Office of the County Historian

Sodus, New York

The town of Sodus was formed in January of 1789. It comprises the northeast corner of the old "District of Sodus". The District of Sodus was made up of what are now the towns of Sodus, Lyons, Arcadia, Marion, Walworth, Ontario and Williamson.

The northern part of Sodus is mainly level inclining toward Lake Ontario. In the southern part of the town, the surface is considerably broken by ridges extending north to south, also known as drumlins. The division between these two areas is known as "The Ridge". The Ridge is an elevation extending across Wayne County and beyond, from east to west. The elevation of the ridge (from 150 feet to 188 feet), its situation with reference to the lake and the soil, have led geologists to believe that it was the southern shore of Lake Ontario in the distant past.

The first documented settlement in the town of Sodus was in 1794 at Sodus Point. Capt. Charles Williamson, agent for the Pultney Estates,, arrived in Sodus Point with a group of laborers, surveyors and builders to create a settlement. Several houses, a tavern, a gristmill and a sawmill were built.

The first settler in what is now the village of Sodus was John Holcomb, who built a home there in 1809. The present village of Sodus was first used as a location for a town meeting in 1815 and has remained the center of the town since that time.

The town of Sodus is one of only two towns in Wayne County to ever experience a military battle within its borders. In the morning of June 19, 1813, during the War of 1812, the British attacked Sodus Point. The British seized the stores in the warehouses and burned the town. Only one building, a tavern, was spared. This building was spared because Asher Warner, who was severely wounded during the battle, was carried there by British soldiers. He died several hours later. One other man, Charles Terry, also died as a result of this attack. Terry, also wounded during the battle, made his way home. It was thought that he would recover, but after getting up from his bed and walking to the door, he caught cold and died a few days later.

A little known fact about the town of Sodus is that it is the birthplace of Arbor Day. In the year 1881, Edward C. Delano of Sodus Center wrote an article that was published in the Wayne County Alliance titled "Shade Trees". Mr. Delano urged that shade trees be planted in all the town's schoolyards. In that year he was elected Wayne County School Commissioner and worked tirelessly for this cause. It was, however, 1888 before the New York State Legislature proclaimed, officially, Arbor Day. The first Arbor Day circulars were sent out from Albany in the spring of 1889. Some of the trees planted in Sodus on that first Arbor Day still stand.

* Sodus Center Baptist Church, Brick Church Road, Sodus Center

Sodus Center Baptist Church.

- Built in 1825-26 on land given by the Pultney Estate to the First Baptist Society of Sodus, this church is now owned by the Baptist Rural Cemetery Association of Sodus Center, Inc. It is the oldest Baptist church in Wayne County. The church is available to the community for weddings, reunions and tours. (315) 483-9791

* Wallington Cobblestone Schoolhouse, 6135 North Geneva Road, Wallington

Wallington Cobblestone Schoolhouse

- On land donated by Daniel Arms, founder of Wallington, originally known as Arms Crossroads, the Wallington Cobblestone Schoolhouse was built in 1826-28. It was used as a schoolhouse until 1951 when the centralization plan came into effect. Today the Wallington Cobblestone Schoolhouse is owned by the Wallington Community Center Association, and students from all over the area visit and experience "A Day in a Country School". (315) 483-9791

*Wallington Cobblestone Tavern, Ridge Road East, Wallington

Former Wallington Cobblestone Tavern. Private Residence.

- A cobblestone structure built in 1834 as a tavern and inn near the midpoint between Rochester and Oswego on the Oswego-Lewiston Stage route. Private residence.

* Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum, Ontario Street, Sodus Point

Sodus Point Lighthouse Museum

- Completed in 1871, this lighthouse was built to replace the lighthouse tower and keeper's residence constructed in 1824 at Sodus Bay. It was in use until 1901. Today, the Sodus Bay Lighthouse Museum is operated by the Sodus Bay Historical Society and houses maritime collections depicting the history of the Sodus Bay region. Open May-October, Tuesday-Sunday, 10 am - 5 pm. (315) 483-4936

* Sodus Point Custom House

Sodus Point Customs House. 

This building is no longer standing.

Formerly on the south side of Sentell Street, this building was once used as the United States Custom House and Post Office. The building was a long, narrow masonry block, with stone trimmed front and baroque bracketed wood cornice. It was built as part of the boom that occurred from the building of the railroad in the mid-1870s. The building is no longer standing.

* The Schooner, Lotus, Homeport Sodus Bay

The schooner, "Lotus".

This 48 ft. schooner is a class C tall ship. The "Lotus" has sailed Sodus Bay for over 75 years and is currently serving as a sail training ship for the Sea Explorers.

Alasa Farms, 6450 Shaker Road, Alton

- Site of historic Shaker Community from 1826-1838 on the south shore of Sodus Bay. Alasa Farms has been owned and operated by the Strong family since 1924. Includes Shaker dwellings, farm animals, nature trails, flower and herb gardens and pick your own apples in the fall. Open year-round by appointment. (315) 483-6321