Oldest building in Orleans stands in Ridgeway on 104

Posted 17 July 2013 at 12:00 am

Photos courtesy of Adam Tabelski – This barn on Route 104 is believed to be the oldest structure in Orleans County.

By Adam Tabelski

RIDGEWAY – The oldest man-made structure in Orleans County that can be documented is not made of stone or brick. Rather, it is a wood-frame barn that dates to the early pioneer era, even before the construction of the Erie Canal.

This fact came to light during the recent bicentennial ceremony in the Town of Ridgeway, as several of the proclamations read during the affair mentioned the longevity of a barn on Ridge Road built for Seymour Murdock about the time of the town’s inception.

Sources agree that Murdock, his wife, and their many children settled on the Ridge in 1810, but they differ on whether the barn in question was built in 1813 or 1814. The latter year would seem to be correct if the story told in Landmarks of Orleans County (published in 1894) about General George Izard’s troops helping the Murdock family to raise the timbers is true.

It was in the fall of 1814 that Izard’s army moved through our section of Western New York on its way to participate in the tumultuous conflict along the Niagara River during the War of 1812.

One of Seymour’s daughters, Betsey, is reported to have taught school in the barn soon after it was built.Over the years many of the exterior boards have no doubt been replaced and many trimmings added, but the skeleton of the structure is believed to be original.

The Ridge Road Improvement Association erected a roadside monument in 1941, consisting of a bronze plaque affixed to a boulder. Keep your eyes peeled when driving along Route 104 just west of Marshall Road.

(Tabelski is a member of the Medina Historical Society.)