Bicentennial Snapshot No. 43: Rediscovering Greece’s Historic Schoolhouses of 1872 Part 2

Today we will conclude our tour of the old district schools in Greece.

Common School District in this snapshot:

Common School District # 7

The original No. 7 schoolhouse was torn down in 1899 and replaced with this one-room wood-frame building located on the north side of Frisbee Hill Road just east of North Greece Road. The belfry-topped schoolhouse closed its doors to students in 1944. Two years later, the property and building reverted to the Frisbee family who had made an initial agreement with the school district for it to be used solely as a schoolhouse.

District 7 Loses old-school by Court rule. Florence Haskins 150 Frisbee Hill Rd. sued Myron B. Kelly, as trustee of the school district for possession of the schoolhouse and the quarter-acre of land her great-grandfather had turned over for school purposes.

Justice Cribb upheld the decision that The $1 lease terminated in 1944 and the school building goes with the land.

The school was abolished in 1944 when they agreed to send pupils to Union Free School District #4 Parma, Hilton School districts.

This information came from the Democrat Chronicle on May 11, 1948.

The schoolhouse was built at a cost of $700 on a quarter-acre plot of land leased by Edward Frisbee, a North Greece pioneer, in September 1833, as long as it was used as a school. Mrs. Cancella was a teacher at the one-room schoolhouse. Lou Frisbee was the bus driver. The school had about 15 students and went from K – 10 or 11 grade.

Dorothy Frisbee used to serve soup, sandwiches, and cookies to the kids if they didn’t bring any lunch says Ruth a former student. The most difficult time was in the winter on the bus because she said the winters were tough and it was difficult for the bus to get through the snow. The roads weren’t plowed like today and the drifts were quite high. She didn’t remember how they heated the school but she said it got quite cold inside on occasions in the winter.

Common School District # 7
Common School District # 7
Common School District # 7
This is how it looks today. Common School District # 7. photo by Gina Dibella

Common School District # 8

Common School District # 8
Common School District # 8
Common School District # 8 on the 1872 map

Other than its location on the south side of Mill Road, also known as Podunk Road, just west of North Greece Road, little is known about this school. No doubt it was similar to the other schools. Each of the common school districts had a one-room school building with a single teacher who taught all grades. There is only one building left in this area and that is the Covert-Brodie-Pollok House at 978 North Greece Road the other house was another cobblestone house at 543 Mill Road but that one had to be demolished due to it being structurally unsafe, you can learn more about these two houses in the Cobblestone house snapshots.

Common School District # 9

District 9 had two different schools on the east side of Long Pond Road bordering Round Pond Creek between Mill Road and Maiden Lane. The earlier schoolhouse was made of fieldstone (hence the name “Stone Schoolhouse”)

Common School District # 9
Common School District # 9
District No. 9 Stone Schoolhouse

One out of the 17 district schools and the 2 joint districts in the 1800s were built using cobblestone the rest of the school districts were built with wood. The cobblestone school was in school district 9 on the 1872 map of the town of Greece and it was located at 980 Long Pond Rd.

In 1917 it was replaced by a two-room schoolhouse. The cobblestone school was sold for $ 5.00. Arthur Koerner and Willis construction firm was awarded the contract to build the new two-room wooden school at 1048 Long Pond Road. Also, The Greece United Methodist Church formed inside School Number 9 on July 25, 1841, when Reverend William Williams met with a group of people to start the church, and then another group meeting at the Greece Center schoolhouse at district school number 17 on Latta Road and the church grew to 21 members. Students were educated in that building for 30 years until it closed its doors around 1944.

Common School District No. 9 Fieldstone School in front of the two room school house
Common School District No. 9 Fieldstone School in front of the two-room schoolhouse
District No. 9 Wood Schoolhouse– A tall flagpole stood in front of the schoolhouse.

The current two-room schoolhouse was later sold at a district auction at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 11, 1949, and was purchased by Harold Tebo. Harold then hired Arthur Korner to draw up plans to convert the schoolhouse into a private home and one of the features of the old school hidden above the now lowered ceiling is a tin ceiling that was used to reflect the heat and keep it in the building.

One Day in 2003 during the summer an elderly lady had shown up at Gene Preston’s stand and said she had attended the two-room school what I don’t remember from that day was whether she was a student or a teacher at the school, she did say that the teachers entered from the rear of the building as seen in this picture here they did have 2 classrooms and at this school, they broke the class in half were grades 1 to 4 were in one class and students grades 5 thru 8 were in the other side this way they could teach more students and possible a couple of the students were that of W.N Britton who had a house on Long Pond Road 8 houses south of Common School District # 9.

Common School District No. 9 Teachers Entrance
Common School District No. 9 Teachers Entrance
In the photo with the students you will notice the well pump to the left of the doors.
In the photo with the students, you will notice the water well pump to the left of the doors.

In the photo with the students, you will notice the water well pump to the left of the doors.

You can read what the society has in terms of minutes from Common School District Number 9 it contains not that many entries but it starts on August 10, 1910, and ends on May 5, 1942. It contains some interesting facts about how much it costs to install electricity, and water in the school and how much tuition costs.

