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Local Name Origins

Allan’s Creek or Oatka Creek was named for Indian Ebenezer Allan and Indian word Oatka meaning "the opening."
Allens Creek was named for two brothers who resided on the banks of the creek in Brighton
Auburn - The name is from Oliver Goldsmith's poem 'The Deserted Village' (1770), about the depopulation of rural areas, with its opening line: "Sweet Auburn! Loveliest village of the plain." Its name is nothing to do with the color auburn, but means eel stream. It was the home of William Seward and Harriet Tubman, "the Black Moses." In 1890 a Buffalo murderer, William Kemmler, was put to death in the first electric chair in the world in Auburn prison which wound up at Rattlesnake Pete’s museum in Rochester.
Brockport was named for founder Hiel Brockway and became incorporated as a village in April 6, 1829. From 1844 to 1847 a factory in Brockport manufactured McCormick reapers.
Carthage was named for the ancient African City. In Phoenician it means new town.
Cayuga is an old Indian name which means "place for the canoe landing"
Charlotte - In 1805 William Pulteney of England, who had bought thousands of acres in Western New York, died, and his daughter, Lady Bath, inherited the property. She died, July 14, 1808, without issue, and her cousin, Sir John Lowther Johnstone, became the heir of her American real estate. His wife’s name was Charlotte.
Chili was formed from Riga and named for Republic of Chile in South America although how the pronunciation changed is unknown
Clarkson was settled in1804 and named after Matthew Clarkson, a businessman from NYC, who donated some land to the town then called Murray. It soon became an important point on the road to the Niagara Frontier because of its stage stop where the horses were changed and weary travelers given a chance to refresh themselves with food and drink. At one time several mills and distilleries stood on the road near Clarkson. In the War of 1812 it was a rendezvous for troops and a depot for military supplies. Close to the highway, is the Selden Homestead. From 1830 to 1859 this was the home of Judge Henry Rogers Selden, lieutenant governor of the state, 1856-58. His son, George Baldwin Selden (1846-1922) recognized as the inventor of the automobile engine, was born in this house.
Dansville, one of the gateways to the Genesee country, lies in a valley flanked by hills. One of the earliest settlers was Daniel Faulkner who came to the valley from Pennsylvania in 1795 and built the first sawmill. The settlement was named for him. Col. Nathaniel Rochester had his home here before the founding of Rochesterville. While visiting Dansville on a lecture tour in 1876, Clara Barton (1821-1912) was attracted by the water cure at the Dansville Sanatorium and purchased an adjacent house for a country home. In 1881 she organized in Dansville the first Red Cross unit in the United States, known as the Clara Barton Chapter. There is the Clara Barton Red Cross Chapter No. 1 and the chapter house on Elizabeth Street with the state historical marker in front of the Lutheran Church where the first Red Cross chapter was organized.
East Rochester was originally called Despatch because of the Merchants Despatch Transportation Corp., which has its vast home plant and switch yards here. Among other large industrial concerns in East Rochester are the Aeolian American Piano Corporation, the Lawless Brothers Paper Mills, the Ontario Tool Company, the Crosman Seed Company, and the Mack Tool Company. The village is served by the New York Central Railroad and the Greyhound Bus Lines. The village contains two small parks, Edmund Lyon Park and Eyer Park, and two golf courses, limited in their use to members only.
Egypt was named from a circumstance in pioneer times when Deacon Ramsdell & Cyrus Parker had an unusually excellent crop of corn and other grains when the surrounding area crops were poor. New spread far and people came from far to buy corn from them and the Place became known as Egypt for the long journey many had to get there.
