Historical Society of Elba

05/03/2019
Historical Society of Elba

Historical Society of Elba

The most recent newsletter from the Town of Elba Historian and president of the Historical Society of Elba...

FROM THE DESK OF
EARL ROTH

Historian –Town of Elba
Historian – Village of Elba [email protected]
President – Historical Society of Elba
Master – Elba Grange #783 May 2, 2019 2019-1

Welcome back to my readers. Now that I have completed my responsibilities to the clients of my tax practice, I will resume my newsletters.

GRANGERS

The first meeting of 2019 was held on April 18th at Chap’s Diner in Elba. This marks the beginning of our 126th year, as the Elba Grange was organized in 1893. Our May meeting will be held on May 15th with Ned Dale (Elba’s new school Superintendant) as our guest speaker.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The first meeting was held April 4th with installation of officers and finalizing their 2019 schedule, including The October “Roast Beef Dinner” and Memorial Day ceremonies. The museum will open on May 27th in conjunction with Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery in cooperation with The Elba Betterment Committee, The Elba Volunteer Fire Department and the Ladies’ Auxiliary.

The Historical society would like to thank Maureen Torrey-Marshall and Peter Warn for their generous cash donations.

Our Historical Society and Museum could not exist without the financial support of The Town OF Elba and all of our other benefactors. However, in addition to money, The Historical Society and Museum is in need of people. Many of our older members are no longer able to physically help us or even able to attend meetings. WE MUST HAVE FRESH BODIES & IDEAS.

We have the following needs:
To re side the Griffin house
To complete our planned addition
To plan & organize new displays for the public
To help maintain our buildings & grounds

I look forward to someone stepping up and offering their time and skills.

Page 2

OTHER

We recently received a question regarding “The Point” and its history. With the help of June Rowcliffe and The 1995 175th Anniversary publication, I hope that I will have succeeded in making all of my readers more informed.

June Rowcliffe and her husband (Howard) purchased the property in 1980. At that time the buildings consisted of ten houses that were leased out (June is currently living in the one remaining), the office (no longer there), two long barns (which the Rowcliffes used for a nursery and collectible business – only one remains) and a residence which still remains.

We can not be sure where the name “The Point” came from or when it was first used. It may have been a descriptive term that describes the acute angle (north east corner) formed by the intersection of Watson Road and Oak Orchard Road.

Looking at old maps, it appears that “The Point” was originally part of the Edwin Parker farm of some 78 acres. In February 1913, The Stickney family sold five acres to the Western New York Farms Company. In July 1913, the offices were complete and the WNY Farms Co. moved from The Village of Elba to the “farm village”. In January 1914, a celebration for 200 employees and dignitaries were held in a newly completed 130 x 45 foot machinery barn which had a new concrete floor installed for the occasion.

A single well furnished water for all of the buildings through their own water system.

The large house was constructed for use of WNY Farms Co.’s managers’, while the ten tenant houses were constructed for use by other employees. With the draining of the swamp and clearing of the trees, housing was in great shortage and Company owned housing became a necessity. The farm village, “The Point”, fulfilled social needs as well, dinners, card parties, dancing and club suppers were held for the benefit of its residents.

After WNY Farms sold off its ownership in the muck land to individual farmers, the need for company housing ended. However, the tenant houses were still in demand. In the years following World War II, many newly married couples made “The Point” their homes and started their families there.

Older residents may also remember the ever flowing spring that was on the east side of Oak Orchard road just north of the house now occupied by Dan Coughlin and family. At some time in the past, some one had installed pipe from which the water would flow. It was said to be some of the best drinking water around with individuals coming from miles around, in order to bottle it and take home.

05/03/2019

The most recent newsletter from the Town of Elba Historian and president of the Historical Society of Elba...

FROM THE DESK OF
EARL ROTH

Historian –Town of Elba
Historian – Village of Elba [email protected]
President – Historical Society of Elba
Master – Elba Grange #783 May 2, 2019 2019-1

Welcome back to my readers. Now that I have completed my responsibilities to the clients of my tax practice, I will resume my newsletters.