The school had a sidewalk running to the street from the front doors. This was twice as wide as sidewalks today. When the sidewalk was removed after the house was sold the old sidewalk was put along the banks of the creek.

Barb Worboys (Left) Harold Tebo (Right) Photo was in the Mid to Late 1970s

Ever since my mom, Barb Worboys’s Grandfather Harold Tebo bought the house from the District in 1949 did not modify the exterior except for removing the front entrance and adding a large slab concrete pad in front of the front door and a second chimney at the end of the south end classroom.

Left is the large blue barn Preston, Foreground Common School District # 9

The only modifications were done on the interior of the structure only where Arthur Korner and Harold Tebo agreed on changes regarding where the stairs are to be moved to, how to use the coal chimney that was in the center of the house with a second chimney at the end of the south classroom, a garage door, and basement access below and in the rear on the north side above ground was where the teachers had once entered the school from to open the school up for the students to enter for school, and above the lowered ceiling in some parts is still a tin ceiling which helps in a few small areas to help with heating the house.

Doug Worboys

Common School District #10 / Abelard Reynolds School No. 42

In 1856, Greece School District No. 10 was divided and the old schoolhouse at Stone Road and Dewey Avenue became District No. 15.  A one-room brick schoolhouse for District No. 10 was built on Lake Avenue opposite Stonewood Avenue.  This building served the district for about 40 years.

Around 1896, a two-room frame schoolhouse was built.  After about 20 years of service, that building was sold at auction, taken down, and reconstructed as a private dwelling on Lake Avenue south of Boxart Street.

In 1916, a modern brick building replaced this frame building.  This new building had four classrooms, a gymnasium, and rooms in the basement for manual training and domestic science. This was similar to Greece School District Number 5 which had 4 classrooms, a gymnasium, an assembly hall combination, a teachers’ room, a store room, and inside lavatories all on a nine-acre plot. But Common School District Number 12 was a two-room Brick Building that only had 2 classrooms and had inside lavatories.

On January 1, 1919, Greece School District No. 10 came under the control of the City of Rochester, when a portion of the district was annexed to the city. In the fall of 1924, the gymnasium was remodeled for use as a kindergarten.  (There had previously been no kindergarten.)  The other basement rooms had also been set up as classrooms.  Within seven years of being built, School 42 was outgrowing this building.   In the summer of 1925, a six-room portable addition was built.  In January 1926, the eighth grade was transferred to Charlotte High School. By September of 1926, the seventh grades were moved elsewhere and School 42 became a regulation elementary school.

Contracts for the construction of the current building were awarded in July 1927.   A portion of the present building was ready for occupancy in the spring of 1928 and the rest was completed by September of that year.   This new building contained 20 classrooms, a kindergarten, an auditorium-gymnasium, a teachers’ lunch room, a kitchen, school nurse’s quarters, and the usual offices.

On October 9, 1952 plans were approved for a three-story addition to School 42 to be built on the back of the U-shaped building.  This addition would include seven new classrooms and a combination lunchroom-community center.

On May 29th, 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a bill into federal law that specifically allowed Abelard Reynolds School No. 42 to acquire a set of chapel bells from London, England – duty-free.  The bells arrived shortly afterward aboard the Queen Mary.

There have been additional improvements made to the building through the years.  School 42, standing two miles south of Lake Ontario, now proudly serves a diverse population of approximately five-hundred students from the City of Rochester.

Three schools have occupied this site on the east side of Lake Avenue directly opposite Stonewood Avenue. The first was a one-room brick structure.

Who was Abelard Reynolds:

  • Was born on October 2, 1785, at a place called Quaker Hill, near Red Hook, NY.
  • In 1812, purchased lots (23 and 24) on the north side of what became East Main Street and built the first frame house west of the Genesee River.
  • Moved his family to Rochester in 1813.
  • Was the first saddle-maker, the first magistrate, and the first innkeeper on the “one-hundred-acre tract.”
  • Became the first Postmaster of the incorporated city of Rochester in 1812, appointed by Colonel Nathaniel Rochester.
  • Moved his house in 1828 to build the Reynolds Arcade on Main Street: a multi-storied brick building 56 feet deep with 86 rooms and 14 cellars. 
  • Was one of the founders of Rochester’s first public library.
  • Was a member of the Masonic order and a Prelate of the Knights Templar.
  • Was a member of the first Board of Education.
  • Died on December 19, 1878, in Rochester, NY.
Common School District # 10
Common School District # 10
Common School District No. 10
1916 Common School District No. 10
1927 – Abelard Reynolds School No. 42. From Rochester Public Library History and Genealogy Division
Abelard Reynolds

Common School District # 11

Common School District # 11
Common School District # 11
District No. 11 Frederick Lay School photo from GHS

This school was located on the north side of Ridge Road just west of Mt. Read Boulevard [formerly known as Eddy Road]. In addition to the original one-room building created this two-room brick and shingle structure. All Greece schoolhouses were equipped with an outdoor lavatory, also known as an outhouse or privy. Some schools were fortunate enough to have luxuries such as an organ or a furnace. This school was one of the first to have a furnace, although it still had outdoor privies.

