Tuesday, April 23, 2013

It's a Wrap I

Script No. 417, June 25, 2005

Well, we've spent over six moths visiting 1829 New York. I know; it doesn't seem possible; surely it hasn't been a minute over 5 3/4 months. How time does fly! Anyway, before we move on to other times and climes we'll spend two final weeks on a few ends and odds we've missed along the way; sort of a potpourri, or, if you will, Simon, a Salmagundy.

We'll start here in Buffalo and work our way backwards to our New York City starting point. A branch of the Bank of the United States is established here in Buffalo in September. When bank president Nicholas Biddle visits the area he takes a side trip to Niagara Falls and is impressed enough to pay for a circular staircase into the gorge. The structure will remain a popular adjunct to Mother Nature for close to hundred years.

Monsieur Louis Stephen LeCouteulx de Chaumont, a French gentleman, arrived here twenty-five years ago, the area's first permanent Roman Catholic. This year he is donating land for a combination church and school - St. Louis.

Buffalo is not the only community opening banks and military schools this year: Batavia's Bank of the Genesee (later part of M&T), beat out the U. S Bank by a few months, becoming the first bank west of the Genesee River. And back at the beginning of the year Whitesboro's Scientific and Military Academy of Western District was accredited by the state's Board of Regents. / East coast architects Ithiel Town and Alexander Jackson Davis open a branch in Buffalo, the village's first architectural office. They must have chosen their location well; there's no mention of them losing it during the November fire that did $25,000 worth of damage to the west side of Main Street.

To the east of Batavia the village of Le Roy is host to one of the high-profile social events of the season in December, when Caroline Le Roy, daughter of New York City financier Jacob Le Roy, is married to politician/widower Daniel Webster at the family's upstate home. Presumably he smiled more than he does in his portraits.

James Stuart had run into some of the early prototypes of the health spa during his visit last year to Saratoga Springs. Not to be outdone by the Hudson Valley, the Genesee Valley welcomed Dr. Derrick Knickerbocker of Rochester, when he builds the two-and-a-half story Knickerbocker Hall spa in Avon. Knickerbocker wasn't the first person in Avon to make money off the local waters. In 1792 a local inhabitant had come down with what was probably the infamous Genesee Fever. When he recovered he was left with a skin infection which he bathed in local waters. The condition cleared up almost immediately. Three years later a case of rheumatism yielded to Avon's soothing waters. A Richard Wadsworth built a bathhouse in 1821, which he enlarged in 1823. Now two other entrepreneurs are erecting hotels to rival Knickerbocker's. The village's main springs, the Upper and Lower, will each gain their adherents.

Transportation into the central part of the state from the south will become easier in a few years as the state legislature in April approves construction of a Chemung Canal, linking Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes to Elmira, sitting on the Chemung River, down near the Pennsylvania border. The Chemung connects to the west branch of the Susquehanna and eventually Chesapeake Bay. The state's canals are erasing barriers.

We'll finish 1829 in the eastern part of the state and Manhattan in another month’s time.

[ For that we’ll head back to the “Eagles Byte” blog: http://www.eaglesbyte.blogspot.com/ ]

© 2005 David Minor / Eagles Byte

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