This is an incomplete history. Further revisions and additions will be made as time and research allow. If you would like to add anything or have a correction, send e-mail to the village historian, Al Starkweather. Click on the photos on this page for an enlarged view, and click here for some other interesting historical images.
Dr. David Long and his son John came to the area in 1807. John settled about two miles west of Corfu, and David built his home north of the four corners, on a site that would be just north of Sliker Business Forms. John brought his family into what is now Corfu about 10 years later, settling on the southwest corner of Routes 33 and 77. The area was called Long’s Corners until 1839.
John Long was a farmer, a Lieutenant in the War of 1812 and town clerk in 1836 when he died, age 51. His wife was known as Aunt Patty, she managed the farm with the help of her two sons after her husband’s death. She was 72 years old in 1858, at the time of her death.
Dr. David Long, it is reported, never practiced his profession. He served in the Revolutionary War and died in 1852 at 91 years of age. He resided just north of the four corners on Allegheny Road. The Luther Darrow and Jonas Kinne families arrived here in 1807. Jonas erected a tavern in 1812, where Joseph Mazur’s apartments are, which was later moved to its present site. (Howard Anawald’s). It was the headquarters for town meetings, elections and trainings. Mr. Kinne died in 1822, but his widow, Hannah, ran the tavern for many years, later being turned into a home. Luther settled north of Corfu.
Anna Horton opened a private school in 1811 near the present home of Francis Kriger on Allegheny Road, behind the post office. Ansell Hastings and Polly Long were the first to marry in 1812. The Reverend Hugh Walfis was here in 1817. Donald Beideck’s home once stood on the site now occupied by the Kwik Serv. It was built about 1827 by Stoddard and Freeman. The trees along the village streets were set out by public spirited citizens about 1850. Those on Maple Avenue were planted by Daniel Carter, president of the village for many years. The ones to the east along Main Street were set by Jonathan Lincoln; to the west by Smith Harroun and others. The willows south of the bridge on Alleghany grew from small whips stuck in the ground by James Hume about 1884.
Corfu Post Office
The first office was established in Corfu on February 2, 1839. Robert Miller was appointed as the first postmaster of Corfu when it opened, and the name of Long’s Corners was changed to Corfu on his suggestion. There is no other Corfu office in the United States. Mr. Miller also ran the hotel which adjoined the post office. He served as postmaster until 1849. Over the years the office has moved about the village.
Mr. Safford, the 6th postmaster, had the office in the west side of his building on the site of the former Miller Meat Market (currently Burling Drugstore) while he lived in the Miller house, corner of Main and Railroad (now Maple Avenue) Avenue; Wilder Sumner had his office in a small building on the site of the former post office (currently the Pizza Pantry). That building was moved to Alleghany Street and remodeled into a home. The office was again installed on the Safford property, which was later owned by A.F. Gerbracht.
The office was moved by necessity during the fire which broke out at 3am on July 18, 1912, starting in the rooms over the grocery store of Henry Van De Bogart and considered to have been of incendiary origin. The fire consumed all the frame buildings from Van De Bogart’s (where the craft shop currently sits) to the site of Burling Drug today, including the Gerbracht building which housed the Post Office. The contents of the office were saved and by 7am that morning R.A. Kinne, postmaster, was ready for business in an office in the east side of the Village Hall (the current site of the Mercantile Dollar store).
Mr. Gerbracht erected a cement block building on the east end of the block and the Post Office was again established there where it remained until Mr. McManus moved in February 1939 to the Donald Lawrence building where the office was continued until its last move to the present building which was moved into on December 29, 1962. This building was dedicated on May 18, 1963. The Corfu Post Office became a 3rd class office about 1914. The rural routes began in 1902, and were first covered by Edwin M. Giddings and Frank Phelps, who lived south of the village.
Charles Freeman and Burr Stoddard established a store, about 1833, on the northwest corner of Routes 33 and 77 (where Sliker Business Forms now stands) which was destroyed by fire. George A. Porter and his brother, Henry ran Porter Bros. store, which was built in 1850 on the same site. They sold to H.A. Maynard in 1893. C.M. Mead ran the store from 1907 – 1912 and sold to Henry J. Stevens (who also ran Ebalheim Poultry Yards with his brother H.E. Stevens) and operated it as Stevens Corner Store. Stevens sold to Gordon Deagman. The last owner was Dave Gerhardt, when the store burned December 22, 1960.
