Volume 2, Issue 14
On May 23, 1898, the A. L. Swett Electric Light & Power Company was incorporated by Albert Swett with a capital stock of $50,000. Swett, a prominent and respected entrepreneur in Medina, was quick to notice the local need for electricity. That need would be satisfied through a power plant constructed along the Oak Orchard Creek in the vicinity of the falls. Purchasing a parcel of land where an old mill had previously burned, Swett cleared the debris and constructed a plant to take advantage of the water power.
That plant was quickly overtaxed by the high demand for electricity and a steam plant was constructed to supplement the output of the first plant. Swett was an intelligent businessman with the foresight to purchase as much land along the creek as possible. Over the course of twenty years, he amassed a large holding of property to the north of Medina that would be used to expand his electric company.… More
Volume 2, Issue 8
This image shows the construction of the Buffalo, Lockport & Rochester Railway through Medina in 1908. Looking north, workers are in the process of laying tracks on Main Street towards Commercial Street where the rail line would turn west and run to Salt Works Road. The iconic clock tower of White’s Hotel can be seen in the background as well as a large advertisement for Daniel D. Holdredge’s crockery and undertaking business.
The earliest efforts to construct an electric interurban railway through this area started around the turn of the century. Discussion of forming a railway that ran from Batavia to Olcott through Medina were amongst the very first plans for a trolley system. However, the 1.7 mile Albion Electric Railway was the only successful line in these early years.
Chartered in 1905, the Buffalo, Lockport & Rochester Railway was a combination of the Albion & Lockport Railway, the Albion & Rochester Railway, and the Albion Electric Railway.… More
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
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
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
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
Revisiting Old Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 1
This photograph depicts the surviving members of Company F, 108th Infantry of the 27th Division who served with the American Expeditionary Forces during the First World War. Taken sometime in the 1920s, the image shows the men from Orleans County standing on the front steps of the Armory in Medina. When Woodrow Wilson announced the United States’ entry into the war on April 6, 1917, Europeans had been engulfed in total warfare for the previous three years and were wedged in a stalemate thanks to the evolution of military technology and tactics. When the men of Company F landed on the shores of France in the late spring of 1918, French and British troops had already started the process of forcing the Germans back across the Franco-German border. With the help of the A.E.F., the war would come to a conclusion roughly six months after the majority of U.S.… More
Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 9
A day to remember those soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice over the last 239 years, Memorial Day serves as an occasion for each and every citizen to reflect on the freedoms that we enjoy. “Decoration Day,” as it was called, has its roots in the Civil War when loved ones decorated the graves of their dearly departed soldiers. Today, we continue that tradition by adorning the graves of our veterans with flowers and flags.
Over the next four years we will commemorate the passing of the centennial of the First World War. A horrific and deadly conflict that was said to be “the war to end all wars,” took the lives of several dozen Orleans County citizens over the course of nineteen months. Our families sent over 1,000 young men to face the horrors of war and upon their return, the physical and emotional scars would remain for the rest of their lives.… More
Old-Time Orleans, Vol. 1, Issue 5
MEDINA – This image depicts the original Sacred Heart of Jesus R.C. Church in Medina, located at the corner of Ann Street and High Street.
The children of the parish are seen gathering on the front steps of the church and the appearance of white dresses suggests that it was a First Holy Communion celebration. It appears as though the priest is standing on the porch of the house, which served as his living quarters.
The original parish was established under the pastorate of Ks. Tomasz Gwodz who arrived in 1910, appointed by Bishop Charles Colton on February 1st of that year. Prior to the arrival of a resident priest, the Polish community of Medina was served periodically by Ks. Stanislaw Bubacz who was rector at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church in Albion. Construction of this wood frame structure began in the spring of 1910 and the first Mass was celebrated on August 7, 1910.… More