Canal lanterns, a hitching post and lots of old gas pumps

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 23 November 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Rollie Sanford’s property on Gaines Basin Road, about a mile north of the canal, is well known in the Albion area because of the collection of vintage gas pumps that have been restored by Rollie and his son Scott. Rollie has picked up other relics, including this hitching post and a toy horse.

GAINES – When he and his wife Elma retired from teaching in the early 1980s, Roland Sanford and his wife decided they wanted to have some adventures together.

The couple didn’t need to book a cruise. They went on treasure hunts locally. They are known in the Albion area for an impressive collection of old gas pumps. Orleans Hub featured the collection in a June 13 article. (Click here to see it.)

Mrs. Sanford passed away on Christmas Eve in 2005. Her son Scott has become a gas pump enthusiast. He has restored many of the pumps on the property. There are about a dozen of them, dating from 1915 to 1960.

Since that June article on the Hub, Scott has put two more pumps out by a barn on Gaines Basin Road, including one painted in honor of the Albion Fire Department. That old-fashioned fire extinguisher on wheels used to hold chemicals and was used by a fire department generations ago.

I was at the Sanfords’ last weekend for a story about the gas pumps for the “585” magazine that covers the Rochester region. I pitch the magazine some articles about Orleans County topics and sometimes they say yes. They wanted the one about the gas pumps. I can’t give away too much of that article.

I did see some other very interesting artifacts at the Sanfords, items I’ve never seen before.

Rollie has a nice old cast iron hitching post in his front yard with a toy horse laying on it. Rollie, 93, says he “picked it up somewhere.”

The retired history teacher likes artifacts from a different era. He has several old lanterns that used to line the canal at night. The lanterns were needed so boats wouldn’t ram into the canal walls. These old lanterns weigh about 25 pounds each. Sanford said the canal used to have employees who lighted the lanterns and also checked the historic waterway for leaks.

Rollie Sanford has collected canal lanterns that were used as markers along the canal when it was dark.

This lantern was used on the canal long ago.

“The lights were used as guides,” he said.

Rollie in some of his hunts for local relics also returned home with an old railroad cart that now sits in his son’s front yard.

Rollie also came across a millstone and brokered a deal to have it moved to the Sanford property, which has been in the family for six generations.

Scott and Julie Sanford have a century old railroad cart in their front lawn. In the back is a millstone that Scott’s father Rollie saved from being discarded years ago.