Fairport - The growth of the village began about 1822, with the construction of the Erie Canal. The first frame house, built in 1812, on the site of the present Green Lantern Inn, was later moved to the east end of Church Street, where it' still stands. In the 1800’s businesses in Fairport included the Deland Chemical (baking soda), Cobb Preserving (the predecessor to American Can) and the Trescott Company (fruit grading and packing systems). Deland Chemical later became Fairport Vinegar Works - makers of Certo brand pectin used to jell foodstuffs.
Gates was named for General Horatio Gates, Revolutionary soldier. It was named June 10, 1812.
Genesee comes from an Indian word "Chenussio" meaning beautiful valley.
Greece - from Gates and named for the kingdom of Greece on March 22, 1822. A revolution broke out in the kingdom of Greece in 1821& sympathies in this country were for the revolutionists.
Hamlin - taken from Clarkson, named in honor of Hannibal Hamlin, Vice President of the U.S. during Lincoln’s first administration. It was named February 22, 1861.
Hanford’s Landing was named for Frederick & Abraham Hanford with five brothers & two sisters who lived there; it was originally known as King’s landing
Henrietta was formed from Pittsford March 27, 1818 in honor of Lady Henrietta Laura, Countess of Bath, and daughter of Sir Will Pulteney, an Englishman who with two associates purchased from Robert Morris a large part of the original Phelps-Gorham Purchase.
Honeoye was the trading center for the surrounding farms and, in season, for the lake residents. In the center of the village is the SULLIVAN MONUMENT commemorating the Sullivan expedition (1779). One block from the monument stands the PITTS HOUSE, built in 1821 by Gideon Pitts, son of Capt. Peter Pitts. The house was the birthplace of the Pitts daughter who became the second wife of Frederick Douglass.
Ithaca was named by Simeon DeWitt, the state surveyor general, after the town where Ulysses, Greek hero, lived.
Irondequoit was formed from Brighton March 27, 1839. It is an Indian name meaning where the waves gasp & die.
King’s Landing was-named for Gideon King but later changed to Hanford’s Landing.
Mendon was named for Mendon, Mass. where some of the pioneers came from Nine mile point- nine miles east of the mouth of the Genesee.
Mount Morris was named for Robert Morris, financier of the American Revolution, who bought from Ebenezer Allen the land on which the village stands. The first name of the town was Allen Hill, but this was changed to Richmond Hill by Col. John Trumbull of Washington's staff, who painted the Signing of the Declaration of Independence. He planted an orchard here with a view to making this his permanent home, but he changed his plans.
Ogden was named for William Ogden, one of the first proprietors of the town of Parma formed in 1817, and it was part of the Phelps-Gorham mill yard tract.
Ontario from an Indian name meaning beautiful prospect of rocks, hill and water.
Penfield named for Daniel Penfield who owned much land in the area. It was formed March 30, 1810.
Perinton named for Glover Perrin, the first permanent settler of the town. It was formed May 26, 1812.
Pittsford was named by Col. Caleb Hopkins who had come from Pittsford, Vermont. Northfield, parent of seven present Monroe County towns, was set off as a unit of Ontario County, N.Y. Northfield became Boyle in 1803, when Penfield and Perinton had been established and separated. In 1813 the name was changed to Smallwood. When Brighton was separated from the town, it was renamed Pittsford by Caleb Hopkins after his hometown of Pittsford, Vt. March 25, 1814. Pittsford was divided again when Henrietta was established in 1818. Brighton was divided in 1839 when Irondequoit was formed, and, in 1840, Penfield and Webster were formed as two separate towns.
Rush named for the patches of rushes in the town along the river and Honeoye Creek; the early locality was called Rush Bottom. It was formed from Avon March 13, 1818. Another theory was that it was named for Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
Skaneateles is an Indian name meaning "long lake."
Sibleyville is named for Benjamin Sibley & his sons Samuel & Hiram who had wool carding & grist mills there, also manufacturing agricultural implements.
Sweden is believed to be named for the country of Sweden since some of the first settlers came form Sweden, Maine.
Webster is named for Daniel Webster the great orator & statesman. It was formed from Penfield February 6, 1840.

