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local history

‘Out of the Past’ looks at highlights in March from years ago

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 29 March 2017 at 9:30 am

A crackdown on pinball, survivors of a sunken ship, a failed bank in Medina, and an outbreak of ‘religious mania’

Editor’s Note: County Historian Matthew Ballard has a new monthly column, “Out of the Past,” that lists interesting events happenings from various milestone years (50 years ago, 75, 100, 125, 150, 175, and 200).

75 Years Ago – 1942

March 5th

The U.S. State Department announces that George D. Lamont will serve as consul to French Guiana. Lamont was formerly serving as consul at Canton, China.

March 12th

Mr. and Mrs. Fay Hollenbeck of Gaines receive a phone call from their son Louis Hollenbeck, a sailor aboard the U.S.S. Jacob Jones, the destroyer sunk by German torpedoes on February 27, 1942 off the coast of New Jersey. Hollenbeck was one of 11 survivors from the crew of roughly 150.

March 19th

Orleans County receives word of the first local casualties of the war when the parents of Alfred J. Skinner of Medina and James Zazzara of Holley are notified that their sons are missing in action. Both men were aboard the U.S.S. Houston when it was sunk on February 28, 1942 during the Battle of Sunda Strait in the Pacific Theater. It would be nearly nine months before the fate of the ship was known.

March 26th

Orleans County District Attorney Russell Scharping issues an order branding all pinball machines illegal, directing their removal from all establishments within the county limits. The act was the result of efforts in New York City to ban the “gambling” machines that offered no pay-off system. Glen and Thomas Calafates of the Mayflower Restaurant in Medina were the first to have their machines confiscated in December and January of the previous year.

100 Years Ago – 1917

March 1st

Rumors were circulating across the county that woman suffragists at Albion wanted the village charter amended so that they could vote for school officers at charter elections.

March 1st

Assemblyman Frank Lattin introduced a bill to amend the village charter in Albion in order to annex the sewage treatment facility constructed on Densmore Street in Gaines.

March 1st

A young boy appeared in a local church the previous Sunday with a box of candy. When the pastor asked where he obtained the candy, the young lad told the minister that he had “won it.” He had placed his pennies in a gambling machine at a candy store and won the prize. The result was a local movement to “suppress the petty gambling devices” in Medina.

March 8th

Erwin King, the man who would eventually be convicted of the murder of Charles Phelps and Margaret Wolcott, was arrested in Cattaraugus County on a charge of perjury.

March 8th

Edward Donaher, 22 of Shelby, was crushed by a falling tree. Expecting the tree to fall in another direction, he was unable to move out of the way in time. While attempting to escape, he stubbed his toe and fell, the tree crushing his chest. It was expected that the young man would succumb to his injuries.

March 15th

William Kelley and Tony Chireco of Rochester are arrested by county sheriff deputies at Fancher. The two are accused of murdering Wesley Webster at a lunch car in the city.

March 22nd

Rumors are circulating that Guy Merrill, Platt LaMont, and Elbert Rowley are forming a new corporation to take over the interest of Morgan & Linson Cold Storage.

March 29th

Edith Ponder, an 18-year-old servant working for a family on Lewiston road, was committed to the Buffalo state hospital after suffering an attack of “religious mania.” The woman was said to be reading the Bible at “unseemly hours” and objected to anyone working on Sunday. The case was of interest to many Christians across the county.

125 Years Ago – 1892

March 3rd

A large pane of glass in the storefront belonging to Allen & Vosler’s meat market was broken by a snowball which was thrown by a young boy named Comerford.

March 3rd

James Farrell and John O’Brien, who are working on the sewers in the western part of Medina, were seriously injured when a dynamite cartridge exploded.

March 10th

A farmer sent a ten-cent stamp to a man claiming to offer advice on how to operate a farm without having to worry about potato bugs. The farmer received the following response, “Plant fruit trees instead of potatoes.”

