Our Buildings

Warner Farm House

Originally located at the intersection of Furnace and Lake Road, the Warner Farm House was the home of Alanson Warner and Catherine Albright. Alanson, the son of Andrew and Chloe Fairman Warner, moved from Worthington, Massachusetts to Ontario, New York in 1816.

The Warner Farm House was built in 1838. It was a simple two-room structure with a loft built from used materials. Around 1868, the two story addition was added as the family grew and gained wealth.

In July 1991, the house was donated to the Historical Society by Mr. and Mrs. Hollingsworth. It cost $20,000 to move the house to Heritage Square Museum.

Building Must-See: 2nd Floor

Ontario Train Station

Originally located on Railroad Ave, a street connecting Furnace and Knickerbocker Roads, the Lake Ontario Shore Railroad (referred to as the Hojack Line) came through Ontario in 1874. The Ontario Train Station, also known as the Hojack Train Station, was built on land originally purchased by A.J. Bixby. It was 72 feet long and 24 feet wide. The train station was moved to Heritage Square on July 5, 2006. After two years of volunteer work to rejuvenate and restore the building, Laura "Jinny" Loomis cut the ribbon at the Hojack Train Station opening ceremony.

Building Must-See: Telegraph

Brick Church Schoolhouse

In 1836, Mr. Charles Pease donated land across from his homestead to build a one room stone schoolhouse. It was 30'x24' with walls 18" thick. It cost $225 to build. In 1865, it cost $12.50 to supply the fuel for the winter, which was ten cords of hard wood, cut to stove length. It was the teacher's job to start the fire.

In 1868, after heated discussion about whether to repair the old schoolhouse or build a new one, the little stone schoolhouse was torn down and replaced by a brick one. On January 20, 1868, it was resolved by Marvin Gurnee that "we exchange the old site for a new one 30 rods to the south of the present location." Mr. Pease requested that the new school be located 30 rods (1 rod = 16.5 feet) south, so he would not be disturbed by the children's noise. On October 12, 1869, a report read at the school meeting stated that the cost of the new school was $755.50. The stove and pipe cost $15.50. There was a remainder of $7.50 which was used to grade the school grounds. The vestibule was added later.

Building Must-See: Portrait of George Washington


This building has served many uses. In 1895, it was the site of the Ontario Center Boot & Shoe Shop, located just east of the Fire Hall in Ontario Center and owned by John Freeh. The cobbler was always extremely busy repairing shoes in those early days. When Mr. Freeh was appointed postmaster in 1897, he had his post office in this building as well. In 1903, it also served as a barber shop owned by George Miller. He was a justice of peace as well as a shoemaker. In 1919, it was moved from Ridge Road to Ontario Center Road and turned into the town Lockup (Jail). The land for the jail was leased from James Conner for $6.00/year.

The building was donated to the Historical Society by Willis (Bill) and Christine Butler and moved to Heritage Square on December 1, 1992.

Building Must-See: Jail Cell!

Ore Miner's House

This tiny one-and-a-half story clapboard-style saltbox-style structure with its barn red paint and crooked window has charmed many casual travelers as they drive along Ontario Center Road. On the main floor, there is a living room and a bedroom. The loft is reached by a center staircase and is used for storage. The kitchen and another bedroom were in the shed to the rear of the main part of the house.

James and Nancy Watson had three children. James and his son, Lynn (born in 1877) both worked in the iron ore mines, and Jim worked for the Furnaceville Iron Company in 1889. They rode their bicycles to work each day. Jim operated the derrick and Lynn worked the steam shovel and later the electric shovel. Lynn's miner's identification coins hang on the wall in the living room. Until his death in 1964, Lynn also worked as a janitor at the Brick Church. In 1977, this home was donated to the Historical Society by Earl and Bernice Watson.

Building Must-See: New Butter Churn

Ruffell Log Cabin

James Ruffell built this log cabin on a 104-acre farm on Ore Bed Road (now Kenyon Road) during the Civil War. This was the second of the Ruffell family's log cabins. It replaced the earlier one that was inconveniently located far in the woods. in 1950, the log cabin caught fire in the "ore bed section of Ontario Township."

Families in the 1800s would rise when the sun came up and retire to bed when the sun set. The front door of the log house has a latch string that could be pulled in for security or left out for hospitality. Any passerby in need of shelter in the early days could pull the latch string and enjoy the warmth and available food - even in the absence of the owner. Thus, the expression we use today: "The latch string is out."

The final owner of this log cabin was Michael Robusto. In 1970, he donated it to the Ontario Historical Society.

Building Must-See: The clock that hid a small fortune!

Baptist Meeting House

On July 3, 1817, the Baptist Congregation met for the first time and employed George B. Davis as their first pastor. Their first meeting house, on the southwest corner of Ontario Center, was not built until 1834. Later, the congregation built a larger church, and it is believed that they used this earlier church building as a parsonage. The 1874 Wayne County New York Atlas even showed these two buildings side by side. Sadly, the larger church burned to the ground.

The important features of this structure are the arched ceiling and the early wooden lintel over the front double doors. In 1973, Mr. and Mrs. Stevens offered this building as a gift. It is a showcase for ore mining artifacts, as well as rotating exhibits.

Building Must-See: Chunk of Iron Ore!

Apple Dry House

Heritage Square's apple dry house is a replica of an 1800s dry house.

The history of apple farming dates back to 1804 when white settlers first settled in Pultneyville and began propagating the apple tree found there. By 1850, commercial culture was at its beginning. Apples were stored in cellars or hand-peeled and sliced, then dried in the sun or on racks over kitchen stoves.

The drying of apples occurred after the apples were shaken from the trees. They were then taken to a dry house. Many of these dry houses still exist in Ontario, but they are no longer used for their original purpose. On display in the apple dry house are original Pease corers and slicers.

Working at a dry house, wages were typically 50 cents for a woman, 75 cents for a strong boy, and $1.00 for a man. The heat for the kilns came from hot air furnaces that were fired by hard coal at $5.00/ton.

Building Must-See: Original Pease Apple Slicers

Mandery Carpenter and Blacksmith Shop

A replica of the carpentry and blacksmith shop from the 19th century, this shop holds a woodworking bench with an attached vise for pieces to be worked on and a blacksmith's tool bench, as well as a forge and bellows. The blacksmith's main tools were the forge, hammer, and anvil.

One of the blacksmith's main jobs was to shoe horses. He shaped the horseshoe, rasped the hoof, and burned and nailed the horseshoe in place. This did not hurt the horse. Besides making horseshoes, the blacksmith could make almost anything with wrought iron. Farmers often came to him for repairs.

Jim Codding is the master carpenter at Heritage Square. He made beautiful tables out of Heritage Square's fallen maple tree.

Building Must-See: Giant Bellows

Crombe Exhibit Barn

In the Exhibit Barn, browse the large display of farm tools and artifacts that decorate the walls. The barn is equipped with a full kitchen and bathroom. The barn can be rented for private parties or meetings.

Building Must-See: One-Horse Sleigh!

Sugar Maple Tree

Adjacent to the log cabin, the sugar maple tree grew for nearly 400 years before being cut down for safety reasons. It was considered to be the largest and oldest sugar maple tree in New York. Before being cut down, the tree was valued at $23,112.