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Cobblestone Museum presents awards to top volunteer, other key supporters

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 20 November 2017 at 12:19 pm

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – The Cobblestone Society & Museum presented several awards to key supporters on Nov. 9 during the organization’s annual meeting.

Pictured, from left, include: Becky Green, Business Partner of the Year; Russ Bosch, Proctor Award; and Judith Spencer, Volunteer of the Year.

Green was influential in helping the museum design a new logo and branding strategy. Bosch, husband of museum board member Erin Anheier, rebuilt the bell carriage at the historic cobblestone school house. He also put in a new floor in one of the bathrooms, and installed a new door that opens both ways in the lower level of the Cobblestone church building.

Spencer contributed 272 hours to the museum, leading tours, serving in the gift shop, helping with the used book sale, and helping to clean some of the historic sites, including a big effort for the outhouse tour. Spencer would often begin a tour of the museum by telling visitors, “Prepare to be amazed!”

State Sen. Robert Ortt was named the museum’s “New Partner of the Year.” He secured a $10,000 state grant to help support the cultural and educational programs at the museum, which is a National Historic Landmark.

Chris Clemens, center, was the keynote speaker at the annual meeting. He is pictured with Board President Jim Bonafini, left, and Museum Director Doug Farley.

Clemens of Rochester has visited numerous small towns around the state, highlighting exceptional destinations for history, food and culture. He writes the Exploring Upstate blog. He shared advice for engaging with the public through social media. He suggests frequent posts without pushing products and advertising. Clemens cited Fort Stanwix, the Rochester Museum and Science Center, and the Schoharie Crossing as organizations that do a great job engaging the public through social media.

The reception room in the Greaser home in Albion puts the woodwork on display. The house includes red birch, golden oak and cucumber wood. It will be featured on a Christmas tour of homes on Dec. 2

The museum has other events planned before the end of the year, including a Christmas tour of 19th Century historic homes. The eight sites will be decorated for the holidays and will be open for tours on Dec. 2 from 2 to 7 p.m. There is a cost to go on the tour. Click here for more information.

The museum also has a holiday shop open on Dec. 2 from 1 to 7 p.m. with Christmas decorations, gifts and a large collection of Coffee Table Books, including an assortment of Civil War titles. Click here for more information.

Also on Dec. 2, veteran instructor Brenda Radzinski will lead a 2-hour program on making a quilted Christmas ornament. Click here for more information.

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Prominent Orleans County residents led temperance reform efforts

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 18 November 2017 at 10:14 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 47

Following the passing of New York’s amendment that extended voting rights to women in 1917, the subsequent election involving the question of whether Albion would remain a “wet” or “dry” town was decided by the female vote.

Although the vote was later deemed invalid, the local temperance organizations mobilized a sufficient number of new voters to end the sale of alcohol in Orleans County, even if only for a brief moment.

This Thomas Nast cartoon appeared in Harper’s Weekly on March 21, 1874 and depicted the debaucheries commonly associated with the saloon. A man of the middle-class accepts a drink of rum from the bartender who is depicted as death. The man’s young daughter pleads for her father to come home while his son looks on with concern and a man lays to the right, passed out in the corner of the room.

In the distance is the man’s home and his wife, dressed in black, weeps behind her children. On the floor sits a hat, a broken bottle, a brick, and a revolver, all symbolic of the violence commonly associated with alcohol consumption. In the background a man watches through a doorway as men brawl with one another, one man ready to strike another in the head with a bottle.

Local temperance movements grew out of the reform activity of the early 19th century commonly associated with the Second Great Awakening that flooded through Western New York. Members of the upper and middle classes went to battle against the intemperate behavior of the lower, wage-earning and unskilled laborers who flooded the region to toil along the canal and in the quarries. In Orleans County, the early arrival of Irish and German immigrants and later the Polish and Italians bred contempt against groups of people who were perceived a prone to consuming alcohol.

In the early 1870s, Albion had three active temperance organizations, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union, Albion Temperance League, and Drunkard’s Reform Association. The Albion Temperance League organized around 1874, holding meetings at the Free Methodist Church, where Edwin R. Reynolds was selected as the organization’s permanent president. Other prominent local residents joined the ranks as officers, including John G. Sawyer, Arad Thomas, Joseph Cornell, Ezra T. Coan, and Free Methodist minister Alanson K. Bacon. In the latter half of the 1870s, Medina boasted 6 active temperance societies with 840 members, nearly 1/5 of the village’s total population.