History of the 100 Acre Tract Which Eventually Became Rochester
& The Infamous Indian Allan

When Oliver Phelps held his treaty with the Indians at Buffalo Creek in 1788, he was anxious to secure all the lands within the Massachusetts preemption claim. The Indians declined to part with any land west of the Genesee River, regarding that as a natural boundary set by the great spirits between the white man & the red man. Unable to buy the land outright, Phelps asked them for a piece of land west of the Genesee to build a mill which they could use grind their corn and saw timber. The Indians asked how much land this would take and Phelps replied a piece about 12 miles wide by 24 miles long from about Avon to Lake Ontario. The Indians were reluctant to part with such a large tract but upon Phelps assurance it was all needed, granted his request. This strip of land contained about 200,000 acres and was designated the Genesee Falls Mill Lot.

Phelps hired one Ebenezer Indian Allan to build the mill and in return gave him 100 acres of land commencing at the center of the mill extending equal distances up, down and west of the river to contain the 100 acres in a square form. So far as we know no deed ever passed between Phelps and Allen, but in a deed for 20,000 acres embracing the site of Rochester west of the Genesee sold to Cortus Pomeroy a note indicates an exception for the land previously granted Allan. In the Revolutionary War, Allan was from New Jersey, was a Tory and became acquainted with the Senecas. He joined the Indians against the American settlements and committed atrocities. Mary Jemison tells one story related to her by Allan where he found a man, wife & baby in bed. He burst in, severing the man’s head and tossing at his terrified wife, grabbing the baby, and smashing its head against the jamb, leaving the woman with her murdered family.

In the fall of 1789, Peter Sheffer and his sons Peter & Jacob came upon Allan at his farm near the mouth of Allan’s Creek. He had a comfortable log house on the land which 300 acres were given to him by the Indians & 170 purchased from Phelps & Gorham. Mr. Sheffer purchased this tract for $2.50/acre as indicated on the deed dated November 23, 1789. It was recorded November 12, 1793 on page 178, book 2 in the County Clerk’s office Canandaigua. Allan wanted the money to push forward his mill enterprise. The stone used in Allan’s gristmill was made from boulders on the surface of the ground near the mill. With the assistance of Indians Allan cut and dressed both stones. He was a blacksmith and had a forge near his house at Allan’s Creek and at the mill. A 14-ft. waterfall powered the mill where Broad St. crosses the Genesee. This waterfall was obliterated by building the canal aqueduct. In 1790 Allan moved his assortment of wives, children and other relatives, legal and otherwise, into the mill. He shod his own horses and repaired guns for himself and the Indians. He was anything but lazy, with a bold appearance, determined look, and the faculty of controlling all about him. He usually had 30 Indians at work and in return supplied them and their families with everything them needed including whiskey. Wherever Allan went a company of Indians went with him to do his bidding. When he stayed at the mill, the Indians encamped at Exchange Street at the Indian spring. Allan was adopted as a member of the Seneca Nation and named Genusheeo, but called Indian Allan by the whites who greatly disliked him. He married a Seneca squaw whose English name was Sally.

In 1790 Allan bought a stock of goods in Philadelphia and reopened his trading post in Mt. Morris, leaving his brother-in-law Christopher Dugan in charge of the mills. He probably left the mills for good soon after the sale of the 100-acre tract to Mr. Barton. Barton sold the 100 acres to Samuel B. Ogden December 24, 1793, who transferred the property to Charles Williamson of Bath, an agent for Sir William Pulteney and it became part of Pulteney’s estate. Williamson was the general sales manager for the Pulteney project. He was a Scotchman, an organizer, and, what counted in those days, a gentleman of the period. In some respects he was very modern, and, as we read his career, he was a master salesman. Everything interested him: Good food, good wine, good company. He read books, organized the first theater west of New York, kissed the babies and made love to their mothers.

