Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Historic House Tour

The Historical Society in my town has an annual house tour. This year's tour celebrated the 100th birthday of the lift bridge over the Erie Canal. This landmark is located right in the middle of town.......because the Canal dissects the town. Many times impatient drivers must wait until the bridge goes back down after letting a boat that is higher than the bridge, pass under it.

The canal itself is almost 200 years old, runs for 363 miles, from Albany to Buffalo, NY.  It was built to facilitate commerce through the port of New York City to inland locations by water rather than dirt roads - boats rather than horses. It actually cut transportation costs by 95% and opened up western New York to population growth.

Enough history. The houses on the tour were built between 1806 and 1903. All of them overlooking the canal. They were built in stages, with additions built in subsequent years, as their families grew and modern amenities became available.

Back of house - facing the canal

At the edge of a rolling lawn - a canalside dock
An irresistible red dahlia in this backyard
This brick house was a funeral parlor in it's early days - note the red barn

The loft area of this barn is where the embalming was done. You can faintly see the markings above the new-ish garage door where the much larger door was located which could accommodate a horse drawn hearse. The viewings would take place in the front parlor of the brick house.

As you can see the packet boats were low and fit under he bridge easily. This is a modern one and is a summertime vacation rental. The originals were much the same except they carried cargo and were pulled by mules walking alongside on the canal paths. In the far left upper corner of this shot, you can get a small glimpse of the liftbridge. It would not have to raise for a packet boat but for large yachts with fishing equipment, the bridge would raise to accommodate the passage under the bridge.

An enchanting historic tour. I enjoyed it immensely.


  1. There are some drawbridges in the Seattle area. It's always interesting to see how they work. The house tour looks fascinating...embalming in the loft of a barn, wow! Looks like a lot of fun!

  2. I love Fairport! Beautiful houses, the canal and the lift bridge is pretty too!

  3. The photos are so beautiful! I looks like a sweet town.

  4. I love older homes, so much character! Looks like a beautiful place:)