Audio Tour

The Big Spring &

The Early Canal

00:00 / 01:49

Presented by

Bob Corby

Mayor, Village of Pittsford

The Village of Pittsford was first settled by Simon and Israel Stone, two brothers that came from New England. They chose the site because in the village was a large pond with a natural spring called the Big Spring. And  the location was well known by the Seneca people. There was a trail that actually came here because it was known as a regional source of water. 

The oldest house in the village is Israel Stone's house located here on State Street .  In 1789 he built a cabin here and eventually replaced it with a house that we see today. The house actually then passed hands and an Englishman named Thomas Plum, bought it in the 1840s and the farmland that was associated with it.

He added the second floor and the Greek revival front porch we see today, but this is the oldest house in the village of Pittsford. His brother built a house which remains at the corner of Locust Street and South Street.

Originally, the Erie Canal crossed State Street and the original commercial canal district was located at the intersection of South Street and State Street.

The five first homes on South Street are some of the older buildings in the village.  Those houses all had walkout  basements with wharfs and they had stores and warehouses on the first floor and people lived upstairs.  

In the 1860s, when New York State widened the canal, these businesses were abandoned and became homes and commercial activity migrated to the south side of the canal on either side of the North Main Street bridge.

Here's an example of an older Pittsford Village home that at one time had a wharf on the canal. Notice how the brick wall on the right side extends below grade. What appears now as a basement window was originally a full-height window that faced the canal.