The Union Hotel was built in the 1830s, and in the 1860s was called the Winan’s Hotel (after its owner, B. Winans). The directory 1869-70 lists Amos C. Vredenburg as proprietor of the Union Hotel. Byron N. Hopkins was the next owner. He made extensive repair to his hotel barns in January 1885 and in September of the same year opened a blacksmith shop just south of the hotel on Railroad (Maple) Avenue. During the winter he kept Erie Canal mules, which he shipped back to Buffalo in the spring. There were sixteen nicely furnished, well ventilated rooms with a livery attached. Dances were held in the large ballroom on the third floor, which held a “floating dance floor”, one of the few in the country at the time. The hotel burned to the ground in 1886 and was soon rebuilt, and it still stands today.
In 1888 Joseph Undsay was proprietor; 1890- Merritt N. Sheets, who then sold to LeRoy W. Ireland. He didn’t keep it very long, for in 1893 he sold it to William Drees and his wife Catherine. In 1907, Mr. Drees also sold farm implements, with the warehouse in the rear of the hotel. He served as Justice of the Peace and Mayor of the village. The property stayed in the Drees’ family for 58 years. Mr. and Mrs. Drees then sold it to their daughter, Anna Weissgerber in 1895. Anna died July 3. 1945, leaving no will and the property passed to her husband, George, who died in 1947. He left the hotel to his wife’s brother, Charles Drees, who already owned a hotel in Batavia. The hotel had deteriorated to a deplorable condition, it was boarded up until, in October of 1951, Harry S. Andrews, his wife, and their daughter, Eileen bought it. Anyone else would have been discouraged, but not Mr. Andrews, he loved a challenge. He added four Bowling Lanes to the south and the former Union Hotel was now Andrews Lanes. When Mr. Andrews passed away, March 21, 1962, Eileen and her husband, Harry Graczyk, took over the operation of the business and in 1973 added four more lanes. The Graczyk’s sold the business to George Karam and Tom Kowalski in 1999. Cherie Miller bought the operation in 2005, renaming CB&J’s Bowling Center at the Union Hotel. It’s now under new ownership and has reverted back to being known as the Union Hotel.
East Main Street Business District
Before 1897 George A. Porter built the building now owned by the C.B. Beach & Son Mortuary, 4-6 East Main Street. Shortly, an addition was built, to the east, where E.T. Sumner started his pharmacy, in 1897 and also conducted an insurance business. He was Mayor of Corfu in 1907. R.R. Rowley Bros. conducted a general store in the original structure until 1916. Later proprietors were Lewis Marshall and George B. Collins. Grace Grimmel ran a millinery shop from 1900 to 1912. C.B. Beach bought the building in 1928. Conrad J. Blessing ran a drug store here from 1923-1954, then Beniamino and Linda Ianni had a luncheonette and a variety store from 1955-1963. They lived above the store until their home on Lawrence Avenue was ready for occupancy in 1975. Jerry Meyers had his barber shop on the first floor for a few years, closing it in 1972. The building was demolished in 2000, and the site now serves as a driveway entrance to the parking lot behind C.B. Beach & Son Mortuary and the Pizza Pantry.
Michael J. Flaherty, built a brick building at 10 East Main Street. where he ran a men’s and boys’ clothing store for many years. In 1908 the Bank of Corfu was located in this building, moving out in 1927 to their present location. The post office was located here from 1939-1963. The building also served as Miss Lura Jean’s School of Dance Studio for a time. The Pizza Pantry now occupies that storefront (moving from the building immediately to the east in the early 1990s).