Drunkards posed concerns for local residents, unable to work, engaging in violence, and abandoning wives and children. On July 30, 1882, Isaac Harrington of Medina was riding a train to Albion when the conductor removed him from the car on account of his intoxication. Harrington passed out on the tracks and was run over by a passing locomotive shortly after. A month later, John Mack of Kendall travelled to Albion to catch a glimpse of Jumbo the elephant’s visit to the area. Instead of focusing on the visit, he fancied a nip of the bottle, fell off a dock, and drowned in the canal.

Excessive drinking had the potential to affect all members of the family, not just the individual. In 1879, Albion papers reported a nine-year-old boy who was wandering drunk through the village streets, though there was no further report of the young man’s parents. Medina reported a similar occurrence the previous year when a 13-year-old boy was found drunk with whiskey in his coat pocket. Three years later, Nicholas Gavin, a farmer from Albion, was enjoying a few drinks at a saloon downtown before venturing home for the evening. Drunk and befuddled, he drove his buggy over the Main Street bridge, turned onto the tow-path and travelled a short distance to the east before steering his horse into the canal. His body was discovered beneath the frozen water the following morning; he left a wife and five children to mourn his death.

Perhaps one of the most shocking stories of the late 19th century was the case of James O’Connell of Fletcher Chapel. The violence-prone farmer went on a week-long binge, much to the disappointment of his wife. On January 16, 1896 he told his wife he would visit the priest at Medina to “sign the pledge” and give up drinking. Instead, he visited a gun store in Medina and purchased a .22 revolver, returned home, and shot his wife in the head. Although she survived the incident, she lived the remainder of her life with the bullet in her skull and O’Connell spent eight years in Auburn Prison for the deed.

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Orleans County defeated Suffrage Amendment in 1917

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 11 November 2017 at 8:21 am
Susan B. Anthony

Susan B. Anthony spoke in Orleans County, trying to rally support for women’s suffrage.

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 46

On November 6, 1917, half way across the world, the October Uprising was in full swing as the Bolsheviks led a revolution against the Tsarist government of Russia. In the United States, New York voters decided that it was time to extend suffrage to women.

Orleans County was at the center of suffragist activity and notes pertaining to Susan B. Anthony’s visits to the area can be found within the local papers. As early as October of 1859, Anthony attended a local women’s rights convention along with Frances Dana Barker Gage and Hannah Tracy Cutler, noted abolitionists and movers in the women’s suffrage movement. In a later visit on January 22, 1894, Anthony spoke at the Court House, along with Mary Seymour Howell and Mary G. Hay, on the subject of extending suffrage to women by amending law at the constitutional convention. The event led with a symposium on the subject of equal suffrage and involved a number of notable suffragists.

Leading up to the vote in 1917, a number of local women formed committees in Albion, Medina, and Holley to operate Suffrage Schools. On March 5th and 6th, Holley hosted a school followed by Albion’s school at the Swan Library on the 7th and 8th. The following week, Medina hosted their school in the rooms of the Grand Army of the Republic. These Suffrage Schools held lectures on topics such as “Women in Relation to Community Problems,” “The Legal Status of Women,” “Parliamentary Law,” and public speaking. Prominent women from across Western New York attended and taught “classes” for local women in preparation for the anticipated victory in November.

It was believed that Medina’s school received additional interest as an announcement guaranteeing the suffrage bill as part of the November 6th election was made shortly before the event. Mrs. Carl Breed was appointed to chair a committee of fifty women tasked with planning the important program. The event attracted considerable attention as Mrs. Mary Grace White, wife of local attorney David White, opened the program by attacking Sen. Elon Brown for his claims that the birth control movement was an off-shoot of the suffrage movement.

Fervor surrounding the impending vote increased exponentially as November neared. Attorney John J. Ryan led efforts to enlist the support of men throughout the county in favor of the suffrage movement. On November 1, 1917, a lengthy article appeared in the Orleans American highlighting the importance of the approaching vote. “If you have a son or a brother who has been drafted for the war for democracy, don’t spoil your family record by voting against democracy in New York State.” The author went on to write, “Don’t be too sure, when you are making the woman suffrage amendment that men can represent women. The women may after all have ideas of their own.”

