Historic Sites

grange hallHouse-of-Guitar

Grange Hall (House of Guitars)

645 Titus Avenue

By 1898 the farmers of Irondequoit had cultivated the fertile land and created a prosperous “market gardening “community. Twenty-one farm couples decided to become part of a national movement developing across the country, the Grange movement. The object of the grange was developed to improve farm life and to provide a facility for socialization of farm families. The brothers and Sisters , as they were called, of Irondequoit Grange No.849 first held their meetings in the Women’s Christian temperance Union Hall which then stood where the United church of Christ now stands on Titus Avenue. The Grangers not only provided a social life for farm families but also pushed for community projects as piped water, improved roads, better mail delivery, and other community needs. They organized support for political candidates that embraced their platform.. Their social and political programs attracted over 400 members and these members needed a meeting place. In 1910 they constructed a hall across the street from United Church of Christ. The members both men and women did most of the work themselves. Only one mason supervised the laying of 7000 cement blocks hauled from Brighton.

For over 50 years the Grange was the center of the town’s social life. With its dances, community suppers, card parties, its amateur theatricals, and its sales of produce fresh from the farms. But with the transformation of Irondequoit from a farm community to a suburban town the Grange membership dwindled and the building was sold. Today it is the home of the famous House of Guitars known for its vast collection of recorded music and musical instruments.

 

Seabreeze Amusement Park

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Over a Century of Family Fun!
4600 Culver Road

Like many historic amusement parks, Seabreeze did not begin with rides or attractions but as a trolley park that provided a park and picnic grounds at the end of the trolley line. With Seabreeze's prime location and with its scenic views of Irondequoit Bay and Lake Ontario, rides were added beginning in 1900.

Seabreeze opened on August 5, 1879 and is the twelfth-oldest operating amusement park in the world (fourth-oldest in the United States). Its most celebrated ride is the Jack Rabbit, a roller coaster that opened in 1920, and is the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the United States!

Its popularity was such that during the early part of the twentieth century, it was often referred to as the "Coney Island of the West." The park was known as Dreamland for approximately thirty years during the post-World War II era.

 

Whispering Pines Miniature Golf

 

Whispering Pines Miniature Golf Course

The Oldest Miniature Golf Course in the Country!
4353 Culver Road
Built in 1930, Parkside Whispering Pines Miniature Golf is in the National Register of Historic Places and is considered the oldest in the United States. It was designed with rock from the Erie Canal.

 

Swayne's Tavern / Forest House

The first Forest HouseThe second Forest House
The beginning of Irondequoit Government
Northeast corner of East Ridge Road and Culver Road

Irondequoit's first official meeting was held in 1839 in what became Swayne's Tavern, located where Walgreen's is today. The tavern served as the original center of local government and society for the new town. Mr. Swayne arrived in Irondequoit in 1840 and went on to serve in several governmental capacities over a span of the next twenty years.

A new owner replaced Swayne's Tavern with the opulent Forest House. The place remained the center of town government with the first courts and voting places being established there and the first post office followed.

The building burned down in 1906. After the fire, a more modest Forest House was built on the same site.

 

Hiram Pardee 

Hiram Pardee House

180 Pardee Road

The Hiram Pardee house looks much the same as it did after Mr. Pardee moved his 1884 wooden structure to the highest ridge on the road and built a cobblestone addition onto the front of it at his farm.

While Mr. Pardee was credited in 1834 with producing the first commercial peaches in the area, it was the Rudman Family who made a big success of farming peaches in Irondequoit, helping make the town's peach crop famous throughout the United States.

 

Smyles Homestead

Dr. Smyles HouseDr. Smyles House
Irondequoit's first doctor
214 Empire Blvd.

Dr. John Smyles, Irondequoit's first physician, built his home on Empire Blvd. in 1850.

Dr. Smyles was also a farmer, journalist, and abolitionist. A man of true dedication, he was also active in the new town government, serving three terms as Supervisor in the mid-1850's.

 

Glen Haven ResortGlen Haven ResortGlen Haven Resort

Glen Haven Resort

Western shore of the Irondequoit Bay, South of Bayview

The Glen Haven Resort (1899-1928) was a popular establishment. The area boasted the Glen Haven Hotel and the Glen Haven Amusement Park.

The hotel was one of the largest in the area. Its dining rooms and verandahs could accommodate about 400 people. The facility went through several ownerships by various railroad companies.

The Rochester Street Railway decided to increase passenger traffic on its Glen Haven line by supplementing the attractions of the Glen Haven Hotel with an amusement park. To do this, they built carnival courts and midways that turned the park-like area into a Coney Island that attracted fortune tellers; sideshow barkers that hawked such attractions as bearded ladies, fortune tellers, weight guessers; amusement–type rides; and vendors selling balloons, red hots, peanuts and popcorn.

In the evening, free attractions were offered to patrons of the park and the hotel. These included trapeze performers, high divers, vaudeville acts and even burlesque ladies from big city theaters.

The entertainment intrigued the crowds until late in the evening, which would end with fireworks that in 1900 cost from $2,000 to $3,000 per week.

Despite the record crowds, the resort operated in the red due to the cost of new buildings, salaries, bands, vaudeville acts, fireworks and the interest on loans, coupled with the taxes.

By 1915, the era was over. The buildings burned down in 1928.

 

Newport House Resort

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Irondequoit's First Hotel and Resort
500 Newport Road

Converted from an old sawmill in 1841 by its owner (Joseph Vinton), the Newport House Resort was the first of  many hotels and resorts that populated the Irondequoit side of the Bay shore. The Newport House served the town for over 170 years and is now being redeveloped.

 

The Pioneer House
 

The Pioneer House

Town Hall Campus - 1280 Titus Avenue

The Pioneer House was probably built around 1835. There are no property records since Irondequoit did not become a town until 1837. Ransford Perrin, owner of the Cobblestone Blacksmith shop had the house built next to the shop to attract a blacksmith for the shop. Through the years the little four room bungalow was a various times rental property then owned outright. It is believed that the first family was a farmer, his wife and seven children. II has survived three moves. In 1957, Donald Twitch ell moved the house to a lot at 1517 East Ridge Road. In 1974, the house was moved again when it was acquired by Dorothy Villard, who had it moved to Portland Avenue where she renovated it then opened it as the Strawberry Salt Box gift shop.

In 1994, Mrs. Villard donated the house to the Irondequoit Historical society for a town museum. The town agreed to accept the ownership of the house and it was placed on the western town Hall campus. For the third time Matthews building Movers transported the valiant little house to its new location on July 4th 1995. It is now the town museum, a reminder to residents of the pioneers who established this community. The house is open from May to the end of September on Sundays when there are concerts in the Gazebo and on Thursday nights during Farmers’ Market. Groups can schedule tours at other times by calling the office of the Town Historian at 336-7269.