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

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

Albion Native, Founder of SentrySafe Company

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 27

This image shows John D. Brush, Sr. taken in 1916 as a senior at Albion High School.

The son of Dwight M. Brush and Eva Gill, John was born at Albion, NY on November 5, 1897. His father and grandfather, John E. Brush, engaged in the Pop Manufacturing and Bottling business on Moore Street in the 1880s and early 1890s. His father took control of the lease for the Exchange Hotel at 123-125 North Main Street around the time of John’s birth, operating that business until his untimely death in December of 1906. It was for this reason that John was forced to provide for himself starting at the age of nine.

John Brush graduated from Albion High School with the Class of 1916 and eventually completed studies at St. Lawrence University in 1922. He attended the Theological Seminary at St. Lawrence University, graduating in 1923.… More

Albion Wastewater Disposal System, 1933

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 26

Taken in May of 1933 by Frank S. Nayman, this image shows the Village of Albion’s sewage disposal facility located on Densmore Street near Butts Road. The plant used a “trickling filter” system where sewage was continuously sprayed over crushed stone.

Residents of Albion were forced to suffer from the pungent odors and pressured the village on numerous occasions to pursue other waste treatment options. Prior to this, sewage flowed directly into the West Branch of Sandy Creek that runs through the village. Residents clamored for improvements to the sewage disposal system as early as the 1880s, knowing that their current means of waste removal was unsanitary.

In the left half of this panoramic image, we see the houses that line Knapp and Joseph Streets with Sandy Creek running between them and the treatment plant. In the right half are a number of village laborers standing around a Ford Model T truck and a team of horses.… More

Carlton Native Sacrifices Life at Fredericksburg, 1862

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 25

This past week I had the pleasure of visiting the Fredericksburg Battlefield Park in Virginia and Gettysburg Battlefield Park in Pennsylvania, both with connections to local soldiers from Orleans County. Each visit was a moving experience and I thought perhaps I would share several stories of local men from our area over the coming weeks.

This image shows the gravesite of Pvt. Charles McOmber (misidentified as McCumber), burial number 2296.

Charles McOmber was born in 1844 at Carlton – his uncle Col. Calvin Otis was in command of the 100th New York Infantry and a noted architect in Buffalo. His father Van Rensselaer later enlisted with the 8th New York Cavalry at the advanced age of 54 and his brother Otis would serve with the 76th New York Infantry, spending 9 months at Andersonville Prison. Another brother Lorenzo would enlist with Orleans County’s 17th Light Independent Artillery, dying from typhoid fever in the summer of 1864.… More

Oldest Civil War Veterans Pictured at Mt. Albion

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 24

Taken around 1935, this image shows Orleans County’s last surviving Civil War veterans; now notice I did not write “last surviving Union veterans.”

Standing left is Robert Canham proudly wearing his Grand Army of the Republic ribbon. A native of England, Canham came to the U.S. at age 14 with his family and enlisted with the 3rd U.S. Artillery for three years before reenlisting with the 90th New York Infantry. At the time of his death in 1838, he was the last surviving Union veteran in this county at the age of 100.

In the middle is Henry Stockton. Also a native of England, Stockton enlisted with Orleans County’s 17th New York Independent Light Artillery for the final year of the war. He often told newspaper reporters that he was present at Gettysburg even though the regiment was formed nearly eight months after the battle.… More

Albion Native Regarded as “Bravest Man” in Great Sioux War

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 23

The son Shelby Harrington and Nancy Moore, Henry Moore Harrington was born at Albion on April 30, 1849. His maternal uncle, Charles Henry Moore, was a well respected entrepreneur and land speculator in Albion.

An astute and brilliant young man, Henry attended the Cleveland Institute at University Heights, Ohio where he graduated as valedictorian of his class. It was with these high honors that Harrington was awarded with an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy, an honor that he turned down in favor of a spot at the U.S. Military Academy in 1868.

Harrington’s time at West Point was completed in 1872, capped off by his marriage to Grace Berard, the daughter of a professor at the military academy. Shortly thereafter, Harrington was assigned as a lieutenant with the 7th U.S. Cavalry and stationed in the Carolinas for training during the winter and spring of 1872/1873.… More

Hoag Library Occupies Hart Mansion Site

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 22

This once beautiful mansion was erected on South Main Street by local entrepreneur Elizur Kirke Hart. President of the Orleans County National Bank and director of the Niagara Falls Suspension Bridge Company, Hart was well respected throughout Orleans County as a precise and decisive businessman who exuded confidence and common sense.

On July 31, 1871 Hart purchased Hemlock Island from Charles and John Walton for $100 and commenced the construction of a large and beautiful “cottage” near Alexandria Bay. The expansive structure was completed at a cost of $12,000 (over $300,000 today), measuring 84 feet long by 76 feet wide, and containing 80 rooms; hardly a “cottage” by today’s standards.

The large summer home constructed on “Hart Island” was one of the most highly desired properties in the Thousand Islands region, even more desirable than George Pullman’s nearby cottage, “Castle Rest.” Hart received numerous purchase offers on the astounding estate but consistently refused to sell.… More