More than 6,000 people, including New York Gov. Theodore Roosevelt, attended the unveiling of the towering Soldiers' Monument in Caledonia, Livingston County, on June 13, 1900. Large numbers of visitors were brought in on Erie Railroad trains to celebrate the event. The incoming crowd was greeted with music from Hebing's Artillery Band, which arrived early that morning and performed on the reviewing stand. Roosevelt arrived on a special Erie Railroad train, which also had the Livingston County Grand Army Association aboard. They were received with a gun salute and music upon arrival. Roosevelt and distinguished guests took carriages in a parade line toward the monument. The reviewing stand was occupied during the passing of the parade by Caledonia High School students who sang patriotic songs while the governor was loudly cheered by the "Old Soldiers" along Main Street, and hats were thrown into the air as he passed by. The monument at the intersection of State, Main and North streets and East Avenue stands 33 feet, 4 inches tall. On the western side of the monument is the badge of the Grand Army of the Republic, carved in relief, and on the eastern side are draped flags. The statue of the soldier is clothed in a cape coat and regulation cap, standing at Parade rest, holding an army musket in his right hand. The weight of the entire monument is approximately 37 tons. The four sides of the monument honor soldiers who served in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812 and the Civil War. The monument also recognizes residents with the inscription "Erected by the Citizens of the town of Caledonia." Among the words Roosevelt spoke that day: "We erect this monument in the spirit of paying the highest homage it is in our power to pay to the men who beyond all of us have deserved well of their country. Let me apply the lesson taught to us of this generation in civic and social life who live in times of peace. You honor the men of 61-65 who went to the front, the men who died, the men who dared and the men who won. So it W.V. Hamilton, a prominent businessman who owned a mill and started the first bank, acted as chairman of the day. He had this to say: "We have gathered together today to pay honor to the men from this neighborhood, who when their nation called, sprang to arms in its behalf. And well we do to honor them, for their example is not only a spur to us to do our duty if our nation calls us to arms, but is a spur to every man to do his duty as an honest American citizen, to do his duty with courage and with common sense." SKIRBY@DemocratandChronicle.com All credit for this information is to S.Kirby of the Democrat & Chronicle of Rochester, New York.
The Alleyway Building
Opening in September 2021
~Images of the past inside the Alleyway Building~
History - On the evening of May 2, 1892, a Union Building association was organized for the purpose of erecting a building which should contain a public hall in the village of Caledonia, New York. A stock company was formed with capital of $10, 000, divided into 400 shares of $25 each. The building was erected and named "Burgess Hall" in honor of the former owners of the site who were Elwood Burgess and Mary Burgess his wife, and in recognition of their son D.F Burgess. The Structure was red brick with stone trimming.
But sad to relate, it was totally destroyed by fire on November 13, 1894. Nothing was saved but the post office and some library books. On January 3, 1895, it was decided to rebuild with improved plans. A man named George F. Hutchinson was the architect, and R.F Porter had the contract. A fine building was erected and opened the summer of 1895 which has stood since then with changes of occupants. The Post Office was removed to the masonic building. Different owners have been: C.A Place, John Ball and Morris Rabinowitz. In a corner stone lies a time capsule filled with items from back in the day. Note: at the write up of the fire, it was noted that the Halls lower floor was occupid by Frank J Chase, Jeweler; the post office; the town room; the ladies circulating library; and R.J Stevens, Dentist. In the basement a splendid dining room and kitchen was fully equipped. The upper floor was one of the best in New York State fully equipped with scenery. This building was separated from the Place Store by two brick walls. Just portion of the brick was left standing and it was decided to clean the brick and rebuild. ( From the papers of Mrs. A.B Johnson, former Town historian.)
~ Burgess Hall ~
The upper floor of the Burgess building was used for many plays, suppers, dances and meetings of various organizations. In the early 1900s, John McKay and Walter Tennent opened a theatre for moving pictures call "The Wonderland." J.L Tenny played piano and Leland Miles sang. It was open on Saturday nights.
The lower floor was occupied by several merchants as well as the post office on the south side until 1914. Frank Chase had his jewelry store on the north side, 1893 - 1896. He sold the business to Wilbur Place, who learned the trade from him. Mr.Place continued in the same location, selling to R.J Wilcox in 1919. Mr.Wilcox moved to the library building in 1921. R.J Stevens, Dentist, has offices there 1893-1896. The Town Rooms and later Town Clerks Office were at the rear of the floor until moved in 1921 to the library building.
In 1909 the Caledonia Candy Kitchen and Ice Cream Parlor was owned by George Miller ( Nellis ) and Andrew Panos ( Panagrotor ). They sold the business in 1916 to Elbert ( Scotchie ) Tennent who operated it until 1921.In 1921 Mr.Morris Rabinowitz of Utica visited Caledonia and, liking the area, bought the Burgess building and prepared to open a variety store. He occupied the north side and George Smith had his grocery business in the south side, 1922 - 1935. Mr and Mrs Rabinowitz until they got the business started, lived in the basement of the store, which has a kitchen and dining room.
in 1926 at the request of the Fire Marshall, Mr Rabinowitz closed the hall, the largest assembly hall in the area. The stairways were done away with and a new on was built just inside the front entrance. Over the stairs a booth was constructed for a projection machine. The Stage area was reduced to allow for lowering the floor at the atrium at the north and south sides of the hall.There were seats for 300 people, two exits, and standing room for twenty five people. They renovated the dressings rooms, toilets and installed plenty of lights of the stage. On January 1, 1927, moving pictures were shown in the hall with William Atkins as operator. These were silent movies with piano accompaniment.
In 1935 George Smith moved his grocery store to the south side of the drug store, and the Community Outfitters occupied the entire floor. When Mr. Rabinowitz retired, his son-in-law, Philip Cohen, who was in business with him, took over the management of the firm, and later his son, Harvey Cohen. 1883-1985, the store was leased to Robert Dauber and closed in the fall, "D.and L. Fashions."
The Building was sold to Samual DiLiberto. It was remodeled inside and at the outside front, new windows, upper and lower, "Sams Saloon" and "Olimbia Theatre." It opened November 1986 and closed 1988. One should notice the arches over he upper windows. Each brick was individually molded and burnt ( Baked to harden )and packed in the order in which they were to be put up.
The Theatre " Wonderland" Burgess Hall
On July 25, 1912, a Saturday night, a Motion Picture Theater opened in Burgess Hall under the management of John R. McKay and Walter Tennent, Called " Wonderland." The Theater was open on Saturdays only, with modern equipment and the newest and most successful films to be shown. J/L. Tenny played Piano and Leland Wiles sang solos.
In 1915, Frank J. Luther and Mr.Stewart, " The Happy Hour." In 1916, " The Happy Hour" theatre featured the " Battle Cry of Freedom, " January 26. Music was furnished by Scott Stevens at the piano; Donald Fraser, on violin; and Mr. Steinmetz, of LeRoy, on the drums. All Patriotic airs and special selections were furnished with film. Admission, 25 cents. 1919,