March 17th

Harry Underhill was injured at Ide’s planing mill at Medina when a saw he was using caught a knot in a piece of wood, sending splinters into his eye. A doctor was summoned and the splinters removed.

March 17th

Nerville L. Cole was elected as president of the Village of Holley without opposition.

150 Years Ago – 1867

March 13th

Notices appear in papers across the country that the First National Bank at Medina failed and closed its doors near the end of February. It was suspected that the failure was due to the bank president’s “wild speculations” in the produce business. The federal treasury agreed to cover outstanding bank notes from the institution.

March 16th

Newspapers report that a man living in Murray, who arrived in the area over fifty years ago, had never once traveled from his home. The farthest distance from home was a single trip to Rochester by packet boat on the canal. He recently attempted to travel by railroad but found the cars to travel far too fast for his liking. The man was a staunch Federalist in his early years and was certain that Thomas Jefferson would have burned all the bibles in the country, but “abstained from it as a matter of policy.”

March 19th

A man named L. Beecher is arrested in Ohio claiming to represent the Orphan Asylum Association of Medina, New York. Detectives found it strange that funds collected to support an institution in New York needed to be sent to an address in Covington, Kentucky.

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Family-owned grocery and dry goods stores once were prolific in small towns

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 25 March 2017 at 9:41 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 13

In the years preceding massive department and grocery stores, smaller family-owned dry goods and grocery stores occupied the storefronts of small-town America. This image shows the store owned by James Bailey of Albion, taken sometime in the late 1890s.

Bailey was raised on a 240-acre farm on the Transit Road and sometime in the 1850s entered the employ of Harvey Goodrich, a grocer and dry goods dealer at Albion. After a short stint with that interest, James entered the produce business with Charles Baker and worked under his employ for nearly 15 years before starting his own grocery store. During his time with Baker, Bailey developed a sizable farm west of Albion, later owned by John H. Denio on land now occupied by the Albion Correctional Facility.

Herbert J. Bailey, pictured center, was brought into the trade in 1882 when the business became known as James Bailey & Son. The father-son duo also built a large fruit house capable of holding 8,000 barrels near the railroad freight house on West Academy Street, one of the first in the area.

This store was located at 61 Main Street in the Swan Block on the corner of North Main and West Bank streets, now occupied by Five Star Bank. The reflection in the right window shows the Empire Block; one can faintly make out “Law Office” in the upper windows where Church & Currie and Kirby & Hughes had their offices. In the left window is a reflection down East Bank Street where one can slightly see the portico of the Orleans House, now a municipal parking lot across the street from the Village of Albion offices.

Standing to the left of Bailey is George Hess who worked as a clerk in the store. Hess started with Bailey after 1892, so we know this photograph was taken sometime between then and prior to the death of James Bailey in 1899, when Herbert took full ownership of the business and changed the name from James Bailey & Son.

The storefront is filled with merchandise commonly carried by local grocers. A hammock hangs on a hook on the left, situated next to a large pile of pineapples. For those who preferred to grow their own produce, seeds of all kinds were offered. The display inside consisted of canned fruits and vegetables, including peaches, apricots, pineapple, tomatoes, succotash, lima beans, Bartlett pears, and baked beans.

Two massive barrels of salt sit to the right, shipped in from LeRoy and the right window includes a nice display of canned and bottled goods as well as a tall stack of Quaker Oats. The store located to the left was owned by Dr. Charles Burrows, who operated a drug store once owned by George Barrell, and the boot and shoe store to the right, owned and operated by Orville Taylor.

Herbert was a respected businessman and a Republican in politics. He was elected Village President in 1903, the first Republican elected to that position. In 1882 he married Mary Sawyer, the daughter of Hon. John G. Sawyer, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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Medina residents, Mike and Cheryl Wertman, highlighted by Buffalo News for work uncovering Drake House Ruins at Golden Hill

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 March 2017 at 9:02 am

Photo by Cheryl Wertman: This photo taken last October shows the Drake House Ruins site at Golden Hill State Park in Barker. The sign describes the history of the site. This spot is the front of an area that was uncovered last summer.

