The following is the newsletter from our president and town historian, Earl Roth.
FROM THE DESK OF
EARL ROTH (EROTH@ROCHESTER.RR.COM)
Historian –Town of Elba
Historian – Village of Elba
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.
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.
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.
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.