The first settlers came to the Brockport area soon after 1800. Located some twenty miles west of Rochester, the towns of Sweden and Clarkson, the village of Brockport, and a college were organized between 1814 and 1835. The Erie Canal, farm implement manufacturing, and higher education fostered their growth and prosperity in the mid-1800s. At Brockport, the United States became a continental nation, the Industrial Revolution came to agriculture, and popular literature came to American women. Today, Brockport is a remarkably well-preserved Victorian village on a revitalized Erie Canal, Clarkson and Sweden are havens for farming and commuting, and the college is an 8,500-student unit of the State University of New York. Around Brockport presents more than two hundred thirty images from private and public collections, many from glass negatives. They depict such aspects of the area's history as farm life in early Sweden, stately homes at Clarkson Corners, industrial plants in Brockport, and student activities at the normal school.
The opening of the Erie Canal in 1825 saw the rise of western New York as the gateway to the West. The ease and economy of shipping by canal brought commerce and factories to many communities along the canal's route. Thus, the area that we now know as Fairport and Perinton boasted a disproportionate number of businesses in the mid- and late-nineteenth century.
In Perinton, Fairport, and the Erie Canal, you will meet Daniel DeLand, founder of the DeLand Chemical Works which, beginning in 1852, shipped by canal hundreds of barrels of the leavening agent saleratus and baking soda to markets in New York City and the West. You will find out the secret ingredient of Taylor's Oil of Life and will read its endorsement by Buffalo Bill Cody. You will see the Main Street lift-bridge, which was cited several times in Ripley's Believe It or Not, and Cobb's Preserving Company, which experimented and promoted the solderless can that revolutionized food storage in America.