Bank publication in 1934 highlighted Barre as gateway to mucklands
By Catherine Cooper, Orleans County Historian
Illuminating Orleans, Vol. 2, No. 15
BARRE CENTER – Bank publications are not typically thought of as a source of local history – with the rare exception of the Albion Midlander, a monthly publication of the Orleans County Trust Company from 1933 – 1937. Each four-page issue contained photographs and short articles on a variety of Orleans County related topics, from Point Breeze to Barre, quail raising to racoon farming.
Banking and financial information was not neglected. The July 1933 issue contained an article on banking by mail which was promoted as a safe convenient way for people who lived in the country to handle their financial affairs. An article on check cashing noted that the use of checks had become commonplace as a medium for the everyday transfer of money and explained the procedures for processing out-of-town checks. The March 1934 issue included the annual statement of the Orleans County Trust Company, its total resources were $2,313,010.75.
The April 1934 issue featured Barre Center, which was described as the northern gateway to the fertile Genesee-Orleans mucklands. The most important factor in the early growth of “the Center” was the Oak Orchard Road, which was reserved by the Holland Land Company as a public road, four rods wide and which was initially the main travel route to Oak Orchard Harbor. Following the completion of the Erie Canal, it became the main route for the transportation of goods and produce to Albion.
A tract of land about a mile and a half south of Barre Center had been drained in the previous 25 years and this fertile soil produced lettuce, onions, potatoes, carrots, spinach and turnips which were shipped to Buffalo, Cleveland, Philadelphia and New York.
Barre Center had a population of 250. Business places in the village included:
- Phillips & Son General Store,
- Homer J. Dawley, General Store,
- Orleans County Canning Company
- John Benthin & Son Evaporator
- S. Elton Miller Garage
- Albion Oil Company Garage, Bruce Clapp mgr.
The article noted that many of the people and businesses in and about Barre Center used the banking facilities of the Orleans County Trust Company.