Sandstone Society honors Bent’s Hall on its 150th anniversary

Photos by Tom Rivers

Robert Waters, president of the Medina Sandstone Society, speaks at the podium during an unveiling of a new stone historic marker for the Bent’s Hall, the building in the back. Others on the stage include, from left: Medina Mayor Andrew Meier, GCC professor Tracy Ford, Sandstone Society member Jacob Hebdon, Kathy Blackburn, Lynne Menz, GCC professor and Civil War Encampment Coordinator Derek Maxfield, and Chris Busch, chairman of the Orleans Renaissance Group.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 April 2015
MEDINA – As the Civil War was nearing its end, Don. C. Bent of Medina was preparing to open the Bent’s Hall, a three-story structure made of Medina sandstone at the corner of West Center and Main streets.

Bent acquired the land after a previous frame building burnt to ground on Oct. 7, 1863.

The new building included space for stores and offices, with an opera hall on the third floor.… More

4 ‘Heritage Heroes’ get thanks for efforts to improve community

Photos by Tom Rivers
Genesee Community College and Orleans Hub honored four “Heritage Heroes” on Friday during the Civil War Encampment at GCC’s Medina campus center. The following were recognized, from right to left: Doug Miller (accepting for his wife Susan Starkweather Miller), Andrew Meier, Holly Ricci-Canham, and William Menz.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 April 2015 –
MEDINA – Four Orleans County residents were honored with the second annual Heritage Heroes awards on Friday for their efforts to preserve local history and promote community pride by celebrating the county’s past.

The honorees have varied interests and passions, from genealogy, building a monument to veterans, redeveloping historic buildings and working with students on service projects.

All have exhibited fortitude and a love of community in seeing their projects to fruition.
The group was called “really remarkable” for their dedication to many efforts in the county, said Derek Maxfield of GCC, a history professor and coordinator of the Civil War Initiative and Encampment.


Medina dedicates historical marker for Frederick Douglass

Photos by Tom Rivers Posted 24 April 2015 –
MEDINA – The Orleans Renaissance Group and students from Oak Orchard Elementary School joined with other community members to dedicate a historical marker today for Frederick Douglass, the famed abolitionist who visited the area several times in the mid-1800s.

Douglass lived in Rochester and was a powerful orator and newspaper editor. The historical marker unveiled today on Main Street in Medina highlights two speeches he gave in Medina.

Chris Busch, on platform, is chairman of the Orleans Renaissance Group, which secured the funding and worked out the details for the marker.

In 1849, Douglass delivered a speech in Medina at the former Methodist Episcopal Church on Main Street (the current Fuller block, home of Main Street Appliance). He also visited Medina in 1869 and gave a celebratory address for Emancipation entitled “We are not yet quite free.” That event on Aug.… More

Polish community built new church in Medina in 1910

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 5

MEDINA – This image depicts the original Sacred Heart of Jesus R.C. Church in Medina, located at the corner of Ann Street and High Street.

The children of the parish are seen gathering on the front steps of the church and the appearance of white dresses suggests that it was a First Holy Communion celebration. It appears as though the priest is standing on the porch of the house, which served as his living quarters.

The original parish was established under the pastorate of Ks. Tomasz Gwodz who arrived in 1910, appointed by Bishop Charles Colton on February 1st of that year. Prior to the arrival of a resident priest, the Polish community of Medina was served periodically by Ks. Stanislaw Bubacz who was rector at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Albion. Construction of this wood frame structure began in the spring of 1910 and the first Mass was celebrated on August 7, 1910.… More

Founder of Santa Claus School also was a farmer

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 4

ALBION – This photograph shows Charles W. Howard playing an unusual role; that of the secretary of the Orleans County Fair Association.

Taken sometime in the late 1910s, Charlie is shown standing on the race track of the old county fairgrounds in Albion. A number of men are lined up in the background, sitting atop the fence.

Born and raised at the family homestead on the corner of Route 31 and Gaines Basin Road, his earliest years were spent partaking in household chores and working the family farm. He was active in local agricultural societies and the Orleans County Fair Association for many years.

