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

Medina Big Leaguer Strikes Out The Bambino

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 16

Sports enthusiasts from Medina will recognize the name Carl Fischer from his time as a major league pitcher in the 1930s. Albion residents are familiar with his newsstand, which retains his name to this day. Yet all of Orleans County can appreciate the contributions that Fischer made to this community after his years in the big leagues.

A native of Medina, Charles W. Fischer was born on November 5, 1905 and graduated from Medina High School in 1924. Following graduation he started his professional career with various minor league teams throughout the east coast before he transitioned into the limelight. Selected by the Washington Senators, Fischer debuted on July 19, 1930 in a 5-2 loss against the Cleveland Indians.

In 1932 the “Medina Mauler” was sent to the Detroit Tigers where he would experience his best days as a hurler. It was in that year that Fischer was said to have struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Sam Byrd consecutively in a game against the New York Yankees.… More

Albion Catholics Celebrate Mass at Hughes’ Alley

Revisiting Old Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 3

It has been over 175 years since the first Irish celebrated Mass in the home of John Walsh in the Village of Albion. With an influx of Irish Catholics during the 1820s and 1830s as well as the flock of German Catholics who arrived several decades after, it was deemed necessary to construct a permanent house of worship for the immigrant community.

It was Rev. Patrick Costello of Lockport who first visited in Albion around 1840 to celebrate Mass. Throughout the following decade, the Catholic community of Albion would meet their sacramental requirements thanks to a visiting priest from Lockport or Rochester who would visit on a monthly basis. In cases of baptism, matrimony, or illness, a priest would be called upon to administer the appropriate sacrament as time allowed.… More

126 Years Ago – Dye Hose Prepares for 4th of July Parade

Revisiting Old Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 2

Formed amidst the vast wilderness that was Upstate New York, Albion was built within dense old-growth forests that covered the region. The untouched and uncultivated land proved to be both dangerous and threatening for early settlers. Wooded regions were filled with deadly animals that have gone unseen in this area for decades, but the most deadly threat to early settlement was fire.

Dating back to 1829, Albion’s earliest protection against the threat of fire was prevention. Fire Wardens sought to eliminate dangerous scenarios that often led to devastating disasters, yet for those occasions where the inevitable fire broke out, the bucket brigade became the last defense against these deadly occurrences. Between 1831 and 1880, Albion witnessed the development and transformation of the area’s fire fighting force from the establishment of a rudimentary group of young men to the creation of a well-developed and complex system of multiple fire companies.… 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

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

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

Albion brothers make ultimate sacrifice

Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 3

ALBION – Pictured here is the family of John Galashan Sheret, Sr. of Albion. An immigrant from Newhills, Scotland, John came to Albion where he was employed as a block breaker. He later served as Secretary of the International Union of Paving Cutters of the United States and Canada.

Pictured in this photo (standing left to right) are John Jr., James, and Egbert. Seated, left to right: John Sr., Andrew, Marian, Anna, and Elsie. The photograph was taken circa 1906.

Egbert served with the Machine Gun Battalions, known as “Suicide Squads” during the Punitive Expedition in Mexico. Immediately following his return to New York City in 1917, he requested a transfer to the 3rd NY National Guard, Company F in Medina to serve with his brothers James and Andrew.

On Sept. 29, 1918, the 27th Division of the American Expeditionary Forces, containing the 108th Infantry and Company F, led a courageous charge on German defenses at the Hindenburg Line.… More

Albion’s Polish Band

Front (L-R): Alexander Rytlewski, Frank Kwiatkowski, John Jasniewski, Frank Jaworski, John Nayman, James Kaniecki, D. Jaworski, Frank Smith, Frank Furmanski, Stanley Rice, Ignatius Rice.

Middle (L-R): Joseph Zwiefka, Joseph Rytlewski, Reynolds (Bandmaster), August Mager, Stanley Rutkowski.

Back (L-R): Max Waclawski, C. Kaminski, ? Kaminski, John Gurzinski, Stephen Cichocki.

Old-Time Orleans – Volume I, Issue I

While addressing the first meeting of the Orleans County Pioneer Association over 150 years ago, Arad Thomas remarked, “…we shall teach our children the story of their labors and success, as examples to be imitated…” Of course Thomas was referring to the men and women who journeyed hundreds of miles into the wildness that was Orleans County, risking their lives to start a new life. When Theta Hakes Brown assumed the role of Orleans County Historian in 1938, she worked diligently to preserve the accomplishments of our forefathers and set in stone the importance of local history.… More