The Darien Telephone Company
Incorporated in 1903, the switchboard was placed in Rowley Bros. store and transferred to the Corner Store (at the northwest corner of Routes 33 and 77) until the telephone building was erected north of Route 33 on Allegheny Rd. in 1914. They sold their interests to Western Counties Telephone Corporation, who installed a dial system in 1957, moving to a new brick building on Allegheny across from Water Street in 1962. All residents had 3 digit phone numbers and party line until 1962, when the current 599 exchange was instituted.
Dadio’s Central Hotel
The Central Hotel in the center of Corfu was built in 1831, and was owned by P. Herrington in 1866. Nathaniel E. Jones bought it in 1869 and ran it next under the name Center Hotel. Then Mary J. Crawford operated the Crawford House in 1876. Charles S. Jacks was proprietor under the name Central Hotel in 1886. He sold to M.M. Fleming, who advertised a livery.The top floor was badly damaged in the fire of 1899 and a new 2nd floor added. William H. Dickenson reportedly sold his livery, January 1901 to William Bunell of Marilla and Burr N. Hermance of Penfield. An ad in 1904 listed W.H. Dickenson, proprietor.with rubber tired livery in connection. During the 1930’s Lanny O’Brien ran the hotel. The Yellow Bus Line stopped every morning at 7:30 and returned at the same hour in the evening. A round trip ticket to Buffalo was 75 cents. Mrs. Leona Knast operated it during the middle ’40s. Mr. and Mrs. Decker owned it in the 1950s and 1960s until selling to Joseph Leto in 1968, who changed the name to Val-Ha-La. After Mr. Leto’s death, his wife, son, and daughter ran it before selling to Jerry Grant in 1971. The Grant’s sold it to Fran and Dave Reeb in 1998, who then sold it to Don Stine in 2001, and it has since been renamed Dadio’s Central Hotel.
9 East Main Street
The structure was built in 1878 as Barden Hall, and it was later renamed the Corfu Opera House. Plays and shows were held at the Opera House and for entertainment between acts and shows the Dorscheid Orchestra frequently supplied the music. The members were Mr. Dorscheid, Myron Johnson (Audrey Doll’s grandfather), Horace Head, Frank Tubbs, Luman Stickney and Oscar Stanley. Mrs. Adams played the piano. The Corfu Silver Plating Co. used part of the building from 1898-1903. N.A. Brown established his broom factory at Barden Hall in 1898; taking a partner, W.S. Vaughn in 1903. Marketing their brooms in New York and Pennsylvania under N.A. Brown and Co. Mr. Brown came to Corfu in 1886 and Mr. Vaughn in 1896. Mr. Brown also was a breeder of white leghorn fowl, with both birds and eggs being sold. The natural gas company of Corfu had their office here. This was then purchased by the village in 1908 and used as the Village Hall for a time before it was torn down in 1924. It was replaced by a stucco structure where athletic and social activities were held until 1950. The Corfu Manufacturing Company had its headquarters here from 1951-54, engaging in the manufacture of dollies used in the dropping of food and supplies in air-lift operations. From 1955-1963 it was vacant (except for storage), when Frank Doll purchased it.
Doll’s Red & White
The original building (west of Al’s Automotive, currently housing Heaven’s Gate Floral & Gifts) was built by Henry Van De Bogart in 1885 as a grocery store. It was destroyed by fire in 1912 and rebuilt soon after. From 1925-1941 it was Graham’s Red & White, and after that it was run by Alfred Cook until he sold it to Howard Doll. Franklin and Audrey (Johnson) Doll started in the grocery business in May 1957, when they purchased the building from Howard (Frank’s brother). They operated it under the name Doll’s Red & White Store until 1963, when they moved across the street to the former village hall building. They remodeled the building with living quarters on the second floor, where they stayed for ten years. Business proved successful and more space was needed. A new store was erected with 12,000 sq. ft. of floor space behind the village hall in 1973. It was opened as Doll’s Super Duper, with Mr. and Mrs. Doll’s son, Andrew and his wife Linda, as co-managers. In May 1975, 4,000 sq. ft. were added for a family center and restaurant. The store was sold in the late 1990s, and is now operated as Corfu IGA. The village hall building has since housed Corfu True Value Home and Auto Store, Peterson’s Hardware, The Mercantile Dollar store and currently Ink Slave tatto parlor.
