SPRINGWATER — You can discover a lot about yourself by walking into a history museum.
As we head into the middle of summer it is important to visit these local gems, so that you can really appreciate how far we have come.
Genesee Country Express took a tour of the Springwater Webster Crossing Historical Society Museum on July 2.
SWCHS President Donna Walker gave some insight into several companies that were the lifeblood of the area.
There was an Olde Country Store owned by Elisha Webster that served the town in the early 1900s. Once it had been owned by Richie Mastin he donated a lot of the items to the museum. Many of these items give us a glimpse into how important these tiny stores were.
“The Webster family owned it for a long time,” Walker said. “Richie told us we could take anything we wanted for the museum. We have order books that tell us exactly what people purchased and how much it cost. It became an antique shop, and now it is a car shop.”
“We put this all together to show what people would’ve bought back then,” Walker continued. “The Olde Country Store had it all, and if they didn’t have it you weren’t going to get it.”
There was a few booming businesses that relied a lot on the railroad. The Milk Plant and Cheese Plant were a couple of these businesses. The milk and eggs were sent by train to New York City.
The Milk Plant eventually merged with the Dairy Farmer’s of America. The plant was sent to Honeoye.
“There used to be a lot of neat stuff that the small towns don’t have anymore,” Walker said. “People are really good about bringing us donations.”
Alan Stone donated his father’s welding company items to the museum. Guthrie Boyd Stone developed the Stone Conveyor Company in Springwater.
“There were a lot of people who started out there in high school part-time, or after high school,” Walker said. “It was a big deal for this area.”
Don Haywood admires the Stone Family very much and his father worked there as well.
“One thing I really like working on is the secret societies people had back then like The Order of the Odd Fellows or Rebekah Lodge,” Walker said. “People are really fascinated by these people meeting in secret above different lodges in Springwater.”
Fishing was so much a part of the Springwater culture that a resident began a company making fishing lures. Miller Lure Company was in business for a long time.
Gladys Weed is a well-respected member of the community who ran the post office out of her home for many years.
“She still lives in the beautiful old house,” Walker said. “She had a small part of it being used as a post office.”
The old post office box is now in the museum, and had been in Weed’s barn for a long time.
Joyce O’Neil said that she has known Weed most of her life, and her parents worked at the Milk Plant. O’Neil donates a lot to the museum, and loves it so much.
Charles Cannon made the highly successful Cannon Factory in 1918, which served the entire military in World War Two. It was still around until 1980 when it closed it’s doors for good. They were known for making radio headsets.
“They were a serious part of the war industry that were being made right here in Springwater,” Walker said. “Jim Brewer was related to Charles and he donated all of these items to us.”
The new carriage house is a big deal for the museum as well, and Walker said they plan on having a nice display there as soon as they are done painting the inside of it.
“There is a lot of history in this town,” she said. “For about 40 years we had a bookstore that a lot of the kids liked going too, because there were 1,000s of books in there. It was so wonderful to have, and I would spend hours there.”
Before it was a bookstore it was a drug store in O’Neil’s childhood.
Floyd Ingraham was the famous photographer of Springwater, and his grandson donated a lot of his photos to the museum.
Walker said the community connection to the museum is her favorite thing about it.
“The community has a connection and understanding of what was here, and what could be here again,” she said. “I hope when people come to the museum that is what they get out of it. That we could bring all of this back. We need to show how important our roots are.”
Walker said she wished younger people would get more involved in the history.
“If younger people could be more involved in the museum they could hear from the people who lived it, and have these friendships,” she said. “Those friendships are what this museum is all about.”
The society was established in 1993, and the museum came to life in 2009. They are always looking for more donations, volunteers, and members.
The Springwater Webster Crossing Historical Society Museum is open the first and third Sunday of June, July, and August from 2 to 4 p.m. or by appointment 585-737-7345. It is located at 8130 (Route 15) South Main Street.