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Pittsford Village Susquecentennial

Pittsford Village is celebrating a special anniversary on July 4, 2002. It is the anniversary of the organization of the village in 1827. Now, some people may have been confused because they had 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 of Mendon Road, Mendon-Center Road, and Stone Road.

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 was 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, and Irondequoit. Eventually those lands were divided and what remained by 1814 was called Pittsford. It was named for a town in Vermont, which was the home town 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 away.

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.