Home of “Mover & Shaker” Replaced by Post Office

Vol. 3, Issue 23

This postcard, sent February 27, 1912 to Mrs. D. C. Hopkins of Batavia, shows the Greek Revival house constructed for Alexis Ward in 1841. The postcard also shows the home of Alexander Stewart to the left. At the time this photograph was taken, the Buffalo, Lockport, and Rochester Trolley was in operation as the tracks are visible running through the center of State Street.

Alexis Ward was born at Addison, Vermont on May 18, 1802. His parents relocated to Cayuga County, New York when he was a very young boy and he attended the local schools in that vicinity before studying law at Auburn. He arrived at Albion in 1824, one year after his admittance to the bar, and was appointed Justice of the Peace shortly thereafter.

Ward was quite the “mover and shaker” in early Albion, playing an instrumental role in securing the charter for the Bank of Orleans, serving as the president of that institution for a number of years.… More

Landmark Presbyterian Church Stands as Testament to 19th Century Prosperity

Volume 2, Issue 34

Few churches in Orleans County can boast such an extensive and prosperous history at the First Presbyterian Society. The earliest roots of the Church date to 1816 when the First Congregational Society of Barre was formed at the home of Joseph Hart. Nearly twenty years later members from that church showed preference towards the Presbyterian style of church government and opted to relocate to the fledgling village that would later become Albion.

The founding members of that congregation included prominent residents such as Joseph Hart, Jedediah Phelps, and Harvey Goodrich who were subsequently selected as elders of the church; Hart was also selected as deacon. Following the organization of this new congregation, the church welcomed their first new member by baptism, the infant Flora Ann Hopkins, daughter of Milton Hopkins. Services were held in several locations including a schoolhouse on Main Street, a local barn, and for a period of time, the court house.… More

Alms House Hospital Wing Dedicated in 1905

Volume 2, Issue 33

This image taken in 1905 shows a gathering of local officials and community members at the opening of the hospital wing at the Orleans County Alms House. The estimated $20,000 extension of the Poor House was designed by architect Fred Harvey Loverin of Buffalo and completed with much anticipation from local officials.

The main building, pictured right, consisted of an administration building, a men’s ward, and a women’s ward all constructed in 1878 by Frank Downing. The building replaced the badly deteriorated County House, which was deemed obsolete by a committee consisting of John Hull White, Burton Keys, and Julius Harris. The committee reported that “…the roof leaks badly…” and that “…the walls appear to be infested with vermin, and there is no way to exterminate them except by building the walls anew.” It is shown in the papers of Frederick Law Olmstead that he was consulted in the planning of the new Alms House building.… More

A Vintage Look at Albion’s Vibrant Business District

Volume 2, Issue 17

In this image taken in 1935 we see the Exchange Hotel which was located on North Main Street in Albion. The front windows are adorned with alcohol paraphernalia including a Genesee Beer sign, the hotel’s liquor license hanging in the left window, and the Bell Telephone Company signs indicating the presence of a public telephone.

At the time this image was taken, Patrick Grady was the proprietor of the business. An immigrant from Ireland, Grady had his start locally as a farmer spending several years working for Supt. Luddington at the Orleans County Alms House and on other farms throughout the area. He later worked as a hack driver for Anson Dunshee at the Orleans House in Albion, transporting patrons from the hotel on East Bank Street to the Clinton Street rail station. It was on January 1, 1913 that through a series of unfortunate events, Grady took control over the Exchange Hotel.… 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

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