District No. 11 Frederick Lay School
Class photo of District #11, located on Ridge Road (where Home Depot is currently located), 1906. William Britton is far left, back row.

Each of the common school districts had a single teacher who taught all grades. High schools did not develop until the very end of the 19th century.

Common School District # 12 – Greece Ogden School

Common School District # 12
Common School District # 12
Common School District # 12
Common School District # 12
District No. 12 South Greece School or Henpeck School today, photo courtesy of Bill Sauers

The Granite brick in the center at the top of the schoolhouse in south Greece reads:

School District #12
Greece Ogden school.
Erected 1864.

Students living in the South Greece area known as Henpeck attended school in this brick one-room schoolhouse on the east side of Elmgrove Road just south of the Barge Canal. This one-room schoolhouse closed in 1930 when a new schoolhouse was built further south on Elmgrove Rd due to the one-room schoolhouse reaching capacity for students to attend school the new District #12 school was built on Elmgrove Rd at Elmore Dr, The Elmgrove School District joined Spencerport Central District when it was formed in 1949.

The old two-classroom school at 463 Elmgrove Rd. was sold at auction on March 1, 1959, and bought by Harold Tebo. Harold’s intent was to make this a bowling alley. He had bought alleys and other fixtures from a bowling alley in Rochester that had closed. He stored the items at the old school #9. Later he sold stock to people to make the lanes a public company. The idea didn’t work out. The building was later sold again and is a small private apartment in 2007.

In 1959, the red brick building was auctioned off and today is a private residence.

Each schoolhouse was equipped with a pot-bellied stove for warmth during the cold winter months. Every day the teacher assigned one boy to gather enough wood for the day from the woodpile behind the schoolhouse. Another student was responsible for getting fresh water from the well of a neighboring home. The water bucket and ladle were placed in the front of the classroom for all the students to use.

Students from District No. 12 South Greece School, date unknown from the Office of the Town historian

Common School District # 13 – West Greece Hoosick

Common School District # 13
Common School District # 13
Common School District # 13
inside of Common School District # 13
inside of Common School District # 13

This school was located on a hill at the southwest corner of Ridge and Manitou Roads. To the south of this two-room frame schoolhouse, was the Hoosick Cemetery. Manitou Road has since been straightened. The schoolhouse was moved to Dean Road in the town of Parma and used as a private residence.

Common School District # 13
Common School District # 13 is now a private residence photo taken in 2001 by Doug Worboys

Common School District # 14

The plot of ground on which this school building stands today was donated to the district, to be used for the purpose of a school building, by Terry Burns (Great-Great-grandfather of Art Newcomb) on June 8, 1852. This was a quarter-acre plot. Some of the early teachers of this school were, Lotta Janes, Jennie Martin, Mary McShea, Mary Burns, Miss Grinnen, Bridget Beaty, Ellen McCarthy, Miss Johnson, Lillian burke, and Mary Ann Mellon. June 1945 the teacher Florence (kirk) archer Bygrave, rang the school bell to summon pupils to the last lessons ever to be said there. That afternoon the schoolyard flag came down for the last time, thus ending nearly one hundred years of dispensing education to the children of this community. The following year the school joined with No. 5 school at Latta Rd. and Mt. Read Blvd., and after being vacant until the spring of 1947, it was sold at public auction, and was converted into a private dwelling.

School Days at Dist.14 School

From the Memoirs of Art Newcomb

Some of my schoolmates at the one-room school were Fred and Jimmy Beaty, .At that time the schoolroom contained several rows of large double desks. Two pupils sat together in the double seat. I usually sat with my brother Floyd and sometimes with Austin Beaty. At one time Floyd, Austin and myself, all shared the same seat… Some of the games we played were “Fox and Geese” in the snow, “Duck on a Rock”, “Tickly Bender” on the thin ice in the creek, tag, beanball and baseball.. Everett Kirk was the school cut-up, and one time brought eight sticks of dynamite to the school in a market basket. He had found the dynamite at the site of some blasting project in the neighborhood. He hid two of the sticks under the bridge nearby, and brought the rest into the school and concealed them in his desk. Later he terrorized the teacher and most of the pupils by juggling a few of the dynamite sticks from hand to hand , frequently dropping one on the floor in the process. Fortunately , however, none exploded and he was finally induced to remover the dynamite from the premise. The school contained an organ which was pumped by foot. Several times a week, Emma Kirk played the organ and we all sang. One afternoon an incident of great disturbance occurred, the occasion of which, was prompted by the boy pupils in pursuit of a mouse which had taken refuge inside the organ. In the ensuing scuffle the organ was overturned and in the frenzied effort to capture the mouse the organ was completely demolished … On very cold winter days all the pupils would move in closer to the part of the room nearest the stove to keep warm. All eight grades were taught by the one teacher, and each class moved to the front seats, at the front row of desks, when it was time for their lessons to be recited. Hats and coats were hung on hooks and nails on the walls about the room. Each morning, two of the boy pupils were sent down the road to fetch a pail of drinking water from one of the neighbor’s wells. The pail was set on a bench in the schoolroom, and a tin cup was provided from which to drink.