One of the most important industries in Corfu during the years has been the cultivation of flowers for wholesale and retail markets. Started in 1883, by Mrs. Charles (Irene) Tyrell, who in 1898 owned four greenhouses, these were then sold to Annie Edwards. In April of 1901, H.G. Fishell leased the Edward’s home and greenhouses. In May, 1901, H.G. Fishell bought Frank Delfel’s bicycle business. John Preisach purchased Fishell’s in 1907, and it was later owned by Rudolph Mrha and then John Maha. These greenhouses were in business until 1975 when John Maha closed them. The current Post Office sits on this site.
William Scott of Buffalo established his business at Corfu in 1894 and became the Montrose Greenhouse when incorporated in 1904. This was the oldest business in Corfu operated continuously by one family, at the end operated under the name, Don Scott, Florist and Garden Center. During the mid-1900s, Scott’s was the largest importer Holland tulips in the United States. The Scott family sold the business in early 21st century, and it’s now know as Petals and Plants.
James Famham started his enterprise, located on East Main Street, in 1888, specializing in carnations. J.S. Pamham bought the business in 1901.Thomas Webb owned a complex of eight greenhouses in 1898, and in 1901 they were bought by William Ehmann. Leonard Braun bought the complex in 1967, and it became Francis Greenhouse in 1989.
In 1886 a Mr. Giddings opened a greenhouse on S. Alleghany Road, and it was the third largest carnation grower in the United States for a time in the late 18880s. The building was demolished in the 1960s.
Charter members of Corfu I.O.O.F. Lodge No. 634, instituted on May 13,1892, were: W.D. Edwards, Frank Delfel, J.W. Price, Charles Collins, Dwight Dimock, H.W. Bennett, E.C. Smith, W.E. Sumner, John Carroll, David dark, W.M. Lawrence, Frank L. Crane, E.M. Giddings, John Stiles, Emmet, E. Sumner, John Mayne, W.H. Taylor and Fred C. Happ. The I.O.O.F. Lodge purchased the First Methodist Church building in 1916, selling it in 2004.
Corfu Roller Mills
Clarence O. Richards was operator of a flour, feed and saw mill near the depot, just west of the Ronald Hill home. He enlarged his plant and increased his facilities for the manufacture of cider in 1895. A dry apple house stood just west of the mills on the opposite side of the road. This was operated by L. Marshall of North Rose and opened September 1912. Eight women and four men were employed here. He had 4 kilns with a capacity of 300 bushel per day. The roller mills burned on November 8, 1939 when they were owned by Anson R. Lawrence and used for storage. Harry R. Bartlett owned the cider mill. A. Francis started his mill, December 1883 just north of the Francis Kriger home on North Allegheny Street, where custom grinding was done and flour, feed and grain were sold. Later it was converted into a home last owned by Mrs. Elija King (mother of Maude Kenyon). It was demolished before 1936 when purchased by the Central School District.
Corfu Farm & Feed Supply
William Lawrence started his mill on Railroad Avenue and Water Streets in July of 1912 and completed November 14, 1912. It was owned and operated by Nelson Lewis under the name of Corfu Feed and Farm Supply starting in 1961. Jim and Lori Rupracht purchased the business in 1992, renaming it J&L Feed and Farm Supply. The business was expanded to include Water Street Hardware in 2004. The building was recently sold to Jay Potter Lumber to use as storage.
J.E. Potter Lumber Co.
Michael Dillion sold his lumber business to George Gratrick in 1910. The original shed still serves as the main storage building. In 1913 his step-son, Jay E. Potter began working here. A prominent man in the community, Mr. Pottertook over the business in 1922 and operated it under the name J.E. Potter Lumber. After Mr. Potter’s death in 1968, his daughter, Wilma and her husband, Clyde Starkweather (an employee since 1948) bought the business, making William R. Dix a partner. They operated it under the same name. After their purchase they built a new office and showroom. In 1974, the business was incorporated under the name of J.E. Potter Lumber Co., Inc. In 1976, two fires (arson) within a month destroyed a storage shed in the rear. After the first fire the shed was immediately rebuilt and then the arsonist struck again. Dix assumed full ownership in the 1980s, and his son William A. Dix took control in the 1990s.
