` FROM 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 other businesses.
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.
Just 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.