“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ontario in Wayne County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Town of Ontario Timeline

1806 - 1973

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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
1. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Left panel
Inscription.  [left panel]: Map of Phelps & Gorham’s Purchase 1790. In 1776, at the start of the Revolutionary War, the Iroquois Indians held claim to this territory. In 1788, Oliver Phelps of Connecticut, and Nathanial Gorham of Massachusetts purchased 2,600,00 acres in Western New York State. The purchase included the area that would become the town of Ontario. These men had the land surveyed and prepared for sale. The town of Ontario is in Township 14, Range 3 on the early survey map. In 1801, Phelps and Gorham sold this land to Sir William Pulteney of the London Company. Charles Williamson, among others, became land agents for this company.

First Settlers. The first settlers in what would become the town of Ontario were Freeman Hopkins and his family who came from Massachusetts. They built a log cabin on the lakeshore in 1806 when this area was still a part of the town of Williamson. His daughter Melissa was the first child born in Ontario on May 7, 1806. The Hopkins are buried in the Ontario Village Cemetery.

The second home to be built here was that of Peter Thatcher who began construction on his log cabin on the lake shore in 1806. Other
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
2. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Left panel, section 1
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early settlers were Daniel Inman, Noah Fuller, Major Inglesby, Elder Wilkins, Zebedee Hodges, James Lavens and Jonas Davis.

On March 27, 1807, the town separated from Williamson under the name of Freetown, and a year later changed its name to Ontario.

[captions]: Last surviving log cabin in Ontario – representative of our settlers’ first homes is now located at Heritage Square Museum. Freeman and Martha Patterson Hopkins. The Hopkins are buried in the Ontario Village Cemetery. Letter to Freeman and Martha Hopkins from family in Mount Washington, Massachusetts, dated May 29, 1837.

Early Industry. Salt springs were discovered in 1810 by Noah Fuller on the site of the present-day Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. That same year, he sold out to Stimson & Schanks who began the manufacture of salt. The brine was taken from the spring and boiled in kettles, which made the process very slow and tedious. Although only able to manufacture about one barrel per day, the company continued for four or five years, finally abandoning the effort as unprofitable.

Iron ore was first discovered in 1811 by Mr. Knickerbocker while digging a well to water his cattle. The manufacture of iron was begun four or five years later by Samuel Smith. His forge was able to manufacture four hundred pounds of iron per day. The first furnace was put up by Henry S. Gilbert in 1825 and
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
3. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Left panel, section 2
had a capacity of four tons per day. Another furnace with a larger capacity – six or seven tons daily – was built in 1840 by The Clinton Iron Company.

The first grist mill in Ontario was built by Henry Barnhart in 1825; the first saw mill was built by Freeman Hopkins. In 1835, Ira Hill built a grist mill and saw mill in Fruitland, a hamlet about a mile and a half west of Ontario Center. The pond created by his dams was also used for cutting of ice as a means of keeping food fresh in the summer.

Other early industries were charcoal, brick and potash making and blacksmithing. Peter Thatcher set up the area’s first blacksmith shop.

The first store was opened in a building in the northeast corner of town on Lake Road. Daniel Inman opened the first tavern in 1810 where the village of Ontario now stands. He also served as Ontario’s first postmaster and tax collector. Other early businessmen in town were William Middleton, the first hatter; Milton Wooster who made axes and Nathan Hallack the town’s first tailor. In 1811 Dr. William Greenwood located at Ontario Village. He was the pioneer physician of the town and practiced medicine until his death in 1829. Before his arrival, the earliest settlers went to Williamson for medical service.

By 188e the village of Ontario had a furniture and undertaking business, four general stores, a drug store,
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
4. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Left panel, section 3
a meat market, bakery, harness shop, two blacksmith shops, hotel and livery, a clothing and shoe store, four millinery stores, a variety store, a jeweler, a lumber and coal yard, a foundry, two produce dealers, and agricultural implement dealer, three doctors, three churches, and a district school. Besides this, Ontario Center, a hamlet about a mile west of the village of Ontario, had three general stores, a hardware store, a drug store, a hotel and livery, a church, a district school, and a doctor. [caption]: Early iron ore workers using picks and shovels.