Bank of Corfu
On March 10, 1908 the Bank of Corfu was opened with the late Cyrus W. Carrier as president, the late Ernest T. Sumner as vice-president and the late Albert F. Bangert as cashier. The site of the first bank was in the building which is owned by Donald R. Lawrence, on the south side of Main St. in Corfu. On February 12, 1927 the Bank of Corfu was moved to the present location at 1 East Main Street. On July 1, 1946 the Bank of Corfu merged with the Manufacturers & Traders Trust Company of Buffalo.
Corfu Enterprise, a weekly paper was started by A.A. Bloomfield & Son, May 19, 1898. It was bought by Clarence E. Curtiss and taken over by his son, Harold E. Curtiss. The newspaper ceased operation Dec. 31, 1944, but job printing was done until 1964. The building (located on Alleghany Road near the underpass) was burned to the ground the fall of 1975 by an arsonist, and never rebuilt.
Randolph Kinne opened a store on the northeast corner (where M&T Bank now stands); later called Ogden’s Corners, as Alfred E. Ogden operated it from 1881. This building burned in Corfu’s first large fire in 1899, and the lot sat vacant until the bank was built in 1927.
M.J. Balliette, a native of Maryland, manufactured cigars in his factory on Main Street in 1850. His trade covered a large part of Western New York. The name brands of the cigars were, Home Comfort and Pony M.J.B. He was still in business in 1907.
The Grange was founded in 1867 by Oliver Hudson Kelley, a government clerk, and six associates. Since he found most farmers were losing money and becoming very discouraged, he believed the organization would attract members and give the farmers a chance to leam advanced farming methods. For many years the Grange was agriculture’s only representa- tive at the national capital. The Grange works with the federal Department of Agriculture and state department to spread farm education and promote laws of benefit to farmers. The Grange has been instrumental in getting changes in laws against trusts, income tax, and limits on railroad rates. In 1948, Corfu Grange helped in getting flashers erected at four railroad crossings in our area. In 1964 Fetters were written to representa- tives asking for a Thruway Interchange which became a reality.
The first Grange in Genesee County was East Pembroke’s #120. organized in the Spring of 1874, with Samuel Jacks as master and J.D. Fisher, secretary. Meetings were held in Jim H. Covert’s store (now the site of Seaman’s Hardware) for four years before it disbanded. Corfu Grange #142 was organized March 13, 1874, in the basement of the Methodist Church, by H.W. Grippen, ofRidgeway N.Y., with 30 members. J.H. Flagler was the first master and within two years had 80 members paying dues of $.25 per year. Buying coal, fertilizer, and groceries in large quantities proved an economy measure for Grange members. Many Grange members were lost in the early 1880’s because of project failures, so in 1887 to revive interest, Master A.K. Carrier invited Walter W. Ware and William F. Pratt, of Stafford, to assist in the Grange ritualism and procedure. From then on, Corfu Grange functioned without recess.
At first meetings were held in the homes of members, with a few being held in a rented hall. Below is an example of how a meeting might have been described:
It is February and the meeting is held in a typical farm home. Dinner is scheduled at noon. It is bitter cold, with lots of snow for fine sleighing. Some are arriving in swell-box cutters, others in two-seated bobs. Everyone has red cheeks and cold fingers as they happily pile out from beneath the Buffalo robes. The men blanket the horses and find standing room for them in the barn.
As we are greeted and hurry into the house, a warm, friendly atmosphere prevails and we take our wraps to the upper chambers. Aromas from the kitchen remind us that dinner time is near. A large heater in the sitting room provides a place to warm our chilly fingers and tingling toes. Everyone is having such a jolly time greeting friends and neighbors. Each one except for a few who forgot it, is wearing his Grange badge. Dinner is called. We sit in a circle about the rooms and hold the plate in our laps. When we count noses, we find that there are 100 of us eating the bountiful dinner, prepared by the serving committee for that month.