BARKER – Mike and Cheryl Wertman are well known in Orleans County for their decades of work highlighting local sports, first for The Journal-Register in Medina and now for Orleans Hub.

The couple from Medina also enjoys camping at the Golden Hill State Park, and they have become dedicated volunteers helping to uncover the “Drake House Ruins” at the eastern edge of Golden Hill in Somerset.

The restoration effort, which was sparked about two years ago at an “I Love My Park Day” held annually in early May, has seen volunteers uncover a long stone wall highlighted by cobblestone features, several large stone posts and a long lake stone sidewalk which ends at a large cornerstone believed to be part of the foundation of the Drake house. The home was demolished in 1962 when New York State acquired the property for inclusion into the state park.

Contributed Photo – A gathering of Newell Shirt Factory employees at the Drake House in 1922.

The Wertmans have been dedicated volunteers at the site, and they were highlighted on Wednesday in The Buffalo News in an article entitled, “Mysteries abound as couple unearths ruins of Lake Ontario estate.” Click here to see the article.

The Wertmans have removed vines and brush, and dug down in the dirt to help uncover some of the ornate features from an elaborate estate that had been forgotten.

“We, right now, want to make sure the site never becomes overgrown again,” Cheryl Wertman told The Buffalo News. “We would like to see groups come in and maybe redo some new gardens, make some repairs to the cobblestone wall and the pond. And mainly have it become an integral part of the park so it remains maintained. Most of that can be possible without a grant by dedicated volunteers who come to love the site as much as we do.”

Dr. Douglas J. Perrelli, director of Archaeological Survey and clinical assistant professor of Anthropology at the University at Buffalo, would like to see the state fund a cultural landscape study and see the site brought back to its former glory.

Volunteers are welcome to help at the site. This year’s I Love My Park Day is set for May 6.

For more on Golden Hill, click here.

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Printing popular Albion newspaper was tedious work a century ago

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 11 March 2017 at 8:20 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 11

This image shows the interior of a newspaper printing office in Albion. Although the photograph does not indicate which newspaper outfit we are looking at, based on available evidence this is likely the interior of the Orleans Republican taken sometime around 1910 or 1915. If that is the case, the man standing in the center of the room is probably Sanford T. Church and the man seated is W. Crawford Ramsdale.

The Orleans Republican was established in June of 1828 by Cephas McConnell, the same year that the Village of Albion was incorporated. Due to its age, it was regarded as the pioneer publication of the area with the Orleans American as the only newspaper printing business with an older lineage (dating back to 1823). The business was sold to J. O. Willsea of Albion in 1848, who brought Calvin Gilbert Beach of Rochester in to assist in its operation starting in 1850.

The business eventually transitioned to Beach upon Willsea’s retirement and operated under Beach’s ownership until his untimely death in 1868. Not wishing to sell the business, his widow Juliette Beach ran the printing outfit until the two sons were old enough to engage in the operation. After the death of their mother, Lafayette took control of the business and Frederick moved to Rochester where he associated with the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

Lafayette retained ownership until his retirement in 1909 when he sold the business to Sanford T. Church and W. Crawford Ramsdale, two Albion attorneys. In the earliest days of operation, the printing equipment was housed on the 3rd floor of 13-15 East Bank Street and remained there until Church and Ramsdale took over; the business was eventually relocated to the first floor sometime around 1915. We can tell from this image that the room is situated on the first floor given the visible features outside of the front door and windows.

The two large presses located along the left wall were used to print the weekly paper, which peaked in the early portion of the 20th century at over 2,000 subscriptions. Given the nature of the printing process, the majority of area papers at the time were weekly runs due to the amount of time associated with setting the type. Along the right wall there are a number of cases filled with types used in the typesetting process.