Churches. The first church was established in Ontario in 1812 when a group of settlers met at the home of Zebedee Hodges at the site of the present-day Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. A stone church was erected in 1834 and replaced by a brick church in 1866. This ministry is carried on at the North Ontario Methodist Church (“Brick Church”) here at Heritage Corners.

Other early churches in Ontario were the Baptist Church, established in 1817, (their 1834 Meeting House is located here at Heritage Square Museum); the Presbyterian Church, established 1833, whose first church was a cobblestone church built in 1843; The Wesleyan Methodist Church, (now Immanuel Congregational Church) organized in 1857, and built their church in the village in 1865; St. Mary’s of the Lake Roman Catholic Congregation, formed on
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
5. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Left panel, section 4
1868, and built their first church on East Main Street in 1870. The Berg Free Methodist Church, established in 1866, the Ontario Advent Church, organized in 1874; and the Reformed Church of Ontario, established in in 1884, are no longer operating. [caption]: North Ontario Methodist Church here at Heritage Corners was built in 1886. The shed to the left of the church was used to shelter horses and carriages while people attended services.

War of 1812. Noah Fuller, Captain of an independent Rifle Company during the War of 1812, was taken prisoner from his farm on the lakeshore in Ontario. He, along with Captain Church, an old Revolutionary War soldier, were taken aboard the British war vessel Royal George in the spring of 1814 and forced to act as pilots in approaching Pultneyville where the United States government had certain military stores guarded by a few militia men. Under the rules of war, the British could not hold the captains prisoner, and they were set free to walk the six miles home.

Civil War. The citizens of Ontario served their country with pride during the Civil War. Over 250 men – about 10% of the town’s total population – fought for the preservation of the Union – 48 never returned. The ladies of the Soldier’s Aid Society did their part knitting socks, sewing shirts, bed quilts and bandages and collecting supplies to send to the
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
6. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
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brave soldiers.

Horace Hill was born in Ontario and served as a Civil War soldier from 1861 – 1864 first in the 13th NY Infantry and then in the 111th NY Infantry. Lieut. Hill was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness on May 5, 1864 and is buried in the Ontario Center Cemetery.

Oscar Palmer, born in Ontario, enlisted as a private in Company B, Eighth New York Cavalry, in 1864 at the age of 20. He served with General Sheridan’s division under the command of General Custer. He was wounded at the Battle of Five Forks, Virginia, in April 1865 only days before the war ended.

Dr. John W. Brandt of Ontario was an assistant surgeon in the New York 9th Heavy Artillery. The most common Civil War surgery was the amputation, often done without anesthetic.

[captions]: Horace Hill. Letter written by Horace Hill to his brother just before he was killed at the Battle of the Wilderness. Oscar Palmer’s uniform – complete with bullet hole – is on display in the Meeting House.

Schools. The first school house was built of logs on the lakeshore near Knickerbocker Road in 1816. Eventually there were thirteen independent one-room schoolhouses serving the children of Ontario.

The one-room Brick Church Schoolhouse here at Heritage Square Museum was built in 1868 replacing a stone schoolhouse built in 1836.

The families in the district
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
7. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
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supported their school by paying taxes either in cash or in other ways such as supplying wood for the stove or room and board for the teacher. Children attended these schools through grade eight. One teacher taught all grade levels.

In 1895, the Ontario Village and the Ontario Center school districts combined to form the Union Free School. This was the first school in Ontario to teach grades one through high school. Before this time, children wishing to attend high school would have to board with a family in Palmyra or Walworth or another town with a high school. After much discussion, this new school was located across the street from the present-day Ontario Elementary School – exactly on the line between Ontario and Ontario Center. In 1926 this school was replaced with the present-day Ontario Elementary School.

Children continued to attend their local school district schools through eighth grade. If they could afford the tuition, had transportation and could be spared from family duties, they could attend the Union Free School for high school.

In 1949, the 21 school districts of Ontario and Walworth joined to create the Wayne Central School District.

[captions]: Early teacher’s contract. 1892 photo of Union Hill School District #11 located on the south side of Ridge Road just east of Union Hill. Union Free School built on the north side of
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
8. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Center panel, section 2
Ridge Road – Ontario’s first high school. 1893 photo of teacher and students of the Lakeside School District #1 on Boston Road.

