Bringing Brighton History Back to Life.
It was 2005. And to the casual passerby, driving on Westfall Road, between Clinton Avenue and Winton Road, the dilapidated, abandoned old farmhouse sitting, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, on nearly 100 acres of land overgrown with weeds, was an eyesore. Little did most people know what a diamond in the rough, rich in historic heritage, it was.
Fortunately, a unique partnership came to the rescue for the Buckland House, the town’s second oldest standing house. The Town of Brighton, the State of New York, with Senator Joe Robach’s help, and the Rotary Club of Brighton partnered
to make the restoration of the Buckland House possible, with the Club committing to raise $100,000 of the $434,000 cost.
Club members worked tirelessly fundraising. Activities included a bash hosted by Tom Wahl/Glen Skalny at their house on East Avenue and selling engraved bricks for the brick walkway in front of the house. Plus, we helped reduce the cost of the restoration by finding equipment donors and providing a volunteer crew to paint the inside of the house.
On September 8, 2007, nearly two years after the project began, the ribbon was cut at the Grand Opening of the renovated, rejuvenated Buckland Farmhouse. In honor of the Club donating or raising $100,000 towards the renovation, a plaque on the building proclaims it as the “Brighton Rotary History Center at “Buckland Park.”
Now to the history this partnership saved.
It all begins back in 1813. For the bargain-basement price of $10, and of course, “love and affection.” Enos Stone sold 210 acres of land to his son, Alvah. Then, using 2015 parlance, Alvah “flipped” the property, selling it to Nathaniel Rochester in 1817. Nathaniel then sold it to Elie Beatty.
Then, in 1820, the Buckland House was built, as a one-room brick house, on one lot of that acreage, using Buckland Brick.. The Bucklands— Abner Buckland and his brothers are one of the main reasons Brighton is known for bricks. They mined clay and made bricks in their factory on Winton Road.
To say The Buckland House has changed over the years would be an understatement. The old farmhouse is a mishmash of virtually every architectural style popular from 1830 to 1950. Built on log beams in the basement, the original story and a half one-room structure had a similar-size addition added to the west side shortly after it was finished. Next came the larger brick Greek Revival west wing came next, somewhere around 1840. The frame construction east wing came in the late nineteenth century. And the concrete brick second story was added around 1915— this addition stands out because the gray cement brick used for the second floor is a stark contrast to the red brick on most of the rest of the house. Sometime in the 1920’s the original gabled roof was replaced with the hipped roof that’s there today.
The house presently features simple architectural details typical of structures built in the local area during the early 1800 period of original construction— symmetrically placed windows, narrow brick lintels plus the addition of a late nineteenth/early/twentieth century front porch. Despite the current hip roof, the one and a half-story west wing retains a Greek Revival style with its wood cornice and gable end returns. Some believe that there may have been wide Greek Revival cornice on the main two story structure before the roof was raised.
The cast iron crane in the first floor fireplace is particularly significant, as it appears to be original, and finding a nineteenth century fireplace crane intact on its original site is exceedingly rare. The only other original fireplace crane in Brighton, at its original site, is at the Stone-Tolan House Museum at 2370 East Avenue. The first floor is currently comprised of a living room with the early fireplace, a dining room, two bedrooms, a kitchen and pantry, and an attached shed of the kitchen. The typically narrow nineteenth-century enclosed staircase leads to the second floor with a large hall, four bedrooms and a bathroom. Distinctive plaster ceilings and plaster crown molding are featured in three of the four bedrooms
The Buckland Farmstead is a house is the perfect mirror of the Town’s growth from the settlement period to the modern age. Originally a very small house, it grew as the size and the needs of its families increased. Along the way it remained a simple structure that reflected the lifestyle of its owners.
The House and surrounding farmland took on an interesting role in its later years— providing food and vocational experiences for the children at the Rochester Orphan Asylum (which later became the Hillside Children’s Center).
This house is one of only three surviving brick residences in the town built and occupied by members of the Buckland family. The other two Buckland homes are at #1037 and #1551 Winton Road South. All three are designated Brighton landmarks. Hillside Children’s Center sold the property to Roy McGregor in 1939 and in 1948, Max Gonsenhauser acquiredthe farm and raised beef cattle and dairy cows.
In 1997, the house and thirty-two acres of the farm now known as the Buckland Farmstead were purchased the Town of Brighton. And now, following the restoration, the house is currently a history center, with meeting space that can be reserved by Brighton organizations.