The Caledonia Preservation Society

presents

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A Walking Tour of Historic

Caledonia

Compiled By
Judith Stone Adams
Town and Village Historian

Illustrations by
Liz Wilcox


 

BLUE AND GOLD HISTORICAL MARKERS

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1. South side of Main Street (NYS Rt 5) in the Village:

ERECTED 1826
BY MAJOR GAD BLAKSLEE
EARLY POST OFFICE
FIRST BANK
APOTHECARY SHOP
NOW CALEDONIA LIBRARY

 

2. On NYS Rt. 5 at west end of Caledonia:

CALEDONIA
ORGANIZED 1803 AS TOWN OF
SOUTHHAMPTON; NAME CHANGED
TO CALEDONIA 1806; SCOTTISH
EMIGRANTS SETTLED 1799
VILLAGE INCORPORATED 1891

 

3. On NYS Rt. 36 at north end of Caledonia:

CALEDONIA
ORGANIZED 1803 AS TOWN OF
SOUTHHAMPTON; NAME CHANGED
TO CALEDONIA 1806; SCOTTISH
EMIGRANTS SETTLED 1799
VILLAGE INCORPORATED 1891

 

4. Fish Hatchery Grounds-NYS Rt. 36-North Street:

1885-1935
STATE HATCHERY
FIRST STATE FISH HATCHERY
1870
SETH GREEN
"FATHER OF FISH CULTURE"
SUPERINTENDENT

 

5.On NYS Rt. 5 at Caledonia:

ERECTED 1827
BY JAMES R. CLARK
EARLY TAVERN, POSTOFFICE,
EARLY BANK, LIBRARY
CERTIFIED BY HISTORIC
AMERICAN BUILDINGS SURVEY

 

6. On NYS Rt. 5 at Caledonia:

BIG SPRINGS
ANCIENT INDIAN CAMP SITE
ON NIAGARA TRAIL
EARLIEST WHITE TOURIST 1615
SCOTTISH SETTLERS 1799
TERMIUS PIONEER R.R. 1838

 

7. Located on NYS Rt. 5, 4 miles southeast of Caledonia:

JOHN HUGH
MACNAUGHTON
1826-1891
LIVED HERE 20 YEARS
FAMOUS POET & SONG WRITER

 

8. On NYS Rt. 5 at south end of Caledonia:

CALEDONIA
ORGANIZED 1803 AS TOWN OF
SOUTHHAMPTON; NAME CHANGED
TO CALEDONIA 1806; SCOTTISH
EMIGRANTS SETTLED 1799
VILLAGE INCORPORATED 1891

 

9. On NYS Rt. 5 at intersection with West River Rd.:

SITE OF
CA-NA-WAU-GUS
SENECA INDIAN VILLAGE
BIRTHPLACE OF CORNPLANTER
AND HANDSOME LAKE
THE PEACE PROPHET

 


 

NORTH STREET & CHURCH STREET

 

1. CALEDONIA FISH HATCHERY:

    The oldest fish hatchery in America in continuous existence was established by Seth Green (1917-1888). He entered the fishing business at the age of 18. In 1864, Green built the first fish-rearing ponds on Spring Creek, near the sight of' the present hatchery. It was 1870 when fish were first artificially propagated at the Caledonia hatchery. Green also was responsible for the introduction to this continent of brown trout, which were raised from eggs imported from Germany. He was also the first to transplant Atlantic shad to the West Coast.

    Today, the side of the historic Caledonia Fish Hatchery is marked by a blue and gold New York State marker erected on North Street. A five-ton boulder also honoring the site has an engraved bronze plague. (A second bolder was added in 1964)

2. SPRINGBROOK INN: (Spring Creek Hotel)

    The Inn was once the home of Donald McKenzie. When the adjoining property was sold to Seth Green by McKenzie for his hatchery, the house remained in McKenzie ownership as a private dwelling. Between 1880 and 1885 the building was remade into an Inn, to accommodate the many visitors to the fish hatchery. The present owner is Mr. Charles Hurd.

3. ST. ANDREWS EPISCOPAL CHURCH

    In the year 1887, when St. Andrew's Church was organized in Caledonia, the village was primarily a Scotch-Presbyterian community. In 1873 and 1876, Episcopal services were held in homes by a group of Presbyterians. The Church was established in October 1887. The corner stone was placed in the church on North Street, August 23, 1888 dedicated on St. Andrew's Day (November 30th) 1888 and consecrated in 1889.

