Issue 4-13-14 Website - page 11

OfficeWith A Venerable Past
Mary Hamilton, former mayor
ofCaledoniawrotemea letter the
beginning of March. She wanted
to know more about the stone
building in Caledonia, which
has been used by the Livingston
Lately it has come on hard
times. The building was built by
Ernest Woodward on his estate,
Poplar Lane, onEastMain Street
inLeRoy in the1920s.Ernest had
torndownhis father’shouse,Hill-
Bar to build his new home. And
he built this stone office behind
his house.
Ernest’s father was the man
who had bought the rights to
Jell-O in 1899 for $450 and the
Woodward family had parlayed
that investment into a million
dollar business. TheWoodward’s
sold their investment by an
exchange of stock to the Postum
Company and in turn, Jell-O
and Postum became the first two
subsidiaries ofGeneral Foods.
Ernest retired, but continued to
go into the Jell-O office onNorth
Street, almost every day. Ernest
died in1948 andhiswifeEleanor
died in 1955. Popular Lane was
donated to the University of
Rochester with the provision that
it be demolished if theUniversity
did not want to maintain it. By
1961, Poplar Lanewas scheduled
fordemolition. JohnWileyJones,
a native of LeRoy, and owner
of Jones Chemical Company,
decided that he would have the
buildingmoved - - stone by stone
- - toCaledonia, andhewoulduse
it for his office.
Each stone was numbered and
the building was dismantled.
When the Woodward’s main
house was torn down, Jones
flooring, fireplaces, chandeliers,
bay windows and doors for his
not large enough for his liking,
so he added a small wing off the
back for a bathroom and small
kitchen. JohnWiley Joneswas so
proudof his project, that he had a
booklet reprinted from an article
that appeared in “PEOPLE,” a
We have a copy in the collection.
After Jones death, the family
continuedpossessionof the stone
office,but thenmadearrangements
for it tobeusedasa substation for
the Livingston County Sheriffs
De p a r tme n t .
However, it has
not been used in
severalyearsand is
needof attention.
The story that I
knowabout, is that
Ernest Woodward
had the original
sales contract
between Pearle
Bixby Wait and
the Genesee Pure
Food Company
and it was framed
and hung on
the wall in his
office. One day,
John Skivington
from Caledonia
was v i s i t i ng
Woodward, and
mentioned that
there was history
hanging on the
wall. Woodward,
gave the contract
At some point,
John Skivington loaned John
Wiley Jones the contract, because
Jones had moved the original
officewhere thecontractoriginally
hung.Thecontract remained in the
Jones family after John’s death
andupon thedeathofhissonBob,
Marge,Bob’swifediscovered the
old contract in some papers.With
it, was the letter with the loan
agreement. The letter stated that
uponJones’death thecontractwas
tobe returned to JohnSkivington.
At this point, both men were
dead, so Marge contacted John
Skivington’s son, and entrusted
the contract with him.
Several years ago, John
contacted me and said, “You
know, this really ought to be at
the Historical Society.” So, we
have the original contract. It’s
pretty illegible, because it hung
on the wall of the office for so
many years, but the signatures
are still legible. Truly, the stone
office of Ernest Woodward has a
venerable past.
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