Dinner is over. My! how that hot coffee warmed us up. There is a hustle now to set UD the Grange meeting and before we know it, there goes the gavel, for call to order by the Worthy Master. Regular order of business is taken care of and proposals tor new members read by the secretary. The names are balloted on, candidates given all 4 degrees, in short form and Corfu Grange has 14 new members. Next we hear reports of committees, the coal agent, fertilizer agent, and grocery agent.
A motion is made and seconded that we receive Lady members at $2.00 and gentlemen at $5.00. A committee is appointed to purchase lap boards for Grange use in serving dinner. After the literary program, the meeting is closed, and we are soon on our way, in the bitter cold, toward home.
As the membership grew meetings were held in Barden’s Hall (known as the Old Village Hall), East Pembroke Hall, Darien Hall over the blacksmith shop and upstairs over Charlie Beach’s furniture store. Despite the fact that everything except chairs and the stove had to be taken every one had a good time. In December 1914 the Universalist Church building was purchased for $1500.00 and moved to its present location in (across for the Corfu Intermediate School on Alleghany Street) July 1939. Sheds were built in 1916 and the stage in 1923 at a cost of $1,000.
Sisters Agnes Gordon, Rachael Kenyon and Caroline Summer were appointed to arrange with Genesee County Juvenile Deputy for the organization of Corfu Juvenile Grange #204, which materialized July 10, 1931. Sister Edith Gordon served as its first Matron until 1933 when Sister Ida Steiner, with Ruth Hills Lamkin as Assistant Matron, was chosen. In 1937 it was considered as one of the three top notch Juvenile Granges in the state. A juvenile meeting room was built, with money earned by them, in 1936.
Incorporation papers were filed in December 1938 and the mortgage burned at a special meeting on November 3, 1939. Only one couple was ever appointed Deputy State Master and State Juvenile Deputy, Brother and Sister, Wilbur and Ida Steiner. In 1954-55 remodeling and painting of the kitchen gave it a modern look. From 1956-59 due to overcrowding in the Corfu School the hall was used for school classes. Lura Jean held dance classes there and in 1964 Bible School Classes were held once a week. A drill team was formed in the 1930’s tii the 40’s with Charles B. Beach, drill master and Jessie Carrier, pianist. In 1961 the drill team was again formed for the youth. They took first place in county competition under the direction of William and and his sister Jeanette Burgel. It wasn’t until 1969 we had a first place winner in the State Grange Baking Contest. Emogene Klotzbach took the honor with her sugar cookies. Money making events over the years have been from exhibits at the local and state fairs, collecting of glass for recycling, Chicken and Biscuit Dinners. Harry Eppers retired from being secretary, September 1969, after 36 years of faithful service. Roy Hills retired, September 1972, having served as treasurer since 1930.
St. Francis of Assisi Roman Catholic Church
Organized in 1907 as a mission of St. Mary’s, East Pembroke, the St. Francis parish was formed with territory from St. Mary s to include Pembroke, Indian Falls, Corfu, and part of Darien. The original mission was St. Patrick’s in Crittenden, built in 1857. Mass was held once a month. Especially in the winter the roads were impassable and rough so frequently fathers would bundle their families onto railroad handcars then walk the short distance after getting to Crittenden Road. In 1898 Bishop Quigly authorized Rev. T.J. Burns of East Pembroke to erect a church building in Corfu. Built on donated land on East Main Street on Goose Creek the church had to be moved. The location was low and often Fr. Mooney found so much water in the church cellar that the furnace could not be used. The church was moved to its current location at the cost of $1975.00 in 1920. The men of the church dug the cellar and built the concrete walls. The first resident pastor was Father Thomas Clarke. He bought the Darrow residence at 18 West Main Street. It was considered one of three mansions in Corfu.
From 1906 Rev. Sebastian Airey served followed by: Fr. James Hogan (1916), Fr. Henry Mooney (1919), Fr. Henry Shaw (1926), Fr. Albert Winter (1936), Fr. Leonard Koch (1947), Fr. Robert O. Thornberry, Fr. Robert Waters, Fr. Robert Orlowski (2005) and Fr. James Fugle (2012).