As the day passed, the papers reported that the “election in Orleans County passed off quietly. There was no excitement anywhere in the county.” The vote to extend suffrage to women in Orleans County was defeated by a vote of 2,134 for, to 3,024 against, but news quickly spread of downstate carrying the amendment through. It was quickly reported that Albion would be one of the first locations to provide the opportunity for women to vote as village elections were slated for February 26, 1918. When it came time to elect new members to the Albion Board of Education, Mrs. Lorinda Lasher was nominated as the first woman for public office in the village, unopposed to replace Alfred Wood. Mrs. Ruth Williams nominated Dr. Cora Billings Lattin to run against Thomas A. Kirby, but was defeated 230 to 110.

Perhaps one of the oft-overlooked tidbits of local suffragist history relates to Gilbert Turner Mason, the son of Albert J. Mason of Albion. Mason, the chief clerk at the Clum & Atkins Company in Rochester, married the young Miss Anna Elizabeth Dann in the home of Susan B. Anthony on Madison Street in 1902. Dann was the housekeeper and personal secretary to Anthony, assisting in the preparation of Anthony’s biography. In a 1906 letter to Anna Mason, Anthony’s niece Lucy wrote, “I think you know…that we all love you for your own sake…but we love you even more because dear Aunt Susan was so fond of you.” Susan was so fond of her that she stood by Anna’s side as she was married to Gilbert by the Rev. Anna Howard Shaw. The Masons are buried at Mt. Albion Cemetery.

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Jeweler helped start cycling club, Rotary in Albion

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 28 October 2017 at 8:12 am

John Daniels also owned the first automobile in Albion

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 44

ALBION – This stunning photograph shows the storefront of John DeValson Daniels, a local jeweler who operated his business out of the old Empire Block at the intersection of North Main and East Bank Streets. Daniels, standing to the left and wearing a hat, ran this successful commercial venture for nearly fifty years when he finally retired from the profession in 1935.

John Daniels was raised at Whitney Point, New York, where he attended the local schools until 1878 when he left to join his father in the jewelry business. Nearly ten years later, in 1887, he arrived at Albion and purchased this business from Hiram W. Preston the following year. His specialties, according to advertisements, included watches, clocks, jewelry, silverware, optical goods, musical instruments, and bric-a-brac (tchotchkes), which he sold out of “The Old Corner Store.”

It is clear that Daniels was fond of leisure activities, including cycling, as he assisted in the formation of the Albion Cycle Club in 1895 and was appointed as a sidepath commissioner charged with overseeing the construction of bicycle paths in areas west and northwest of the village. Advertisements regularly appeared in the local papers, announcing Daniels’ inventory of bikes available for purchase in his store. He also served as president of Albion’s Sportsman’s Club as he was an avid hunter.

In addition to his deep-rooted connection to the community through his successful business, John Daniels was a charter member of Albion’s Rotary Club, the Masons Damascus Temple, and the Pullman Memorial Universalist Church. He was often credited with owning the first automobile in Albion, a steam-powered machine called “The Rochester Steamer.” This automobile was likely a product of the Rochester Carriage Motor Company, operating for two years between 1901 and 1902, selling vehicles from $450 to $700.

Around the time this photograph was taken, circa 1904, the store suffered a small loss of inventory. In the spring of that year, Daniels noticed a missing diamond ring valued at $100 (approx. $2,700 today) that was no longer in the showcase. He recalled seeing a man in the store around that same time and suspected that he may have lifted the item. After contacting police, it was discovered that the man had traveled to Rochester and a detective was sent to follow the suspect. When the detective observed the man attempting to sell the ring to several store owners, he was placed under arrest and later charged with 2nd Degree Grand Larceny. Although theft was rarely a problem for Daniels, a similar situation occurred in 1928 when William Robinson was arrested for selling a ring that his wife had stolen from the jewelry store two years earlier.

On May 2, 1934, John and his wife Frances celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary and just one year later, Daniels sold his business to Charles Tibbits, his employee of 28 years. The couple retired to St. Petersburg, Florida where John Daniels passed away on January 27, 1942.