4. ST. COLUMBA CATHOLIC CHURCH

    On November 26, 1885 the first mass was celebrated in the new church on North Street. Many of the families were Irish and had come to help dig the Genesee Valley Canal in the late 1830's. The church began as a modest frame building that has been enlarged and remodeled since then. In 1889, St. Columba's became an independent parish from St. Patrick's Church in Mumford.

5. NEW YORK CENTRAL RAILROAD STATION

    The New York Central Railroad came here in 1837. It was located on North Street just north of the Hamilton Mill. It brought the greatest amount of mail to Caledonia and the passenger traffic was considerable. The first station was located on the east side of North Street near the Hamilton Mill. The new station was built in 1916 just across the street from the old station. The grand opening was in January of 1917. It was closed in 1959 and used for storage. In 1976, Conrail made this railroad obsolete.

 

5a. HAMILTON MILL: (William H. Hamilton 1832-1912)

    William H. Hamilton, of Scotch ancestry, came to Caledonia in 1859. He built a grain house on the present site on North Street, which was destroyed by fire and rebuilt on larger scale, adding a bean house. Mr. Hamilton dealt in grain and produce. In 1888, his son, William V. Hamilton. was in partnership with him, "William H. Hamilton and Son, Inc.". When the Guthrie Bank failed in 1888, Mr. Hamilton opened a private bank in his mill. He merged with the First National Bank in 1919. The new building to the south is Ace Hardware Store.

6. CALEDONIA RURAL CEMETERY:

    Located just behind the United Presbyterian Stone Church on Church Street this cemetery has some interesting history. The cemetery included the graves of four Revolutionary War veterans as well as a gentleman named George Washington. It is believed that the first burial occurred about 1817. The earliest stone that can be found there dates back to 1823. Six veterans of the War of 1812, 21 veterans of the Civil War, one veteran of the Spanish American War, three veterans of WW I and ten veterans of WW II. There is also the grave of Dr. Catherine Walker, MD who died in 1932. She was one of the early women physicians. The last burial was in 1981 and the cemetery is now deemed "full".  Mr. and Mrs. Robert Reeves, who reside near the cemetery, have a listing-of everyone who is buried in this cemetery.

7. UNITED PRESBYTERIAN STONE CHURCH:

    The United Presbyterian Stone Church was originally organized in 1810 as a congregation of the Associate Reformed Church by immigrants from Perthshire in Scotland. In January of 1833, the wooden church building burned to the ground. By November of 1833, the new stone building that now stands on the old site, was completed and the first worship service was held in the sanctuary. Stained glass windows were installed in 1920. They depict scenes from the Book of Psalms and are unusual in their depth and richness of color.

8. HAMILTON HOUSE

    A 19th century home. In 1872 it was the home of William V. Hamilton. The architecture is of the Italianate era and resembles the "General Grant" style.

 

CENTER OF CALEDONIA

 

9. THE SOLDIERS' MONUMENT:

    In Memory of Those Who Served:

   Erected in 1900. Today the monument stands firmly on a solid stone base, laid in Portland cement 8 feet square and rises 33 feet, 4 inches high. The stone used in the two bases is rough cut light Barre, Vermont granite. The third base the same material smooth dressed but unpolished. Weight of the monument is 37 tons. On May 1, 1900, a tin box was placed in the monument. The unveiling of the monument took place on June 13, 1900, with Governor Theodore Roosevelt as speaker.

10. VILLAGE INN:

    Built in 1816 by John McKay for Robert McKay. It was a brick building with a wood shingled roof and a wooden porch along the entire front with wide wood cornices. In 1891 a great fire that destroyed the business district also consumed the Inn. The wood shingled roof caught fire because of the intense heat. After the fire, the new hotel was built back from the sidewalk, a new three-story brick building was built at a cost of $7,000.

11. MASONIC TEMPLE:

    (Old Caledonia House run by Jared Moss)

    Built for a hotel by James Shaw between 1830-1833. John Butterick was the carpenter who built the spring floor in the dance hall. The stone was quarried on Quarry Road and hauled to the site by Douglas Thompson. The porch ran across the entire front-large stables to the east (now gone). It was on the direct stage coach line from Albany to Buffalo. April of 1908 purchased by the Masons for $7500.

12. The Former D'ANGELO'S 5 & 10 STORE:

    This building has a unique tin ceiling and old wooden floors. At one time the basement was used to store caskets for the undertaking business.

13. BURGESS HALL:

    Original building destroyed by fire November 13, 1894. Rebuilt the summer of 1895. It has seen many owners and various business ventures. The top floor served as a motion picture theater and opened July 25, 1912 and closed in 1959. Remodeled inside and outside in the late 1980's it again closed in 1988. Notice the arches over the upper windows. Each brick was individually molded and burnt (baked to harden) and packed in the order in which they were to be put up.

