Arundell: Queen of Lake Ontario

Volume 2, Issue 39

This image shows the steamer Arundell approaching Oak Orchard Harbor around 1904 or 1905. Built by the Bell Iron Works at Buffalo in 1879, this iron hull steamer was operated along the southern coast of Lake Ontario during the summer months through 1910. When this photograph was taken, the Arundell was owned and operated by the Cole & Holt Lines of Bay City, Michigan and was brought each spring to Lake Ontario by way of the Welland Canal. The steamer frequently carried Orleans County passengers during picnic days and pioneer events.

The company advertised “Good meals on steamer at 50 cents,” and “No dust, cool breeze and a pleasant time guaranteed” for its excursion trips across the lake. These relaxing jaunts included stops at Olcott Beach, Point Breeze, Charlotte, Sodus Point, Fairhaven, Oswego, Cape Vincent, and Clayton; the typical cost of a round trip ticket from Olcott to the Thousand Islands was $5.00 per person.… More

Albion Post Office’s Storied Past

Volume 2, Issue 38

This image shows the interior of the Albion Post Office located near the intersection of East Bank and Platt streets. From left to right we see Frank Tripp, Leon Gilbert, Postmaster Daniel Hanley, an unknown gentleman, and Charles Patton. Note the image of Teddy Roosevelt hanging to the right; we also see scales situated on the back table used for weighing packages. Both Tripp and the gentleman standing in the background are wearing sleeves used to protect their shirts from wet pen ink.

During the earliest years of the U.S. Postal Service, the position of postmaster was one that was fueled by cronyism and serves as one of the finest examples of the patronage system. Many recommendations for local postmasters came from area congressmen who sought to appoint members of their affiliated party in exchange for political favors. For this reason, turnover for the position of postmaster was just as frequent as the state and national election cycles.… More

Western House of Refuge

Volume 2, Issue 37

Nearly 125 years ago, the Western House of Refuge was constructed on farmland located west of the village of Albion. It was largely due to the work of E. K. Hart that this location was selected as the site for this new establishment, which was opened on December 8, 1893. For nearly a month, the institution went without receiving a single inmate until the first woman was “brought in” during the early part of January 1894.

The House of Refuge provides insight into an interesting period in the U.S. penal system. Women ages 16 to 30 who were charged with crimes ranging from petit larceny to public intoxication, prostitution, or “waywardness” would find themselves confined to the Refuge for a period of three to five years. During a time when crimes of a sexual nature, such as prostitution, provided a double standard in society between males and females, women were sent to the House of Refuge by cuckolded husbands or families.… More

Two Western New Yorkers Responsible for Advent of Labor Day

Volume 2, Issue 36

As many of us prepare to enjoy a few moments of vacation time this Labor Day, it is important to reflect upon the origins of the holiday. Today, we see the first Monday in September as an official end to the summer season; a day for picnics, trips, and rest. Yet over 100 years ago, the federal holiday was established as a day to honor the American labor movement and the continued commitment of the U.S. labor force to the development of the country.

In the 1840s, a young George Pullman arrived in Albion with his father’s family and settled down in the village. Pullman’s father, James, was a prominent member of the Universalist Church in Brocton, NY and often filled the pulpit in that vicinity in the absence of a minister. Upon their arrival in Orleans County, the Pullmans attended the nearest Universalist society, which was located in the town of Gaines.… More