The photograph reveals a number of beautiful silverware sets on display in the front window; through the front door, a wall clock is visible displaying the time, 10:35. As Daniels stands to the left, the three young men standing with him were probably employees, one of those men is likely Charles Tibbitts. Two pieces of advertisement are barely visible; the south wall facing East Bank Street included text about the store, the other piece included the large pocket watch mounted on the pole in front of the store which was an iconic signature of the business.

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Historical marker for Santa School gets a new look

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 October 2017 at 10:37 am

Photo courtesy of Melissa Ierlan

ALBION – Melissa Ierlan of Clarendon reinstalled the historical marker this morning for the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School site in Albion, at the corner of Phipps Road and Route 31.

Ierlan has repainted many of the historical markers around the county in recent years that had flaked off paint. She typically would repaint them in blue with yellow letters. For the Santa School, she decided to give it a red border, with green letters that are prominent in a white background.

Howard ran the school in Albion from 1937 until his death in 1966. Howard also established Christmas Park at the site.

Ierlan also dropped off three other repainted historical markers this morning. The Canal Corp. will reinstall them. One is for the bridge collapse where 15 people died on Sept. 28, 1859 in Albion. Another marker is near Gaines Basin Road and notes a spot that is the northernmost point on the canal. Another sign by the canal in Albion talks about the Erie Canal’s impact on the area after the waterway opened in 1825.

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Albion students dedicate new gravestones for 2 girls killed in 1859 bridge collapse

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 24 October 2017 at 9:13 am

Provided photos

ALBION – Albion seventh-grade students on Monday dedicated two headstones at Mount Albion Cemetery for children who died in the bridge collapse on the Erie Canal on Sept. 28, 1859, one of the worst tragedies in the community’s history.

There were about 250 people gathered on the Main Street bridge over the canal to watch a wire walker cross the canal. The bridge collapsed, killing 15 people. There were 11 children among the dead, including Lydia Harris, age 11. Lydia did not have a headstone.

Albion students, Alexis Hess (left) and Nicholas Harling are pictured with Al Capurso, president of the Orleans County Historical Association, at the new headstone for Lydia Harris.

The Historical Association donated $500 towards two headstones. In addition to the one for Lydia, the cemetery has a new headstone for Mary Jane Lavery, age 16. Her headstone was badly damaged. The Albion service-learning class was able to get two new “era appropriate” stones as replacements.

Service Learning teacher Tim Archer said that the students have enjoyed learning about local history and look forward to the other projects that are planned this year that are part of 200th anniversary observance of the start of the Erie Canal construction. Contractors started digging the canal in 1817 in Rome, NY. The full 363-mile-long canal was completed in 1825.

These students look at the original broken Lavery headstone. They include, from left: Mercy Sugar, Lisa Beam and Yoselyn Lauro.

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Historian seeks to set the record the straight about ‘spiteful sale’ of Proctor homestead

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 21 October 2017 at 8:38 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 43

ALBION – The trial of George Wilson, accused of murdering his wife Alice in 1887, remains one of the most infamous stories in Orleans County. His trial and execution is a tale filled with speculation and accusation, while the later story of District Attorney William P. L. Stafford is shrouded in spite and hatred following his upsetting defeat in the 1895 election for County Judge. Despite its popularity, much of the story exists as hyperbole and conjecture concerning Stafford’s motives following his embarrassing loss.

I was contacted by Gerard Morrisey following my article featuring John Newton Proctor and kindly reminded that the property, which was so scandalously sold to the Catholics by William Stafford, was in fact sold by his wife Clara. It is important to trace the lineage of the property itself to better understand the situation in which the Staffords were faced with in 1896. It is also important to note that in 1848, New York passed the Married Women’s Property Act that gave married women the right to own real and personal property that was not “subject to the disposal of her husband.”

John Newton Proctor entered the employ of William Gere upon his arrival in Albion and shortly after married Gere’s daughter, Orcelia. Gere and Proctor’s partnership was dissolved upon the death of Gere in 1865 and the subsequent death of Gere’s son Isaac in 1866. The Proctors lived on the Gere parcel at the intersection of West Park and Main Streets until Orcelia’s death on March 7, 1888. Upon her death, Mrs. Proctor bequeathed to her husband “the House [and] premises situate[d] in Albion aforesaid in which I now reside [and] being the same premises which my parents lived at the time of their death;” a clear indicator of who owned the property.

