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 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

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

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

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