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Driving around Elba and Oakfield

By Howard B. Owens

I took a drive out to Elba and Oakfield today.  In Elba, I couldn't resist stopping to take a picture of this building, which is now the wallpaper on my computer.

Anybody know the history of this place?

When Hilly found out I was driving out to Oakfield, he told me I had the stop at Santino's Pizza. "The pizza is amazing," he said.  I did, and it is.

In Oakfield, I stopped by the library and read the flyers in the window of the pharmacy.

Two events I learned about:

  • October 18 and 25: Ghost walk at Batavia cemetery on Harvester, 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
  • The Genesee Chorale presents a recital series, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the Batavia City Centre.

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Ben Cherry

You know, after passing that building so many times, I was beginning to wonder the same thing. Also, when it comes to Santino's, the phenomenal pizza is not even the main attraction, in my opinion. The chicken finger sub is superb, I don't remember going to Santino's and not ordering that sub ever since i tried it.

Sep 18, 2008, 8:33pm Permalink
Brian Hillabush

Great call Ben.
The chicken finger sub is the best I've ever had. I have tried ordering it from many other places and nobody does it like Santinos.
I might have some bias because I grew up in Oakfield and have so many great memories of eating the awesome food and spending afternoons hanging out the parking lot (I'm assuming high schoolers still do that), but there is no place like Santinos in this area.
The people that work there are always friendly, there is so much awesome sports memorabilia on the walls and the food is just great. I have my favorites in Batavia, but almost every time I'm in Oakfield, I have to visit Tinos.
Now I'm getting hungry.
There is no question that I will be in town on Oct. 10 for the Pembroke at O-A football game. I think I'll stop by early to grab a bite to eat and chat with some old friends.

Sep 18, 2008, 9:47pm Permalink
lazario ladou

Santinos is pretty good
Right up there close with Bergens institution RalphyRosies as far as small shop pizzerias go
...and they have a great locale
Oakfield and Elba are gems in my book

But I still gotta go with RR's
great people

That building has intrigued me for a very long time, as well

Sep 18, 2008, 11:29pm Permalink
Ben Cherry

Well I may just have to make my way over to Tino's in the 10th then. Unfortunately not many of us high schoolers hang out in the lot. Ognibene has his trucks basically right on top of it. I am also I big fan of the memorabilia, even though I am a Red Sox fan. I have respect for any person that is a true fan of their team, even if its the team that Sox Nation loves to hate.

Sep 19, 2008, 7:03am Permalink
Philip Anselmo

This is a gorgeous photo, Howard. I'm heading out to Elba to the history barn today. I'll see if I can find anything out about this site.

Sep 19, 2008, 7:43am Permalink
Tammy Way

I must say I've heard many good things about Santinos- my daughters loved their pizza - and to the employees you must be doing a great job I always hear good things!!!

Sep 19, 2008, 9:33am Permalink
daniel cherry

Thats a nice pic, i like it howard.Where is that building?Is it on rt 98 ,going south on the right ,just outside elba?It could be Casmires old coldhouse for storing onions and potatoes?What type of camra do you have?I wish i had a canon xti.I have a canon s5si its ok for the price.I sure wish i could get out to the country and take some shots.The country, is what this community is all about.The farmers don't get paid alot.They are special people who deserve respect.They feed us all..I will find a picture and post it on the blog.And hi Ben.Ben is my nephew....dan

Sep 19, 2008, 10:33am Permalink
daniel cherry

The civil war reinactors ,were not at batavia cemetary, this year.Arent they, the ones who do the ghost walk?We called the holland land office, and they said that it was still on.So the boys and i went saturday.Nobody was there.So i called the number to the batavia cemetary.The man told me that the main reason get this, was,because they couldn't pay, for a porta potty.I have taken the boys there since they were 2 and 3.There are famous people from the civil war buried there.I think ,thats why they have the ghost walk now.The man from the batavia cemetary said his kids were upset too that it was cancelled.The civil war reinactors, are really good at telling history of the war.If you ask them questions.Each one is a specific charachter.You should have seen the outfits.And the old guns and antiques the brought.I don't recall them ever advertising (they may have).I feel it's a tragic loss, that they may no longer be there every year ,anymore the weekend after labor day.It was a great way for children and adults to learn things about our american history.I put some picss on flicr.One mans name was Philimon Tracy.… another was John Henry Martindale… I put links to flicr on here.Somewhere in my thousands of images i have some of them there reinacting.It is a tragedy to lose them cause of something so simple.Mabe we can get them to come back i hope.Mabe if we go to the ghostwalk we can find out more...Couldn't someone loan them a portajohn??The stories i pasted on flicr about the civil war veterans.

Sep 19, 2008, 2:27pm Permalink
Daniel Jones

I agree with you Dan, its a shame....Re-enacting is a great way to reintroduce history into people's lives who otherwise may find it boring, and the ghost walk was a great way to raise awareness about the Civil War in so many people's lives.

Sep 19, 2008, 2:30pm Permalink
Gabor Deutsch

It looks like a chicken or pig slaughter house.
If that is an incinerator on left, looks too tall and skinny for silo then i am right.

The doors on the side of barn look to large for chickens and they are not enuff of them for an egg farm.
MY guess.

Sep 19, 2008, 3:41pm Permalink
Richard Latko


If I can remember properly, the building and smoke stack are part of an onion storage barn that was destroyed by a fire some years ago. I believe the structure and smoke stack are still standing because of an insurance issue regarding the fire. The building across the street with the farm equipment is Lee Shuknech & Sons 585-757-6628 they should be able to answer your questions.

Sep 19, 2008, 5:18pm Permalink
june rowcliffe

For all who are wondering about the picture of the building and smoke stack located in Elba.

The Western New York Farms Company had successfully drained and reclaimed thousands of acres of the Oak Orchard swamp and turned it into the thriving and prosperous mucklands. With the soil proving so fertile and the extremely high yields being attained, a problem arose as to how to process the crops economically. In 1915, the Batavia Canning co.,negotiated with the Western Farms Co. to establish a large canning company known as the Elba Food Products Company. There were originally 3 buildings built. The windows in the buildings contained 3,000 panes of quarter-inch 10 by 16 inch wire-ribbed glass, the buildings took 200,000 feet of lumber to build. In it's first year of operation it processed 240 tons of spinach and 274 acres of peas.
Sadly the company went bankrupt. It was purchased in 1917 by another food processing company. They processed food for the U.S. Army. In 1919 they were advised to shut down operations as World War 1 had ended. That was the end of it's use. The owners left Elba.
In September of 1919, Wheat's Ice Cream Co. of Akron purchased the buildings. Remodeling began and at that time the chimney that remains standing was built. It is 150 feet high and 7 feet across at the top. The Atlas Milk Products, Inc., condensery was officially opened in March of 1920. It had the capacity to take in 300,000 pounds of raw milk. It's daily out-put of sweetened condensed milk would eventually total 3 carloads a day.
The buildings were located next to the West Shore Railroad. Over time a 100 people were employed at the business, many of them woman.
In the twenty's the Dairymen's League was operating the plant. In 1932 they were taking in about 90,000 pounds of raw milk daily.
Eventually the plant was used by the Oakfield & Elba Growers, Inc., the O & E Growers Inc. and Marky's Produce who operated it as a produce packing, shipping and brokerage business. Most of the buildings were consumed by fire in the 90's.
Information is from the 1996 Pinehill, Town of Elba, 175th Anniversary Book available for $10.00 from the Historical Society of Elba. Call Ann 757-9356 or June 757-2791.

Sep 23, 2008, 6:01pm Permalink

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