The parcel fell under the ownership of Mr. Proctor for a very short period of time, as his untimely death on February 11, 1889 transferred the property again. Proctor clearly expected his wife to predecease him as his will left everything to his wife with no mention of children. The result was a transfer of all property, real and personal, to his daughter Clara Stafford, which in addition to the beautiful and stately brick residence also included a commercial parcel in downtown Albion and other parcels throughout the area.

The traditional narrative revolving around the parish of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church says that ex-District Attorney Stafford, a “disgruntled Baptist,” sold his property to the congregation. In fact, it was Clara Stafford who sold the parcel to the Catholics, as it was not her husband’s property to sell. In 1895, William Perry Lucian Stafford made a daring charge at the position of County Judge, challenging Isaac S. Signor to a battle for the Republican nomination. When Stafford was nominated over Signor, the Republicans shifted their attention to attacking the credibility of Stafford as a candidate and allegedly encouraging many local voters to defect to the Democrats. Ben S. Dean of Jamestown sent a lengthy letter to the editor in early October of 1895 stating locals were spreading stories that “Mr. Stafford was buying beer for the Polanders” and slinging other outrageous accusations. In closing he wrote, “it is not good politics to have a Democratic County Judge in office in a Presidential year.”

Later stories suggested that Republican voters were “tricked” at the caucuses, which resulted in W. Crawford Ramsdale’s 279-vote victory over Stafford in the election. Stafford later told newspaper editors that Irving M. Thompson of Albion was behind his defeat, becoming defiant after his nomination, and encouraging other Republicans like Edwin Wage, R. Titus Coann, Isaac Signor, and others to follow suit, throwing “all the ice water he could on the Republican ticket.” It was clear that Stafford’s distaste for the Republicans was more of an issue than lack of support from the Baptists.

Local lore claims that Stafford sold his house to the Catholics, uprooted his family (including his deceased children), and relocated to California. The February 18, 1896 indenture notes that Clara Stafford was already living in Los Angeles at the time of the transfer. The parcel, sold at $9,000 (or approximately $262,000 today) included the “brick dwelling house, brick barn, and brick tenant house.” Mrs. Stafford reserved use of the dwelling house until May 1, 1896 and the use of the attic for “the storage of her personal effects” until April 1, 1897; the transfer was signed by her, not Mr. Stafford, and makes no mention of her husband.

The other piece of local lore involves the anecdote that Mr. Stafford required that the Catholics build their church as close to the street as possible, as to block the view of the Baptist edifice. This is likely exaggerated as no written claim to this exists, however, the local papers published a notation that highlighted the Baptist’s displeasure with the sale. The writer notes that the parcel of land was sold by Mrs. W. P. L. Stafford, but the agreement could be broken at the cost of $500. The Baptists were concerned that the “chanting, responsive reading, etc. of the Catholic service [would] cause great annoyance to their own services during the summer months when the windows…would be apt to be open.”

Although it was long believed that Stafford’s role in the prosecution and execution of George Wilson led, in part, to his defeat in 1895, his challenging of conventional party politics was viewed as the likely culprit. After his departure from Albion, he remained connected to the area through family and friends, visiting on occasion until his death on September 17, 1919. The story of Stafford’s spiteful sale of his house to the Catholics may not be entirely true, but it remains an intriguing part of Albion’s history. After all, legends are often rooted in truth.

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4 sites inducted into Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 October 2017 at 6:10 pm

Presbyterian Church in Albion, Batavia library, Rochester cemetery and Jamestown church join exclusive club

Photo by Tom Rivers: Four new inductees were added to the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame this afternoon, including First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown. Pictured in front from left: Cathy Vail, CFO for Holy Sepulchre; Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulcre; Tim McGee, elder at First Presbyterian Church in Albion; and Twyla Boyer, First Presbyterian’s pastor. Back row: Brenda Gagliano, Holy Sepulchre’s records coordinator; Dan Nagle, pastor of First Lutheran Church in Jamestown; Jim Jacobs, facilities director for Batavia City School District which owns and maintains Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia; Rob Conrad, director of Richmond Memorial; and Chris Dailey, superintendent of Batavia City School District.

