THE DESK OF
Historian –Town of Elba
Historian – Village
of Elba EROTH@ROCHESTER.RR.COM
President – Historical Society of Elba
Master – Elba Grange #783 June
4, 2019 2019-3
I have added many new e-mail addresses as a result of Elba’s alumni dinner – hope all will enjoy.
June’s monthly dinner meeting will be at Chap’s Diner on
June20th. Our guest speaker will be Dr.
Richard Laub. He will speak about the
Byron dig which was located on the Hiscock farm. Although, the dig has not been active for
several years, artifacts discovered in prior years are still being studied.
Our museum opened Memorial
Day. The Historical Society worked
together with the Elba Betterment Committee and other groups in order to
provide recognition of our deceased and living veterans.
This past weekend, Elba Central
School held its annual
Alumni Dinner. As in the past, The
Historical Society furnished yearbooks for the years 1936-1985 for alumni to
review & remember. The Class of 1964
(celebrating 55years) visited our museum.
Larry Bateman just completed 56 years as their Senior Class president
and was elected to serve another five years.
Thursday (June 8th)
evening at 7:00 P.M., the Historical Society will be holding their monthly
meeting at the Museum, any & all are welcome. PLEASE
REMEMBER TO PAY YOUR ANNUAL DUES.
In this issue, we will travel our
famous Rte. 98 and we will make note of certain landmarks. In the mid 1920’s, NYS numbered this route
“74” and in 1930 it was renumbered and became Route 98.
Today, Route 98 runs south to
north (from the Penn. state line north to
Point Breeze at Lake
Ontario). For purposes of my newsletter, I will
covering the area from the NYS Thruway bridge north into Barre. Not all of it lies in the Town of Elba, but those sections outside the Township is part of
the Elba Central School District
and thus qualifies for inclusion.
The location of Route 98 from Batavia to the hamlet of Pine Hill (The Village of Elba was
incorporated in 1884), remains the same since the County of Genesee
was formed in 1803.
Stop A> Just north of the Thruway bridge, on the west side of the
highway, lies the Federal Detention Center, motels and sundry other businesses.
This location was the site of George’s Dairy’s retail store. Seventy years ago you could have brought your
own jug in and purchased milk that was produced on their farm. That farm being four miles further north on
Route 98. After the George family
retired, that farm was purchased by the Webster family and is currently owned
by Torrey Farms, Inc.
Stop B> Next, lies the Saile farm.
In the mid 1900’s, the Saile’s were noted farmers with Walter Saile
being active in the Centralization of the Elba rural schools and served on the
first “Board of Education”
Stop C> The next farm on the west side of the road, currently
belongs to Gordon Offhaus. At this point, the road has a severe
dip. This hill was known as “Flint Hill” because on
the East side was an outcropping of flint and Indians would travel &
collect for the making of arrowheads and other tools.
Along this stretch of highway, on
the east side, were located several farms that have since been commercialized. Dealers for farm equipment, construction
equipment, and trucks are now present, along with warehouses, an airport, and
Stop D> Next is the intersection of 98 and the Batavia-Elba
Townline Roads, locally known as Daws Corners. It is believed that the first
settlement in Elba happened here in 1801. Later in the 1800’s, it was the site for one
of the largest nurseries in the United
States (Bogue Nurseries). From here, trees were shipped all over the United States. This crossroad served local residents and
farmers, at various times a blacksmith shop, general stores, gas stations, post
office and a rural school house were located here. A local cemetery remains
active to this day.
west of the intersection on the south side of the road, where a house was
recently demolished, Jack Ahl would manufacture cinder blocks. In the 1940’s, Mr. Ahl would haul coal
cinders from Buffalo,
form the blocks and then cure them in a kiln.
These blocks would be used locally in the construction of onion storage
buildings, Roy Henry’s combined residence/business, Our Lady of Fatima Church,
and other structures.
Stop E> From Daws Corners to the Village of Elba, not much has
changed over the last 200 years, vegetables, grains and dairy products continue
to be produced from this rich farmland.
However, at the edge of the Village, where the O’Connor family raised
racehorses, now stand The Firemen’s Recreation Hall and a empty M & T Bank. The buildings that once lined the tracks of
The West Shore RR still remain although the tracks were removed 70 years ago. All of those structures are utilized for
purposes other than their initial use.
Having run out of room, my next
issue will take us thru the Village and than north to the Town of Barre.