In 1926 Howard suffered injuries to his legs after falling from the top of a silo, 20 feet to the cement ground. After taking the plunge, he was rushed to the local hospital where it was discovered that he had broken his leg and broken bones in the other foot.… More

Church bells will ring to mark 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s death

Courtesy of OrleansHub – Tom Rivers

The bell at  the Cobblestone Universalist Church will ring at 7:22 a.m. on April 15, the 150th anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln was shot on April 14 while watching a play at Ford’s Theater. An actor, John Wilkes Booth, shot the president in the back of the head. Lincoln’s death came six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox, effectively ending the Civil War.

Churches around the country will ring bells at 7:22 a.m. on April 15 to mark Lincoln’s death. The Cobblestone Society met last night during its board meeting and agreed to have the historic church on Route 104 join the bell-ringing in appreciation of Lincoln’s life.

Other churches are urged to participate.


Albion brothers make ultimate sacrifice

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 3

ALBION – Pictured here is the family of John Galashan Sheret, Sr. of Albion. An immigrant from Newhills, Scotland, John came to Albion where he was employed as a block breaker. He later served as Secretary of the International Union of Paving Cutters of the United States and Canada.

Pictured in this photo (standing left to right) are John Jr., James, and Egbert. Seated, left to right: John Sr., Andrew, Marian, Anna, and Elsie. The photograph was taken circa 1906.

Egbert served with the Machine Gun Battalions, known as “Suicide Squads” during the Punitive Expedition in Mexico. Immediately following his return to New York City in 1917, he requested a transfer to the 3rd NY National Guard, Company F in Medina to serve with his brothers James and Andrew.

On Sept. 29, 1918, the 27th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, containing the 108th Infantry and Company F, led a courageous charge on German defenses at the Hindenburg Line.… More

Students at Clarendon School Pictured in 1902

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 2

This photograph taken June 2, 1902 at the Root Schoolhouse in Clarendon shows Miss Edith McCormick, age 22, with her students. Hanging in the window is a 45-star flag.

The school was located on the northwest corner of Munger Road and Cook Road (now Merrill Road). The Cook Cemetery is located across the road to the south.

1902 marked the conclusion of Miss McCormick’s third year of teaching. A party was held on the lawn of Mrs. Mary Cook where Adah Laskey, on behalf of the entire class, presented Miss McCormick with a “nice toilet case.”

Pictured left to right, back row: George Eggers, Jamie Andrews Bird, Bertha Cook Eular, Adah Laskey Russell, Lillian Robinson Carlson, Myrtle Maxon Heise, George Whipple, Earl Laskey.

Middle row: Otis Cook, Frank Ritz, Daisy Andrews, Genie Eggers, May Cook Johnson, Mabel Maxon Greenache, Carrie Eggers Eular, Nellie Chugg.

Front row: Eddie Eggers, Harvey Whipple, Clark Maxon, Guy Pridmore, Howard Cook.… More

Community urged to help preserve old cobblestone school

This former one-room schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, just north of the Erie Canal, has been largely abandoned since decentralization in the mid-1940s.

Courtesy of OrleansHub

For about 110 years, from 1835 to 1943, that little cobblestone school house that sits on the west side of Gaines Basin Road, just north of the canal, served to educate the children from Gaines District #2.

Back in the day, the town of Gaines had 12 one-room schoolhouses, roughly located 1.5 miles apart to make access easier by the students in attendance. There is good reason to believe the cobblestone building I am referring to replaced a log school house where young pioneers educators such as Nancy Bullard and Caroline Phipps taught. In fact, it is believed, Miss Phipps, beginning at the age of 14, taught there in the years of 1826-29, before enrolling for a year in the Gaines Academy closer to Gaines Village and The Ridge Road.… More

Exhibits will highlight local involvement in ‘Great War’

Cobblestone Museum among the first to commemorate World War I anniversary

Photo by Tom Rivers
The Cobblestone Museum will show 20 to 25 propaganda posters that promoted American involvement in World War I, whether joining the service or buying war bonds. The posters are on loan from Hoag Library, which discovered about 100 posters while cleaning out the former Swan Library.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 31 March 2015
GAINES – It may have been “The Great War,” but World War I has been overshadowed by the second World War that followed about two decades later. The service and sacrifice in the first World War isn’t fully appreciated locally or nationally, said Matt Ballard, interim director at the Cobblestone Museum and also the county historian.

The first World War started in Europe on July 28, 1914 and ended Nov. 11, 1918. The United States was reluctant to join the war, with a noninterventionist stance until the United States officially joined the Allies in 1917.