the area

The force of the explosion was felt by people a mile away. The hotel was massively damaged. Walls were splintered and the hotel was partially shifted from its foundation. The porch and part of the front roof collapsed when their supports were shattered. However, true tragedy was averted by the timing of the explosion; forty couples were due to arrive at the hotel for a dinner and dance party.  If the explosion had occurred an hour later, it most likely would have resulted in some loss of life. After the explosion, Winslow had to file for bankruptcy and he sued the manufacturer of the gas machinery. The hotel was rebuilt and was used as a rooming house until the mid-20th century.

The Arlington / The Streb Hotel

The Arlington was built in the 1850s as well but this hotel was down the road a little bit from where the Manchester hotel was located. The Arlington hotel or known as the Streb Hotel is now the site of the Bob Johnson Pre-Owned Certified Collection. In Circa 1906, Thomas Streb became the owner of the Arlington Hotel and changed the name to Streb’s.  His son Raymond took over in 1936 until his death in 1956.  Like the Manchester Hotel, Streb’s also was almost destroyed.  About 1:30 pm on Sunday afternoon August 21, 1938, with the temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80s that day a nurse driving by the hotel on Ridge Road noticed “smoke curling from the corner of a three-story barn joined to the hotel by a long car shed.”  She ran into the hotel and alerted Ray Streb.  The barn “blazed up in a flash” endangering the hotel.  The nurse then helped Streb’s mother and aunt who were dining with Streb at the time, and who both were in ill health, to the safety of a neighboring home. After summoning a doctor for the two elderly women, the unidentified nurse quietly left the scene.  Volunteer firefighters from North Greece and Greece-Ridge battled the blaze.  “Passing motorists assisted Streb in removing furniture and other valuables from the hotel, but the fire was brought under control before it could damage the hotel.  Streb and two firefighters suffered burns.

The Centennials of Ridge Road and North Greece Fire Department

Ridge Road / Greece Ridge 100 Years Logo
Ridge Road / Greece Ridge 100 Years Logo
North Greece 100 Years Logo
North Greece 100 Years Logo

And in this Bicentennial year of the Town of Greece, two out of the four Fire Districts are celebrating their Centennials this year. We at the Greece Historical Society and Museum would like to Salute and say Thank you to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day whether it is putting out fires, rescuing you from a car accident, or even providing non-life threatening services like free blood pressures checks, smoke detector reminders, car seat checks or other basic services. The two fire companies we are celebrating today are the Members of The North Greece Fire Department and The Greece Ridge Fire Department on their 100 years of service to the Greece Community.

Luckily with the help of both fire departments, the Strebs Hotel would later become just a restaurant in 1960 and the restaurant would last until the early 2010s in 2013 it was torn down to make way for more places to buy your shiny new or used car.

Here is an ad from the Streb’s Restaurant Greece Post, September 7, 1983

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