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

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