LeRoy Pennysaver & News

LE ROY PENNYSAVER & NEWS - OCTOBER 1, 2023 Bacon cook stove at museum in Ohio by Lynne Belluscio Have you ever wondered why the street behind Main Street is called Bacon Street? Obviously, Bank Street is because there was a bank on the corner. And Mill Street is because there was a Mill on the street, and North and South Streets are because they go north and south, but Bacon Street? Well, it’s named after Lathrop Bacon. His story is very interesting but tragic. Lathrop S. Bacon was born in Hamilton, New York in 1810 and came to LeRoy with his father in 1830. They started a general merchandise business and in 1842 they ran an ad in the LeRoy Gazette for “Bacon’s Cheap Cash Store.” In 1843, the business changed exclusively to the stove and iron trade and they opened a foundry on the street that ran parallel to Main Street. The foundry manufactured a number of stoves including Bacon’s Improved Railway Cooking Stove, the New Yorker, the Bacon Self-Regulating Air-Tight Stove and the Clinton AirTight Stove. There is a Bacon cook stove on exhibit at the Hale Farm Museum in Ohio. The LeRoy Historical Society has a complete Bacon parlor stove which can be seen in the upstairs front bedroom. It is clearly marked on the cast iron base. There are parts to another parlor stove in storage. The foundry also cast waffle irons. A cast iron waffle iron was donated to the Historical Society by the Martin family many years ago and another waffle iron was purchased in 1991 at an antique store in Ohio. The story of Lathrop Bacon is tragic. In 1848, his two children and their 14year old nursemaid were burned to death in a fire that was caused by the explosion of a camphene lamp. Lathrop was so distraught that he moved to Rochester and his younger brother gave up his law practice to oversee the foundry. Lathrop began an iron works in nearby Ontario. In 1853, the LeRoy foundry was sold to Harry Backus and for a year it continued to be known as Backus and Bacon, but in 1854, the foundry closed for good. In the meantime, Lathrop Bacon served as the president of the Eagle Bank in Rochester and then moved to England to establish the manufacture of India rubber goods. This business became very successful, and he retired to Italy. He suffered a stroke and he and his wife moved to Michigan where he died. He was buried in Machpelah Cemetery. The stone is very difficult to read and indicates that he died in either 1874 or 1875. There was another stove foundry in LeRoy. It was the P.A. Palmer Company. The only evidence of the company is a cast iron door that George Henry found on ebay. The Historical Society bought the door and then I was able to learn that Peter Avery Palmer was the son of Rev. Reuben and Lucretia Palmer. Peter was born May 11, 1801, in Montville, Connecticut and died in Lansingburg, New York in 1892. He married Naomi Calkins in 1821 in New London, Connecticut. Their first child was born in Connecticut and then they moved to LeRoy. They had eight more children but tragically, four of them died. Frances, Etzler, Elizabeth and Clinton are all buried in the Myrtle Street Cemetery. When Peter Palmer first moved here, he worked as a shoemaker and the August 31, 1826 LeRoy Gazette states: “Peter A. Palmer would inform his customers and the public at large that he still continues to carry on the shoe making business at his stand one door down East of A.S. Hosmer’s Inn where he will accommodate either by working his own stock or the stock of those who may wish to employ him in that way.” (What that means is that people could bring him leather and he would make it into shoes.) Later he went into a partnership with H. Coon and the company advertised that “Their prices will be as low as can be afforded.” I haven’t been able to find out much about the stove business. I did find his patent #7672 for an elevated kitchen stove. According to the United States Patent Office, “The nature of my invention consists in the arrangement of revertible flues in elevated ovens; secondly in the arrangement of a grate in the four boiler hole elevated oven stove so as to build the fire under the back boilers and nearer the oven for summer use requiring less fire to heat the oven, and two boilers than when the fire is made in the front part. . . “ etc etc. I also discovered that he had filed for an improved three-legged milking stool. I looked through our 1850 LeRoy Gazette and wasn’t able to find where he was located in LeRoy. He doesn’t appear on the 1850 maps. In 1858 he moved to Troy where he continued in the stove business. The only evidence of his invention and his stove business in LeRoy is the stove door. As a note to the kitchen stove story. In the early 1800s, a lot of people were still cooking in an open hearth with a brick bake oven. But they were gradually “modernizing” and installing an iron stove in their kitchens. People building new houses were not building open fireplaces for cooking. The new stoves were a “step up” from the hearth - literally. You will notice that these early cook stoves were not the taller “ranges” that were introduced in the 1860s. When iron cook stoves were introduced, the cooks had to adapt to the new stoves. (If you want to see women cooking on one of these early step stoves, visit Genesee Country Museum and go to the Jones Farmhouse.) The ovens in the new stoves were small. Not like the four-foot brick ovens. You could only fit a couple of loaves of bread in the stove oven. The iron pots with the round bottoms and feet used in the fireplace had to be replaced with flat bottomed pots. And cooking meat was an issue. In the fireplace you roasted meat. The new stove “baked meat” or you boiled the meat. And then there was the issue of ventilation. Some people noticed that with the stoves and stove pipes, there wasn’t a good flow of fresh air through the house. The cooking fireplace with a huge flue, was like having a window open. Air was sucked through the house and up the chimney. But the new stoves used less firewood and were more economical and safer. There were no open flames. And in the hot summer, folks could even move their stoves outside. So that’s the story of Bacon Street and cast iron stoves. Bacon Street