Town: Mt. Morris

St Helena, ghost town of the Genesee, 1797-1954

St Helena, ghost town of the Genesee, 1797-1954

St. Helena is now a name only. The pioneers of the valley have moved to the shade of the maples in Castile. Not many miles from the scene of their struggles with the early wilderness and the sometimes raging Genesee, the pioneers sleep on. Will the Genesee which they loved, and sometimes feared, close at last over the tiny town site or will it be allowed to grow again to a resemblance of its former state of wilderness? Never more will the hum of mill wheels fill the valley, for St. Helena is now the “Ghost Town of the Genesee.”

St Helena, ghost town of the Genesee, 1797-1954

Bits of News

Genesee Timber February 24, 1895: “John Chaffee, who lived one and a half miles below St. Helena, drew to the yard of the Elitsac Company, a mammoth cottonwood log, sixteen feet long and three feet through at the top and four feet through at the butt, scaling 1,024 feet. The log was cut on the east side of the river near the county line of Wyoming and Livingston, several weeks before. It was put on the bobs and drawn as far as the river, where it tipped over. Six horses were then hitched to the log and it was drawn …

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St Helena, ghost town of the Genesee, 1797-1954

River Travelers along the Genesee River

During the more quiet season of the Genesee River, it was a source of pleasure, not only to local people, but to the Rochester Canoe Club, as well. From the Castilian of May 31, 1897, we take this item: “The Rochester Canoe Club, on its annual cruise down the Genesee River, made up of the following members: H.M. Stewart, Cort Avery, Al T. Brown, Wm. Patterson, Lee Rishwood, Col. C. H. Moody, Frank L. Dodgson, L. P. Newton, H. Cliff Shaw, Dr. F. R. Smith, P. P. Dickenson, Frank P. Crouch, H. B. Squire, Jas. K. Hand, Chas. B. Wolters, …

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St Helena, ghost town of the Genesee, 1797-1954

St. Helena Hospitality

St. Helena was host to many a traveler, and its people were kind to the unfortunate. One figure familiar in the town was “Aunt Eban Noddy,” somewhat demented but entirely harmless. She made annual pilgrimages over the country on foot, dressed in fanciful attire. She was the mother of “Sol Noddy” who made his home at St. Helena and Castile for more than forty years. He, like his mother, made trips over the countryside and was given shelter by many good people when he needed it. Sol died July 2, 1895, at the Wyoming County Home at Varysburg. His mother, …

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St Helena, ghost town of the Genesee, 1797-1954

St. Helena NY Bridges and Mills

The first bridge across the river was a covered structure with wooden latticework sides, built in 183 5, and was said to be very picturesque. There were 226 feet of latticework spanning the river with fifty feet of different construction at the approaches. This linked Wyoming and Livingston counties and made it possible for the families on the east side of the river to reach the mills and stores without traveling by boat or fording the river. This bridge was in use until 1868, when it became unsafe and was replaced with a four-span bridge of truss style. This bridge, …

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