Middleport’s Fire Bell Memorial

In a moving ceremony attended by many of our local residents, the Fire Bell Memorial was rededicated this past Memorial Day 2016. The Middleport Fire Department first dedicated their bell memorial in the park on Memorial Day of 1952 in  honor of  the deceased members of the department. The bell used to hang in a tower behind the old fire hall, now better knows to residents as our Village Hall.  After a fire in 1898 that engulfed the tower and the bell, the village lost their alarm system. According to Anna Wallace’s History of Middleport, the bell tower of the Episcopal Church was then used for ringing fire alarms at a cost to the village of $25 per year. In this view of the old Haines More Info »

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Middleport Universalist Church

It was back in April of 1841 that the Middleport Universalists organized their church on a piece of land donated by John Craig. The building of the church was accomplished with smooth, egg shaped stones gathered by the congregation from the shore of Lake Ontario and under the supervision of stone mason Emery Smith. Reverend Linus Everett was chosen to dedicate the church in 1842. In 1870 the Middleport Church was valued at $8 thousand dollars with the only church bell withing the village as well as the first organ. Due to diminished membership, the church closed its doors in 2015 and the building was sold. Many of their books and some other artifacts were donated to the office of the Village Historian, and are More Info »

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History of the Basket Factory

Back as early as 1886, the factory owned by Sylvester Evans and Henry McClean turned out some 2000 baskets daily. By 1893, James Hulihan and Thomas Conley owned the Royalton Basket Company which supplied local fruit farmers with different size baskets ranging from berry baskets to fruit crates. The logs were floated down the canal and held in the log pond until they were needed. The lower level of the building was used to cut the logs into strips while the assembling of the baskets took place on the top floor. Deliveries of the finished baskets were made by horse and wagon to local farmers. Owners of the business at its closing in 1934 were James and Timothy O’Shaughnessey. Today we look forward to once More Info »

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A History of Middleport

All history lovers, especially those who love learning more about our little village, will be pleased to hear that the history written by our previous historian, Anna Wallace, is about to go to press.  During her 30 year tenure as historian, Anna collected stories that go back to the beginning of our community in the early 1800s up to her retirement in 2010. I recently had a visit with her at her residence in Rochester where I shared with her a proof copy of her writings,  now compiled in a book entitled “A Friendly Community, A History of Middleport, New York.” The book will contains lots of interesting facts as well as 130 pictures from old newspapers, post cards and private photos. After a little More Info »

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Myrtle Lewis Wilmot, local artist and philanthropist

Myrtle Lewis Wilmot was the daughter of Middleport residents and inventor Elgie J. Lewis and his wife, May Bathrick Lewis. Born in 1888, she attended Middleport High School from where she graduated in 1904 and then went on to study music at the Julliard School of Music in New York City. She and her husband, Arthur M. Wilmot lived most of their married life here on Terry Street and were active members of the Universalist Church and many other civic organizations. In a newspaper article from 1972, Mrs. Wilmot was quoted that she took up painting when a local art class needed new members. She had never had any formal training but often admired scenes, thinking they might make a good picture. She would spend More Info »

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Middleport’s Grand Hotel

As early as 1825, the corner of Main and State Street in Middleport was known for its stately hotel, then called the Pierce House.  One of the finest establishments in the area, it provided a home away from home for many a traveler who passed through this area. After a fire in 1883, the original wooden building was replaced in 1884 by one made of brick by the new owner, A.D. Rich.  The new building was 118 feet long, 47 feet wide and three stories high. The main floor had a large dining room, billiard and bar room and offices. Upstairs were large sleeping apartments some of which provided a starting home for many local young married couples. After several more proprietors, the building was More Info »

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Middleport Herald, July 12, 1912

While sorting through some old newspapers earlier this week, imagine my surprise when I came across a short article and an ad for Mr. Vary, the inventor I have recently featured on this site. Thought you might enjoy reading what was written in the Middleport Herald, a semi weekly newspaper” circulated throughout the richest agricultural district on Earth”. Rates for the paper were $1.50 for the year according to publisher Lewis A. Jones.

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Elmer Vary, Tinkerer and Inventor

In the early 70’s when my husband and I first moved to State Street, we met Margaret and Elmer Vary, our neighbors at 55 State Street.  Little did we know what a treasure of a man Elmer had been to this community for nearly 90 years. His early years were spent from the age of 14 working at the Batavia Canning and Preserving Company where he learned to love the machinery and was always looking for ways to improve their functioning. At the age of 16 he invented and patented an improved cherry pitter as well several other machines that made work easier at the factory.  By 1919 his tinkering turned to the automobile and he opened a garage on Vernon Street, at the site More Info »

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Chauncey Norman, founder of NORCO

Chauncey Norman, a long time resident of Middleport, started his own business after working at the Niagara Sprayer for 37 years.  NORCO Machine and Sheet Metal Corporation was started in 1957 with four employees in a building on Kelly Avenue after Niagara Chemical Division closed out its machine shop. Mr. Norman, Harold Austin and James Arnold formed their own firm and became known for their work in metal fabrication, arc welding and machine work.  In 1961 the business moved from Kelly Avenue to a former Niagara Chemical Division building on Maple Avenue at the foot of Cemetery Street and added six additional employes. Chauncey Norman retired in 1971 and passed away in 1993. Photo courtesy of Bill Arnold.

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Middleport Inventor, Dr. E. L. Downey and his cure

On the corner of Orchard and Church Street was a broom factory. They operated there for some time, then moved out. Another inventor,Dr. E.L. Downey. Downey took over the broom factory and put up a fluid spray called “Downyside”. In one of his 1904 ads he states his insecticide did not smell like rotten eggs as his competitor’s stuff did. He outgrew this building and then went up and built a small two story plant north of the NYC tracks and west of the Resseguie Mill on Kelly Avenue. The above is from an essay by Elmer Vary on Wildcat Creek, which he felt was as responsible for the growth of Middleport as the canal. ~ Christa Lutz

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