14. MACK REAL ESTATE: (Fieldstone House)

    Built in the 1820's this old stone house has been a home, doctors office, dentist office and now houses the Mack Real Estate Office.

15. CALEDONIA LIBRARY:

    Since 1910 it has been the home of the Caledonia Library. this building was erected in 1826 by Major Gad Blakeslee and was formerly his home. The Caledonia Library was started in 1873 by a group of  women who met in the old brick hotel. There they formed a Library Association and pledged $5 apiece to buy books. A charter was obtained in 1877 in the name of the Ladies Circulating Library Society of Caledonia. Changed to the Caledonia Library Association in 1917.

16. KEITH PRINTING PRESS:

    (3 SECTIONS 1858, 1883,1925)

    Site of Guthrie's Blacksmith Shop, retired to Mumford. Above was James McNaughton's carriage shop and also Daniel McGregor ran a wagon shop. The stone building was rebuilt by Mr. Keith, who printed the Caledonia Advertiser.

17. CLARK-KEITH HOUSE: (The Railroad House)

    The Clark-Keith stone house was built by James R. Clark in 1827. Town meetings were held here in 1824-28. The stage stopped 3 times a week. It was also a tavern, Post Office, and called the Railroad House for Terminus Railroad. The first bank, 1885-1891. The public library from 1883-1888.

18. FIRST PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH: (The White Kirk)

    First religious society organized west of the Genesee River. The chapel was erected in 1888 at the south side by John Christie. First pipe organ installed in 1889 (present pipe organ installed 1987). Rev. Alexander Denoon served the church for 42 years until his death in 1850. Church built in 3 sections 1855, 1888 and 1953.

19. CHURCH OF GOD: (West Main Street)

    Built in 1850. Church of God founded in 1890's by Joseph and Lewis Johnson. Congregation first met at various homes until 1915 when the present building was purchased.

20. THE STONE HOUSE: (West Main Street)

   Built around the early 1820's of stone cut from Quarry Road. It had a double piazza that extended along the whole front and a smaller companion house that joined it at the northwest corner. It was said to have been a gallery and had a secret stairway. Now houses apartments.

21. THE TANNERY: (Spring Street)

    Old fieldstone building with two-foot thick walls. Built early 1800 and used as a tannery by Alexander McFarlan, a boot and shoemaker. Changed hands many times. Building is now apartments. It still remains an interesting stone structure.

22. TENNENT PARK-SENECA BOULDER & COUNCIL ELM:

    Ancient Indian camp site on the Niagara Trail. Also site of the Old Elm Council Tree of the Senecas and also in memory of Gan-e-o-di-ya. the Peace Prophet and other keepers of  the Western Door. This boulder is dedicated by the Gan-e-o-di-ya Chapter of  the D.A.R. and Daioonegahno Tribe No. 272 Improved Order Red Men, 1916.

    Before it became the home of the white man it was the chosen haunt of the Indian. In their language the spring was called Gan-e-o-di-ya (small clear lake) and the outlet Na- gan-oose, (clear running water). Near the spring, on the premises of what was then the John McKay property is the spot where the Indians burned their victims at the stake. They also celebrated their war dances. Not far off was a council house of the Turtle tribe, of the Seneca, and the grounds where they held their races, games and performed their feats of skill and strength. This area provided plenty of game, fish and berries for the Indians.

    From the spring issues a stream that runs northerly one and a half miles to Mumford and discharges itself into the Oatka Creek. This area is now called Tennent Park after a local resident. Our Little League and the community use this park for year round activities.

     Seneca Chiefs that visited our springs:

Cornplanter
Handsome Lake-The Peace Prophet
Red Jacket-Would also visit the McKay family,
because he loved her baked pies.

    Their settlement was between Avon and Caledonia and called Canawaugus, there is a State of New York sign that indicated area. It is on Route 5 going South toward Avon. (On right side of road)

23. BIG SPRINGS HISTORICAL MUSEUM:

    The Big Springs Historical museum is housed in a three story building that was once part of our old school. The Museum has been opened to the public since August of 1952. You will find war exhibits that include the Civil War through World War II. The Children's exhibit includes toys, games, dishes, and doll houses. Their fashion exhibit of period clothing is rather interesting. There is a Farm and Home Room, Weaving Room and displays of farm implements; plows, hay forks, wooden rakes, oxen yokes and ice saws.

    The Museum is free to the public and is open:

Sunday 1-4 pm
Monday 9 am - Noon
Also by appointment
538-9880

    Local history files, genealogy and past issues of our local paper, the Caledonia Advertiser, are also housed in the Museum.