Town of Ontario Census Information 1800s, 1900s; year, population: 1810, 904; 1820, 2424; 1830, 1581* Walworth separated from Ontario in 1829; 1840, 1889; 1850, 2246; 1860, 2322; 1870, 2295; 1880, 2611; 1900, 2550 **There is no 1890 census information available (census burned); 1910, 2672; 1920, 2620; 1930, 2713; 1940, 2851; 1950, 3297; 1960, 4259; 1970, 6014

Cobblestone houses. Ontario is home to twelve beautiful cobblestone houses. This type of building construction is unique to Western New York. Over ninety percent of cobblestone houses are located within a sixty-mile radius of Rochester, NY. These cobblestone homes were built between 1825 and 1860. Cobblestones are the result of glaciers that, thousands of years ago, covered New York State. As the glaciers receded, they ground out loose stones from existing bedrock. These provided “field cobbles” – rounded but still rough stones. The glacier-created streams and lakes provided an additional supply of even smoother, “lake-washed cobbles.” Cobblestone homes are usually built first of field stone. The cobblestones are then sorted by color and size and applied as facing over the field stone.

The cobblestones are laid up in rows, along with a V-shaped
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
9. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Center panel, section 3
horizontal joint of limestone mortar between the rows, along with a triangular pyramid-shaped vertical joint between each stone. [captions]: An 1879 photo of the Clark-Freeman home located at 5820 Walworth Road built in 1838. Note the field stone used for the back of the house and a facing of cobblestones for the sides and front.

Alanson Warner. Alanson Warner was an early Ontario inventor who received his patent on November 14, 1865 for a “new and Improved Gearing for Harvesters and Vehicles.” This invention is more commonly known as a differential and every vehicle driven today has one. Unfortunately Warner didn’t keep his patent but sold it for an unbelievably low price - $16.00! A copy of the patent is on display at the Warner House. [caption]: - Alanson Warner of Ontario, Wayne Co., N.Y. has invented a novel as well as a useful arrangement for equalizing the power applied to the driving wheels of mowing machines, fire engines, locomotives &c.

[left panel timeline]: 1806 Ontario first settled by Freeman and Martha Patterson Hopkins. First Child born. 1807 The town separated from Williamson under the name of Freetown. 1808 Town changed its name to Ontario. 1810 Salt deposits found by Noah Fuller. Population 787. 1811 Iron ore was first discovered by Mr. Knickerbocker. First doctor – William Greenwood. 1812 Methodist Church organized. 1813 Ridge
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
10. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
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Road becomes military highway. 1816 First school house built in Ontario. 1823 Erie Canal opened. Wayne County formed. 1825 The first iron ore furnace. Stage coach stopped at the Lyons Hotel in Ontario. 1834 – 1865 Cobblestone houses built in Ontario. 1830 population 1453. 1835 Ira Hill built dams in Fruitland to power grist and saw mills. 1850 Commercial farming beginning. 1855 Population 2323. 1861 Charter granted for Wayne Masonic Lodge. 1865 Alanson Warner patent. 1870s – 1880s Iron ore industry at its peak.

[center panel] Transportation. There were no roads when Ontario was first settled in 1806. Water transportation was by far the preferred method of travel which resulted in Ontario’s earliest settlements being established along the lakeshore.

At one time “The Ridge” – once the shore of the ancient Lake Iroquois (now Lake Ontario) – was a natural trail used by the many wild animals of the area. The Indians of the region followed along this trail when hunting. By 1813 the trail was widened and bridges added making Ridge Road a military highway from Sodus Bay to Lewiston suitable for wagons.

Stagecoach routes were well established by 1825; however, this was neither an economical nor speedy form of travel. An advertisement in the July 1861 edition of “The Ontario News” mentions that the
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
11. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Right panel, section 1
stagecoach trip from the Ontario Hotel to Palmyra by way of Walworth took four hours. And the fare for a trip from Rochester to Ontario was $1.20 per person, baggage extra.

