Pittsford Village celebrated a special
anniversary on July 4, 2002. It is the anniversary of the organization
of the village in 1827. Now, some people may have confusion because
they have heard that Pittsford was 200 years old. I would like to
try to clear
up this confusion.
In the state of New York, there are municipalities
of a town as well as a village. Just as Fairport is the village in
the town of Perinton, and Honeoye Falls is the village in
the town of Mendon, so Pittsford is the village in the town of
Pittsford. Our town and village just happen to have the same name!
The date of the founding of our community
by Israel and Simon Stone, two cousins who were veterans of the
Revolutionary War, was 1789. They were able to purchase 13,296 acres
of land from the
land speculators named Oliver Phelps and Nathaniel Gorham for about
36 cents an acre. This original purchase was known as Stonetown and
settled primarily in the area south of the village near the confluence
Road, Mendon-Center Road, and Stone Road. (Click on the images to enlarge them.)
The Stone cousins cleared some land, built
log cabins, and returned to their former homes and extended families
in Washington County, New York. There they persuaded many family
members to buy fertile farmland in this luscious location. Once here, having
established farms and homes, a school was established, a library
created, a cemetery was laid out and a town began.
This town was officially organized in 1796
and was called Northfield.
It encompassed the seven towns we know
today as Perinton, Penfield, Pittsford, Brighton, Henrietta, Webster,
Eventually those lands were divided and what remained by 1814 was
called Pittsford. It was named for a town in Vermont, which was the
of Col. Caleb Hopkins, a hero of the War of 1812 and a former supervisor
of the town.
The Erie Canal was conceived as early as 1795
but was not begun until 1819. It was completed from Albany to Buffalo
in 1825. The canal was finished through Pittsford in 1822 and with its
completion, a great number of residents flocked to the area around it.
It was decided that there needed to be a municipality to govern and control
this group of residents, who did not want large land holdings or herds
of livestock, and were more ready to be merchants, millers, and tradesmen.
The railroad came through Pittsford in 1842
and with it even more rapid transportation would connect people and goods
with areas across the state.
At first Pittsford grew rapidly and there
was talk that it might become a city. But it was soon apparent that the
residents were content to let Rochester become the metropolis and Pittsford
would retain its quiet charm in its favorable location a short distance
Pittsford remained in that state until approximately
the 1950's when farm land was beginning to be sold to land developers
and automobile transportation would take residents easily from
the industrial and manufacturing area of Rochester to newer homes
in the suburban territories.
Pittsford soon became a bedroom community for executives who wanted
larger homes on larger lots for their families. They also wanted
a fine school
system, shopping within easy distance, and other ancillary services.
These also were soon springing up in and near the town.