The letterpress method of printing, where type is locked into a chase that is used for pressing ink onto paper, was the standard printing method from its development by Johannes Gutenberg during the 15th century up until the development of offset printing in the 20th century. The woman standing to the left was likely responsible for setting the type, which was done upside down and backwards – a time-consuming and tedious process that required a great deal of precision.

Once the chase was set, it was given to the men situated at one of the two presses for printing. Both men wear long aprons to prevent ink from staining their clothing. In this picture, the men are wearing long-sleeved shirts and have opted to roll the sleeves up. Some printers would wear coverings over their arms to prevent ink from damaging clothing or staining their skin.

As a side note, the municipal park on State Street in Albion is named in memory of Lafayette Beach. Today we refer to it as Lafayette Park, even though Lafayette Beach Park or simply Beach Park would be the more appropriate name.

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4 historic cemeteries suffered in wind storm

Photos by Tom Rivers: A big tree snapped in Mount Albion Cemetery near the Civil War memorial tower. Another tree by the tower also came down.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 March 2017 at 8:49 am

Big trees come down, branches strewn all over

There are four cemeteries in Orleans County on the National Register of Historic Places – Mount Albion, Boxwood in Medina, Millville Cemetery in Shelby, and Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon. All four lost big trees from the powerful wind storm on Wednesday.

“There are lots of branches, pieces and a lot of debris everywhere,” said Jason Zicari, superintendent at Mount Albion.

Thankfully, Zicari said, none of the cemetery’s buildings or monuments were damaged.

“It looks like we escaped the worst of it,” Zicari said. “It will be a lot of work to clean up.”

A tree split by the tower at Mount Albion and missed the building that was constructed in 1876 as a memorial to the nearly 500 soldiers from Orleans County who died in the Civil War.

Zicari, the cemetery superintendent, worried as the wind raged for several hours on Wednesday. He said the damage at Mount Albion could have been much worse.

Millville Cemetery in Shelby also saw large branches come down.

A tree fractured near the cemetery’s historic chapel. The building was spared from damage from falling limbs.

Boxwood Cemetery in Medina was littered with broken branches.

A large branch from a tree near the entrance of the cemetery came crashing down.

This big branch shifted one of the monuments on the hill of the cemetery.

Photos courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

Hillside Cemetery in Clarendon, near the Village of Holley, saw at least two big trees come down and hit some of the head stones.

Melissa Ierlan, the town’s code enforcement officer and historian, said she is thankful the damage isn’t worse. She said two big trees lost sizable branches. “It’s a mess but we didn’t have as much damage as I anticipated,” she said.

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Cobblestone Museum has new director with busy agenda in 2017

Photos by Tom Rivers: Doug Farley, new director of the Cobblestone Museum in Gaines, is pictured by the historic Cobblestone Church, which was built in 1834. The museum has been declared a National Historic Landmark.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 March 2017 at 12:44 pm

GAINES – The new director of the Cobblestone Museum in the Gaines hamlet of Childs has a passion for local history. Doug Farley also likes a challenge.

Farley for 35 years owned a Bells grocery store in Newfane. He bought the store when he was a college student.

When he sold that business he became more active with the Niagara County Historical Society, and helped to develop a state-of-art museum by the Flight of Five Locks in Lockport.

That new museum with a focus on canal history gave a new purpose for a 19th century stone church and may have saved it from the wrecking ball. Farley served as the museum’s director for a decade.

More recently, the Newfane resident has worked four years as the director of a museum in Amherst for People Inc., telling the story of people with disabilities.

“This was a great opportunity for me to grow as a more caring human being, with a focus on history for people with disabilities, an oft overlooked and disenfranchised people group,” Farley said.

A grant will help pay to repoint the stairs at the Ward House, a home built around 1840 on Route 104 next to the Cobblestone Church.

Last week he was hired to serve as part-time director of the Cobblestone Museum. The museum includes seven main historic buildings near the intersection of routes 98 and 31. It has many other contributing historic elements, from outhouses to a Liberty Pole.

