Visits to Museums

About NSG NSG Index CLR Index Museums Authors Site Map Contact Us


NSG Visit September 21, 2002

The Granger Homestead, the Hubbell Law Office
and the Carriage Museum

Canandaigua, New York


Donovan A. Shilling

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.

© 2002, Donovan A. Shilling
Area Museum Schedules
CLR Blog | Site Map | Contact CLR