NSG Visit September 21, 2002
The Granger Homestead, the Hubbell Law Office
and the Carriage Museum
Canandaigua, New York
Thirty members of the New Society of the Genesee met at the former estate
of Gideon Granger in Canandaigua on September 21, 2002. The three-story,
yellow-painted, Federal Style residence built in 1816, is an architectural
gem located at 295 North Main Street. That's where we met our most knowledgeable
guide, Carla DeMeco. Dressed in period costume, hair net and vintage yellow
dress, she took us through the Homestead and the other buildings on the
grounds, and told us the history of the house and the Granger family.
The affairs of Oliver Phelps at the time of his death were so confused
that the family sent back to Suffield, Connecticut, for Gideon Granger
to come out and straighten matters out.
Granger (1767 - 1822) had been Postmaster General during Jefferson's
and Madison's terms. He was so impressed with Canandaigua and the new
country that he decided to have built for himself a fine residence. It
was completed by local craftsmen in 1816 for a cost of $13,000. The central
hallways on both floors are wide and high-ceilinged as are the parlors
and bedrooms. They contain furnishings of the period, many original to
the home and used by four generations of the Granger family.
From 1876 until 1906 the house was used as a girl's school. A large addition
was built then, adjacent to the house. Miss Isaphine and Miss Antoinette
Granger returned in 1906 to live in the house. After their deaths the
building housed retired Congregationalist ministers for a time. In 1945
the house was threatened by destruction, but Joseph Cribb and others were
able to save the Homestead and were later, in the 1960s, able to bring
to the grounds the law office of Walter Hubbell.
Moving on from the mansion we viewed lawyer Hubbell's two-room Greek
Temple structure, built in 1822. Stephen Douglas lived in the office while
studying law there in the 1830s prior to his becoming an attorney. He
became a notable orator, a Senator from Illinois and he gained fame in
the Lincoln - Douglas debates.
Our tour moved on to the Carriage Museum where almost 50 horse-drawn
carriages, sleighs and wagons are displayed in three buildings. A lady's
pony cart; a vehicle that carried fourteen passengers, four inside, eight
on top, and two grooms; an 1870s Albany Sleigh; an 1890 game cart and
a 1904 runabout were pointed out to us by Ms. DeMeco. I especially liked
the old wagon converted into a traveling store, the Macedon Fire Department's
shiny, 1854 pumper, and Jemima Wilkinson's "Coachee" that was especially
designed and built for her in Canandaigua in 1810.
At lunch in Kellogg's Pan-Tree Restaurant, 94-year-old Judge Joseph Cribb
invited members to visit his stables at his home on Main Street. There
we saw more horse vehicles in beautiful ready-to-use condition and walls
full of ribbons won by his Morgan horses at horse shows in this country
and Canada. The horses were grazing in a corral and came up to be petted.