Arcade Historical Society

Arcade Historical Society A place to travel through time. The Society was originally formed in 1957 as the Arcade Sesquicentennial and Historical Society for the 150th anniversary of the settlement of the town.
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In 1970 the name was changed to more accurately reflect the Society’s mission. The AHS is dedicated to collecting and preserving objects, records, and other artifacts that illustrate the history of the Town of Arcade and the surrounding area. The Society collections include the Gibby House period rooms showing aspects of Arcade life from 1865 to the present with an emphasis on the 1920s and ‘30s. Special exhibits of items in the collection or on loan are held throughout the year. Also housed in this building is a small research library of newspapers, photographs and documents. The Gibby House, built in 1903, is the Society’s headquarters and was willed to the Society in 1983 by a history-loving village resident, Vernon Gibby. The brick Fire Hall on Liberty Street was purchased by the Arcade Historical Society in 2009. This building was built in 1939 on the site of the first, wooden fire hall. The Society plans to use the building for archival storage, exhibits, classes, and lectures.

Operating as usual

100 Years of Groceries – means many dedicated employees over the years. Two employees at L.R. Brass Red & White in the 1...
10/15/2020

100 Years of Groceries – means many dedicated employees over the years.
Two employees at L.R. Brass Red & White in the 1950s were Faxon Dean and Bob Flogaus. Faxon wrote an employees’ magazine, called “Check Out,” featuring inside jokes and sometimes local history. This article was written for fellow employee Bob Flogaus’ 50th wedding anniversary and was in the February 24, 1954 issue. Spelling and punctuation are all Faxon’s.

Our Myrtle & Bob
Take a nice sunny Sunday ride, out route 39, going west, some time. Continue past Spencer’s Barn; Springville; Spooner’s Gulf; on thru Norton’s Corners; Collins Center; Collins; and to the T in the road. Here take a turn to the right, down the road a jog, and turn left. Over the hill, and drop down into good old Taylor’s Hollow.
That’s where Bob first became aware that he was on a strange planet, full of odd characters.
September 17, 1878.
He was one of seven boys and three girls, born to Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Flogaus. Of the ten children, three boys are still living; Bob, John, and Herman.
Jacob, of Stuttgart, Germany, had migrated to this country in 1863, just in time to be hired as a ‘substitute’, in the Civil War. He fought at Harrisburg and points south.
Having been an expert in the sausage business in the Old Country, it might only be expected that he would bring his skill and recipes with him and, after the War, go into the business with none other than Jacob Dold, in Buffalo. Some of those recipes are still in use.
Several years later, he migrated to Taylor’s Hollow. There he set up in the general merchandise business, (with Beer license of course). At that time the ‘Hollow’ also contained a water-powered saw-mill, with Mulley saw; grist-mill; and shingle manufactory. At the age of twelve, Bob was quite the expert at sharpening millstones (chipping grooves in them).
By the time he was twenty, Bob had finished Grade School, worked around a bit, and wound up in Gowanda, at the State Hospital, running the Pumping Station. It was there that a fellow worker, George Moore, inveigled him into a double date with a girl from Sandusky by the name of Myrtle Jones, who was visiting George’s girlfriend.
They attended the Quaker Church service that nite in Collins, (on the left, just before you get to the Erie R.R. tracks). From then on, Bob was a ‘goner.’ In fact he was coming and going considerable!
He says it was nothing in 1899-1900, for a young fire-brand with a spark in his heart and an itch to be hitched, to hop on his bike, made by Wyman Denison’s dad, Al, for $35), and head over the hills, 35 miles, to Sandusky. (Hell or high water that is).
In fact, in 1902, the year of the great flood in Arcade, Bob rode his bike out Liberty Street to Sandusky, with the water over his boot-tops, in spite of his high perch. They sat up all that nite watching the barns, privys, cows, pigs, etc. floating down in the swollen stream.
The bridges were all washed out, (35 miles of them), and on his way home the next day, he had to wade the creeks with his bike on his back.
A couple years before that, he took Myrtle and her sister to the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, the day McKinley was shot.
In the meantime, Bob had gone to work for the Standard Oil Company, building a gas pipe line across the Welland Canal, thru Buffalo, down to Bradford. Bob furnished a horse for the job. BOY, those were th’ good ol’ days!
Well, you guessed it, - Love found a way.
On a ‘Buckboard’ in a blizzard; bike in a flood; ‘hell or high water.’
Bob and Myrtle were married at her parents’ home in Sandusky, on February 24, 1904, later taking the train to Buffalo and other points on their honeymoon.
They returned about March 20th and Bob worked about two years as a carpenter. He helped build the Merril-Soule (now Borden) plant in Arcade. When it was completed, he started a forty-year career as an engineer, installing and maintaining boilers and machinery at various milk plants in this division of the company.
Bob says he worked around the clock, many a day, and retired in 1946.
Congratulations, Myrtle and Bob, on this your 50th anniversary, from the R&W gang

