Folks have long thought that the shores of Canandaigua Lake and the surrounding fields and ravines at Cottage City was a wonderful place to live and raise a family. Before our ancestors started the daunting task of clearing the virgin forest people have lived there. In 1890 Richard Gage plowed up a skeleton and a skull. Professor Arey and his group at the Natural Science Camp were informed. They came across the lake with a photographer and excavated two sites. About two feet below the surface they found a mound of packed clay and charred wood containing the complete skeleton of an Indian.
There was speculation that this was the first evidence of Mound Builders east of the Mississippi River. If this is so then it would predate the Seneca Nation who later had a camp in and around the ravine at Hall Road.
So it was that when Southwick Cole purchased land in lot Five and settled there in 1805 he was greeted with a virgin forest and a few Indians. Otis Lincoln followed the next year and settled on lot Two. Otis was veteran of the Revolutionary War and when his son was drafted to serve in the War of 1812, Otis got out his old sword and went to serve in his place. Apparently not a man to be fooled with, Mr. Cole and Mr. Lincoln were the only pioneer inhabitants of the area. There were two other settlers in the seven-mile stretch to Canandaigua.
It was not long before the water in the creek coming down Hall Road would be harnessed and in 1808 a Tannery was built. This was followed in 1815 with a grist mill built by Henry Elliott. The Tannery did not last long and the building was used for a school. This proved too drafty in the winter and a new school was built on the hill where E. Lake Rd and Rt. 364 split.
It was not long after that Amasa Gage, the head of the numerous Gage family, purchased land from Nathaniel Gorham in lot Five. The Gage family was an important part of this community until well into the late Forties.
Southwick Cole sold his farm and Jushua Washburn purchased part of the farm in lot Four in 1827. Mr Washburn and wife had five children. With this expanding family Mr Washburn decided the log cabin to small and built a large home. The bricks for this home were hauled from Palmyra. Now that would be about thirty miles. Today with a truck that would only be about one hour travel, but with Ox or Horse cart it would be a long day. If they came part way by water I do not know, but either way it was a monumental task. On the death of his first wife he married Phoebe Porter, a widow with one child. That union produced eight more children. Again it was time to expand his home and he built a wood addition on the South side. This house still stands just North of the Fire House.
The steamboat business started about 1845 and by 1870 there were two, one on the West side and one on the East side. They hauled produce, barley and wheat North for the flour mills of Rochester or the Mckechnie brewery of Canandaigua. In the fall tons of Grapes. The return trip would be supplies for the business and folks South. Both trips carried passengers.
The offspring of the original Amsas Gage purchased land along the lake. Amasa the grandson had control of the original farm. Being an enterprising man in 1870 he built a large steamboat dock.. This became a regular stop and was known as Gage's Landing. About this same time he began selling lots for summer cottages. Businessmen from Rochester and Canandaigua made this their summer home. The steamboats made Gage's landing a regular stop at six in the morning. The folks working in Rochester would board and be on the pier in Canandaigua at seven to meet the electric trolley, which ran down Main St to the pier and up to the train station. At the station they would get on the Rochester Eastern train for the trip to the city. Of course the reverse trip home at night.
There is a bit of oral history told by one of the Gage boys about his Father. Seems his father had a farm bordering the lake. Well, he cut a sapling ten feet in length. When someone wanted to buy some lake front he would measure off as many ten feet as the person wanted. He told his son “if anyone wants to pay me a $1.00 per foot for this worthless pasture I'll sell them all they want”. My, My, if he only knew what that ten foot was worth today.
About 1890 Richard Gage, son of Amsas, built a store at Gage's landing. This was the only store on the East side between Canandaigua and Vine Valley. It was later enlarged to include an Ice Cream parlor, a billiard room, upstairs dance hall and rooms where folks from Rochester could live for the summer. This was a very lively place until well after WWII. In 1905 the name was changed to Cottage City.
The Finger Lakes Land Company, owned by Paul Ritchey, purchased the Washburn farm and filed a subdivision map in 1929 and was called Crystal Beach. This land went from the lake to County Road 1. It was divided into about 900 lots, 80 feet by 30 feet. The roads were 40 to 50 feet wide. There was no sewer or water, they had a water well by Maiden Lane for folks to use. There are two “right aways” to the lake. This was during the depression and most lot owners built their own cottage, some winterized them when times were really tough and lived there all year. So we have two communities separated only by a property line, Cottage City and Crystal Beach.