GRANGERS

The first meeting of 2019 was held on April 18th at Chap’s Diner in Elba. This marks the beginning of our 126th year, as the Elba Grange was organized in 1893. Our May meeting will be held on May 15th with Ned Dale (Elba’s new school Superintendant) as our guest speaker.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY

The first meeting was held April 4th with installation of officers and finalizing their 2019 schedule, including The October “Roast Beef Dinner” and Memorial Day ceremonies. The museum will open on May 27th in conjunction with Memorial Day ceremonies at the cemetery in cooperation with The Elba Betterment Committee, The Elba Volunteer Fire Department and the Ladies’ Auxiliary.

The Historical society would like to thank Maureen Torrey-Marshall and Peter Warn for their generous cash donations.

Our Historical Society and Museum could not exist without the financial support of The Town OF Elba and all of our other benefactors. However, in addition to money, The Historical Society and Museum is in need of people. Many of our older members are no longer able to physically help us or even able to attend meetings. WE MUST HAVE FRESH BODIES & IDEAS.

We have the following needs:
To re side the Griffin house
To complete our planned addition
To plan & organize new displays for the public
To help maintain our buildings & grounds

I look forward to someone stepping up and offering their time and skills.

Page 2

OTHER

We recently received a question regarding “The Point” and its history. With the help of June Rowcliffe and The 1995 175th Anniversary publication, I hope that I will have succeeded in making all of my readers more informed.

June Rowcliffe and her husband (Howard) purchased the property in 1980. At that time the buildings consisted of ten houses that were leased out (June is currently living in the one remaining), the office (no longer there), two long barns (which the Rowcliffes used for a nursery and collectible business – only one remains) and a residence which still remains.

We can not be sure where the name “The Point” came from or when it was first used. It may have been a descriptive term that describes the acute angle (north east corner) formed by the intersection of Watson Road and Oak Orchard Road.

Looking at old maps, it appears that “The Point” was originally part of the Edwin Parker farm of some 78 acres. In February 1913, The Stickney family sold five acres to the Western New York Farms Company. In July 1913, the offices were complete and the WNY Farms Co. moved from The Village of Elba to the “farm village”. In January 1914, a celebration for 200 employees and dignitaries were held in a newly completed 130 x 45 foot machinery barn which had a new concrete floor installed for the occasion.

A single well furnished water for all of the buildings through their own water system.

The large house was constructed for use of WNY Farms Co.’s managers’, while the ten tenant houses were constructed for use by other employees. With the draining of the swamp and clearing of the trees, housing was in great shortage and Company owned housing became a necessity. The farm village, “The Point”, fulfilled social needs as well, dinners, card parties, dancing and club suppers were held for the benefit of its residents.

After WNY Farms sold off its ownership in the muck land to individual farmers, the need for company housing ended. However, the tenant houses were still in demand. In the years following World War II, many newly married couples made “The Point” their homes and started their families there.

Older residents may also remember the ever flowing spring that was on the east side of Oak Orchard road just north of the house now occupied by Dan Coughlin and family. At some time in the past, some one had installed pipe from which the water would flow. It was said to be some of the best drinking water around with individuals coming from miles around, in order to bottle it and take home.

03/10/2019

Check out Historicalsocietyofelba.com.

12/06/2018

General Membership meeting and election of officers tomorrow night, 12/6/18 at the museum on Maple Ave. Ext. at 7pm.

11/30/2018

` FROM THE DESK OF
EARL ROTH

Historian –Town of Elba
Historian – Village of Elba [email protected]
President – Historical Society of Elba
Master – Elba Grange #783 November 23, 2018 2018-12

GRANGERS

The Methodist Church has notified The Elba Grange that they will no longer be able to serve meals at our monthly meetings. We wish to thank them for many years of preparing wonderful meals at a reasonable price. Fortunately, The Elba Diner (Chap’s) has stepped forward and will be hosting future Grange dinners, third Wednesday of each month, April thru October.

