Thankful for Our Municipal Historians

Volume 1, Issue 39

Photograph courtesy of Holly Canham, taken November 19, 2015 following the meeting of municipal historians. Standing (l-r): Adrienne Daniels, Matthew Ballard, Dawn Metty, Ian Mowatt, Neil Johnson. Seated (l-r): Melissa Ierlan, Al Capurso. Missing: Todd Bensley.

Issue 39 marks the end of the first volume of this column. Although February marks the conclusion of my first full year as County Historian, I am amazed at the progress I have witnessed over the last ten months. Orleans County is fortunate to have the backing of a core group of very active historians and enthusiasts who continue to devote all of their extra time to the promotion of our heritage.

On November 19th we held a meeting of the local municipal historians at the Hoag Library’s Local History Room. The last gathering of this group was nearly ten years prior and with a great deal of transitioning over the several years prior, our hope was to provide a venue for becoming familiar with one another and establishing an opportunity to develop collaborative projects.… More

Knowlesville Family Produced Lineage of Physicians

Volume 1, Issue 38

The eldest son of Benoni Grover, Lysander was born January 22, 1802 at Deerfield, Massachusetts. Lysander’s father was a farmer in his early life, forced to adopt a new profession after a horrible milling accident cost him his leg. It was after this accident that he married his wife, Thankful Smith, and raised several children including Lysander.

When Lysander was all but five years of age, his father moved the family to Phelps, New York, where he attended schools and worked on area farms. Despite his rugged family genes, young Lysander’s body could no longer take the physical strain of manual labor and he was forced to establish himself in a profession that was more manageable.

Attending an academy at Geneva, Lysander attained a teacher’s certificate and proceeded to teach in the local school districts for several years. Finding the profession of a teacher quite bothersome, he sought out a new vocation.… More

Publishing History Engages Communities

Volume 1, Issue 37 suppl.

This week’s column for Old-Time Orleans is a supplemental issue connected to last week’s piece on the St. Mary’s Athletic Club baseball team.

On occasion, my weekly column flushes out a piece of related local history. New photographs, documents, records, and even artifacts have surfaced thanks to the willingness of the Orleans Hub and Batavia Daily News to publish the syndicated column every week. I greatly appreciate the feedback, both positive and negative, regarding the content of each piece and hope that the community continues to provide these responses.

Following the publication of my most recent article, I received several photographs from the Clarendon Town Historian of several baseball uniforms. The pieces, passed down through their family, were loaned to her by Larry and Brenda Swanger who graciously allowed her to clean and display them in Clarendon. Without a doubt, the uniforms are the exact style worn by the players from last week’s photograph so I thought it would be fitting to not only share images of these amazing artifacts, but provide some additional insight into the formation of the St.… More

Albion Saints Reigned as County Baseball Champs in 1920s

Volume 1, Issue 37

In the spring of 1933, the St. Mary’s Athletic Club players posed for this team photograph on opening day at the club’s home field on Moore Street in Albion. The 1933 and 1934 seasons would be some of the worst seen by the team in the two decades prior, bringing about an end to their run as league champions.

The organization was established just 9 years prior in February of 1924 amidst the height of Prohibition. It was in the spring of the same year that the club’s first baseball team was organized and consisted of Chester “Chisep” Avino, Frank “Peppy” Avino, Ted “Charcoal” Avino, Tony Button, Stanley “Flip” Furmanski, Ed “Wimpy” Furmanski, Casimer “Guz” Friday, John Lewandowski, Max Lubawy, John Mager, Max “Showboat” Mager, Stanley “Panama” Radzinski, Joe “Crow-foot” Rice, Stanley “Sandy” Sadowski, Casimer “Spizek” Stucko, Stanley “Sea Dog” Telga, John Wieczorek, and Stanley “Kuba” Wieczorek.… More

Canal Expansion Represents Greatest Engineering Feat

Volume 1, Issue 36

On July 4, 1817, New York State embarked on a crusade to complete the greatest feat in the history of modern engineering; a 363 mile ditch from Albany to Buffalo aimed at connecting the Atlantic Ocean with the Great Lakes. Eight years later this expansive project was completed and welcomed a vast number of packet boats and mule teams to its tow path. Improvements focused on repairing leaks and widening the canal began almost immediately in order to accommodate the flood of shipping traffic.

It was in 1903 that New York State authorized the redevelopment and massive expansion project that would turn the Erie Canal into the “Barge Canal.” Starting in 1905, this massive undertaking required thirteen years to complete and cost New York taxpayers nearly $100,000,000. The 82 locks located along the miles of canal prism covering 565 feet worth of elevation shifts represented an outstanding accomplishment for State engineers, but the expansive projects undertaken as part of Contract Number 65 in the western section of Orleans County was one that could easily rival any prior achievements.… More

Medina Once Home to Clock Works

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 35

Taken in early 1912, this image shows the construction of the new Monitor Clock Works factory in Medina. At that time the business was located on Rock Avenue, which was later renamed to Glenwood Avenue. The company began advertising their plans to construct this new 30,000 square foot facility in early December of 1911.

The history of the Monitor Clock Works dates back to Daniel Azro Ashley Buck, a native of Vermont who spent time as a jeweler and watchmaker in Massachusetts, then in Connecticut. It was in this area that he patented the long spring Waterbury Watch in the 1880s. Buck became well known for manufacturing small, mechanical items and received numerous patents during the 1880s and 1890s.

Buck received patents for watch parts, portable clocks, musical toys, kaleidoscopes, coin operating vending machines, and even an 1887 camera. It was the completion of the world’s smallest steam engine that earned him greater notoriety; a 150 piece engine that was built atop a gold coin.… More

Orleans County Pilot was Favored Wingman of WWII Fighter Ace

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 34

This image, courtesy of the American Air Museum in Britain, shows Capt. Eugene E. Barnum of Gaines discussing the actions of his latest mission at Halesworth Airfield in Suffolk, England. The exact date of the image is unknown, but was passed for publication on November 26, 1943. Standing left to right is Lt. Col. Francis “Gabby” Gabreski, Lt. Eugene Barnum, and Lt. Frank Klibbe. Gabreski was shot down over Germany on July 20, 1944 and spent five days imprisoned in Stalag Luft I near Barth, Germany. Klibbe died on January 27, 1944 during a flight test when the engine of his P-47D failed.

Barnum, a native of Gaines, was placed with the 61st Fighter Squadron of the 56th Fighter Group stationed in Britain. While flying with the 56th Fighter Group, Barnum became the preferred wingman of “Gabby” Gabreski until December 2, 1944.… More

Medina Man Patents “Novel” Farm Gate

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 33

Clarendon can stake her claim to Joseph Glidden, a one-time resident of the town who is credited with perfecting barbed wire – made quite a bit of money from it, too! Medina can stake her claim to Orrin J. Wyman, a man who set out to build a better farm gate.

Pictured on the far right is Orrin Wyman standing alongside his patented “O.K. Farm Gate.” Filing the patent on July 17, 1911, the patent was provided nearly five months later on December 12, 1911. This patent states that Wyman’s “novel” farm gate was newly designed and was “…braced…to prevent sagging of the outer or free end of the gate.”

This was not Wyman’s first patent, nor his first attempt to redesign the all-important device essential for farms throughout Orleans County and the United States. Orrin received his first patent on February 20, 1906 when he and several other men perfected a “Barrel-heading Press;” yet another important implement for our region.… More

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