Farley sees compelling stories in the museum, buildings that are like tie capsules from eras long ago. The Cobblestone Schoolhouse, for example, is an intact one-room schoolhouse that wasn’t artificially created. It shows the school as it was up until it closed in the1950s. The school had separate entrances for boys and girls.

“You could spend a whole day here if you really want to take in all of the buildings,” Farley said at the museum’s main office, a brick house next to the Crosby’s gas station and convenience store.

Farley, 65, is impressed by the museum as an important historic site. He also said the Cobblestone Society has many dedicated volunteers determined to keep the museum going and share the story with the public.

He wants to boost marketing efforts and strengthen museum’s finances with more corporate support, local government backing and by drawing more visitors.

“We need a bigger marketing effort so people don’t just stop by if they happen to see the sign,” Farley said.

The museum is planning for opening day on Mother’s Day on May 14. That will include a quilt show and an exhibit of paintings featuring folk art and “naïve” paintings from unknown artists.

The museum last year was awarded a $23,000 grant for work on the church and the Ward House. The funds will go towards painting the exterior of windows and the bell tower at the church, replacing rotted window sills and repairing a retaining wall in front of the church.

The Ward House will have some of the masonry repointed, downspouts fixed to improve drainage and the front steps repaired.

Farley is happy to be busy at the museum and is impressed by the group’s volunteers.

He acknowledged many people his age are looking to slow down. He isn’t ready for that. He is happy to be part of an important mission, working to keep the museum going for years to come.

“I don’t like to sit around,” Farley said. “I was never interested in golf.”

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Second Heritage Festival will be a bigger event, spread out over 10 days

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 5 March 2017 at 6:35 pm

Event coordinated by GCC, volunteers returns Sept. 8-17

File photos by Tom Rivers: Last year’s debut Orleans County Heritage Festival including a timeline event at GCC’s Medina campus, which included re-enactors. impressionists and displays covering decades and centuries of American history. Ed Brodbeck, left, of Cheektowaga is Gen. Ulysses Grant. Jay Black, right, of Batavia portrays a provost marshal during the Civil War. Black brought along a collection of weapons that were used in the Civil War for people to look over.

The Orleans County Heritage Festival will return in September, and this time, instead of one activity-packed weekend, the festival will be spread out over 10 days, from Sept. 8-17.

“People felt overwhelmed with the choices available,” said Derek Maxfield, GCC associate professor of history and a festival organizer. “Instead of a couple days we’re going to have two weekends book-ending the whole festival.”

Last year’s county-wide celebration of historically and culturally significant locations involved 29 sites including special programming at GCC’s Albion and Medina campus centers. Maxfield said about 500 people attended, and they received a collectible button and ribbon.

GCC’s Albion campus will host events the first weekend, with the action shifting to the Medina campus the second weekend for a timeline festival. The timeline festival will include re-enactors, impressionists and artisans.

Local historic sites will be highlighted during the weekdays with an afternoon and evening event, Maxfield said.

“We’re going to be spotlighting one at a time,” he said. “We’re still in the early stages of planning.”

The debut festival highlighted historic cemeteries, farms, homes and other historic gems.

The new themes for this year include the following:

  • Erie Canal – locations associated with the historic canal to celebrate the bicentennial of this extraordinary 19th century transportation system;
  • Military – locations associated with the military history of Orleans County ranging from the French and Indian Wars through 20th Century Wars with special emphasis on the 100th anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I;
  • Cobblestone & Sandstone – locations associated with the substantial use of cobblestone and/or sandstone in the historic architecture;
  • Legends and Lore, Spirits and Supernatural – locations associated with a history of spirits, supernatural and/or ghost activities.

Lynne Menz, the Orleans County Tourism Marketing Manager, is excited about what the expansion of time will mean for visitors.