HISTORICAL SOCIETY
Next meeting is scheduled for December 6th at our museum at 7 P.M. for annual election of officers.
Condolences go out to the families of Stewart Hare & Thomas Pierce, who have recently passed away. Stu Hare was a life long member of our community. Stu & his wife Jean (also deceased) were supporters of our museum. Tom Pierce, although only a twenty year resident of Elba, aided his wife, Irene, in Museum activities, especially in the preparation & serving of our annual roast beef dinner. We shall miss them!!!!!!!!!!!

OTHER
November 11th represented the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended “The War to End All Wars” (WWI). As such, I think it appropriate that we not only recognize the soldier(s) that risked their lives in battle, but also the men & women that took care of their medical needs.

The preparations for military medical care began long before the U.S. entered the war against Germany. In September 1915, Major General Wm. C. Gorgas (Surgeon General of the Army) and Dr. John M. Swan of Rochester, NY met in Rochester and discussed the formation of base hospital groups that could be quickly mobilized in the event of war. The intention being that the Rochester medical community would obtain the services of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel necessary to form and operate a 500 bed hospital. The Rochester group would operate as “Base Hospital Number 19”, other area would also form similar groups, Buffalo & Syracuse also operated “Base Hospitals”.

The winter of 1915/1916 were spent obtaining the services of physicians who were examined and commissioned first lieutenants in the Medical Reserve Corps, at this time the Red Cross (they would supply the nursing staff) became involved.

Page 2

In June 1916, enrollment of enlisted personnel would begin under the provisions of the enlisted reserve corps and not regular U.S. Army. Throughout the balance of 1916 and the winter/spring of 1917, meetings would be held at Brick Church Institute and then the Third Regiment Armory. Instruction covered included not only military drill, but also personal hygiene, hospital ward routine, first aid & bandaging, anatomy and other medical processes. During this time, acceptance of medical equipment & supplies began, the first being from the DAR – Irondequoit Chapter and the Order of the Eastern Star.

In February 1917 after relations were severed with Germany, the Base Hospital No. 19 set up headquarters in the Hotel Rochester and the first muster & inspection was held. In May 1917, the process of conversion from a reserve corps to active service began.

On December 17, 1917 orders were received to mobilize for overseas duty. January, February, March, and April were used for daily hikes & drills, inspection of equipment, instruction in the wards of various Rochester hospitals and instruction in the duties of the medical department soldier. During this time, a decision was made to increase the size from 500 beds to a 1,000 bed organization. Extended mobilization period was due to lack of transport ships and u-boat activity.

On May 5th, the nurses left for NYC and the remainder of the Base Hospital personnel left Rochester on May 14th. June 3rd, all would board the White Star Line “Baltic” for transport to Europe. The ship arrived in Southampton on June 15th and on the 18th, personnel boarded the SS St. George for transport to Le Havre, France whereby personnel would board rail cars for a final destination of Vichy.

Five “Base Hospitals” would operate out of Vichy with an increased capacity of 10,000 beds. The Rochester group would experience its first wartime service on June 27th with the arrival of 350 patients. Base Hospital No. 19 would be responsible for contagious disease, respiratory infections and care of wounded German prisoners. During its operation of six months and eights days, a total of 11,071 patients were handled with 78 deaths. Medical care took place at 22 different hotels that were used as hospitals with total bed capacity of 4,114.

Local individuals serving as part of the Base Hospital include First Lieutenant Hiram I. Randall of LeRoy (Ward Surgeon), Sergeant Major Mark Heath of Holley (Adjutant), Sergeant Thomas P. Kerwick of Batavia (Dispensary) and PLUMA A. PFANN OF ELBA (NURSE).

Above information obtained from the book “A History of United States Army Base Hospital No. 19 American Expeditionary Forces – Vichy – France A-P-O-781”

Pluma Pfann was my grandmother’s sister and my next newsletter will contain some of her experiences as a nurse in the war.

Did you ever wonder where that big rock next to the Village of Elba office came from, why it is there and how it got the...
08/23/2018

Did you ever wonder where that big rock next to the Village of Elba office came from, why it is there and how it got there? Now you know. I was doing some work at the museum today and found this article from a Rochester newspaper dated Wednesday, July 6, 1966.