Corfu United Presbyterian Church
In 1817, the Rev. Hugh Wallis, a missionary under the Holland Land Company, found a religious society already established in the Pembroke township. He gathered together some more people and formed a congregation under the authority of the Presbyterian Church. As was the custom with Land Companies, four acres was granted for an established congregation to build a house of worship. The church sold the land in “London,” now the Lover’s Lane Road area) for $400 and used it towards the construction of a building at Longs Corners. The present sanctuary in Corfu was begun in 1829 and had a seating capacity of 100 persons. Over a spht in doctrine the church dissolved. The new church immediately arising was called the Presbyterian Church in North Pembroke. Because of the rough times during the Civil War not much is known of the church history between 1834-1870. Like most churches of the time it barely kept its head above water while the women supported the meeting house in the absence of men. They oftentimes went into debt-an elder holding a note for the church. He was repaid in time and gave the interest free. The largest debt contracted was $25 for the repair of pew cushions. It took the ladies five years to repay the note held by Elder Whittlesey. After the war a large revival was held. That and a large movement to the mid- west changed the church rolls drastically. In 1887 there was a large scale move towards discipline and inactive members were excommunicated. Several cases were tried before session. About this time session indicated the evils of Sunday newspapers to the congregation.
In 1910 the Methodist and Universalist Churches disbanded strengthening the Presbyterian congregation. The turn of the century was a time of prosperity. In 1903 Cyrus Carrier became clerk of the session. In 1953 he was honored for over 50 years of well-kept books. In 1928 Rev. William Easton was called to pastor the church. He held the distinction of the longest pastorate in the church’s history — 15 years. Before that pastors continued their relationship with the church for an average of 3 or 4 years. Rev. Paul Hagen came as a supply minister in 1943 and was asked to’ stay in 1944. In 1947 Dr. Bergen accepted the call to the ministry, at that time the attendance was 240 members. In 1955, when his ministry was ended with his death the membership was 240. Rev. Sheldon Dodds supplied and in 1957 Rev. George Fritting was called as pastor. He was followed by Rev. James Bower in 1963 and Rev. Richard Murdoch in 1967.Rev. Charles Alexander has served since 2003.
First Methodist (1845-1916)
Located at 57 Alleghany Street, it was organized in 1845, and it’s first home was built in 1853. It burned in the fire of 1899, and the faithful met in a space above Beach’s mortuary until 1908. The building was rebuilt in 1908, and housed the congregation until it was dissolved in 1916. The building was then purchased by the I.O.O.F. Lodge.
St. Luke’s Protestant Episcopal (1876-1944)
A house of worship was built at 42 S. Alleghany Street in 1880, and was later converted into apartments.
All Souls Universalist (1881-1914)
The church was built in 1882 across from the current site of the I.O.O.F. Lodge hall. The building was later bought by the Corfu Grange, and moved to the current Grange site in 1939.
First Baptist (1856-1859)
The church buuilt a building at 6 West Main Street, but only held one service there. It was later remodeled into a house.
No church was built for this congregation – the faithful met at in private homes.
Corfu High School and Pembroke Central School District (as remembered by Roy Hills)
The first recorded as graduates are four girls in 1884, Cyrus Carrier’s sister Media being one. The first under Regents is Lillian Alien Burgess, sister of Frank Alien, the school Being a Senior school then. It was a Senior when I graduated but was raised to a regular High School in 1906.
In 1906 the first addition was built on the south side with two or three classrooms. No more additions were made until 1930 when a so-called movable building was added in the rear. The state would not let the people build on a wooden schoolhouse any more, but somehow this portable had a furnace under it, a foundation wall, the open space between it and the main building was enclosed for a corridor to hang clothes. I admit I was one of perpetrators of this deceit. The Education Department apparently never caught it. The cost was about $2500.00.
Some firsts may be recorded here: Milk in 1931, Band teacher in 1938. Athletic coach, Larry Perry. In 1934 the teachers rebated 5% of their salary for that year only; a room was built in the basement for Industrial Arts with George Talbot of Elba as teacher; I was elected clerk in 1935 upon the death of Clarence Curtiss who acted as clerk for many vears.
