I came across the following article as I was looking over some old newspapers from the very early days of the village and thought it would make an interesting column. Early resident Elmer Ford is talking about when he arrived here in 1902.
“My son and I came to town, which was then called Despatch, on the 28th day of October 1902. We were three weeks on the road from Montpelier, Vermont to Despatch. The only improved roads we found were about five miles north of Saratoga, and in the principal cities. The rest of the way we had dirt roads. We had bedsprings and mattresses and plenty of quilts and pillows, so we had a good place to sleep. We had a smoky oil stove on which to cook our own meals. We pulled into Despatch on the afternoon of Saturday, Oct. 28, 1902. The Tuesday after we arrived, myself and my team went to work on the grading for the new electric (?) road which was being built between Syracuse and Rochester (Route 31?).
At that time there were only four houses on Birch Place, now the 300 block of East Commercial St. There were only two on the 300 block of East Chestnut Street East Commercial between Madison Street, and Lincoln Road was comparatively well-settled. One section of the Eyer Block was built and was occupied by B.J. Fryatt for his grocery store and a drugstore. East on Commercial was George Ano’s Blacksmith Shop — later to be a Studebaker Agency — and finally Bob Bach’s Cocktail Center and bowling alleys.
The next building heading west, on the opposite of West Commercial Street, was a factory making Cream Separators — now the village Fair Market. The building owned by Patsy Mauro was also being built at this time. There were no other buildings between there and the house at the Southeast corner of Garfield Street.
On the Northeast corner of West Commercial and Washington streets was an apple orchard, which was removed by the trolley company when the tracks were installed in 1905. The Piano Works was not here at that time. Further east, down the north side of Commercial Street, was the Catholic church. There were no buildings west of the church. At the end of Main Street by the railroad was the Perinton Hotel run by John Kane who later became the first chief of the newly formed fire department. South Main Street ended at Ivy Street. Beyond this was the Ransom Farm.”