At the turn of the twentieth century, nearly everyone in Farmington attended district schools, which were one-room neighborhood schools that only went as far as eighth grade. “Higher Education” Meant high school, grades nine through twelve. One of the local high schools was Macedon Academy, in what is now Macedon Center on Route 31F. Many of its graduates were from Farmington. This charming photo shows the Macedon Academy graduation class of 1899. The two girls on the left are Farmington residents. May Gardner is standing, and Carrie Allen is seated.
SAVE THE DATE – Monday May 21, 2012, 4PM to 8PM at OTTO TOMOTTOS Restaurant in the Phoenix Plaza, east of Victor on Rt. 96. Owner and Chef Tim Archetko is hosting a pasta dinner. It will raise money for the Victor-Farmington Food Cupboard, and will also honor his mother on her birthday. You will get a take out dinner of pasta and meatball, their famous bread, and a piece of Mama’s birthday cake, for just $5.00. Bottled soda and water will be available. Tim is donating all the food. Every penny goes to the Food Cupboard!
Kudos to the Town of Farmington Highway & Parks Department! The state historic marker in front of the Hathaway Homestead on the corner of 332 and Boughton Hill Road (County Road 41) was in awful shape. That’s a high-visibility area, too. The folks at Highway & Parks refurbished and repainted the marker, and straightened up the pole that supported it. They are keeping an eye out for other markers that need attention. People in Farmington should realize that Highway & Parks also maintains our historic cemeteries, keeping them mowed and accessible in the good weather. These are things that don’t attract a lot of attention, but contribute a lot to our quality of life in Farmington.
New affordable senior-citizen housing facility officially opened
Developers, Town Officials and residents gathered today to celebrate the official opening of the Farmington Gardens residential facility. This new facility is located just south of the intersection of Routes 96 and 332, on the west side of 332. Mercier Drive leads into the complex, which boasts a greenhouse and walkways. In the future, planned paths will connect it to Wades Market and the adjacent Creek Pointe development. In this photo, developer Nelson Leenhouts (in front with red tie) holds one resident on his lap as they all try to cut the ribbon at once. After the ribbon-cutting, refreshments were served. Click on the link “ribbon cutting” just above the photo to download a 1-minute video, or you can watch it on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYBh1XMe1H4.
Farmington’s history has its share of heroes, but it also has a few rogues, as shown by the following story from Charles H. Gardner’s History of New Salem, privately published by the Gardner family. This updated version was reprinted in the 1988 FARMINGTON BICENTENNIAL BOOK. It describes the history of what was, in 1988, known as Townsend’s Grocery. In 2010 the building has been vacant for several years.
“Townsend’s grocery on Hook Road, once known as the Grinnell store, was built in 1863 by Samuel Phetteplace who had formerly kept a store there that was destroyed by fire. Sherwood Snider was the boss carpenter. The new store was much larger and more convenient. At this time Samuel was thought to be quite wealthy. He and Thomas Terry were in partnership with this store and two other stores as well, one in Palmyra and one in Canandaigua. Samuel went to New York City to buy goods, taking $40,000 with him, which he deposited in a bank there. He had a certificate of deposit on his person. He visited the wholesale houses and ordered several carloads of the finest quality of silks, satins, Brussels and velvet carpets. When the wholesaler asked him what security he had, he showed them the bank certificate, and they felt secure. They shipped seven carloads to the Phetteplace address at Palmyra with the understanding that he would return to Palmyra with the shipment.
“As soon as the cars were on their way, and three of them had already reached their destination, Samuel slipped by them unobserved, went to the bank, drew the entire $40,000 out and took the train for home with the money in his pocket. In the meantime, Thomas Terry was at Palmyra with all the help he could muster, unloading the cars and placing the goods in their store.
“The New Yorkers soon discovered Phetteplace’s trickery and sped to Palmyra. Three cars were still on the track and were seized by them. It was said that the store was filled from cellar to attic; there was hardly standing room. Thomas had made arrangements with Spencer Lapham, a wealthy man in town, to buy them out as soon as papers could be made out, and when the New Yorkers arrived there was another man in the store doing business. He showed his papers and receipts that he had bought the goods from Terry, and they could make no claim for them. Phetteplace was in hiding, and Terry took the sixty thousand dollars he had received for the goods and skipped to Canada, leaving Samuel to fight a big lawsuit.