Do You Miss the Old Voting Machines? There was nothing like pulling the lever to close the curtain and then pulling each...
10/12/2020

Do You Miss the Old Voting Machines? There was nothing like pulling the lever to close the curtain and then pulling each individual lever for the candidate of your choice. Opening the curtain again felt like stepping on stage.
Read the 1938 Arcade Herald article on learning how to use the new voting machine. The photo is a 1960s ad for voting machines made in Jamestown, NY.

100 Years of GroceriesSixty-one years ago today on Thursday, October 8th, Luke Brass opened his new Super Duper store on...
10/08/2020

100 Years of Groceries
Sixty-one years ago today on Thursday, October 8th, Luke Brass opened his new Super Duper store on West Main Street in Arcade with great fanfare. Nellie the elephant, Super Duper's "mascot," appeared in advertising spread in the Arcade Herald that week and of course, she was perched atop the sign in front of the building. Shown here is that advertising spread and several of the photos taken while the building was under construction and at the ribbon cutting.

A Future President Came to Town - from the Arcade Herald, August 9, 1929:Governor Roosevelt will arrive at Arcade at 10 ...
10/05/2020

A Future President Came to Town - from the Arcade Herald, August 9, 1929:
Governor Roosevelt will arrive at Arcade at 10 a.m. Thursday morning next, Pioneer Day [at Silver Lake]. He will be asked to say a few words of greeting at the Arcade House [Arcade Hotel]. From here he will go to Letchworth Park, visiting the various points of interest there, then going on to Perry where luncheon will be served at 12:30 at the Commodore Hotel. Then he will proceed to the Pioneer Grounds at Silver Lake, where he will deliver an address. Later he goes to speak before the 4-H club.
Governor Roosevelt is stopping in Arcade as a courtesy to Senator John Knight*. It is expected a large crowd will be on hand to extend a welcome to the Governor.

As you can see by these photos taken by Vernon Gibby - from across the street and behind the Governor as he spoke in front of the hotel - there definitely was a large crowd to welcome him.

*Arcade resident, John Knight, served in the State Assembly from 1913 to 1916. He went on to become Arcade’s only state senator, from 1917 to 1931, rising to the powerful position of majority leader for several years prior to his appointment by President Herbert Hoover as a federal judge. Although there was some concern at the time about appointing someone sixty years old, Knight (1871-1955) maintained a full schedule until his death, twenty-four years later. [from the book, Two Hundred Years in Arcade, New York, by Jeff Mason]

100 Years of Groceries, Celebrating Brass’, the Longest Continuing Family Grocer in Arcade. This is the October recipe p...
10/03/2020

100 Years of Groceries, Celebrating Brass’, the Longest Continuing Family Grocer in Arcade. This is the October recipe page from a 1960 L.R. Brass Inc. Super Duper calendar. Fittingly, since Brass' started out as a meat market in 1920, the October recipes are for anyone asking, "Where's the beef?"

100 Years of Groceries – the Man Who Started ItMr. L.R. Brass was named by the 1962 Arcade Chamber of Commerce as their ...
10/01/2020

100 Years of Groceries – the Man Who Started It
Mr. L.R. Brass was named by the 1962 Arcade Chamber of Commerce as their Man of the Year. As told in a speech at that awards ceremony, Luke Brass was born in Strykersville on January 25, 1900. He attended grammar school in Strykersville. He quit school at age 16 to drive a mule team and operate an R.F.D. (rural free delivery postal) route. However, while in school he entered his first business venture – selling candy – by buying it wholesale and selling it at a profit to his friends. His store location at that time was in his father’s woodshed.

In 1920 Luke came to Arcade and joined a partnership with Harry Harsch in a meat market on the south side of Main Street in what is today the eastern part of the building occupied by Arcade-Knight Agency. And, as they say, the rest is history – which you can read about in a special article written by Town & Village Historian Jeff Mason for the October 8th Arcade Herald.

The Arcade Historical Society congratulates Brass’ Arcade Market Place as they begin their month-long observance of their 100th anniversary at the store. We recognize Luke’s vision and hard work and that of his entire family and the succeeding generations who have served this community continuously for 100 years. Happy Anniversary!