In 1803 Nathaniel Rochester, Charles Carroll & William Fitzhugh bought the 100-acre tract from Pulteney’s estate for $17.50 per acre. They made no effort to settle the tract until 1810. Nathaniel Rochester surveyed the land and hired Enos Stone to sell lots. He also persuaded the town of Brighton to open a road from Pittsford along the present East Avenue and build a wooden bridge over the river. The war of 1812 slowed down the settlement since the British threatened to destroy lake improvements and landings. After the War settlement became very rapid with competition among various villages like Carthage and Frankfort. Nathaniel Rochester moved his family to Bloomfield in 1817, the year he helped found St. Luke’s Church. He persuaded Matthew and Francis Brown to layout their Frankfort village streets to line up with the streets in the 100-acre tract to form Rochesterville in 1817. Matthew and Francis Brown built the race at the upper falls in 1816.

Our Most Quoted Rochesterian

Francis Julius Bellamy (1855-1931) has been described as "our most quoted Rochesterian." The 1876 University of Rochester graduate earned this distinction by composing The Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag . In 1892 Bellamy was employed by the Boston magazine The Youth’s Companion . As part of the celebrations marking the 400th anniversary of the voyage of Christopher Columbus to the western hemisphere, the magazine promoted the idea of a flag ceremony on Columbus Day in every school in America. Bellamy wrote the Pledge for students to recite as flags were raised over schoolhouses across the country. Over the years additional words have been added to Bellamy’s original Pledge, but it is still recited by millions of school children every day. On September 8,1892, the Boston based "The Youth's Companion" magazine published a few words for students to repeat on Columbus Day that year. Written by Francis Bellamy, the circulation manager and native of Rome, New York, and reprinted on thousands of leaflets, was sent out to public schools across the country. On October 12, 1892, the quadri-centennial of Columbus' arrival, more than 12 million children recited the Pledge of Allegiance, thus beginning a required school-day ritual. At the first National Flag Conference in Washington D.C., on June14, 1923, a change was made. For clarity, the words "the Flag of the United States" replaced "my flag". In the following years various other changes were suggested but were never formally adopted. It was not until 1942 that Congress officially recognized the Pledge of Allegiance. One year later, in June 1943, the Supreme Court ruled that school children could not be forced to recite it. In fact, today only half of our fifty states have laws that encourage the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in the classroom! In June of 1954 an amendment was made to add the words "under God". Then-President Dwight D. Eisenhower said "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

History of Abbott's Custard

Abbott’s Frozen Custard dates back to 1902 when a young Arthur Abbott traveling with small carnivals along the eastern seaboard, began perfecting his recipe for a frozen concoction known today as frozen custard. He peddled his delicious dessert for the most part to support his love of the horse races.

In 1926, tired of the constant travel he settled in Rochester, NY and opened his first custard stand at the corner of Lake and Beach Avenues at Ontario Beach Park which is still there today. People started lining up by the hundreds to enjoy the super creamy frozen custard that Arthur Abbot’s created. Never content to stay in one place too long, Arthur heard of the Playland at Rye Beach, New Hampshire. He opened up several successful stands there, and did so well that he bought his own race horse. In 1952 Arthur struck it rich when his prized horse, Blue Man, won the Preakness Stakes, earning Arthur an astonishing $86,135. In his seventies, and financially comfortable, Arthur decided to hanging up his scoops for good. He sold Abbott's Frozen Custard in 1957 to Mr. & Mrs. Schreiber of Rochester whose daughter runs the company today with it 41 locations, 14 in other states.