“Phetteplace deposited the money he had brought back in a bank; but the cost of trials and judgements cleaned him out of everything he had. He also got well-meaning farmers involved who believed he would come out all right. They, too, lost heavily in order to keep him out of prison, and thinking that they might recover their loss. The case was tried in Lyons, Wayne County, New York. Thomas Terry, having been informed of the time set for trial, donned women’s apparel and bonnet, put up at a fashionable hotel, and attended the proceeding every day. He was a small man of fine features and auburn hair, and his face, being hidden by a veil, which, at that time most women wore, his disguise was complete. No one suspected him as he sat with the ladies. He never came back here to live but sometimes returned secretly for a visit.
“The Phetteplace store had burned in 1858, being replaced in 1863. The living rooms were added on later, about 1872 by Edward Nichols who had purchased the store. This was a general store; groceries, dry goods, tobacco, cigars, candy, etc. Charles H. Jeffrey ran a grocery cart for them, contacting residents in outlying neighborhoods. This was a great convenience for the farmers and also provided an outlet for eggs, which he accepted in exchange for groceries, etc. Several years later when Jeffrey bought the store, he still ran the ‘cart.’
“Mr. and Mrs. Sanger lived there a short time and operated the store, Harley Hill followed, and only remained but a short time. Charles H. Jeffrey then bought the property and lived there many years. The store was then owned by George and Alice Wehrlin Grinnell who were there many, many years. Bert and Adeline Guelph Baker bought the property next. In a few years they sold to Carl and Lottie Maier and in 1969 Mrs. Maier sold it to Melvin and Beverly Townsend and it is now known as Townsend’s Grocery.”
This story is from the Farmington Bicentennial Book, published in 1988 and long out of print. It was excerpted from Charles H. Gardner’s “History of New Salem,” presented by Charles H. Gardner to his son Charles R. Gardner in 1950.
“The hamlet now known as Pumpkin Hook was originally named New Salem, and at one time was called Farmington Village. The work on lot 136 on which the village now stands, was commenced in 1808 by Otis Hathaway, brother of Isaac Jr. He was the founder of the village, and gave it its name of New Salem after Salem Massachusetts. He built the first stone buildings and sold building lots to others, and it is noted to be the only village in the Town of Farmington. It grew rapidly and was quite a business center prior to the construction of the Erie Canal.
In the early days there were a great many pumpkins grown by the Hathaways for the feeding of stock, and one day a man from a distance came with team and wagon and purchased a load of pumpkins which he intended to take where they were less plentiful and sell them. He put up at a hotel for the night. When the good people of New Salem were quiet in slumber, some fun-seeking boys prowled around and hooked the pumpkins. Upon arising early in the morning, the man found an empty wagon, and every resident in the “Berg” had two or more pumpkins on their porch. The news soon spread about and many were asked if they had been down to the “pumpkin hook.” “So you were down to the pumpkin hook?” etc. Thus originated the popular name “Pumpkin Hook.”
More than 140 years have passed away since this incident took place, and our little hamlet still is called “Pumpkin Hook.”
Randall Phetteplace related this story to Charles H. Gardner when Mr. Gardner was a young boy (around 1860). Mr. Phetteplace died January 1, 1888.”
At its peak, Pumpkin Hook boasted hotels, taverns, several stores and factories. The largest district school was located there, and most of the town officers lived there. It was home to a tannery, a blacksmith shop, manufacturers of brooms, hats, shoes, wagons and farm implements. Its mills served a wide surrounding area, its churches drew parishioners from nearby towns, and its calendar of social events was attended by residents from all over Ontario and Wayne counties. The Hook’s Iris Farm supplied fancy perennials to flower lovers and vendors all over the world. Today it is a quiet crossroads where the casual traveler sees no clue to its once busy life.