Ed Geiger purchased the Washburn homestead for use as a Tavern until the Town was voted dry.
The Crystal Beach Fire dept was established after Barnes store burned in the late 50's.
Today many folks have purchased two or three lots and built larger year around homes. This area still remains a wonderful lake side community to live and raise a family.
The Genesee Valley Civil War Roundtable meeting will be held at
7:30 p.m. June 20th at the American Legion, 453 West Main Street, Le Roy, in
the front room.
Guest Speaker Earl McElfresh will present
"Making Maps for the Civil War"
The meeting will take place at the American Legion, 53 West
Main St. A discussion period will follow. McElfresh will discuss how he makes
his maps. He will also donate and sign one of them for the raffle. He will
bring some maps for sale and will sign them.
New members are always welcome. Discussion period to follow
7:00 p.m., Tuesday June 19th at 291 Wilkinson Road
History comes alive at the South Perinton Cemetery, 291
Wilkinson Road, as we hold our annual cemetery tour. Hear the stories of Civil
War soldiers and other residents of our community through the voices of the
actors portraying them.
The tour concludes at the grave of Civil War nurse Mary
Jewett Telford, where a ceremony will be held to dedicate her Woman's Relief
Corps flag holder.
10:00 – 10:30 – Arrive at the National Memorial Day Museum
The museum commemorates the founding of Memorial Day with many
displays / exhibits from the Civil War era, and continues with displays
from the Spanish American War, World Wars I and II, and the Korean
War. Allow enough time for your interest in artifacts and historical
information reading. Our quick pre-trip took about an hour, and we
didn’t spend a lot of time on the detail. There is a second floor, but no
elevator. Requested Donation is $1.00 per person.
12:00 – Depart the for lunch at Deerhead Inn Restaurant
On beautiful Cayuga Lake at 2554 Lower Lake Road, Seneca Falls, NY.
From the museum, head South, over the Cayuga-Seneca Canal, and
turn East on River Road. Restaurant is fully accessible. Lunch menu
(last year’s prices) attached to this document.
1:15 – Depart for Sampson Military Museum
On beautiful Seneca Lake, inside Sampson State Park (vehicle
entrance fee is $7.00 per car on the weekends). The museum is
straight ahead as you enter the park, past the airplane, on the left.
Parking is on the right. As you enter the building, you see a large
courtyard. The Navel Museum is on the left, the Airforce Museum on
the right, and across the courtyard between the museums, are the
bathrooms. Both museums accept donations.
Reservations requested to set up tables for lunch. Reply to 585-582-1070 or
E-mail to email@example.com by June 14th if possible.
STOP One: Memorial Day Museum, 35 East Main St, Waterloo, NY 13165
This older house is located just east of the intersection of NYS Route 5 - US
Route 20 and NYS Route 96, on the North side of East Main Street. Parking
is along the street. From NYS Thruway, Exit 42 (Geneva - Lyons) is at NYS
Route 14 or Exit 41 (Waterloo – Clyde) is at NYS Route 414.
STOP Two: Deerhead Inn Restaurant, 2554 Lower Lake Rd, Seneca Falls, NY
From the Memorial Day Museum (MDM) head South across the Seneca-
Cayuga Canal to River Road, turn east. River road (changes name to Bayard
Street in Seneca Falls) ends at Lower Lake Road (a lakefront park is in front
of you), turn south (right) to Lower Lake Road. The Inn is on your right as
you travel south. The parking entrance is on the South side of the building,
and the building entrance is from the parking lot at the rear of the building.
Directions to New York 96A, Romulus, NY 14541
20.5 mi – about 30 mins
STOP Three: Sampson Military Museum at Sampson State Park
Chuck Veit, president of the Navy and Marine Living History Association, and lieutenant of the Naval Landing Party living history group will talk about his most recent book - "A Dog Before a Soldier" at the Genesee Community College's Conable Technology Building on the Batavia campus, 1 College Road.
The talk will begin tomorrow, Tuesday, June 5th, at 7 PM. The lecture is free and open to the public. Copies of his book will be available for purchase and signing.
The notice in the Batavia Daily News originally gave the wrong date for the talk, then printed a correction.