MEDINA – The Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame inducted four new members into the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, bringing the number of inductees in the HOF to 24 since the first class was inducted in 2013.

The new inductees include the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia, and First Lutheran Church of Jamestown.

The Presbyterian Church is the ninth site from Orleans County in the Hall of Fame. Genesee has its first entry with the library in Batavia. Jamestown and Chautauqua County are also making their debut in the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame with the First Lutheran Church. Holy Sepulchre is second site from Rochester to join the HOF.

The Hall of Fame Committee – Jim Hancock, David Miller and Don Colquhoun – make road trips to all of the nominees and do research on the buildings. Hancock, the Sandstone Society president, said he has developed a far deeper appreciation for the local quarried stone.

“We have been truly amazed over the years of the multitude of buildings that are still standing from a seemingly indestructible building material,” Hancock.

The Hall of Fame inductees all deserve praise for maintaining what are often cavernous structures, Hancock said. All of the inductees today shared stories of recent costly renovations, from mortar repointings to new slate roofs.

The following were inducted in the Class of 2016, with the descriptions courtesy of Medina Sandstone Society:

• First Presbyterian Church of Albion

Jim Hancock, right, reads the plaque about the First Presbyterian Church in Albion, which was represented by elder Tim McGee and pastor Twyla Boyer.

The First Presbyterian Church is a beautiful example of rose colored Medina Sandstone. The church commissioned famed architect Andrew Jackson Warner from Rochester to come up with a design for the new church.

It is rumored that the building committee told the architect they wanted a building like his First Presbyterian Church he built in 1871 in Rochester, but with a steeple taller than the Albion Baptist Church. The steeple was to be 175 feet, taller by 15 feet. Construction began in 1874 and completed and dedicated in 1875 and for over 140 years the bells in the majestic bell tower have been calling worshipers to service every Sunday.


Boyer spoke during the Hall of Fame induction at Medina City Hall, where the plaques are on display. She said the Albion congregation has been a dedicated steward of the building.

“It is a beautiful church,” she said. “It is a pleasure to be there.”

McGee said the congregation has tackled a recent major interior renovation and last year had to fix the slate roof.

“We continue to make progress preserving the church,” he said. “It’s just beautiful inside.”

• Richmond Memorial Library in Batavia

Rob Conrad, the library director, praised the Batavia City School District for its ongoing maintenance of the historic site.

The Richmond Memorial Library is a beautiful example of light gray Medina Sandstone and red Albion stone. The style is Richardsonian Romanesque and was designed by Rochester architect James Cutler. The Richmond Library employs the style of two-tone sandstone in a random ashlar pattern with a battered foundation and a steep gable roof.

Mrs. Mary Richmond donated a piece of land at the rear of the family property and construction of a library began on July 11, 1887 and was dedicated on March 12, 1889. Mrs. Richmond donated $24,000 towards the cost and insisted on using local labor to build this magnificent building.

The library was named after her son Dean Richmond, Jr., who died in his youth. Mrs. Richmond, noted for her charity, then donated the library to the Union Free School District. The Richmond Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was registered on July 24, 1974.


Rob Conrad, library director, said he and the staff are thrilled to see the library go into the Hall of Fame. He praised the Batavia City School District for its ongoing commitment to maintain the site. Conrad said he is impressed by the communities that rallied their dollars to build such impressive buildings in the region, using Medina Sandstone.

“You see the beauty of the buildings and their ingenuity,” he said.

• Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester

Lynn Sullivan, CEO of Holy Sepulchre, accepts the award for cemetery.

All Souls’ Chapel, designed by noted architect Andrew Jackson Warner, was built in 1876, and has become the centerpiece of the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Rochester, N.Y. The small but graceful building features a steep slate roof, supporting hammer beams, and exquisitely designed stained glass windows featuring the 14 stations of the Cross made in Roermond, Holland.

A companion 100-foot bell tower built in 1886 houses a six crypt mausoleum, the final resting place for the Bishops of the diocese including Bishop Bernard McQuaid, the founder of the cemetery. The Chapel as well as the two gate houses and 1.36-mile stone wall surrounding the cemetery are all made of beautifully preserved and restored red Medina Sandstone.


