Place Names Offer Look Into Past Communities

Vol. 4, No. 46

The abundance of town, village, hamlet, road, and street names provides an opportunity to understand the past. Many of the towns and villages in Orleans County are named in honor of prominent men in the United States; Kendall, for example, is named in honor of U.S. Postmaster General Amos Kendall (an ardent supporter of President Andrew Jackson). Hamlets often serve as an indicator of local status or early settlement; Kuckville in honor of George Kuck, Hindsburg in honor of Jacob Hinds, or Knowlesville in honor of William Knowles. The origins of street and road names, on the other hand, are more elusive. In some simple cases, they indicate early settlement, in other cases they may indicate the past presence of an early service offered in the area, but on occasion the names seem rather silly and lacking in sensibility.

Beaver Alley in Albion is a clear oddity, but considering the possible origin of the name, perhaps it makes sense.… More

Gandy Dancers Provided Maintenance Services to Local Railroads

Vol. 4, No. 33

This rather interesting photograph shows five men working as part of a section gang along the Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Railroad. It is believed that this particular crossing was located somewhere in the town of Kendall and the photograph was taken September 11, 1897. The men appear to have stopped for dinner (the midday meal) as several metal pails appear on the car. One of the young men appears to be holding his pocket watch as if to show that it is noontime.

The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was chartered in 1858, and like all great projects, was delayed for nearly ten years until the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad Company was formed on March 27, 1868. It would take another three years before construction commenced at Red Creek, New York and within two years the railway was operational from Ontario, Wayne County to Oswego. The rails eventually stretched to Kendall but the Panic of 1873 forced the company’s mortgage bonds to be called in early, which drove the railroad into bankruptcy.… More

Kendall Store Suffers Multiple Fires

Volume 3, Issue 6

This photograph shows the interior of James Trivit Lacey’s store located on east side of Kendall Road near the intersection of Kenmore Road. Born at Tunstead, Norfolk, England in 1859, Lacey arrived in the United States at the age of 25 in 1884 and lived in the Yates/Carlton area for several years before relocating to Kendall. It was at this location that he would operate a shoe shop, confectionary store, and billiards parlor.

On May 6, 1901, Lacey closed up shop for the day and departed the business for his home located up the street. All was quiet until a fire was discovered in his storefront by a passerby, who alerted nearby residents. The church bells tolled to call community members to the town square and the process of extinguishing the fire began. Despite their best efforts, Mother Nature had other plans and a swift northeasterly wind pushed the flames to nearby buildings.… More

Vintage Look at Kendall Furniture Outfit

Volume 3, Issue 5

This image shows the interior of Stevens’ Furniture Store located in Kendall, taken sometime in the early 1900s. The man standing in this photograph is likely Marhlon Stevens, the owner of the business. Marhlon was the son of Nelson Stevens, a Herkimer County native who worked as a farmer, bookkeeper, and schoolmaster before testing out the furniture and undertaking business in Kendall.

Nelson Stevens brought his family to Orleans County in 1901 and operated this business for several years before he unexpectedly died of pneumonia in 1908. At that point in time, his son took over the operations of the outfit, which advertised itself as the “House of Quality.” In the days prior to embalming and before funeral parlors were established, furniture dealers often doubled as undertakers who assisted families in preparing the home for wakes.

In this image we see a number of mattresses and rocking chairs in the center of the room.… More

The Ontario House: Troutburg’s Successful Temperance Hotel

Volume 2, Issue 12

The stunning view provided by Lake Ontario led to the formation of hamlets and cottage communities along the lakeshore and eventually caused the establishment of numerous hotels and summer resorts in Orleans County. The wealthiest members of society used these locations as an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, resulting in the growth of lakefront property serving as a seasonal destination for the out-of-towners.

In 1860, land originally purchased by Asa Lee at Troutburg in Kendall was transferred to his daughter-in-law Sarah J. Lee who oversaw the construction of what would later become the Ontario House. This large, luxurious hotel was “first class in every respect” and catered to locals and visitors alike.

Situated on the west side of the Orleans/Monroe county line, the complex consisted of a house, dance hall, and barn. Standing just to the west of the main house, the dance hall served as a “picnic house” for excursionists who were visiting the area by way of boat.… 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