By Bill Lattin, Orleans County Historian Posted 18 April 2014
WATERPORT – On April 2, 1969, Edward D. Holmes of Region 8 Department of Environmental Conservation in Avon and Kenneth Rush of Waterport (right) are shown stocking the first salmon (Coho) in Orleans County.
The site was on the north side of Lake Alice just east of the Route 279 bridge over Oak Orchard River in Waterport.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 18 April 2014
HOLLEY – The Holley Rod and Gun Club is welcoming the public to the club on Saturday at noon to fire a “Shot Heard Around the U.S.” in support of the Second Amendment.
The club and participants plan to fire one legal safe shot. Gun clubs around the country will be doing similar events at noon on Saturday.
There will be a $1 charge to participate and that money will go to a legal defense fund for SCOPE (Shooters Committee on Political Education).
The club will open at 11 a.m. It is located at 4189 Pumping Station Rd. Participants are encouraged to be there before 11:30 so everyone can be lined up for the big “shot” at noon, said Gia Arnold of Holley, who is a state-wide coordinator for New York Revolution.
“This is on the anniversary of the original shot heard around the world back during the American Revolution and it signifies our important fight for our 2nd Amendment freedom,” Arnold said. “The whole country will be participating and I thought it was really important to make sure we were participating locally. We are hoping to have new faces.”
The NYR formed soon after Gov. Cuomo and the State Legislature passed the SAFE Act in January 2013. The NY Revolution sees the gun control law as an attack on Second Amendment rights.
Many gun clubs and NYR members fired a “Shot Heard Around NY” in January on the one-year anniversary of the SAFE Act. Locally, the event was held in Arnold’s backyard in January. She is thankful the Holley club is participating in the event on Saturday so there is more public access.
“It’s open to non gun-owners as well if they would like to show up and support the effort,” Arnold said.
Heritage Hero: Chris Busch
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 18 April 2014
MEDINA – In small-town Upstate New York, there aren’t too many downtown business districts like Medina’s these days. The buildings are well maintained with a high occupancy rate.
It feels like a Norman Rockwell painting, a step back in time with so many independent merchants and sense of history with buildings from the mid to late 1800s and the early 20th Century.
Chris Busch sees the downtown’s historical integrity as a draw for the community. He has served nearly 20 years on the Village Planning Board and helped to craft zoning and design standards for the downtown. As chairman of the Planning Board, he also heads the village’s Historic and Architectural Review Board, which provides guidance to downtown building owners for signs, paint and other exterior work.
“We’ve been very successful promoting and implementing preservation because we’ve been able to do it in such a fashion that the community has been able to embrace it without angst and suspicion,” Busch said.
He praised Kay Revelas, former director of the Medina Chamber of Commerce, for rallying business owners to back preservation and a historic designation for the downtown a generation ago. Many in the community have championed the issue and the building owners have embraced it, Busch said.
“It’s taken the diligence of many people to protect the downtown business district,” he said. “It’s paying off because people very much enjoy the look and feel of downtown Medina with its history and heritage.”
Busch will be honored as a “Heritage Hero” on April 25 during a Civil War Encampment at GCC in Medina. He was picked for his leadership on the Planning Board and his many civic contributions, including the design of 11 interpretative panels in the downtown that will highlight Medina history. Those panels should be installed later this month or in early May.
Busch works as a history teacher in Lockport. His heart is in Medina.
He served as village historian and later joined the Municipal Tree Board and has been its chairman for several years. Medina has been planting 50 to 100 trees most years in the past decade and that is helping to replenish an urban forest that was diminished by road projects, wind storms and disease.
“Medina was once known for beautiful residences and tree-lined streets,” he said. “Many years of neglect led to a severely depleted urban forest.”
The village’s commitment to planting trees has earned it awards from the National Arbor Day Foundation. It has recognized Medina with a “Tree City Growth Award” and has designated the community a “Tree City USA.”
Busch said the trees make neighborhoods more appealing visually and should make the homes more valuable and inviting for residents.
He has been a leader with the Orleans Renaissance Group, organizing the efforts to bring concerts into the community. He is vice chairman of the ORG, which is working to restore the Bent's Opera House on Main Street. That Medina sandstone building was constructed during the Civil War.