Early Rochester Theaters

Corinthian Hall - opened June 28, 1849 and became the city’s first principal concert & lecture hall. It was also know as the Athenaeum and the Academy of Music, ending it’s days as a burlesque house in 1928.
Cooks Opera House opened on South Avenue in 1846, remodeled in 1848 as the New Theater one year before Corinthian Hall opened and ended as the Embassy burlesque house
Baker Theater was on N. Fitzhugh just behind the Powers Hotel. It was built in 1899, backed by the Shuberts of NYC and others in Rochester. It became the Gayety Theater and closed in 1929. It was located where the garage is adjacent to the Executive Office Building. Three year old Joe Yule Jr., later known as Mickey Rooney, made his stage debut at the Gayety.
National Theater became the Capitol Theater.
Temple Theater – was located on Clinton Avenue South where the Lincoln First building is today. This is where the great George Cukor directed the best summer stock theater in the nation. Bette Davis made her debut as an actress here.
Lyceum Theater- The golden age of Rochester theater was ushered in the late 1880’s with construction of the Lyceum theater on North Clinton, just off Main Street. It devoted itself to serious drama, and succeeded, thanks to an "interested and eager public" and several patrons with discriminating tastes.

Hot Dog Row ( Sea Breeze)

Don's Original History

History of Don's Original was compiled by the employees of Don's Original at Sea Breeze upon the opening of the Don's Original in Brighton at 2545 Monroe Ave. in May, 1997.

The year was 1945 and World War II was almost over. A few months earlier, Donald J. Barbato received an honorable discharge after serving his country in the Pacific theatre. He returned to his hometown of Rochester, NY, in hopes of pursuing his dreams and starting a career. He was an eager and diligent man, and wanted to get back into the automobile business that he had been in prior to, the War. However, the war effort had limited the auto industry, and his opportunities were few. His brother-in-law, Robert (Bob) Berl, had recently inherited the Zweigles Sausage Products business from his uncle, and he persuaded Don to, help him out one day at a hot dog concession at a local dog show. Not many of us would have recognized this as a calling, but Don became quite imbued with this hot dog business that day. Bob also told him, about a roadside hot dog stand at Sea Breeze that was available. Back then, the stands were seasonal concessions on Lake Ontario, and Don agreed to lease the stand for the 1945 summer season. With his brother-in-law's support, Don named it DON & BOB's. Rochester's landmark eatery had been born.

Bob Berl soon returned to his Zweigles business, but Don and his wife, Ann, proceeded to set the pace at Sea Breeze. Don was an innovator, and his refreshment stand not only set the trend at Sea Breeze, but for an entire industry that would come to emulate many of his ideas. Don's standards were ahead of his time., He was the first to remove the hot dogs from a sweaty cook's arm and place them on paper plates. Messy self-serve condiments were put behind the serving counter and kept impeccably clean. He bleached the floors and polished the cooking equipment. The typical fare of hot dogs and ice cream was not enough for Don. He single-handedly developed the "ground round steak sandwich" which became his signature menu item. He traveled to Canada to learn about making french fries and was the first one to put them on his menu. His great service, quality food and immaculate atmosphere made heads turn, and the smart patrons took notice of his dedication. The crowds were heading to Don & Bob's for the preferred reputation.

The seasonal aspect of Sea Breeze left Don with some idle time. And then New York State built Route 47 (Now 1-590) which took away a large portion of his parking lot. Don and Ann, along with their two sons, Don Jr. and Bob (of course!) were now living in the beautiful suburb of Brighton. Don loved the area, and after purchasing a farm house on what was then a rural stretch of Monroe Avenue, made plans to build a new Don & Bob's there, expanding his core business down at Sea Breeze. This, would be a larger showcase restaurant that would be open year-round. Don had some opposition with neighboring properties and town codes, but he persevered, and in 1953, he opened what was to become the number one fast-food eating emporium in the Rochester area. The facility was heralded by the restaurant industry as ultra-modern. The equipment was state-of-the-art and the menu was extensive. Don was extremely loyal to his employees. Mel Lame, Cliff Lawson, Roger Varela and Nello Nucelli were diligent in their efforts to provide customers with three primary ingredients; quality food, expeditious service and an immaculate atmosphere. With Don's brother, Joe, at the helm at Sea Breeze, the organization, was firmly rooted.