Memoirs of Art Newcomb
Common School District # 14
Common School District # 14
District No. 14 Beatty Road School
Common School District No. 14 Beatty Road School now, photo courtesy of Gina DiBella

Today the former Beatty School is a private residence.

Common School District # 15 – Barnard School

The second school was erected on the north side of Stone Rd on 1/2 acre donated by Mr. Bartholf, inside it had a big wood stove, wood box, water pail, and dipper. This was used until 1916 and sold. The buyer was Edward Parsons who moved it and converted it into a garage at the rear of 622 Stone Rd. In 1916 a third structure, a two-room schoolhouse, was located at the apex between Maiden Lane and Stone, facing Stone Road, this was completed and considered a model rural school building for its time. By 1924, however, it was overflowing and another building became necessary. A school (shed rented) at the rear of Dewey Avenue Union Church on the southeast corner of Dewey Avenue and Haviland Park (now Bethany Presbyterian) temporarily accommodated grades seven and eight. The school had folding chairs, rough lumber tables, and inadequate heating. Grades 1 thru 6 were taught by Mrs. Mildred Bates, Miss Mary Collins, and Mrs. Martha Abigail taught 7th and 8th grade.

On September 5, 1924, the cornerstone for the new school was laid. John A. Garrison, a former pupil of the second school in 1860 laid the cornerstone. The formal opening of the new brick school was held in May 1925. The school had two classrooms, a library, and a science room. The 1925 PTA held a membership drive. The first project was to secure playground equipment. Proceeds provided two slides for the playground.

Barnard School
Barnard School
Common School District # 15
Common School District # 15
Common School District # 15 – Barnard School
PositionName
PresidentMrs. Walter Brewer
Vice-PresidentMrs. Howard Badgerow
SecretaryMrs. Hiram Mume
TreasurerMrs. Fred Bartels
First Staff at Barnard School

Kindergarten and first grade still met in the old wooden school house for many years. It was relocated to the northwest corner of the 1924 structure. The north section of the present building was finished in 1928. On April 30, 1930, the district was reorganized as Union Free School District 15. In August 1938 voters in the Barnard District were split on building on a 10-acre plot at Dewey Ave. and Britton Rd. The PWA would furnish $135,000 and the remaining $165,000 would be raised by a bond issue. Arguments by objectors felt first a need for a new school had not been demonstrated. Objectors wanted guarantees that would show a second high school in the northern section of the district could be filled. The plan was for a 10-room structure capable of handling 170 pupils below 7th grade plus making the possible establishment of a 9th grade at the present school, thereby avoiding the need to send the 9th-grade students into Rochester City Schools. Northern residents sought approval while residents in the southern portion of the district disapproved of the issue since it was not needed and would increase taxes. Gross registration in 1938 was 612 total, and attendance was 527, including 411 in the main building and 116 in the second structure. The efficient operation was 448 for the main structure and 128 for the other. Britton Rd Junior High school became the second school of Union Free District #15. On October 29, 1947, a resolution was passed to build at the corner of Dewey Ave. and Britton Rd. The cost was $475,000. The school held grades K-6, and each grade had two classrooms for a total of fourteen. In 1949, Harold Kimber became Principal. On August 25, 1953, the voters approved an addition. The school remained K – 6 until 1965. A two-story addition was added to the building on the north end. This consisted of two Industrial arts and Home economics rooms, art, gymnasium, and eight classrooms. After the addition, they took in 7th and 8th grades. This school remained K-8 until 1960 when English Village Elementary School opened. Eventually in 1981 Britton Rd. school closed while enrollment was in a decline. The school was torn down after Wegmans Food Market bought the Property and the new Wegmans Store opened in December 1983.

Today it houses a private Jewish School, Derech Hatorah (derek ha tor a) of Rochester.

Derech Hatorah (derek ha tor a) of Rochester photo by Bill Sauers

Common School District # 16

Common School District # 16
Common School District # 16

District #16 in 1872 was located at Greenleaf Rd. near Ling Rd. as shown on the map of 1872. There is a discrepancy between this district and District #2 in 1822. Then there is a conflict following the 1872 map and the 1887 and 1902 maps show a school located across from the Upton-Paine house where the entrance to Elmridge Plaza calling this district 16 but because when they submit the Trustee’s reports the was nothing on the report indicating the address of the school or its location for record-keeping on that paperwork only the committee members knew which one went to which actual school location or it was kept in another register that was lost and never digitized by the State of New York Education Department or State University of New York kept it on file has yet to digitize these records for research and for the historian and local historical societies to store them for preserve for as long as the schools were in use for but we will never know.