In May 1935 the Board contacted Architects Harbach & Kideney for plans toward erecting a new building. A resolution was passed to apply for a loan and grant from the Federal Government. A grant was given but a litue less than the amount of the bond issue of $85,900. Bids were opened December 1,1935, and contracts were signed February 20,1936. Work was started in April 1936. The new building was virtually completed February 13, 1937 at a cost of about $160,000. The bond issue will be paid as of March 1966.
Adjoining land was bought from Albert Kinne, Rudolph Maha, and Elisa King.
Over the years many acted as board members, some you knew as George Falk, Anson Lawrence, Jay Potter, George Collins, Dr. Jeremiah Keleher, Charles Palmer, and Cyrus Carrier.
The Central District was formed September 7, 1938, and the Board took over the operation of the East Pembroke and Corfu schools on July 1, 1939.
We moved into the new building in February 1937, and the wood building being demolished soon after. The portable part was moved by the Village of Corfu for a Fire House.
A Union Free School District existed in the Village of Corfu as early as 1906 when its high school became accredited. A teacher training class was conducted at that school from 1913 to 1916 for the purpose of training and supplying teachers for the area rural grade schools. Additions to the building in Corfu were made over the years to accommodate an increasing area population.
On October 7, 1935 a special school meeting was held in the Village Hall for the purpose of voting on the construction of a new school plant. Those voting in favor numbered 192. There were 5 against the proposal. Substantial PWA help was made available as an anti-depression measure. The cornerstone for the new building was placed on July 30, 1936. This structure was constructed behind the old school which was then leveled. The new building was first occupied on February 1,1937 and had a capacity of 350 pupils.
After two years the Corfu Union Free School District was centralized, taking in eighteen original rural school districts and East Pembroke H.S. The enlarged district was known as the Central District #2 of the Towns of Pembroke, Darien, Batavia and Alexander and it included an elementary and junior high school facility located at East Pembroke as well as the Corfu ouilding. Additions were made to the Corfu building and a new school built at East Pembroke to replace the old Rural Seminary building which had been in use since 1856. The improved plants were ready in 1941. A steadily increasing enrollment in the district’s schools made it necessary in 1952 for the voters to approve the extensive expansion of both plants.
In 1961 the proposal for a new junior-senior high school to be located at Brick House Corners was approved and the property purchased by the school district included the historic old brick inn which was razed in 1964 because the community did not have the resources to permit its restoration. The new Pembroke Junior- Senior High School was completed and put into use on January 6, 1964. Its capacity was 800 students. At that time the two earlier buildings were converted into kindergarten through grade 6 buildings.
In 1965 the voters of the district approved a much needed addition to the East Pembroke school. This improvement was ready for use at the beginning of the school year in September, 1967. During the period 1965 through 1975, the district’s enrollment remained fairly stable at between 1800 and 1900 pupils in the entire system kindergarten through grade twelve. During this time, however, the distribution of pupils shifted heavily to the secondary grades. Graduating classes nearly doubled in size, going from 79 in 1967 to 140 in 1975. As a consequence of this shift, additional space in the secondary school was required and was constructed in 1969. A major high school addition was opened in 1970 that contained library space, an amphitheater, laboratories and art classrooms. Also added at that time was a swimming pool.
An extensive modernization of the curriculum in the early 1970s resulted in the designation of the East Pembroke school as the Pembroke Primary School. It was organized to meet more specifically the needs of pupils in grades kindergarten, one and two. The Corfu building was reorganized to house grades three through six. Thus, each of our three buildings is now highly specialized for a particular range of grades and ages.
Fuller utilization of the campus space owned by the district was undertaken in 1972 with the establishment of the Wilson Choate Outdoor Education Area at the high school. This area was named after a long time high school teacher and principal in the district. Through a community effort, night time lighting facilities were donated for the high school football field in 1974. At that time, this field was named in honor of Mr. Clifford Mantor, a recently retired teacher, coach and counselor.
In 1975 voter approval was won for the extensive renovation of the Intermediate School. This building had remained essentially non-converted since its use as a high school until 1964.