Allen's Creek - A Varied History
This article was published in the Democrat and Chronicle. It was authored by Mary Jo Lanphear. It was originally titled "How Allen's Creek Got It's Start."
One of the oldest communities in the town of Brighton, Allen’s Creek was first settled briefly by Capt. Timothy Allyn of Massachusetts.
In 1790, he built a log cabin on a tract of 500 acres on the creek that is his namesake, but after a summer in the wilderness, he became discouraged, sold out, and went to Geneva, where he became a successful businessman.
He left behind in what would become Brighton a strategic location on a major trade route — the road from Canandaigua to the Irondequoit Landing. The road to the Landing followed today’s Landing Road North and South.
Tryon town, established in 1797 at the Irondequoit Landing, became the center for Canadian trade in Genesee Country flour. It also became the source of supplies for the storekeepers of Canandaigua. In 1804, those merchants extended the road from the Landing to the Genesee River. Today’s Merchants Road in Rochester is a remnant of that early thoroughfare.
Two-hundred-and twenty-five years later, Timothy Allyn’s name remains, slightly altered, in the southeast corner of Brighton near the Pittsford line. Allen’s Creek, accessible from Irondequoit Bay through its connection to Irondequoit Creek, provided water power.
John and Solomon Hatch, who purchased Timothy Allyn’s land, built a saw mill on the creek in 1806. A succession of millers followed them, most notably Isaac Barnes, who came from Stockbridge, Massachusetts, in 1800 and built a mill on Allen’s Creek, using the Ebenezer “Indian” Allan millstones. (Those stones are now on display in the wall of the Monroe County Office Building.)
Isaac Barnes’ descendants kept the business going until 1953, when the dam went out and it became known that the Eastern Expressway would be built through the mill site.
Marshfield Parsons was another early settler in 1825. He moved in with his friend, Enos Blossom, whose house was on the location of today’s Brighton No. 1 Fire Hall, and eventually married Eliza Blossom in 1837. Parsons operated a powder mill on Allen’s Creek until 1848, when an explosion killed several workers. He sold his equipment to the Rand company in what is now Powder Mills Park.
Prospering in his new community, Parsons built a large brick Greek Revival farmhouse on East Avenue. His heirs sold the house and farmland to the Country Club of Rochester after that organization was founded in 1895. The Parsons house was the first clubhouse until it burned down in 1902.
The country club is associated with a 20th century athlete who grew up on Allen’s Creek in Brighton. Walter Hagen, born in the Glen in 1892, was introduced to golf at the age of 3. He became a caddie at the country club when he was 8, the position earning him playing privileges.
Promoted from caddie to assistant pro when he was 15, Hagen went on to win the U.S. Open in 1914 and 1919 and, in 1922, became the first native-born American to win the British Open. His tally of 11 professional tournament wins is third behind Jack Nicklaus (18) and Tiger Woods (14).
Hagen was one of hundreds of children who attended Allen Creek School. Founded in 1815 as Brighton District No. 6 school, it held classes in private homes until 1818, when a one-room school was built to accommodate scholars aged 5 to 15 from November through March.
That early school building was succeeded by a stone building from 1841 through 1879, and a frame building from 1880 through 1929, when the present brick school was built. Celebrating its bicentennial this year, Allen Creek School became part of the Pittsford Central School District in 1958.