District No. 16, David Todd School

There are some questions about where District 16 was located. On 1852, 1887, and 1902 maps of Greece, there was a school indicated on the north side of Ridge Road across from and east of the Upton-Paine House (now Ridgemont Country Club)’ It was thought to be District School No. 16 by some. However, the 1872 map shows a school on what was first the Blanchard property and later property owned by Patrick Fleming. The 1872 map clearly says that this was District 16. It is because of record keeping that we do not have a clear answer to the location of which location is the correct Common School District 16 location. From what we can tell based on later maps the town was growing in population and that forced the town to rearrange the Common School Districts 3, 8, 9, 12, and 13, which may have led to the restructuring of the common school districts to create this school, and the students that went to the Patrick Fleming farm may have been forced to either to go to school # 5 at paddy hill or District 4 in Charlotte but we will never know.

The bell that called students to class at the one-room schoolhouse known as the David Todd school is now on display at the Greece Historical Society and Museum. Although all ages of children were in the same classroom, students were taught separately according to their grade levels. Those being instructed at a particular time would move to the front desks, while the remainder of the students worked on their lessons at desks at the back of the room.

1910 School Room exhibit at Greece Historical Society and Museum, photo from Bill Sauers

Common School District # 17 – Greece Center Latta/Long Pond

Common School District # 17

In 1824 the minutes of the Greece Common School board meeting list the forming of district 17. On April 25, 1828, District 17 was divided with Parma, Parma retained the old school building and property judged at $12 (USD in 1823 dollars) (340.24 in today’s cost) of that $6 (USD in 1823 dollars) (170.12 in today’s cost) was to be paid to the Town of Greece for its inhabitants. The commissioners then adopted new school lines for District #17. Sometime around 1919 district #17 changed to District #2.

Late 1933 – The school had eight rows with one to five students in each row of first to eighth grade. The school had a pot belly stove that the older boys had the job to keep burning. The water was retrieved from an outside well with a hand pump. Lighting was by electricity this year because power ran north to the highway garage. At some point, said the Late Pat Preston spouse of Gene Preston, the school had just the 1st to 4th grade and then the students would go to School 38 on Latta Rd (2007 is now a condominium complex), and then high school they would attend was Charlotte High School on Lake Ave. Mrs. Heard was a teacher during that time and classes started around 9 a.m. The bathroom was double separated. A large cardboard circle colored green and red hung on the doors. Red meant the room was in use and green meant the room was available. Lunch was at your desk or outside, weather permitting. As far as punishments well those couldn’t be recalled whether any were handed out. The teacher was without question in control. There was a period for recess and the favorite game was hide & seek.

Greece Grog Shop in former No, 17 school, Greece Historical Society’s Archives

When no longer a school, for a number of years, it was a liquor store.

District No. 17 Greece Centre School, photo courtesy of Bill Sauers

John Geisler set up his realty company here and then a CPA joined Geisler using the school for their offices the D&C Staff Writer Meaghan M McDermott wrote an article on February 7 2007 about John using the old school as his office. Titled One-Room Schoolhouse to be Rescued

Former District No. 17 Greece Centre School, 2022, photo Bill Sauers

It is currently vacant.

Joint District of Parma and Greece

In addition to its other District schools, there were two joint districts shared with Parma.

Greece Parma Joint District # 13

Greece Parma Joint District # 13
Greece Parma Joint District # 13

This school was located on Manitou Rd at the corner of Payne Beach and Manitou Beach Roads. It is shown on the 1872 Map and believed to be used up until 1944. At this point, students then went to the Hilton Schools.

No pictures or other info is available on this school.

Greece Parma Joint School District No. 14

Joint School District No. 14 from the Office of the Town Historian
Greece Parma Joint School District # 14
Greece Parma Joint School District # 14

The #14 District School of Parma and Greece, also known as the Lane’s Corners School, was located at the southwest corner of Wilder and Manitou Roads.

Class photo of District #14 students and teachers, 1903. The #14 District School of Parma and Greece, also known as the Lane's Corners School, was located at the south west corner of Wilder and Manitou Roads.
Class photo of District #14 students and teachers, 1903. The #14 District School of Parma and Greece, also known as the Lane’s Corners School, was located at the southwest corner of Wilder and Manitou Roads.

New Greece Central School District and Consolidations Forming in 1928

Greece Central School District # 1 – Willis N Britton / Hoover Drive / Odyssey / Now Discovery Charter School / Young Women’s College Prep Charter School of Rochester