Corn Harvest. No identifying information with the photo.
09/30/2020

Corn Harvest. No identifying information with the photo.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s “curative tonics” were all the rage. “Snake Oil” salesmen commonly laced their product...
09/28/2020

In the late 1800s and early 1900s “curative tonics” were all the rage. “Snake Oil” salesmen commonly laced their products with alcohol. But humans weren’t the only patients for these medicinal entrepreneurs.

As Linda Bren writes in the FDA Consumer Magazine, January-February 2006, “Nearly a century ago, farmers had a medicine chest of products to "cure" their animals, with names such as Lee's Gizzard Capsules, Liquid Hog Medicine, and Kow-Kure.

“The gizzard capsules, made with nicotine, were advertised to get rid of worms in turkeys. Liquid Hog Medicine, which contained lye, was for treating diarrhea in pigs. And Kow-Kure, whose exact ingredients remain a mystery, purported to prevent miscarriages in cows.

“No one knew whether these products were actually safe or effective, but all were allowed on the market under the federal drug laws at the time.”

Here are several of the Kow-Kure advertisements local farmers found in the Wyoming County Herald between 1916 and 1919.

100 Years of Groceries – Brass’ delivery trucksLike many other businesses, Brass’ had delivery vehicles. Lysle Myers of ...
09/24/2020

100 Years of Groceries – Brass’ delivery trucks
Like many other businesses, Brass’ had delivery vehicles. Lysle Myers of Machias was THE man to go to for having your sign painted on your vehicle and Luke Brass hired him to paint theirs. Bob Brass remembers when he drove the horse-drawn wagon to help his uncle deliver groceries around Arcade. These vehicles were a major upgrade.

Wedding Announcement in the November 27, 1908 Wyoming County HeraldLewis-Mann      John Lewis and Miss Elizabeth Mann of...
09/21/2020

Wedding Announcement in the November 27, 1908 Wyoming County Herald
Lewis-Mann
John Lewis and Miss Elizabeth Mann of Arcade, were united in marriage by Rev. Crawford at the Congregational parsonage at Niagara Falls at 3 p.m. Monday.
Every person for miles around knows John Lewis. He has been engaged in the dental business in Arcade for many years, and has a host of friends. Mrs. Lewis has been forelady in the Oak Knitting Mill for a number of years, and is popular and highly esteemed by a large circle of friends.
Mr. Lewis has been prominent in making the honeymoon of every young married man in Arcade for several decades a time to be remembered. Therefore his many friends in Arcade planned to make his home coming one long remembered. They did.
Word was received from Buffalo that the couple were coming home Tuesday night. During the day the window of his office had been profusely decorated with a baby cradle in which a doll and nursing bottle were laid, a skull was fitted up with a hat and Mr. Lewis coat put underneath it, and other incidentals added to the display.
A large banner was hung to the breeze across the street, bearing the inscription: “Found Guilty - John Lewis found guilty of matrimony and Mann-slaughter. Trial covering a period of nine years ended in conviction November 23rd, 1908. Sentenced for life. Goodbye Short.”
There was a considerable delegation at the depot to meet them, but they were invisible. However four of the boys, feeling sure they were on the train, decided to go on further. Soon after the train had left the station, John made his appearance and although he was going to Olean, the boys convinced him of the necessity of getting off at Delevan. So with “Come on Lib, they’ve got me,” they left the train. The rig was secured and they drove over and were met by a torch-light procession with all kinds of noise-producing instruments, and his return was something to make winning football teams envious. They paraded through the dancers in Keystone Hall and John behaved like a lamb. Finally they let him go home. John is very liberal with the cigars.
We wish them years and years of happiness and prosperity.

100 Years of GroceriesArcade celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1957 with lots of different activities. Men could pledge...
09/17/2020

100 Years of Groceries
Arcade celebrated its sesquicentennial in 1957 with lots of different activities. Men could pledge to be a “brother of the brush” and grow facial hair. The men at Brass’ Red & White grocery in downtown Arcade signed on for the fun. In this photo they are showing off their facial hair and several have on their sesquicentennial ties too. Left to right, kneeling are Bernard and Bob Brass, standing are Luke Brass, Faxon Dean, Joe Hyland, Morris Mummery, and Darrel Domes.

Happy Grandparents’ Day to all the grandparents out there! Take a seat with your grandkids and show them this FB post wi...
09/13/2020

Happy Grandparents’ Day to all the grandparents out there! Take a seat with your grandkids and show them this FB post with pages from the 1962 Sears Christmas Wish Book. You’ll have to explain many of the things in these photos to your grandchildren, but that’s the idea – share your stories with them on Grandparents’ Day!

