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This postcard from around 1910 is a little bit misleading. In it, Eagle Harbor appears to be a quiet, shady little hamlet. In fact, Eagle Harbor was a busy place at this point in time. This photo was probably taken from the canal bridge, and looks north on what is now called Eagle Harbor Waterport Rd. There are a number of businesses and community organizations that this postcard fails to show.

To the west, on Eagle Harbor-Knowlesville Rd., there was the post office, and general store owned by the Bennett Bros., which still stands next to the bridge right on the canal. Farther west, was the Methodist Episcopal Church. To the east, on a little lane next to the canal was a grocery run by the Walters Bros. That building was demolished in 1913 when the canal was widened. The trees shown here hide the schoolhouse on the east side of the road. South of the canal was the Wesleyan Methodist Church, which burned in 1918, and also the cooperage, which was quite a large building.

It’s easy to imagine a warm spring day there — the voices of children walking home from the school for lunch, the sounds of hammering from the cooper shop, and the rattle of horse and wagon over the bridge. In 1910, Eagle Harbor was hardly quiet.

Adrienne Kirby,

Town Historian

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

A quote taken from The Home Bureau Creed, by Ruby Green Smith


One of the first items I came across in the historian’s office was a delightful scrapbook titled, “History of Eagle Harbor Home Bureau, 1953.” Home Bureau was an organization for homemakers to learn skills that would improve their homes, and ultimately their communities. The scrapbook documents meetings held from the fall of 1952 to the spring of 1954. There are Cornell Extension Bulletins, sample projects, newspaper clippings, newsletters, and programs from various events. According to a newspaper clipping inside, each Home Bureau unit was encouraged to produce a “Historical Record Book” of their activities each year. Eagle Harbor was awarded third place for their record book. The two winning units’ books were sent to the District meeting of the Federation of Home Bureaus at Hornell. A historical book was produced for all of Orleans County, which according to the article was “so complete and perfect that it received special mention from the judges.”

While the Home Bureau Federation still exists in New York State, it had experienced a significant decline in Orleans County by the 1970’s. Home Bureau was closely tied to Cornell Extension. Until the mid-1950’s, a portion of the annual dues collected from each unit was sent to Cornell Extension. Individuals in a Home Bureau unit would learn a particular skill from a Home Demonstration Agent from Cornell, and then in turn would present that information at meetings that were held twice a month. Presentations generally focused on homemaking, but parenting and citizenship were addressed as well. Topics in 1953 included “Food for the Family Menu,” “Advanced Decorative Stitchery,” “Cupboard Arrangement,” “Cooperation in the Family,” and “Trends in Federal Government.”

Gaines had six Home Bureau units in 1953: West Gaines, Gaines, Childs, East Gaines, Eagle Harbor and Gaines Basin. The Eagle Harbor unit had eighteen members. Meetings and activities took place either at members’ homes, or at the Methodist church by the canal. Below is a photo of a Home Bureau hobby show held March 25, 1954 in the Methodist church dining room. It was noted that all families participated.

Back row from L to R: Mary Hults, May Brooks, Mildred Buck, Hilda Fancher, Barbara Eddy (baby), Jean Sullivan. Front row L to R: Dorothy Hults, Duane Hults.

Because apple season will soon be here, and an article about Home Bureau would be more complete with a recipe, here is a dessert from a menu in the scrapbook for “Three Generations at One Table.”

Apple Pudding – 6 Servings

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup sifted flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 cups diced apples
  • 1/2 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  1. Beat together the eggs and sugar; add the flour, salt and baking powder.
  2. Stir in the apples, pecans and vanilla.
  3. Pour into a buttered baking dish or into 6 custard cups and bake at 350°F about 30 minutes. Serve warm or cold.

Adrienne Kirby,

Town Historian
Creative Commons Licence
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.