The coming of the railroad through Ontario in the 1870’s opened up a new world to the people of this area. Goods that had previously needed to be first transported by horse and wagon south to the Erie Canal could now be shipped directly to and from Ontario. The railroad was a great benefit to the fruit growing industry as well as the produce industry in Ontario. Apples could now be shipped directly from Ontario, Ontario Center, Fruitland and Union Hill by rail in refrigerated cars. Local muck farmers now had as easy way to get their produce to marker as well. At one time the railroad shipped from the Ontario Station the third highest number of railroad cars of celery of any railroad in the United States. Two passenger trains ran daily in the 1800’s and early 1900’s enabling people to travel farther and faster than ever before. With the coming of the railroad, came a huge growth in the iron ore industry in Ontario. A large blast furnace was erected in Furnaceville for the manufacture of pig iron, a crude iron that could be further refined to produce wrought iron. Several spurs off the railroad tapped the mines, and the ore loaded on cars was easily transported to the furnace. The Ontario Train Station,
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
12. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Right panel, section 2
built in 1874, was moved to Heritage Square Museum in 2006.

The Rochester to Sodus Bay Electric Railway was officially opened on August 22, 1900. The trolley was greeted with great delight as a convenient means of transportation for business and social activities. The fare was two cents a mile and several cars ran each day. The trolley started at the East Main Street Station in Rochester taking a scenic and curvy path along a portion of Irondequoit Bay, across the float bridge and up what is now Empire Boulevard through Dayton’s Corners and on down Ridge Road going right down the center on Main Street in West Webster, Webster, Union Hill, Fruitland, Ontario Center, Ontario, Williamson, Sodus and Wallington then turned north to Sodus Point. The trolley cars did not only carry passengers. There were several freight cars that stopped along the route to pick up and deliver milk, produce and mail. There was even a funeral car with extra wide doors to accommodate a casket. The first car in Ontario was owned by David Craven. But by 1913 there were 65 passenger cars and two commercial vehicles registered in Ontario as well as three automobile dealers. [captions]: Main Street, Ontario, in 1905. Early Ontario Highway Department Crew. Schedule and ticket for the Rochester-to-Sodus Bay trolley. A 1909 photo of an early Ontario automobile. The Ontario Train Station, built in 1874, was
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
13. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Right panel, section 3
moved to Heritage Square Museum in 2006.

Agriculture. Fruit farming. The fertile land and the influence of Lake Ontario on the climate made Ontario an ideal place for farming – especially fruit farming.

By the 1850s, commercial production of apples was beginning. The apples were usually shaken from trees then sliced and dried in the farm’s dryhouse. It took three revolutions of the hand crank to pare an apple and a fast operator could peel up to sixty apples per minute. Wages were then 50 cents per day for a woman, 75 cents for a strong boy and one dollar for a man. The dried apple slices were bagged and shipped on the Erie Canal and later by railroad to cities to the east and south. Some of the early varieties grown included Pippin, Tallman Sweet, Russets, Baldwin, Russets, Wolf River and Northern Spy. An example of an Apple Dry House, as well as many of the early peelers, slicers and corers used in the apple-drying process, can be seen here at Heritage Square Museum.

Other fruit grown in the Ontario area were cherries, peaches and grapes.

By the early 1900s modern fruit-growing practices emerged with the use of fertilizers, pesticides, tractors and sprayers. Drying was replaced with canning and freezing.

Dairy Farming. Until 1900, most farmers owned less than half a dozen cows and small cheese factories took care of excess milk. By
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
14. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
Right panel, section 4
1900, there were several farmers with large dairy herds and several small dairymen “peddled” milk in the villages. A large Cooperative Creamery Company stood on the south side of Ridge Road west of Ontario Center.

Grain and Vegetable Farming. Corn was the first grain grown by our early settlers and was planted around the tree stumps before the ground was cleared enough for wheat plowing. The first grist mill was erected about 1825. Barley was another grain grown in Ontario. In the early days, threshing – separating grains from their husks – was done by flail, a tool consisting of a long wooden handle with a shorter free-swinging stick attached by a short chain. After the Civil War, the reaper appeared followed by the threshing machine. By the mid-1800s threshers went from farm to farm at harvest time. These threshing machines were later replaced by combines.