Join the historical society in congratulating the Brass family on their 100th anniversary. The Arcade Herald will have a...
09/09/2020

Join the historical society in congratulating the Brass family on their 100th anniversary. The Arcade Herald will have a special anniversary insert in their paper on October 8th, which happens to be the 61st anniversary of the Grand Opening of Brass’ brand new Super Duper store on West Main Street! Deadline for ads is September 18th.

After the windstorm that swept through the area Labor Day morning, a tree on the Gibby House front lawn lost a very larg...
09/08/2020

After the windstorm that swept through the area Labor Day morning, a tree on the Gibby House front lawn lost a very large limb. Thanks to the kindness of Historical Society members, neighbors and friends, that afternoon the massive branch got dismantled, and the lawn raked up. We are so grateful for the power of neighbors and the blessings of living in a small town! What an awesome village!

Summer hasn't been the same without the county and state fairs this year. This ad was in the Arcade Herald summer 1933.
09/07/2020

Summer hasn't been the same without the county and state fairs this year. This ad was in the Arcade Herald summer 1933.

Arcade Historical Society's cover photo
09/04/2020

Arcade Historical Society's cover photo

100 Years of Groceries, Celebrating Brass’, the Longest Continuing Family Grocer in Arcade. Here is the September recipe...
09/03/2020

100 Years of Groceries, Celebrating Brass’, the Longest Continuing Family Grocer in Arcade. Here is the September recipe page from a 1960 L.R. Brass Inc. Super Duper calendar. With the cooler weather heartier meat recipes are featured.

The following article is from Arcade Herald, January 27, 1933, page one:Present Depression a Luxury Compared to Century ...
08/31/2020

The following article is from Arcade Herald, January 27, 1933, page one:
Present Depression a Luxury Compared to Century Ago
Obed Thornton Who Lived to be 104 Years Old Disproves Theory That Hard Work Sent Anyone to An Early Grave. When He Had $6 in an Entire Year He Had a Lot of Money. Saves Eyes of Potatoes and Then Ate the Rest.

If you think this a depression or hard times just spend a few minutes some day with Robert French, who has a scrap book telling some very interesting things about his great grandfather, Obed Thornton*. Thornton drove an ox-cart from New Hampshire to Perry in 1818. There were no roads and he had a hard time of it especially if compared to the easy grade concrete roads of today.

The following winter, 1819, no snow fell at all until March 10 when it came down by the ton. In fact that first snow storm of the winter covered the earth to four and five feet and a lot more where it drifted.

When Thornton wanted to go back home he set out on foot and thee different times he walked to New Hampshire and back. When he was 100 years old he walked from China to Bliss, but China in earlier days was Arcade. In fact Thornton never lived anywhere else than on his farm but during his life his home was in two counties, Genesee and Wyoming and in three different towns, his home town having changed its name that many times and Wyoming having been formed from Genesee in 1842.

If Thornton wanted money he began burning up trees and saving the ashes. These ashes he carried to Covington to be used in making black salts. When he could get $5 of $6 in cash together he proceeded on foot to Batavia where he paid his land taxes and then started home again. No eight cylinder cars for him.

It was in 1819, however, that hard time hit this section the worst. After planting the potatoes in the spring of that year the scrap book says that farmers dug them up, cut out the eyes and ate what was left. There was no such thing as money. The nearest grist mill was at Hermitage, nine miles away. In 1820 he and two of his neighbors became short of provisions and so he went to Wethersfield where he got half a bushel of wheat for himself and three-fourths of a bushel for one neighbor and one bushel for the other. The wheat cost $2 a bushel and the man whom they bought it from had only a bushel left. They carried the wheat on their backs to Hermitage and brought back flour in the same way. Some different than a bread truck rolling up to your door today and delivering a sliced loaf.

Thornton used the same pair of sap buckets for 63 years. It took him just 28 days to walk from New Hampshire to Perry. He paid a shilling a night for lodging at the taverns along the way and furnished his own bed. The trail ended at Perry and so Thornton pressed on to the wilderness at Arcade where there were six log huts.

On his way to Perry he scorned workmen on the Erie Canal saying he hoped he never would be troubled with a headache until they were able to run boats upon the canal, thinking that Clinton’s ditch was a fool idea. However, some two years later when he was making a visit home, he rode some 200 miles upon it, walking the other 200. Some change since then, but about the same idea when folks said horseless carriages would never run. And what would this sturdy pioneer think today with radio and aeroplanes.

Thornton was always a Democrat though the diary reports that he did not try to change his belief every time the party changed its name. It seems that the Democrats were once Republicans. Nowadays, 100 years later, it is just about as hard to define a Democrat as in those days. If one sizes up the election figures of November 1932 [Franklin D. Roosevelt winning] it might appear that several hundreds of thousands of Republicans became Democrats.