08/09/2018

FROM THE DESK OF
EARL ROTH

Historian –Town of Elba
Historian – Village of Elba [email protected]
President – Historical Society of Elba
Master – Elba Grange #783 July 25, 2018 2018-7

Greetings – If anyone has a particular topic on Elba or its history that they would like additional information on, I would be happy to cooperate.

GRANGERS

On July 19th, The Elba Grange was fortunate to have as guest speakers, two young farmers from South Africa. They are currently working for Craig Yunker and CY Farms of Elba. They are participating in an international program that allows young farmers to travel to other countries and work for other farmers in order to gain experience and knowledge of different farming practices and management techniques.

Jacques Marais is from Bothaville (Free State province), South Africa, which is located near the Vaal & Vals Rivers. His family has a farm of several thousand acres that produce corn and other field crops. They employ approximately 40 individuals and furnish not only employment, but also housing and some education for those individuals and their families. Jacques is fluent in several languages including German, French, English as well as several dialects of local native languages. Gaining the respect of employees is very important and an important part of that is to learn their native language. Racially, the area is approximately 5% white and there has been instances where the locals will overrun a farm and kill the owners and steal their property.

Jacques did mention that because of the soil types that are farmed, that stones & rocks do not exist. No rock picking!!! While our local farmers complain about the number of deer that invade their fields; it pales in comparison to the local animals that Jacques’ family has to contend with, which range from elephants to bands of monkeys .

Juon DuPlessis is from Nelspruit, which is the capital of Mpumalanga province, located in the Valley of the Crocodile River and is near Kruger National Park. Because of its climate, the area is big in citrus & tropical fruits, macadamia nuts and forestry products. Juon’s family has several hundred acres of macadamia nut trees.

Differences in agricultural practices and equipment exist, but much of that relates to the fact that the US farmers are using larger equipment (12 row planters versus 24 row planters) and that US farmers are more progressive in using modern technology (GPS, drones, etc.).

Page 2

HISTORICAL SOCIETY

Our next meeting will be August 2nd at seven P.M. at our museum. All are welcome.
All, members & non-members are always welcome to join us.

OTHER

Recently, July 8th, Elba lost one of its landmarks, The Stumbling Inn (The Elba Hotel), to fire. Because of the sizable demolition and cleanup costs, the community has organized a benefit event to be held at the Elba Fire Department Recreation Hall on September 30th from noon till 7:00 P.M. Jim & Steve Goff, owners, have been active supporters of the Elba community and its activities in their thirty-nine years of ownership.

I have included below a brief history of that landmark as put together by Scott Benz (former town & village historian) in Elba’s 175th anniversary book.

Elba’s first hotel was founded in 1815 by Stephen Harmon on the same site as the Stumbling. Pine Hill was still five years away from being separated from Batavia and becoming the Town of Elba. Elba was a convenient stop for travelers going between Batavia and Albion (Erie Canal) and the lake port located at what now is known as Point Breeze.

In September 1874, the building, now owned by Wm. Moreau was destroyed by fire. A, new two story hotel was constructed and open for business on July 25, 1875. On April 23, 1878, Wm. Moreau sold the business to John and Anna Swartz of Hazelton, Pa. John Swartz was a Civil War veteran who had lost a leg in the war. John eventually died in 1887 due to war related wounds. His widow, Anna, would continue the business until her death in 1895.

With the arrival of the West Shore Railroad and its passengers, Anna expanded the building. The second floor ballroom was converted to additional rooms and a third floor was added for a new ballroom with a “spring” dance floor. A porch was extended over the sidewalk so that customers could step directly from their carriage to the cover of the veranda and not get wet. Each arrival of a train at the depot would be greeted by a team of horses from the in order to provide transportation to the Hotel

Although Anna died in 1895, the Swartz family would continue to operate the Hotel until 1932, when it was purchased by Jackson Filkins. The Hotel had a variety of owners until it was purchased in 1979 by Jim & Steve Goff.

In the 1920’s, the ballroom with its famous “spring” floor served as home for Elba’s high school basketball and volleyball players. The Hotel throughout its life was known for its food and entertainment.

Address

Maple Ave. Extension
Elba, NY
14058

Opening Hours

Sunday 14:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(575) 757-9094

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