Muck Farming. Muck land – decomposed vegetation caused by poorly drained land – is located south of Ridge Road. What was first thought to be “wasted land” was found to be excellent fpr the growing of celery, onion, carrots, beets and potatoes. Most of these farmers would take their produce by wagon to the market place in Rochester. By the early 1900s, however, farmers could take their produce to the local evaporators, cold storage and canning factories to be processed
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By Anton Schwarzmueller, May 1, 2021
15. Town of Ontario Timeline Marker
All three panels.
and shipped by rail. The RW&O shipped from the Ontario Train Station the third highest number of railroad cars of celery of any railroad in the United States.

Sheep. In 1870, agricultural census for the town of Ontario shows a total of 3907 sheep with a production of 26,543 pounds of wool. The human population at that time was 2295.

[captions]: 1904 picture of the Wooster Orchards at Lakeside. Threshing steam engine. Workers at Victor Preserving Company, one of Ontario’s early canning factories. Muck farmers in the onion fields south of Ridge Road in Union Hill.

Iron Ore Industry. Iron ore was discovered in 1811 by Mr. Knickerbocker while he was digging a well to water his cattle. A few years later, the manufacture of iron was begun and continued until about 1918 progressing from the crude shovel and wheelbarrow days to the steam shovel era in the 1880’s.

In the early days, the ore was hauled from the strip mines along Kenyon Road by horse and wagon to Bear Creek Harbor on Lake Ontario and loaded on ships bound for Charlotte [pronounced char-LOT]. The roads along this route gradually turned red from the iron ore, and neighboring villagers could always identify a person from Ontario because of the red on his boots, wagon wheels and even his moustache.

With the coming of the railroad in 1874, came a huge growth in the iron ore industry in Ontario.
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A large blast furnace for the manufacture of pig iron was erected in Furnaceville, a hamlet located about two miles north of the village of Ontario. Several spurs off the railroad tapped the mines and the ore loaded on cars was easily transported to the furnace.

At its peak, the mines and blast furnaces employed over 200 people at a time including many Irish and Italian immigrants.

With the opening of the more abundant and more easily accessible iron ore deposits in the Mesabi Range in Minnesota, came the decline of the Ontario iron ore industry.

Before the beds were completely deserted, however, a mill was built for drying and grinding iron ore. This powder was shipped worldwide for making red bard paint. The Paint Mill closed in 1948.

The largest of the ore beds which between 1924 and 1953 served as the water supply for the town of Ontario, is now the “lake” at Casey Park used for swimming and canoeing.

An example of a typical ore miner’s home, as well as ore samples, tools used, photos and an ore miner’s identification coin can be found here at Heritage Square Museum.

[captions]: The blast furnace erected in Furnaceville. Steam shovel used to dig the ore. Casey Park located on Knickerbocker Road. The “Paint Mill” located north of Route 104 west of Ontario Center.

[center panel timeline]: 1885 Fire
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destroyed most of the business district of Main Street. 1887 Pease apple slicer invented. 1888 South Shore Grange established. 1890 – 1900 Gates Grove was a popular camping area on the shore of Lake Ontario – later several summer cottages were built there. 1895 First high school opened in Ontario. 1899 2-masted schooner W.Y. Emery sank off Bear Creek Harbor. 1900 Population was 2348. Trolley arrived in Ontario. 1907 Ontario Fire Company organized. 1908 Model “T” automobile. 1908 Canning industry in Ontario. [right panel]: W. Y. Emery. On September 25, 1899, the two-masted schooner, W. Y. Emery, was bound from Rochester to Kingston with a cargo of 400 tons of coal when a violent gale struck. She began taking on water, and by morning was about two miles off the town of Ontario shore. She deployed her anchors and raised a distress flag.

The distress signal was spotted by observers on shore who telegraphed the Life Saving Station in Charlotte. A lifesaving crew was deployed, and the captain and crew were rescued just before the vessel sank.

In 2007, local divers located the wreck and, with permission from the State of New York, were able to bring up many artifacts from the shipwreck which are now on display in the Train Station here at Heritage Square Museum. [caption]: One of the Emery’s anchors lying on the bottom of Lake Ontario.

