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 Model T Ford 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, 1920s, from the office of the Town Historian
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.

Park Avenue to Park Ridge (Hospital) (May 2021)

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

Buckman’s Dairy & Bakery History

and check out this article that Alan Mueller, wrote for the newsletter in 2014 called Homer J. Buckman - Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!!

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 # 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 Buckmans Dairy. Homer J. Buckman – Sold Milk, Cream, and Lollipops!!! – From the historian’s Files.

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“The Main Street of Greece” – From The Historian’s Desk

Ridge Road in photos: 1909 -1960

Every few years, if not sooner, a news article about the Ridge being expanded or improved pops up in news­ print or other media. From what was once the eastern edge at Lake Avenue to the western edge of Greece at Manitou Road, Ridge Road has always been in a state of fluctuation.

The early 1800s saw what had been a narrow Native American trail turns into a muddy dirt or occasional wood plank stretch of road by the mid-1860s. The fifty-year span from the early 1900s saw the fastest transfor­mation of the Ridge in the 20th century.

Eastman Kodak, introducing folding and box cameras near the turn of the century, made outdoor photography simpler and cheaper to take satisfactory photos. Hence, we began to have photos similar to the circa 1909 view of Richard and Katherine Emrich standing in muddy Ridge Road (east of Dewey Ave.) with their home be­ hind them. The other photos from the early 20th century speak for themselves. How many of the shops and stores do you recall? If you are younger than a certain age…..all would be foreign to your eyes…

Ridge Rd, Emrich Kids 1909, one of the earliest photos of Ridge Rd, W of Kodak Pk.
Cube-block installation Ridge Rd. 1909
New Grader for Greece 1928

Alteration, transition, variety, and diversity would apply to “The Lewiston Road”, one of several variations given to Ridge Road as it traversed our town. For further information and history about the Ridge, check out our ever-popular publication, Eight Miles Along the Shore, available in several formats at our museum shop.

“Things changed, people changed, and the world went rolling along right outside our windows.”

– Nicholas Sparks, Message in a Bottle
Ridge at Dewey 1940
Naum Bros. Ridge Rd. 1955
N.W. Corner Ridge Rd. at Stone Rd. 1956
Ridge Rd looking west at Pepperidge Dr 1956
Long Pond at Ridge Rd. Greece Baptist Church in the background while Greece DPW and Monroe County Water Authority upgrade the sewer lines in 1961

More of this can be seen in the Bicentennial Snapshots episodes 11 and 12

Bicentennial Snapshot # 11 – The Ridge Part 1 This covers the beginnings of the Ridge till the early 1900s.

Bicentennial Snapshot # 12 – The Ridge Part 2 covers the 1900s till the early 2000s and some parts of the current times of the ridge.

Photos, data supplied by Alan Mueller, Greece Historian’s Office.

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