“In addition to being very pleased with the events and programs held in each location last year, almost all visitors wished they could have made it to more locations during the 3-day weekend,” Menz said. “This new 10-day format will allow people to experience a much wider range of events without having to force people to choose between events held at the same time but in different locations.”

Sam Maryjanowski of Medina, front, and Steven Burley of Barker are dressed as German soldiers from World War I during the Heritage Festival on Sept. 10, 2016.

Another first for this year is that the Heritage Festival is being organized by a board of directors.

“We had great cooperation from many community volunteers as well as GCC faculty, staff and students for the first heritage festival,” said Jim Simon, GCC associate dean. “But we realized that a more organized leadership structure would allow for the festival to provide even more to the community.”

The Board of Directors includes Derek Maxfield, Lynne Menz, Tracy Ford, Matt Ballard, Erin Anheier, Al Capurso, Cindy Robinson and Jim Simon.

Any locations or presenters interested in participating in the Second Annual Orleans County Heritage Festival should submit an application to Jim Simon, GCC Medina Campus Center, 11470 Maple Ridge Rd, Medina, NY 14103. Application forms can be found at the Heritage Festival website at Applications are due by March 20, 2017.

For more information please contact Jim Simon, associate dean of GCC’s Orleans County Campus Centers at (585)798-1688, ext. 4191, or Donna Rae Sutherland, associate director of Marketing Communications at (585) 343-0055 ext. 6616, or

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Medina native influential in development of pharmaceutical industry

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 4 March 2017 at 8:58 am

Photograph of Silas Burroughs courtesy of the Wellcome Trust of London, England licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 10

Perhaps one of the most frequently overlooked story in Orleans County history is that of Silas Mainville Burroughs and the development of the pharmaceutical company that would become one of the largest in the world.

The son of Silas M. Burroughs and Laura Bennett of Medina, Mainville as he was called by friends and family was born on December 24, 1846. At the age of five he suffered the loss of his mother and nearly nine years later his father, a Republican Congressman, died unexpectedly leaving an aunt and uncle to raise the young boy.

After attending local schools in Medina, Burroughs attended the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy where he qualified for graduation in 1877. His thesis focused on the development of compressed tablets as a more effective alternative to the traditional rolled pills; the former dissolved far better in water than the latter.

Soon after he entered employment with John Wyeth as a salesman and travelled to London to sell pharmaceuticals. It was during these trips that he realized the potential for pharmaceutical development in England.

Inviting Henry Wellcome to London, the two partnered to form the business Burroughs Wellcome & Company. A natural born traveler, Burroughs continued to tour the globe in an effort to expand the fledgling business as Wellcome remained in London to manage the manufacturing facility. It was during this time that Burroughs embarked upon a global trip, traveling through the Mediterranean, to India, Southeast Asia, and Australia. During these trips he kept extensive notes about new ideas for developing, packaging, and selling medicines.

Upon the completion of his trip in 1883, he returned to America and married his wife Olive, whom he brought with him to London. It was during this time that his personal writings in both journals and letters indicated a growing frustration with Wellcome. These quarrels developed into legal battles that would have indicated a certain end to the partnership. Meanwhile, Burroughs was beloved by his employees, being one of the first employers in England to implement an eight-hour work day while instituting profit sharing options for his employees.

A devout Christian, Burroughs was committed to charitable giving and was often responsible for raising funds for charitable endeavors he found fitting and worthwhile. On one such occasion, he gave 1,000 pounds to start the fundraising campaign to build the Livingstone Hospital at Dartford – the two hospital wards were named in his honor; the Silas Ward and the Burroughs Ward.

In 1894 Burroughs embarked upon a European cycling tour with his sister, but due to over exertion, fatigue, and poor weather, he developed a cough. Expecting to rest and recuperate, the mild cold developed into pneumonia and he died shortly after in Monte Carlo at the age of 49. The sudden and unexpected death sent shockwaves through the business, employees were devastated, and letters of sympathy flooded the Burroughs home. Per his will, his wife received 4/24 of his estate, each child received 3/24, his employees received 1/24, and the remainder was distributed among his favorite charities.