Bear Creek Harbor. Bear Creek Harbor was crucial to Ontario’s iron ore industry in the mid to late 1880s. Iron are was strip mined around the area of Kenyon Road and taken to the Harbor by wagon where it was loaded onto barges and shipped to the blast furnace in Charlotte. Before the advent of rail and truck, the Harbor also received shipments of commercial goods delivered by three-masted lake schooners. There was also an active commercial fishing industry out of Bear Creek Harbor until the 1930s. The men caught whitefish, redsides, greenbacks, lings and occasionally a sturgeon. Most of the fish was sold to local residents, however, the sturgeon was usually packed with ice and sent to New York City.

In the 1960s, RG&E made use of the Harbor to import two 600-ton steam generators, the 250-ton nuclear reactor vessel and other equipment needed to build the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. The Harbor is now primarily used for recreational purposes and is also home to Memorial Park, a memorial dedicated to all who perished while serving in the armed forces. [captions]: Bear Creek Harbor in the early days. Memorial Point.

Organizations. Wayne Lodge No. 416 Free and Accepted Masons. The Masons received their charter in 1857 and after meeting in various community buildings, finally erected their own Temple in 1903. The Ontario Chapter No. 296, Order of the Eastern Star, was organized in 1903 and the Order of the Amaranth in 1921.

South Shore Grange – The national grange was created in 1867 so the rural farmer would have a voice in politics/ They worked to help pass laws that regulated prices, prevented discrimination, and regulated the cost of railroad transportation. However, the Grange is also a family organization and fellowship and service were also important. Women were allowed to vote and run for office – years before women earned the right to vote in 1920. Abstinence was something else the Grange stood for.

The first grange in Ontario was organized in 1874. This group was later moved to Lincoln.

South Shore Grange was organized in 1888. It originally met at the Emmet Teat’s home on Lake Road and in 1932 the Grange Hall was built. South Shore Grange merged with the Williamson Grange in 1971.

Boy Scouts – The first Ontario Boy Scout troop 126 was organized in 1912 with Charles Hartsen, the principal of Ontario High School, as Scout Master. Camping expeditions to Smoky Point Farm (present location of Ginna Nuclear Power Plant), and Gates Grove, as well as fire building, knot tying, semaphore signaling, first aid and skill contests were some of the activities pursued.

Campfire Girls and Girl Scouts – Campfire Girls was organized in Ontario in 1912 by Rowena S. Brown. The girls wore leather fringed dresses with Indian brads and earned colored wooden beads for their necklaces for participation in cooking, sewing and camping skills. The group disbanded in 1918 and the next year a Girl Scout Troop was organized.

Ontario Board of Trade/Chamber of Commerce. The Ontario Board of Trade – later called the Ontario Chamber of Commerce – was organized in 1928 to promote town businesses.

Ontario-Walworth Rotary Club – A club of “Service Above Self” – received its charter in 1945.

Other early organizations include the Grand Army of the Republic, the American Legion, The Daughter of Union Veterans, the Ontario Citizen’s Band, 4-H, Farm Bureau, Home Bureau, Civic Club, Parent Teacher Association, Community Chest, the Rod and Gun Club, the Ontario Volunteer Emergency Squad, and the Senior Citizens Club.

Fire Department. Most of Ontario’s business district was destroyed by fire on June 21, 1885 when a fire started in the barn next to the Clark Hotel which was located at the southwest corner of Main Street. The fore jumped across Main Street and burned the entire north side of the business district. In all, 31 buildings were destroyed, the loss valued at over $30,000.

The Ontario Fire Company was established in 1907. Officers were elected and it was voted to buy a horse-drawn motorized pumper not to exceed $1800 to be stored at Trummonds Mill (near the north east corner of Main St. and Knickerbocker Rd.) The ticket agent at the Railroad Station was asked to keep a flat car on the siding at all times to transport the engine to other towns along the lake in case of emergency.

In 1924 the Firemen’s Field Days were organized to raise money for the Fire Department. By 1928 the Ontario Entertainment Membership Corporation was formed and purchased land on the east side of Walworth Road for their Field Days. They also built a 9-hole gold course on this land which opened in 1929. In 1963 the O.E.M. sold the golf course to the Ontario Golf Club, Inc.

