New York Sun editor spent childhood in Gaines

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 13

The annals of local history are filled with the names of influential citizens who were either born here or lived here before moving beyond the political boundaries of our area to establish themselves on a much larger scale. One such man was Charles Anderson Dana, a name that few would recognize today.

This daguerreotype from the 1850s taken by Matthew Brady shows the staff of the New York Tribune. Seated left to right are George M. Snow, Bayard Taylor, Horace Greeley (once owner of the Ward House in Childs), and George Ripley. Standing left to right are William Henry Fry, Charles Anderson Dana, and Henry J. Raymond.

The son of Anderson Dana and Anna Denison, Charles A. Dana was born on Aug. 8, 1819 at Hinsdale, New Hampshire. At a young age, Charles was brought to Orleans County with his siblings where his father accepted a position as the overseer of a canal warehouse at Gaines Basin.… More

Early Albion Catholics Practiced at North Main Street Site

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 12

Irish Catholic immigrants flocked to Orleans County as early as the 1820s and 1830s, well in advance of the Great Famine of 1845-1852. The Irish in Albion and Medina quickly found work within the newly established sandstone quarries located throughout the region, yet no house of worship existed to meet their weekly sacramental requirements.

Around 1840 Rev. Patrick Costello of Lockport visited Albion to celebrate Mass in the home of John Walsh, an early Irish settler in the village. The earliest Irish population was small, consisting of the families of Samuel McCaffrey, Denis Sullivan, Patrick McMahon, Bernard Flaherty, Thomas Crean, and Felix McCann, the latter a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo. The community rented space in the Burrows Block on Main Street and priests held monthly services from Lockport or Rochester. These priests were also called upon to administer the sacraments of baptism and matrimony.… More

Blacksmith shoes a horse in Shelby a century ago

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 11

This photograph taken in June of 1907 shows the interior of Nelson N. King’s Blacksmith Shop located at Shelby Center. A native of Newfane, King started his blacksmithing career in Orleans County working with Maxim “Peter” Pilon at Carlton Station.

In July of 1900, Pilon sold his shop and all of the associated tools to King who assumed control of the business shortly after. On June 27, 1903 King married Lillian Ryan at Shelby and started to rent the Bailey Blacksmith Shop at Shelby Center in late October of 1904.

Nelson King is bent over with the horse’s hind leg positioned between his own legs preparing the hoof for shoeing. On the left, Pierson “Syke” Neal is shown working a horseshoe on the anvil while Adra Wormuth, a local farmer, observes.

Blacksmiths wore aprons to cover their clothing, protecting them from sparks created by the pounding of heated metal.… More

A century ago, Club 469 was popular saloon in Albion

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 10

ALBION – Operated by Mathew Ciszek, an Austrian-Polish immigrant, the old “Club 469” served as a saloon and bottling works for the community of East State Street during the first quarter of the 20th century.

A 1910 Orleans County Business Directory entry indicates that the business had expanded considerably and the Ciszeks were dealing in coal and wood in addition to the saloon and bottling business. After Mathew’s untimely death in 1910, his son Frank took control of the business.

This image, taken sometime between 1910 and 1915, depicts the interior of the bar room of Ciszek’s Saloon located at 113 East State Street. The original bar rested along the west wall, was moved to the east wall later on, and finally returned to the west wall with the opening of the Crooked Door Tavern.

Along the foot of the bar rests several spittoons as well as a luggage bag balancing on the foot rail.… More

Orleans County residents made the ultimate sacrifice

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 9

A day to remember those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice over the last 239 years, Memorial Day serves as an occasion for each and every citizen to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy. “Decoration Day,” as it was called, has its roots in the Civil War when loved ones decorated the graves of their dearly departed soldiers. Today, we continue that tradition by adorning the graves of our veterans with flowers and flags.

Over the next four years we will commemorate the passing of the centennial of the First World War. A horrific and deadly conflict that was said to be “the war to end all wars,” took the lives of several dozen Orleans County citizens over the course of nineteen months. Our families sent over 1,000 young men to face the horrors of war and upon their return, the physical and emotional scars would remain for the rest of their lives.… More

Renowned Gaines naturalist was purveyor of fine specimens in Chicago

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 8

This image shows the storefront of F. H. Lattin & Company in Chicago, Ill. Although this is not an image of a building in Orleans County, Frank Haak Lattin of Gaines operated this store as one of several specializing in the sale of natural specimens, instruments and supplies.

Graduating from the Albion High School in 1882, Lattin would spend several years teaching in Gaines. Lattin recognized the rich geological nature of the Orleans County region and collected a number of specimens from neighboring sandstone and limestone quarries.

In his earliest years as a collector he focused his attention strictly on birds’ eggs and started a publication called the “Oologist” in 1884. That collection of eggs became so extensive that it occupied two warehouses and at one time pieces of the collection were placed on exhibit at the Field Museum in Chicago.

By the time of his retirement in 1896, he was regarded as one of the most well known dealers of his kind in the United States.… More

Cobblestone Society dedicated Farmer’s Hall 35 years ago

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 7

GAINES – On June 1, 1980 the Cobblestone Society formally dedicated the newly relocated Farmer’s Hall situated on Route 98 just south of Route 104.

The occasion was marked by a farmers’ parade from Gaines to Childs, which ended at Tillman’s Village Inn. Following the dedication ceremony in front of the Hall, attendees enjoyed a little fun and fellowship at the museum.

This picture shows Charlie and Jean Shervin “cuttin’ the rug” at the festivities following the dedication. The photo was taken in front of Radzinski’s H&A located where Crosby’s gas station currently sits.

The brick building in the background was part of the brick house that now serves as the Cobblestone Museum’s resource center. This portion of the building and the old liquor store attached to the front of the house were both removed after the museum purchased the building in 1998.

In its 55th year, the Cobblestone Museum will open this Sunday from 11 a.m.… More

About 100 Brockville students were educated in 4-room schoolhouse

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 6

MURRAY – This image taken in the late 1920s shows the interior of a classroom at the Murray District No. 6 School located on the corner of West Brockville and Fancher roads. Unlike other rural schoolhouses in the area, this building had four classrooms used to teach over 100 students enrolled in the district.

This particular school was constructed in 1911 and was likely built to accommodate the Italian families living in the area. Guy D’Amico served as the first teacher and instructed all eight grades in three of the classrooms. Mabel Brockway and Ella Clark were the last two teachers to serve the district.

The school was closed in 1947 and in 1955 the district allowed the Fancher Legion Post to use the building following a devastating fire that burned their former post building the previous year. When the Fancher Post disbanded in 1971, a heated debate over ownership ensued.… 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