Greece Common School Districts Nos. 3, 11, and 16 were consolidated to form Greece Central School District No. 1 in 1928 located at 133 Hoover Drive. It was the first centralized school district in Monroe County and the 13th Central School District in New York State. Nearly three decades later, voters approved the annexation of Greece Central School District No. 1 with Consolidated School District No. 5 and Union Free District No. 15, both consolidations of former Greece common school districts, in May 1955. On July 9th, 1928, voters approved the acceptance of the donation of five acres of land in the Koda-Vista tract, from Willis N. Britton. The school district did look at a few other properties before approving the Willis N. Britton site, the property at Ridge Road and Latona Road where Mrs. Clark had property near Falls Cemetry and near the Colby-Shearman House. There is a clause on the land that the Willis N. Britton family that land was to be used as a school and if at any time the land was not going to be used as a school it would revert back to descendants of the Willis N. Britton family who owned the land before. The first formal organization of the first school board in 1929 was John Easton, Norman Weeks, Adelbert Lanctot, Arthur Kerkel, and Arthur Koerner. Norley Pearson was District Clerk. John Tallinger acted as Treasurer and Mr. Lanctot, President. Willis N. Britton officially opened in 1929 at a cost of $200,000 but they decide to tack on the building the third floor at that time so instead of building 2 stories at $200,000 they raised an additional $25,000 for a total of $225,000, and the original gross square foot of Willis N. Britton School was 40,326 square feet and 18 classrooms. In 1948 Willis N. Britton School gained its first expansion to the building and expanded the gross square footage by 29,134 square feet to now a total of 69,460 square feet and 14 additional classrooms making the school able to have 32 classrooms in the school. In 1952 another addition was added to the school expanding the school to another 10 classrooms and 18,273 square feet to the building making it now 24 classrooms and 87,733 square feet. In 1957 is when the gym was added to the building and 3,670 square feet were added to the building bringing it to 91,403 square feet. Then in 1961/1962 the wing that housed the home ec and the technology shop was added that adding an additional 26,845 to the school for a total of 118,248 square feet to the school and in 2004 an additional expansion occurred to create a music wing that added additional square feet to the building, according to the Monroe county real property portal it reports that the square footage for the property at 105,271 square feet when Greece Central School District finally closed it’s doors for good at the end of 2011 – 2012 school year at 133 Hoover drive and moved Odyssey Academy to Maiden Lanes at the Old Cardinal Mooney / Greece Apollo Middle School Campus at the start of the 2012-2013 school year due to the drop in student enrollment, one of the other reasons for moving Odyssey to the Maiden Lanes location was the lack of space for the outdoor sports programs and the gym was getting old where it was deemed a little bit small by Section V standards if the school district had expanded towards Corona Rd it might have been able to stay as a District school but we will never know what the school could have been if it was able to stay and grow. One of my classmates Erin Gallenger painted a mural of a Snow Leopard at the North Entrance to the main Parking lot and redesigned the school’s logo as her Graduation Gift to the school before the Class of 2002 exited the campus as graduates and the following year is when the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme started.

Willis N Britton / Greece Central #1
Willis N Britton / Greece Central #1

Willis N. Britton was one of the Town’s Largest Peach Growers in the Town and was appointed to the role of town supervisor in 1903.

You can learn more about Hoover Drive’s Odyssey

Odyssey’s Motto
1950s School Room exhibit at Greece Historical Society and Museum, photo from Bill Sauers

What is unique about the pull-down map at the Greece Historical Society and Museum?

On our Facebook post for this snapshot take a guess what is unique about it there is something missing on it compared to modern pull-down maps of the United States look at pull-down maps or just maps of the United States. There is a clue in the description of the picture.

The District’s name was officially changed to Greece Central School District in April 1973.

Current Greece Central Logo

Thank you for joining us today. Next week we start our look at Prohibition.

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 15 – Erie Canal

We explore the impact that the canal had on the Town of Greece, in the state of New York. In 1817 the idea was formed to create an easy way to get products from Lake Erie, and the other Great Lakes to New York City and back.

According to Wikipedia, The canal was first proposed in the 1780s, then re-proposed in 1807, and the survey was authorized, funded, and executed in 1808. Its construction began in 1817 after proponents of the project gradually wore down its opponents; and it opened on October 26, 1825. The canal has 34 locks with an overall elevation difference of about 565 feet (172 m),[1] starting upstream with Black Rock Lock and ending downstream with the Troy Federal Lock. Both locks are owned by the United States Federal Government[2].

Sea level elevation of the Canal route
Sea level elevation of the Canal route

The Canal Started at Lockport and ended at the Hudson River.

The Erie canal had received some nicknames for the Erie Canal project because of New York Governor DeWitt Clinton, his project received some interesting names, and his political opponents wanted to call the project, here are a few of the names they called the Erie Canal, the first name it was derided as was “Clinton’s Folly”, another one was “Clinton’s Big Ditch”, and “Clinton’s Ditch”. Over time the folks realized that the Erie canal helped bolster the port at New York City with a strong advantage over other port cities on the eastern seaboard and helped make it easier to travel by water than it was to portage the goods to stagecoaches or other modes of early transportation in the interior of the United States.

The Erie Canal was one of the great civil engineering projects of its time, and the cost to build it was $7,143,789. The total length of the Canal is 363 Feet(584 km) and 50 Locks made up the canal to traverse the change in elevations of sea levels to get it from the Hudson River elevation to the elevation of Lake Erie.

Asa Rowe Ad in the Genesee Farmer Monroe Horticultural Garden
Asa Rowe Ad in the Genesee Farmer Monroe Horticultural Garden

If you remember when we told you about Asa Rowe and his Monroe Horticulture Garden and Nursery he took full advantage of the Erie canal for shipping all his plants and seeds to other states, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconson, featured in Bicentennial Snapshot # 13.