The Union Hill Fore Department was organized in 1942.

[captions]: The Masonic Temple located in Ridge Road. Early Ontario Boy Scout Troop. The First Campfire Girls and Girl Scout Troop in Ontario. The Ontario Board of Trade. The Ontario Golf Club.

Ginna Nuclear Power Plan [sic]. Construction of the R.E. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant on the town of Ontario began in 1967 and the plant went into commercial operation on July 1, 1970. Deemed much more efficient and environmentally friendly that the original idea of a coal-fired plant, the nuclear plant is located in the shore of Lake Ontario surrounded by apple orchards on land once known as Smokey Point Farm. Ontario’s history is still, and always will be, evolving…from apples to atoms to…? [captions]: Ginna under construction at Smokey Point Farm. Ginna Nuclear Power Plant on Lake Road at Ontario Center Road.

Mink Ranch. In the 1940s, Ontario was home to the largest mink farm n the world! The Williams and Allen Mink Ranch was located on Ridge Road near Lakeside Road where there were 10,000 pens on the north side on Ridge Road and 6,000 more pens on the south side. There was also a modern Fur Shop and knotty pine paneled show room. Another large mink ranch was the Mattison/Saxby Mink Ranch on Clevenger Road. [caption]: The Mink Ranch was located on both sides of Ridge Road at Lakeside Road.

Heritage Square Museum. Town of Ontario Historical and Landmark Preservation Society. The Town of Ontario Historical Society was organized in 1969 to collect, preserve and display those items which would reflect the life and growth of the town of Ontario.

In 1970 the last log cabin in Ontario was donated to the society. In 1971 the Society purchased the Brick Church Schoolhouse for $1000, and the land upon which it rested was donated to the Society. The land was large enough to accommodate the log cabin, and both buildings were restored and open to the public in 1973 as “Heritage Square Museum at the Brick Church Corners and placed on the New York State and National Registers of Historic Places in 1974.”

Since that time, five buildings have been moved to Heritage Square Museum from around Ontario – the Baptist Meeting House, the Iron Ore Miner’s Home, the Warner Farmhouse, the Lock-Up, and the Train Station. Two new buildings – the barn and a replica of an Apple Dry House – have also been added. [caption]: Early photo of future site of Heritage Square Museum. Note the schoolhouse in the background.

[right panel timeline]: 1912 First Boy Scout Troop organized. 1914 State Bank of Ontario opened. 1918 Electricity and telephones come to Ontario. 1919 First Girl Scout Troop organized. 1928 Ontario Board of Trade (became Chamber of Commerce). 1930 Population 2713. 1931 – 1950s Mink industry. 1933 Lakeside robbery. 1945 Ontario-Walworth Rotary chartered. 1949 Route 104 opened. School district consolidated. 1957 Ontario celebrated its Sesquicentennial. 1966 Ontario Volunteer Emergency Squad organized. 1967 Casey Park built. 1969 Ontario Historical Society organized. 1970 Ginna Nuclear Power Plant opened. Population 6014. 1973 Heritage Square opened. Timeline committee: Liz Albright, Herm Auch and “Jinny” Loomis.
Erected by Heritage Square Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionIndustry & CommerceRailroads & StreetcarsSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1806.
Location. 43° 15.405′ N, 77° 18.418′ W. Marker is in Ontario, New York, in Wayne County. Marker can be reached from Ontario Center Road ¼ mile south of Brick Church Road. Marker is on the grounds of the Heritage Square Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7147 Ontario Center Road, Ontario NY 14519, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Crombe Exhibit Barn (a few steps from this marker); "Hojack" Train Station (within shouting distance of this marker); Apple Dry House (within shouting distance of this marker); Warner House (within shouting distance of this marker); Baptist Meeting House (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Log Cabin (about 400 feet away); Heritage Corners (about 500 feet away); Davis Cemetery (approx. 1.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ontario.
Also see . . .  Heritage Square Museum. (Submitted on May 8, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.)
Credits. This page was last revised on May 10, 2021. It was originally submitted on May 8, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 57 times since then. Photos:   1. submitted on May 8, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14. submitted on May 10, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.   15. submitted on May 8, 2021, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.

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Jun. 21, 2021