Wesendorf Hotel Served Fancher Community

Vol. 5, No. 28 This photograph shows the Wesendorf House that operated at Fancher. Although this photograph is not labeled, it is presumed that the image was taken in the early 1900s and one of the men standing on the porch is the proprietor, John Wesendorf, Jr. It appears these men have stepped outside from the establishment to pose for this photo as a young boy stands with them holding what appears to be a milk can. The building functioned as a saloon and hotel for a number of years in the early half of the 19th century. John Lewis

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Story of Rev. Dykal Highlights Accomplishments of Polish Americans

Vol. 4, No. 41 October is Polish American Heritage Month, first celebrated in 1981 by the Polish American Cultural Center in Philadelphia. It is an opportunity to call attention to the accomplishments of the roughly 9.5 million self-identified Polish Americans in the United States. In Orleans County, the Poles found employment in the local sandstone quarries scattered along the Erie Canal, just as countless other immigrant groups had in prior years. I was given this photograph of an unidentified priest several years ago and through a bit of luck was able to identify him as Rev. Leonard F. Dykal of

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The Angelus Bell

Vol. 4, No. 37 Some of the best local history stories are those that are rediscovered and built upon by each historian. While organizing a collection of newspaper clippings, I stumbled upon a particular story that holds a special place in my heart. “Why the Bell Rings,” vol. XXIX no. 1 of Bethinking of Old Orleans authored by Bill Lattin recounts a story relating to St. Mary’s Assumption Church in Albion. His discovery of a newspaper clipping within a scrapbook led him to write a short piece about the Angelus Bell. As a young boy, I can recall the frequent

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Gandy Dancers Provided Maintenance Services to Local Railroads

Vol. 4, No. 33 This rather interesting photograph shows five men working as part of a section gang along the Rome, Watertown, and Ogdensburg Railroad. It is believed that this particular crossing was located somewhere in the town of Kendall and the photograph was taken September 11, 1897. The men appear to have stopped for dinner (the midday meal) as several metal pails appear on the car. One of the young men appears to be holding his pocket watch as if to show that it is noontime. The Lake Ontario Shore Railroad was chartered in 1858, and like all great

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Sacred Heart of Jesus Served Medina’s Polish Community for Nearly 100 Years

Vol. 4, No. 23 Shortly after starting my tenure as County Historian in 2015, I wrote a short piece about a photograph of Sacred Heart Church given to me by Mary Ann Tillman of Albion. I stumbled upon the photograph again this week and thought that perhaps my initial article on the subject was rather short, lacking a more detailed account of the earliest years of the parish. In the early 1970s, Helen Allen compiled a thorough record of historical accounts from various churches throughout Orleans County. She notes that Medina’s first Polish settlers came to the area in the

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