Holy Sepulchre is “synonymous with Medina Sandstone,” said Lynn Sullivan, the cemetery’s chief executive officer. The cemetery is committed to keeping up the historic chapel and bell tower.

“We love Medina Sandstone,” she said. “It’s what the cemetery is known for.”

• First Lutheran Church in Jamestown

The Rev. Dan Nagle is proud of the church in Jamestown, which has 1,100 seats and spectacular stained-glass windows.

First Lutheran congregation was organized by Swedish immigrants in 1856. The construction of their present beautiful cathedral made entirely of red Medina sandstone was started in 1892 and completed in 1901.

It is a magnificent structure and includes a 153-foot-tall bell tower which still functions today. The congregation takes great pride in maintaining the beauty of the church which dominates the city’s skyline.

Many internal and external improvements and restorations have occurred over the years. The interior includes a historic 1901 Hook and Hastings pipe organ rebuilt in 1955, two tiered seating, and numerous beautifully detailed stained glass windows.


The Swedish immigrants who founded the church mortgaged their homes ensure the construction would move forward at the church, the Rev. Dan Nagle said.

He leads the church today and remains humbled by the sacrifice and vision of the congregation in the 1890s.

For more on the Medina Sandstone Hall of Fame, click here. (The plaques were are made and donated by Takeform Architectural Graphics in Medina.)

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Hulberton Lift Bridge was site of many mishaps

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 14 October 2017 at 9:23 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Volume 3, Issue 42

HULBERTON – Did you know that Orleans County has the most lift bridges along the Erie Canal? Of the 16 vertical lift bridges that exist between Lockport and Fairport, seven are located within our county; Monroe County contains five, while Niagara County holds four. This Warren pony truss style vertical lift bridge that stands at Hulberton is 145 feet long by 18.6 feet wide, curb to curb.

Taken on November 23, 1922, this image shows the Hulberton Lift Bridge as it appeared approximately nine years after it was completed. On April 19, 1912, Skene & Richmond of Louisa, Kentucky were awarded Contract 104 by New York State to construct a number of bridges along the Erie Canal including spans at Spencerport, Adams Basin, Brockport, and Gasport in addition to the Hulberton structure. The contract, totaling $245,688 (approximately $6.2 million today), was completed the following year.

The photograph was taken approximately 100 feet south of the bridge by the NYS Engineering Department of the Western Division looking north across the Canal. Two buildings are visible, including the Hulberton Hotel to the left and the store formerly operated by John Moore & Sons. The bridge is raised approximately 18 inches and a sign hangs on the right post that reads “Warning. Lift Bridge. Stop when bell rings.” Notice that there are no barricades that drop down to block traffic, so it was the responsibility of pedestrians and drivers to pay attention to the bridge as they approached.

The earliest bridge tenders for this span included Dorr Peck and Delos Smith of Holley R.F.D, and Dominick Christofaro of Hulberton in 1914. Notices in the local paper from 1916 show that Aaron Anderson, Henry Prince, and Joseph Buschio of Hulberton were employed as bridge tenders, earning $2.00 per day for a period of 31 days ($62.00 total). In 1922, when this photograph was taken, N. Licursi, C. Mowers, and James Howker were all employed as tenders, the latter two earning $3.00 per day and Licursi making $4.50 per day.

The Hulberton span was the site of numerous unfortunate accidents over the years. In 1896, Joseph Brunetti brutally murdered Nicolo Chiochio along the towpath near Hulberton following an extended altercation surrounding Brunetti’s inability to speak English. In 1929, seven years after this image was captured, the body of respected local businessman Bert Alderson was found submerged near the bridge. Coroner Leon Ogden suspected that Alderson had slipped and fell into the Canal near the bridge. Two years later, a Rochester electrician named Patrick Maloy who was working on the bridge suffered a massive heart attack and died.

