Saturday, August 28, 2010

Wandering around Cuba

I have done some wandering around the past couple days, seeing things from my childhood. On Thursday I rode to Olean to do a little shopping at the Super Wal-Mart there. I took the old road through Maplehurst and Hinsdale, then into downtown Olean. It pretty much parallels the interstate but is much slower and more scenic. In Hinsdale I noticed that the Crosby's Dairy place were we used to get ice cream was now Crosby's Mini-Mart. It looks like they still have a food place too, so we may stop in and check it out someday. Down town Olean looks pretty much like I remember it, but on the outskirts are all the new national chain stores you would find anywhere.

Yesterday we did some major riding around. First we rode up Friendship road to find Mom's old house. It took some doing since the road has been realigned in many places, and the interstate has run through the whole valley. I found her house on a spur road off the main road. The interstate is basically in the back yard. None of the outbuildings are there anymore, but the house looks pretty good. We talked with the current owner for a few minutes.

On the way back into town we pulled off the road on a snowmobile trail above Hidden Canyon , a place I used to play as a child. I hiked down into the canyon and discovered that someone had built and then abandoned a nice brick house there. It looks like it has not been lived in for may years. The valley floor is quite overgrown so it does not look like kids play there anymore. I also took a photo of where the creek flows under the railroad. When the creek was low we would sometimes walk through it to get to Hidden Canyon, but usually we went over the top and across the tracks.

We then rode up Spring St. to the end of the road. The elevation is about 2,000 feet there and the views of Cuba were very pretty. Then we rode back into town and past the city park where the Little League ballpark is located. I think the Trask family lived on the south side of the park. They are some distant cousins. We then rode out South St. and under the railroad overpass to look at the horse barn. It is still an impressive building and very much in use.

We rode back into town and down Orchard St. past the Briggs house again. I noticed that there is no longer a car bridge on Mill street to get across the creek. There is only a foot bridge. We drove up West Main past the old depot which no longer exists, although the track is still obviously in use, and past Cuba Memorial Hospital. It looks much different now with all the additions.

We came back into town via Prospect street where my piano teacher lived, and past the upper mill which is now a feed store. We also stopped at the house on West Main where Mom and Dad rented an apartment while building our house on Hill St. I also took a photo of the creek beside the apartment as well as a photo of the park across the street. It looks very much like it did. I think the slide is the same one that Dale and I used to wax up with waxed paper when we used it.

We then rode past the old high school which is now apparently just the elementary. The elementary school across the street that was built when I was a kid is now a private academy. There is a new high school north of town. We also rode up Medbury past where the old school used to be. It was no longer in use when I was a kid, and I think maybe even when Mom went to school. It has been torn down and there are now apartments in its place. As long as we were there we rode around the cemetery and past Millers house.

After a quick stop at the Cheese Shoppe for some curd we rode north out of town to Moonwinks, which is now a high priced restaurant, turned left onto the south shore road and took a ride all the way around the lake. On the way we made a short detour to Oil Springs, where oil was first discovered on the North American continent, and then a quick stop were the old Cuba Lake Pavilion was located. Everything is gone and replaced with houses except that the house where the Merry Go Round was located is built in the shape of the building that housed it. I don't know if they used the original octagonal shaped building or just recreated the shape.

We continued on to the Black Creek Road, past the house that someone won in a national contest (Hotpoint or something like that), and rode up to Black Creek. I was bussed to Black Creek for 5th grade. This looks like the building I remember. It looks like a private home or apartment building now.

All in all it was a fun afternoon of wandering around.

I will post pictures in my gallery when I figure out what is wrong with Java.


  1. Oh, my! There is too much here for me to comment on. The only thing that I will clear up is that I went to that old High School on Medbury, from Fifth Grade through my Sophomore year, when the new building opened on Elm Street, which is now an elementary school. We were often told that we must be so careful not to damage that property, because it cost $550,000, a huge amount for a little town in the late 1930's. I think that you started school in that building, and went to Black Creek while the new one across the street, that is now a Private academy, was being built. I went to the First through Fourth (we didn't have Kindergarten; I started First Grade three months after I turned five years old.) on Main St. That building was torn down to build your Dad's service station. That is probably still there.
    And, about our house on the Friendship road, in the picture you sent me, I can see that the hydrangea bush is still blossoming. I couldn't see whether the lilac bush is still there. And on the west side of the house, which is in shadow above, there was a large window in the dining room with green shutters on the outside. The house was always a cream or off white color, and when a storm was coming, usually from the west, it was my job to go outdoors and close the shutters. I'm sure that procedure started in the early days when windows were hard to replace.

  2. Mom, the only school I was in was the one on Elm, except for the one year in Black Creek. I remember watching the old brick smokestack being blown up to make room for the school across the street. We were all allowed to gather at the windows to watch.

    I thought you went to the school on Medbury for some period, but then moved to the new school when it opened. I was right!

    By the way, Dad's service station is no longer there. It was torn down and replaced by the new fire station.

  3. Talking about Hidden Canyon being overgrown: When Donna and I were back there to bury Dad, we went up the hilll behind our house on Hill Street to the railroad tracks. The forest was very overgrown with brush, and it was quite difficult getting through. I don't remember it very clearly from when I was living there as a child, but I'm pretty sure we could easily move through the forest. It seems like with a drought it would become a real fire hazard.

  4. You can see all these places on google maps, and many of the buildings with street view, but of course, not as clear pictures as yours. I always follow along with the map when reading your blog.