New "Encyclopedia of Brockport" compiled by
local historian Eunice Chesnut
(A compilation of almost 2,000 people, plus places and events)
Eunice Chesnut, historian at the Morgan-Manning House in Brockport, has just published the "Encyclopedia of Brockport," a compilation of almost 2,000 people, starting with the earliest arrivals in the Brockport area. About half the people listed are living and contributing to Brockport in the present. There are 200 historic and current places listed such as the first Post office that opened in 1823 to the canal Welcome Center that opened in 2005. Forty memorable events are included, some from the past such as Old Home Week in 1911 to the present "Bienvenida" welcoming celebrations for seasonal workers. The hard back book has 323 pages, weighs about 3.5 pounds, and measures roughly 9 x 11 inches.
Chesnut originally volunteered at the Morgan-Manning House as a guide and newsletter writer. In 1980, the Western Monroe Historical Society hired Chesnut to "actually try to establish some form to the local history of the area," she said. She started with two bushel baskets of the Morgan family letters that were saved from the 1964 fire, a tragedy that destroyed part of the home at 151 Main Street in Brockport. The Western Monroe Historical Society purchased the home in 1965, restored it to become a Landmark, and has maintained it since as a museum and offices for the organization.
Chesnut found the Morgan letters interesting, but wished for some reference to the names they mentioned, like an "encyclopedia type book," she said. For a quarter of a century, in her second floor office in the historic home, she filled 26 four-drawer file cabinets with clippings, letters, and documents about the Brockport community "and it all started with those two bushel baskets," she said.Ę In 2008, she started putting in book formĘthe file items and information from her interviews with local people.
Chesnut, at 84 years old, has written seven other books on aspects of Brockport area history, listed below.
"Encyclopedia of Brockport" is available for $30 at the Morgan-Manning house during office hours. Phone (585) 637-3645. The Lift Bridge Book Shop in Brockport has the book at $40.
Previous Books by Eunice Chesnut
AND PAPA CRIED HOORAH 1986
Condensations of some of the Morgan letters. I used portions of the letters which revealed not
only things about the Morgan family, but about goings-on in Brockport.
HOE CAKES TO HAMBURGERS 1993
A FOOD theme in this book. Local grocers, farms, fast foods, restaurants,and ONE recipe.
It is for "Soap-Making Day" soup.
PATH THROUGH THE YEARS. 1995
A chronological listing of some happenings in the area since 1802, when settlers were first
arriving. This is my only book with lots of illustrations, mostly sketches by my daughter.
THAT REMINDS ME 1998
More incidents and entertainments in the village, such as parades, the Bingo issue, the Freezers
baseball team, minstrel shows, and memories of Archie Webber about growing up here during
SEWING FOR THE HEATHEN 2000
The title is a direct quote from a school mate of Sara Morgan's.
It proved to be a poor choice,
since would-be buyers thought it was either about sewing or about religion. It is really about
people enjoying things here without feeling so smug about doing good works.
THE CANAL & THE CASTLE 2001
(The now demolished "Castle" was known as Hunt's Castle, located in what is now
Northampton Park.) The book is written in fictional first-person voices of 25 well-known
area residents, such as Luther Gordon, lumber magnate & banker & Mayor -- H. G. Dobson,
druggist ---Mary Jane Holmes, romantic novelist --- Fannie Barrier Williams, first black
graduate of Brockport Normal School. She became famous for her work in the advancement
of her race, especially for black women.
QUALITY CARE CLOSE TO HOME
The history of the founding of Brockport's first hospital, at 196 Main Street in 1932, and
the efforts of the many people who desperately wanted and worked for a new hospital on
West Avenue. Also contains some information on the people who have run the new hospital
since it opened in 1951. (This book was published by the hospital.)