Terry Burns

As the canal was dug by hand it required an army of laborers. Some of those laborers, such as Terry Burns, one of the pioneers of Greece, decided to stay after working on the canal, settling in Greece in 1823.

South Greece did have one Lock and it was only used when they did the expansion in 1919 till about 1923 then after it was used as a dry dock for the rest of the 1920s on the canal but later it was decommissioned and blocked off the dock is now just being overgrown with trees and other wild plants.

Erie Canal Completion Medal, 1826 this one is in The Henry Ford Museum
Erie Canal Completion Medal, 1826 this one is in The Henry Ford Museum

During my Visit to the Henry Ford Museum in August, I saw this sitting in the Driving America Exhibit in front of an 1891 Abbot Downing Concord Coach.

The Buffalo Maritime Center is in the process of building a replica of a packet boat at the Longshed at Canalside in Buffalo at the end of the Commerical Slip and they believe it will take at least 2 years to complete the boat project and set sail in 2025 for the 200th anniversary of merging of the waters. In 2025 they will be traveling the Erie Canal and stopping in each community along the Erie canal so people explore the replica, as well as displays about building the boat and how they built it, and the materials they used in the process you can learn more about the project at https://buffalomaritimecenter.org/

1. Finch, Roy G. (1925). The Story of the New York State Canals (PDF). New York State Engineer and Surveyor. Retrieved June 28, 2022.

2. “Locks on the Erie Canal”The Erie Canal. Retrieved June 28, 2022.

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Bicentennial Snapshot # 14 – General Stores

This week on our Bicentennial Snapshot we explore two of the most visited General Stores out of two neighborhoods the first one will be H.C. Phelps Located on the southwest corner at Latta and North Greece and the second one is Gilbert (Burt) J Wagg’s Groceries and Provisions Located where Tim Horton’s is today at Lake Ave, Ridge Road and Pullman Ave.

Disclaimer The references to tobacco products in this Bicentennial Snapshot are for historical purposes only, recounting an individual’s reminiscences of a bygone era. The Greece Historical Society does not encourage the use of any tobacco products.

Today we take it for granted how easy it is to buy food, clothing, and other products from various stores and within easy travel distance or online via Amazon, eBay, and other online retailers. But in the 19th century and even into the 20th century, Greece residents depended on General Stores for their purchasing needs.

When the American colonists mainly started expanding west word they would set up General Stores that would be where the travelers or residents of the small villages or towns would gather to buy, trade, or sell items that they needed for a day-to-day living unlike how it is now that you purchase Clothing from Store A and then go to store B to get you Garden supplies, then maybe you go to Store C for your meats, and then finally get to the Produce Market for all your fresh produce these good would last longer or shorter depending what the product was intended for like planned obsolescence.

The invention of the Ice Box did help out with some growth of General stores but some of the General stores evolved with the times where they kept up with the changes evolving into smaller corner stores which some people will call the store a bodega, especially in New York City. In other parts of the country, the Mom and Pop General stores are somewhat making comebacks in your rural communities because these are now becoming small access points for online orders and delivery hubs for pickups for places like Amazon, UPS, FedEx, DHL, LaserShip and even the post office still because the cost is still worth them to operate just to help the people that cannot get the packages delivered to the porch of the local farmer or rancher, or even the smallest campgrounds.

Question of Week:

How long do you think it would take for you to get from Hoosick Cemetary (West Greece) Manitou at West Ridge Road to G.C. Latta House at Lake Ave, and Latta Rd in Charlotte?

But for this question, we will be starting at the Hoosick Cemetary Manitou Road at West Ridge Road, proceed heading north on Manitou road until you come to Latta Road, and then make the right on Latta Road passing H.C. Phelps General store on the right at North Greece and Latta road, and continuing on Latta you will be passing Green Acres on your left, you then continue on Latta and cross over Long Pond Road, maybe stop at Apple Anne’s for some apples, after that you maybe stop to worship at Mother of Sorrow’s church and then head down the hill and cross over Dewey ave and a much smoother path on Latta road you pass on your left the Fleming Homestead now a nursing home to then you should get to your destination at Lake Ave and Latta in front of the G.C. Latta House

Here is the formula to solve for each type of mode of transportation

time = distance/speed

Your Distance is 9.5 Miles

Your Speed is based on the mode of transportation you take to get to the destination.

Traveling by car at 35 mph

Traveling by a Horse at 5-8 mph

Traveling by a pedal bike can vary depending on how fast you can pedal it can be as low as 8 mph and high as 26 mph

Traveling by public transit is not available for this example.

The answer to this will be at the end of this post with the solution to this question.

H.C. Phelps.

H.C. Phelps is located on the southwest corner at Latta Rd and North Greece Rd.