Today the pharmaceutical company that once bore the name of Silas Mainville Burroughs exists as GlaxoSmithKline, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world behind the likes of Pfizer and Merck. Manufacturing numerous brand name drugs such as Advaid, Augmentin, and Nicorette, GlaxoSmithKline applied for approval for the first malaria vaccine in 2014. Without the hard work and funding put forth by Silas Burroughs in the earliest stages of Burroughs Wellcome & Co., the global pharmaceutical industry would be far different today.

Burroughs remains as one of Orleans County’s largest and most influential legacies, one that all residents should appreciate.

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Newsroom was a mainstay for decades in Albion

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 25 February 2017 at 8:37 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 9

This image shows the interior of the Dowd Newsroom located at 13 East Bank Street in Albion, circa 1907. The business was once owned by Charles Dowd and operated with assistance from his brother George during the early portion of the 20th century (see volume 2, issue 24). Before opening this business, Charles was employed as a railroad laborer and worked on various canal projects during the 1890s until he broke his leg in 1897.

Although this was a newsroom and tobacco store, we can see that tobacco was the prominent piece of merchandise. The walls are littered with promotional materials and advertising posters for some of the most popular tobacco companies at the time; Billy Boy, Union Leader, Jolly Tar, Sure Shot, Bagpipe, High Card, and Little Minister. On the floor to the right we see a crate marked “Smoke U.S. Marine Plug Cut.” Two ads for newspapers are seen, one visible in the back is advertising the “large high class pictorial magazine” the Illustrated Sunday Magazine available weekly for free with the Buffalo Times.

The photograph is marked as 1909, but we can see a poster on the back wall placed over other advertising pieces that reads “Orleans County Fair – Albion, NY – Sept. 18, 19, 20, 21 – 1907.” Assuming Mr. Dowd did not forget to take this poster down for two years, we can easily date the image. Located just in view behind the U.S. Marine tobacco crate is a snow shovel, so there is a possibility that the image was taken during the earlier portion of 1907.

Charles Dowd is standing behind the counter, approximately 46 years old at the time, with his derby placed on the glass case. To his right are Albion Police Justice Henry C. Tucker, Louis Spauling, and local carpenter, Ozro Bates; the latter has placed his hat on the adjacent glass case.

On November 8, 1941 Dowd suffered a massive heart attack while listening to the Notre Dame – Navy football game. A passionate Fighting Irish fan, the 76-year-old’s heart could not handle the excitement of the 20-13 victory over the “Middies.” After his death, his brother-in-law Charles Kellogg took over the business before it was sold to Newell Maxon of Medina. The business was then sold to Carl Fischer and relocated to N. Main Street where Fischer’s Newsroom operated under his ownership until his own death in 1963.

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Former U.S. president visited Albion in 1920

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 February 2017 at 7:56 am

ALBION – In honor of Presidents Day, we’re digging into the Orleans Hub archives for an article that former Orleans County Historian Bill Lattin wrote for his “Vintage Orleans” column.

Lattin, in an article posted on April 14, 2014, writes about former U.S. President William H. Taft paying a visit to Albion on March 8, 1920. Taft is pictured third from the left in the front row. The group is in front of the Orleans Hotel with members of the Albion Chamber of Commerce. (The Orleans Hotel was located at the corner of Platt and East Bank streets.)

Others in the photo include: Herbert Reed, Spencer Tanner, Wm Karns, Bernard Ryan, Thomas A. Kirby and County Judge Gerald Fluhrer at far right.

“Taft was given a reception at the Elks Club and later gave a forceful address in the High School Auditorium on why the U.S. should join the League of Nations,” Lattin wrote. “Taft and Teddy Roosevelt are the only two former presidents who have visited Albion.”

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