We may poke a lot of fun today about the different ideas for changing our currency but when Thornton was alive ashes could be turned into cash; wheat could be swapped and barter was common.

At any rate the scrap book dispels the idea that other folks did not have their troubles, even more so than we of today and when you read about Obed Thornton you just wonder what work really is, in light of this mechanical age. – Perry Herald

*More information on Obed Thornton (Arcade Herald, January 4, 1929): He had $50 in cash when he first came to the area and bought a tract of wild land, paying $25 down. He married, on September 26, 1824, Miss Clarissa Lord. They went to housekeeping in a small log house, 18 x 18. In 1835 they moved into the first frame house in their locality. Warsaw was the nearest Post Office. He had to Attica for cornmeal. It was said of him that although he had lived within 40 miles of Buffalo all his life, he never visited that city and rode only once on a railway train.

The photo with this story is James Hollingsworth driving John Charles’ ox team, Bliss, NY.

Address

15 Liberty Street
Arcade, NY
14009-1110

There is no public transit. The office and research archives are at the Old Fire Hall, 15 Liberty Street, Arcade, just south of the intersection with Main Street. The Society's house museum is at the Gibby House, 331 West Main Street, Arcade, next to the Pioneer Central Arcade Elementary School.

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Our Story

The Society was originally formed in 1957 as the Arcade Sesquicentennial and Historical Society for the 150th anniversary of the settlement of the town. In 1970 the name was changed to more accurately reflect the Society’s mission. The AHS is dedicated to collecting and preserving objects, records, and other artifacts that illustrate the history of the Town of Arcade and the surrounding area within the Pioneer Central School District.

The Society collections include the Gibby House period rooms showing aspects of Arcade life from 1865 to the present with an emphasis on the 1920s and ‘30s. Special exhibits of items in the collection or on loan are held throughout the year. The Gibby House, built in 1903, was willed to the Society in 1983 by a history-loving village resident, Vernon Gibby. Situated next door to Arcade Elementary School, the society provides programs and exhibits geared to families and young people and school classes visit at least twice a year.

The brick Fire Hall on Liberty Street was purchased by the Arcade Historical Society in 2009. This building was built in 1939 on the site of the first, wooden fire hall. After renovations were completed to make the building accessible to all, the Society moved its office and research archive to this building in the spring of 2020 and will hold larger exhibits and lectures here.

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On Wednesday January 8th, 2020 at 730 PM there will be a lecture on utilitarian stoneware made in early Buffalo entitled History & Mystery: The Early Potteries of The Queen City by David Potter & Peter Jablonski . Decorated stoneware jugs and crocks will be on display. The meeting will take place at St Peters Episcopal Church Hall on Callodine and Longmeadow in Amherst. The event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served, courtesy of The Greater Buffalo Bottle Collectors Association. The club will have their general meeting preceding the program at 7 pm . For more info, please contact Peter Jablonski at 440-7985. Appreciatively, Peter Jablonski President Greater Buffalo Bottle Collectors Association
Do you have yearbooks from Arcade Central in the early 40's? My mother Marian Reisdorf would have graduated then. I would love to see that graduation picture.
HEY WINE & CRAFT BEER LOVERS: This year's fund-raising Wine/Beer Tasting A&A train ride will be Saturday, September 14. (psst... this year's treats will be provided by Windy Brew of Strykersville and Savage Winery of Sardinia 💕🍷🍺😁)
Only 8 more days before the Cheers & Beers fundraiser on the A&A for the Historical Society. Picture this... you and your honey enjoying a ride through the picturesque fall countryside -- all while sipping on samples of wines from Main Street Winery or beers from Steelbound Brewery. Mmmm... relaxing and tasty! When the train stops at Curriers you stop to buy a bite to eat, then reboard to enjoy a glass of your favorite on the return trip. FUN! FUN! FUN! Get your ticket at the A&A (585-492-3100), LR Brass Shurfine, or Main Street Winery!!! GET IT SOON... WE DON'T WANT TO LEAVE THE STATION WITHOUT YOU...
Thank you Jeff for the opportunity to see the WWI exhibit and movie. Great collection and the movie was excellent. Donna and Rick LaClaire
Another picture of what I think is my father, Ray Edmunds and my Uncle Keith Edmunds. Again I don't know the location--but would welcome any comments from anyone.
Possibly a picture of my father, Ray Edmunds and my Uncle Keith Edmunds--am not sure of the location. I know they moved from Freedom to Park Street, Arcade