Henry C. Phelps built his store on the North Greece Road in about 1870. The area was then known as Jenkins Corner at Latta Rd. By 1900 it had the name, North Greece, as it’s known today. Henry carried a varied lot of merchandise. Just about anything that would fit in the store and would sell found a place on the floor or a shelf. He catered to the farmer and his family. It helped that the local U.S. Post Office was also in the building. The opening of the Manitou (seasonal) Trolley in the 1890s expanded the number of cottages along the lake and bays. Several times a week Phelps would send out his horse and wagon filled with fresh vegetables, fruit, and sundries. Going door to door, the “huckster” (an old term for a peddler) would often empty his wagon by the end of his route. After Mr. Phelps retired the store continued under several owners and name changes well into the 20th century. The post office moved to its own quarters and other business enterprises took over the site until we arrive at the 21st century. Except for the loss of the front porch and several horse hitching posts, the building remains much as it was built over 145 years ago. An insurance office is now the proud caretaker.

Gilbert “Burt” J Wagg

Gilbert (Burt) J Wagg’s Groceries and Provisions is Located where Tim Horton’s is today at Lake Ave, Ridge Road, and Pullman Ave.

Wagg’s Grocery and Provisions store could hardly be called a general store in the same sense as Henry Phelps’s business. Gilbert (Burt) J. Wagg started in business in the early 1900s with several small grocery stores in Rochester. Since he was a natural salesman and “go-getter” (a favorite saying of the day), he decided to open yet another store on the north-western edge of the city. Streets along Lake Avenue were developed because of the expansion of the Eastman Kodak Company, and Kodak Park Works. An ideal place for Burt’s new store was on the east side of Lake Avenue near Kodak. The business grew, with departments added almost yearly. A bakery, a meat department, groceries, and produce were sold there from the start. Furniture, china, yard goods, clothing, shoes, phonographs later called gramophones now called record players or turntables depending on your generation, and records all became integrated into Wagg’s, especially after the business was moved nearby to a building with ample floor space about 1912. The business eventually took a building on Lake Avenue as well as a number down Pullman Avenue.

Burt is at the telephone in one of the photos and his sister Grace is at the adding machine to his right.

One photo ( 1920) shows the business with a bus at the corner of Lake and Pullman. Most people referred to it as Wagg’s Corner. The mini-department store then employed 28 clerks and drivers to cover the departments and five delivery wagons. Burt is at the telephone in one of the photos and his sister Grace is at the adding machine to his right. Grace was as astute about the business as her brother. Burt passed on in 1944. Grace took over and ran it until it became clear newer and more modern stores had opened on West Ridge Road. The business closed in 1964 and the building was torn down in 1988. Parts of the other shops that were to the right of the G.J. Wagg’s store are still standing but now are apartments at 17 thru 29 Pullman Ave. Pullman ave was redesigned to come back a bit from the corner that Lake Ave and Ridge Road to prevent sharp turns onto Pullman ave from coming from the Veterans Bridge or from lake ave turn on to Ridge Road and then a sharp left onto Pullman Ave and then the raised median makes it impossible to turn on to Pullman ave after the light on at ridge and lake coming from the Veterans Bridge.

Answer to the Question

How long do you think it would take for you to get from Hoosick Cemetary (West Greece) Manitou at West Ridge Road to G.C. Latta House at Lake Ave, and Latta Rd in Charlotte?

Your Distance is 9.5 miles in one direction

Your Speed is based on the mode of transportation you take to get to the destination.

Mode of TransportationSpeedOne Way TripRound Trip Time
Car 35 mph15-17 minutes30-34 minutes
Pedal Bike †8 mph1 hour, 11 minutes, 15 seconds2 hours, 22 minutes, 30 seconds
Pedal Bike †26 mph0 hours, 21 minutes, 55 seconds0 hours, 43 minutes, 51 seconds
Horse Trot‡5 mph1 hour, 54 minutes, 0 seconds3 hours, 48 minutes, 0 seconds
Horse Trot‡8 mph1 hour, 11 minutes, 15 seconds2 hours, 22 minutes, 30 seconds
Walking §3 Hours 10 Minutes6 Hours 20 minutes
Calculation of Time

† Traveling by a pedal bike can vary depending on how fast you can pedal it can be as low as 8 mph and high as 26 mph

‡ Traveling by a Horse at a trot at 5-8 mph

Traveling by public transit is not available for this example based on the chosen route that was selected

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William A. Payne House

William A. Payne House ~ 505 Elmgrove Road ~ Greece, New York

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places: June 2012
Town of Greece Designated Landmark: October 2012

The William A. Payne House is located in the southwest quadrant of the town, south of the Erie Canal near the former hamlet of South Greece. The designation area is approximately 1.6 acres of land and includes the main house, which was constructed around 1905, and a carriage barn. Historically, the property is associated with the early nineteenth-century pioneers who settled in South Greece near the Erie Canal. The hamlet of South Greece, also known as Elm Grove or Henpeck, was located near the intersection of the Erie Canal and what was then known as South Greece Road (later renamed Elmgrove Road). William Payne made an impact on local and state commercial practices through his work as the Monroe County Sealer of Weights and Measures. He was one of the founders of the statewide association that worked to develop fair and uniform methods of weighing and measuring for merchants and consumers, and created education programs for fellow sealers. Payne was also a fire commissioner in the Town of Greece, and a member of the Greece-Ridge Fire Department.