Pub crawl offers visitors a glimpse into Geneva's past
Don't let the cold weather bring you down. Tap into history and tap the taps, so to speak, at the same time.
The Geneva History Center is holding an innovative fundraiser, Tapping History," from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 21. Participants will visit eight eating and drinking establishments, partaking of free appetizers and learning a little about the history of our city.
Some of those stories will be told in person, as characters from Geneva's past come to life, share a few stories and tell some tales, said executive director Dave Oberg, who praised the "wonderful group of volunteers" organizing the event.
"This is a chance to shake off the winter doldrums, get out and have a good time and learn a little about your town along the way," he said.
"I think it's going to be a blast."
The cost is $25 for members and $35 for nonmembers and includes free soft drinks and appetizers. Drink specials will be available. For information, visit www.genevahistorycenter.org.
Here's a brief rundown of the stops on tap:
Formerly: The Fargo Theater and then, in 1929, the Geneva Theater
Fun fact: It was equipped with a state-of-the-art organ built by Geneva Organ Co.; a bomb exploded on site in 1932, blowing out walls in a number of homes and businesses in the area. It was rebuilt after a spectacular fire in 1937.
Built: 1890, as part of the Wrate Block
Formerly known as: A lunch counter operated by Egisto (Tony) Lencioni, originally in a different location; the business was founded in 1920 and moved to the Wrate block in 1935. The structure earlier housed a number of businesses, including a general store and several saloons.
Fun fact: Tradition has it, Oberg said, that a White Owl Cigar salesman suggested the restaurant - then unnamed - be called The White Owl. Lencioni said, "I think I'll call it 'The Little Owl.'" It is Geneva's oldest continuously operating restaurant and tavern.
Mill Race Inn
Built: Circa 1842
Formerly known as: Julius Alexander's blacksmith shop
Fun fact: Miss Ann Forsyth opened the business in 1933 as a tearoom, during the depths of the Great Depressions. It's still a flourishing concern today.
Old Towne Pub
Formerly known as: Pittsford Dry Goods Store and, most famously, the Venetian Cafe. Eddowes Drugstore and Lencioni's Fruit and Candy Store occupied the SITE, but that structure was moved into the alley and turned. It remains there today.
Fun fact: During the Venetian Cafe days, a giant martini glass sign graced the building.
River Lane Pub
Built: 1867, which is not when the actual building was built, but when the Howell Company moved to the site. The Howell building was torn down in the early 1980s and building of the present structures began in the mid-80s.
Formerly known as: The aforementioned Howell Company, as well as Travel Designers
Fun fact: In its heyday, the Howell Company - a major Geneva employer - produced 400 tons of sad irons a year.
Built: 1907 by Wheeler Construction Co.
Formerly known as: A saloon, run by Gus Schutz, who built the building. During Prohibition, Schutz converted the saloon into a store that sold soft drinks, cigars and candy. The building also has housed, more recently, Gene's Side Door and Potter's Place.
Fun fact: Bandits pulled a stickup in 1929. They were caught and jailed.
Formerly known as: The Candiflora, a "modern, up to date confectionary and flower shop;" plus the Derby Lounge, Lencioni's Firehouse No. 5 and Dad's Place.
Fun fact: When Prohibition was repealed, one of Geneva's first beer licenses went to Candiflora.
Formerly known as: A home, with a church meeting in the upper floors for a time
Fun fact: Stonemason George Westgarth built the home, which is known as the old Crary House or the Westgarth Crary House.