The ORG wants to again have performances in the top floor of the site, with a restaurant on the second floor and the first floor available for businesses. Busch sees the site as an anchor for the downtown, drawing customers for other businesses nearby.
The “Heritage Hero” Committee also picked Busch for the award because of his efforts designing the 11 interpretive panels and helping to secure funding for the project.
The panels will be on Main Street with one on West Center Street by the Newell building, which was once a high-end shirt manufacturer.
Busch believes the panels will help locals and visitors better appreciate Medina’s rich heritage and history. He often sees people gawking at the downtown structures, aiming cameras at the buildings.
“It’s something that needed to be done to help people visualize it,” he said.
The panels will tell the stories of some of the people behind the downtown buildings and the community’s early days with a bustling Erie Canal, sandstone quarries and other industries.
"People will be surprised how much they will have an impact on tourist visitors,” Busch said. “These will without a doubt provide a reason for tourists to linger and learn.”
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014
ALBION – A building that has sat mostly vacant for nearly two decades is expected to open next month as a Mexican restaurant.
Miguel Jimenez has been working almost every day since February to renovate 33 North Main St. He would like to open “ El Gallo” – Spanish for “The Rooster” – in time for Cinco de Mayo on May 5.
The building is currently painted white and is located next to a parking lot by the First Presbyterian Church.
Jimenez received approval for the building’s paint, new sign and an awning during tonight’s Historic Preservation Commission meeting. Commission members praised him for turning a long-vacant structure into a productive use for the community.
“I’m delighted something will be done with the building,” Commission member told Jimenez during the meeting.
The downtown hasn’t had a new awning in many years.
“I love the idea of an awning,” said Commission member Ric Albright. “It will be great.”
The building will be painted in Roycroft Copper Red, Rookwood Amber and Rookwood Dark Green.
Village Code Enforcement Officer Ron Vendetti said he welcomed a new look in the downtown, which is named to the National Register of Historic Places.
“Different colors add character to the district,” Vendetti said.
Photo by Tom Rivers Posted 17 April 2014
GAINES – The state Department of Transportation about two weeks ago added new signs near the routes 98 and 104 intersection, highlighting the presence of the Cobblestone Society Museum.
The museum has eight historic buildings, including three with cobblestone masonry. The Cobblestone Church, pictured on Route 104, was built in 1834 and is the oldest cobblestone church in North America.
The museum, which is a National Historic Landmark, opens on Mother’s Day. For more on the museum, click here.
By Tom Rivers, editor Posted 17 April 2014
GAINES – A historic homestead that was renovated and reopened as an art gallery and high-end co-op late last year will soon have an International Peace Garden in its front lawn.
Fairhaven Treasures, at the southeast corner of routes 98 and 104, will have a garden, three flag poles and a stone wall that says “Fairhaven.” That is the name John Proctor gave for the hamlet when he lived there more than 200 years ago.
Proctor is known as the Paul Revere of Ridge Road because he rode along the Ridge warning settlers that the British were coming during the War of 1812. He had a log cabin at the corner of 98 and 104 before the large brick house was built in 1834.
Ray Burke and his wife Linda now own the property and they worked most of last year upgrading the site. There will be a grand opening for Fairhaven Treasures on May 3-4.
Gaines Town Supervisor Carol Culhane assisted with the renovation providing some of the manual labor. She also connected with the International Peace Garden Foundation about having a site in Gaines at Proctor’s former property.
“It’s a great tourist possibility,” she said.
Fairhaven will be the second peace garden in the county. Brown’s Berry Patch dedicated the first one last year.
The garden locations need to have a historical connection to the War of 1812. At the Browns, family matriarch Bathshua Brown settled in the area in 1804 when the trees were so dense in Carlton the area was known as the Black North. She helped fight off the British in the war and took one of their captains captive.
Bathshua and her pioneering spirit also is noted on a historical marker in front of Brown’s Berry Patch.
The Fairhaven garden will include flag poles for the American, Canadian and Peace Garden flags. Culhane said it will enhance the historic district along the Ridge, which includes the Cobblestone Society Museum.
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