The Point Breeze Hotel offered respite on shore of Lake Ontario

By Matthew Ballard, Orleans County Historian Posted 28 March 2020 at 8:53 am

“Overlooked Orleans” – Vol. 6, No. 12

POINT BREEZE – This glass plate negative was recently found in a collection of images within the Department of History. Although the collection is not labeled, it is believed that the photographs are from the Carlton and Point Breeze area. Based on the content of the other images, this photograph appears to show a hotel once operated by Lewis Rogers. This photograph was likely taken before 1911 when the building was destroyed by a fire.

The history of the Point Breeze Hotel dates to around 1840 when, according to Isaac Signor, a small hotel was constructed on this site. Shortly after Capt. Jonathan Murray arrived in the area in the late 1840s, he acquired this property and expanded the hotel building as part of a larger warehouse and ship building operation.

Around 1876, the property was transferred to Moses Broadwell and Chester Warner who operated the hotel until 1881 when Lewis Rogers and L. Sydney Crooker acquired the property. That particular transaction involved a land swap including acreage in Wisconsin and financial interests in property associated with the Central Hotel in Batavia for ownership of the Orleans House at Point Breeze.

Around 1901 the property was sold by Rogers and Crooker to Mary Virginia Bascom of Boston, Massachusetts for the sum of $4,000. The property transfer seems to suggest that Rogers was unable to continue payments on his mortgage. Even though Mrs. Bascom took ownership of the hotel, Lewis Rogers continued to operate the hotel on site.

In late March of 1911, a fire started in the hotel’s kitchen around 3:30 a.m. while Rogers was visiting friends in Vermont. Although the neighborhood responded to fight the fire, gusty winds off the lake made it nearly impossible to control the blaze. The $6,000 building and over $3,000 in personal property owned by Rogers were only partially covered by insurance. Cutting his losses, Rogers transitioned into the role of proprietor of the Cottage House (now the Black North Inn).

The local newspapers noted a peculiar notice that appeared on the fire-damaged structure on May 18, 1911:

“This land is not for sale and no other lands that Mrs. Bascom owned prior to May 18, 1911 and no deed will be valid unless given by C. A. Deavenport, who owns every foot of land, every building, every stick of lumber of every name and nature and who has a bill of sale for every foot of land which Mrs. Bascom owned prior to May 18, 1911.”

The reason for the rather abrasive sign is unknown, but Deavenport purchased several old lumber sheds previously owned by A. V. Clark with the intention of converting the structures into lakefront cottages. It was believed that he intended to construct a bungalow on the site of the old Point Breeze Hotel for his personal use, but the hotel was rebuilt and operated under the name “Lakeland Hotel.” After remaining under the proprietorship of Lewis Rogers for more than 30 years, the property was sold numerous times over the coming years. In 1921, Deavenport sold the property to his son Carl, who then sold it to Clarence Egbert in 1922. It was transferred to Buffalo Parkside Properties, Inc. in 1929, then sold to Emma Kelemen the same year, once again sold to Clara Norton in 1931, then to Dorothy Valtas in 1933.

Around 1940, the hotel property was sold to Joseph Winghart of Lyndonville who changed the name to the “Winghart Hotel.” Winghart and his brother Bernard were known rum runners during Prohibition. The hotel again burned in the early 1940s and although the origin of the fire was never determined, Winghart was certain arson was the cause. Other sales included a transfer to Fred and Annabelle Hollenbeck who changed the name back to the Lakeland Hotel, sale of the property to Harvey Bardo of Rochester in 1946, and transfer of the hotel in 1956 to Herbert Seiler.

Although this building is long gone, locals will remember the property as the The Lakeland, The Barbary Coast, and was most recently the home of Gene and Joette Haines.

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