Albion parking lot once home to law office

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 32

This image shows Mrs. Jennie McGuire Leonard standing in front of her millinery located on North Main Street in Albion. The beautiful building constructed of brick was designed in the Federal style, often referred to as the Classical Revival style. This type of architecture pre-dates the Greek Revival style that is often seen throughout Orleans County and structures of this type would have appeared as late as 1840.

Prior to serving as a place of business for Mrs. Leonard, the building acted as the law office of the Hon. Gideon Hard. Born April 29, 1797 to Philo Hard and Currence Hawley, Gideon was one of fifteen children who descended from prominent lineage in Arlington, VT. Although his maternal great uncle, Seth Warner, was a respected captain with the Green Mountain Boys during the American Revolution, his father’s family were hardened Loyalists.

Attending Union College in Schenectady, Hard graduated in 1822 and immediately began the study of law.… More

The Two Bridges Hotel

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 31

This image shows the old “Two Bridges Hotel” located in Carlton near the Oak Orchard River and Marsh Creek. Residents of the area may recognize this building as it stands today as “Narby’s Superette and Tackle.”

The hotel area of the structure was located on the west end. Two doors are located on the front end of the building, one marked “Bar Room” and the other marked “Hotel Entrance.” A sign outside of the main doorway shows that oysters were being offered in the dining room.

Along the west side of the building, “Two Bridges Hotel” is painted between the windows on the second floor and the name of the hotel is again depicted at the peak of the building on the front side. The two bridges that gave the area its name are shown; the covered bridge spanning the Oak Orchard River and the bridge crossing Marsh Creek.… More

Old cobblestone schoolhouse has new purpose and historical marker

Photos by Tom Rivers – Posted 17 October 2015
GAINES – Al Capurso is pictured with a new historical marker that was unveiled today by the former one-room schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road, just north of the Erie Canal. The schoolhouse was built in 1832 and is one of the oldest cobbesltone buildings in the area.

It has been largely abandoned since decentralization in 1944. The marker also notes that Caroline Phipps taught at the school. She went on to be a distinguished educator and ran the Phipps Union Seminary in Albion from 1837 to 1875. That spot later became the County Clerks Building.

A swing is pictured next to the former schoolhouse.

The restoration project has been backed by the Orleans County Historical Association and includes a new roof on the building and new windows, as well as the historical marker.

Here is how the building looked last winter.

Here is how the historical site looks today.… More

New panel at Mount Albion tells life story of Charles Howard

Photos by Tom Rivers – Posted 1 October 2015
ALBION – Mount Albion Cemetery employees this morning installed a 2-foot by 3-foot interpretive panel that shares the story of one of the cemetery’s most prominent residents: Charles Howard.

Howard is best known as the man who started a Santa Claus School. He ran it from 1937 until his death in 1966. The school has been moved to Midland, Michigan, and still bears Charles Howard’s name.


Howard also was a farmer and a toymaker with a flair for the dramatic. He was part of community efforts to build a model of Niagara Falls with 10,000 gallons of sweet cider in 1928. He also helped make a 12-foot-wide apple pie in 1929 and a create a 14-foot-high cake that weighed 3.5 tons.

Howard developed the Santa School after noticing many Santas didn’t have training, and didn’t always interact with children well or meet a standard for dress.… More

Some things are worth celebrating

Editorial by Tom RiversPosted 4 September 2015 OrleansHub.com
Good deeds and major milestones deserve some recognition, so let’s consider a few recent examples in Orleans County.

Maurice Hoag and his wife Courtenay gave another $100,000 to Hoag Library. They had already given $250,000 to the new library, which opened in 2012. That was enough to have the building named in their honor.

Mr. Hoag, the valedictorian of Albion’s Class of 1961, worked in the chemical engineering field. He lives in the Baltimore area but comes back to Albion for class reunions.

Photos by Tom Rivers

A plaque at Hoag Library notes the contributions from Maurice and Courtenay Hoag.

In July, the library received a surprise check from the Hoags. They asked that the money be used to pay down the mortgage on the new library.

That will reduce the debt payments and get the building paid off sooner. It could free up funds for programs, staff and supplies, or reduce the library tax.… More

The Orleans House Horse-Drawn Bus

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 30

This image likely taken in the 1890s shows the horse-drawn bus that was responsible for transporting patrons of the Orleans House around Albion. Most commonly the bus was used to carry passengers from the railroad station at Clinton Street to the hotel on East Bank Street.

After the turn of the century, the proprietor of the Orleans House experimented with the method of transportation by offering rides to Point Breeze during the day. The image was probably taken in the vicinity of Platt and East Bank Streets and depicts a time in Albion’s history when dirt streets were the norm.

The Orleans House was a popular meeting space for many prominent groups in Orleans County including the Orleans County Bar Association, which adopted their bylaws and constitution at the site on September 13, 1877. The 151st New York Infantry and the 17th New York Light Independent Artillery frequently held reunions at the hotel.… More

Prominent Holley Native Runs Lucrative Practice in Brooklyn

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 29

Born June 27, 1854 and a Kendall native, Henry Dwight Bliss was the son of Edwin and Mary Seymour Bliss. Receiving his earliest education from the one room schoolhouses of Kendall, Henry moved to Holley as a young man where his father was to take over as manager of Luther Gordon’s newly constructed lumber and coal yard. Bliss grew up around the construction and lumber business so it was only natural that he would attend the Rochester Business School after assisting his father with accounting and bookkeeping duties at the yard. Henry decided quickly that the merchant business wasn’t for him and he left the business school in Rochester after one year.

Bliss redirected his focus towards bigger and better things, starting in 1876 when he enrolled at Cornell University. Three years later, he transferred to the University of Rochester where he graduated in 1880.… More

Herbert Taylor and the 140th New York Infantry

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 28

A recent article in the Orleans Hub centered on Assemblyman Hawley’s 8th annual Patriot Trip to Washington D.C. and other important national landmarks, including the Gettysburg Battlefield. I had the pleasure of visiting Gettysburg for the first time in nearly 10 years, a trip I last made as a senior in high school. Naturally, a new perspective and better understanding of the historical events of July 1st through the 3rd left me with a different impression of the site.

The monument to Col. Patrick Henry O’Rorke features a bas-relief set in granite. Standing over eight feet tall, the marker rests atop the spot where O’Rorke was killed. His nose is polished as a result of visitors rubbing it for good luck, although he had little luck himself that day.

Upon Little Round Top rests a large monument dedicated to Col. Patrick O’Rorke, the site where New York’s 140th Volunteer Infantry made a valiant and daring charge down upon Hood’s Texans.… More