As noted above, the bridge did not have any indicators beyond the warning bell to notify pedestrians and drivers that the tender was raising or lowering the span. The result was a number of accidents involving motor vehicles, including the 1928 collision between an automobile belonging to James Clark of Hulberton and the bridge deck. While approaching the Canal, Clark failed to see the raised deck resulting in the crash. When he sued New York State in 1933 for damages, he relied on nearby residents to corroborate his story, which required the courts to seek assistance from interpreters. The high number of Italians who resided in the small community made it difficult to communicate. As a result, accidents like these pushed residents to seek the aid of a flagman to prevent future mishaps.

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Ghost Walk brings Cobblestone Museum to life

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 9 October 2017 at 8:28 am

Photos by Tom Rivers

GAINES – These girls portray students at the District No. 5 Schoolhouse at the Cobblestone Museum. They were among the stops at a Ghost Walk at the museum on Sunday that attracted 165 people. The girls include, from left: Meganne Moore, Kelsey Froman, Ella Trupo, Autumn Flugel and Liana Flugel.

There were about 25 volunteers who were actors in the Ghost Walk.

Gerard Morrissey portrays the school teacher, John Cuneen, at the cobblestone school. The school was built in 1849. It served District No. 5 for 103 years before it was closed in 1952 after the centralization of Albion’s school district. In 1961, it was sold to the Cobblestone Society Museum for $129.

Erica Wanecski of Medina plays a suffragette who pushed for women’s right to vote. This year is the 100th anniversary of New York granting the right to vote for women.

These Albion sisters, Alanna Holman (left) and Kaylyn Holman, are suffragettes who also opposed slavery. They are making signs for the abolitionist cause.

The two teenage suffragettes are by the Voting Booth at the museum. They are excited about meeting Susan B. Anthony, who will speak at the Albion Hotel in 1861. Anthony had a tough time finding a place to speak in Albion because “neither hall, church, nor schoolhouse could be obtained.”  The girls make signs that say “No Compromise with Slaveholders! Immediate Emancipation!”

Al Capurso, the Gaines town historian, portrayed John Proctor, a prominent settler in Gaines. Proctor is often referred to by historians as the Paul Revere of Ridge Road. On a December night in 1813, he rode by horseback on the Ridge from Gaines to Clarkson to warn of the approach of British and the Indians after the burning of Lewiston.

The following morning he joined a regiment that was headed to Lewiston. The regiment would capture the enemy quartered at Molyneaux Tavern.

Sam Williams portrays a farmer who is keeping an eye on a bear trap.

John and Cindy Curtin of Medina worked in the blacksmith shop as Joe and Nellie Vagg, who once owned the shop.

Sadie Igoe portrays Grace Bedell, the Albion girl who wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln, encouraging him to grow a beard. Marty Tabor, in balcony, was Lincoln for the Ghost Walk. Tabor and Sue Starkweather Miller wrote most of the scripts for Sunday’s Ghost Walk.

Bedell wrote a letter to Abraham Lincoln when she was 11. (She was living in Westfield at the time.) She encouraged him to grow a beard, believing it would increase his chances of winning the presidency. Lincoln took her advice.

Enoch Martin portrays Rufus Brown Bullock, the former Georgia governor who grew up in Albion and moved back to his hometown after his career. Martin is shown by the five-seat outhouse. The museum has Bullock’s outhouse, which is located behind the Ward House.

Courteney Bovenzi is Miss Chester, the daughter of Star Chester, a shoemaker. She discussed the trade while working out of the Harness Shop at the museum.

Photo courtesy of Susan Steier: Orleans Hub editor Tom Rivers portrays Philetus Bumpus, who was much despised by leaders in Gaines. (Rivers is pictured by the Liberty Pole at the museum grounds on Route 98.)

Bumpus led the push for Albion to become the county seat in the 1820s. Gaines at the time had more people and businesses, thanks to the well travelled Ridge Road.

But Albion, then derisively known as “Mudport” by many in Gaines, was picked the county seat partly through a ploy. Bumpus had Sandy Creek dammed just before the state commissioners were in town. The water was then released to make it appear Sandy Creek was a much stronger stream.

Gaines leaders, especially John Proctor, were upset over that trickery. The Bumpus Ghost Walk character tried to imagine how the community would look today if Gaines had been the county seat with the school campus, Wal-Mart and much of the development in Central Orleans a few miles north of Albion. Maybe students would be rooting for the Gaines Golden Geese instead of the Albion Purple Eagles?

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