In May, 1972, a young high school student and neighbor of Don and Ann Barbato, came to the counter at the Monroe Ave. location looking for a job. His name was Terry Klee, and Don initially told Ann to tell him that he was too young, and to come back after school was out, hoping he would go elsewhere for employment. Don was reluctant to hire neighbors and family friends, thinking that if things didn't prove successful, he would have an additional problem. Terry was heartbroken. However, his mother told him to do just as Don instructed and return when school was out. "Show Mr. Barbato that you are sincere," was her advice. And that is exactly what he did. Don was a bit surprised when Terry returned that June. But reluctantly, he hired him as a busboy in the busy dining room. A mentoring relationship had just begun that would later provide for a continued legacy of restaurant ownership and dedication.

In October, 1973, upon the urgence of Ann and his family to slow down and enjoy life, Don negotiated a transaction to sell the Monroe Avenue establishment. It was a bittersweet decision for Don, as the business was his life. However, the idea to relax a bit was appealing, and a small investment group was put together by a commercial realtor by the name of Max Springut. Don severed his ties with the Monroe Ave. Don & Bob's, but retained his interest at Sea Breeze. The business at Monroe Ave. floundered over the next several years. It changed hands from different owner to different owner, losing a11 identity and affiliation with the management of Don Barbato. Because Don felt he no longer had control over the struggling reputation created by the new owners, he changed the name of his original restaurant at Sea' Breeze to DON'S ORIGINAL.

Over the next several years, Don and Ann devoted more of their time to Don's Original at Sea Breeze. Some of the loyal employees drifted to the Sea Breeze location, also, including Ann Cardile, Roger Varela and Terry Klee. Because of Don's renewed presence at Sea Breeze, many patrons also returned to Don's Original. In 1982, after a long and courageous battle with cancer, Don Barbato passed away, leaving Ann and his two sons to carry on his business at Sea Breeze.

For a brief period of time, there was another Don's Original. Don's son, Bob, together with Terry Klee operated Don's Original at Charlotte, which they bought together in 1986. Two years later, Bob relinquished his interest in that location solely to Terry. Sometime later, Bob contacted Terry, who was then operating the Charlotte restaurant under the name of FRITZBURGER'S, and asked him if he was interested in purchasing the Sea Breeze Don's Original from the Barbato family. Bob explained that he and his brother had other interests; Don Jr. operated a Carvel Ice Cream store in Pittsford and Bob was a professor at R.I. T. Terry was very interested and in May, 1991, became the new and sole owner of Don's Original at Sea Breeze. Owning and operating Don's Original seemed an almost predestined event in Terry's life. His love of the business, and respect for Don Barbato's ideals and philosophies made him the natural successor. He immediately began cleaning and refurbishing the Sea Breeze location to reemphasize the strict allegiance to the quality; cleanliness and good service that Don's Original, always portrayed. Like Don, he knew that he could not do it alone. He called on long-time employees such as Roger Varela and Patricia Brinkman as well as new employees such, as John Cipro and Tina Gift to carry on the tradition. These employees are proud of the restaurant they help operate and it shows. In 1995, under the ownership of Terry Klee, Don's Original recognized it's 50th Anniversary of being in business, truly a testimony that quality does predominate here.

Terry also had the desire to expand the Don's Original business. In 1996, he purchased a piece of property on Monroe Avenue in Brighton, knowing well that the impact of the name Don's Original was stronger there than any other place. Over the winter months, he remodeled the building to the standards he only knew would suffice for Don's Original. And So the story of Don's Original continues. Terry, his wife Sheila, and their four daughters are proud to be the owners of one of Rochester's most cherished landmarks. That young man some 25 years ago, who took his mother's advice, not only "showed Mr. Barbato that he was sincere", but proved he was dedicated to Don's Original and to guaranteeing it will always be "Where Quality Predominates."