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The Trick-or-Treat Trail is back!

28 Sep

I heard some great news yesterday: this year’s Village of Webster Trick-or-Treat Trail will return this year, on Saturday, Oct. 30. Since last year’s event had to be cancelled, and things are not COMPLETELY back to normal this year, I know people have been wondering.

I probably don’t have to tell you parents what this is all about, but for those of you new to the village…. Basically, for several hours on what is usually a beautiful autumn Saturday afternoon, children and their adults can wander the village, popping in and out of businesses, trick-or-treating. Full constumes are expected of course, and not just for the children! It’s always fun to see entire families dressed up, often as a common theme. (Click here for a photo gallery from 2019.)

Final details haven’t been announced yet, but usually the day starts with a costume contest at Village Hall, followed by two or three hours of trick-or-treating. The Webster Volunteer Fire Department and the Webster Museum both plan some special activities, and it’s a great chance to check out some of our newest village businesses.

As details are announced, you’ll find them on the BID website. But for now, start planning those costumes!

Details ARE almost finalized for the village’s third Family Fun and Games Night on Saturday Oct. 16 from 5 to 9 p.m. This time around, the BID has cooked up an Oktoberfest theme, complete with a German band. So put this one on your calendar too.

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An update on my Carnevale quest

21 Sep

Very few of my blogs have gotten as many comments as the one I posted a few weeks ago about James W. Carnevale. I told the story of my quest to find out who he was and why Webster named a bike route after him.

For those of you unfamiliar with that blog, my search was prompted by a sign at the Webster Museum, seen here. The Museum Ladies didn’t know who he was, so I started doing some research. Eventually — with help from many others — I found out a lot about Mr. Carnevale. Plus, we figured out where the bike route is and have a pretty good theory as to why it was named after him.

It was a really long blog, guiding my readers through the whole story of how we tracked down information, bit by bit. I wasn’t sure many people would be interested enough to read all the way to the end, but clearly many did, because I got a lot of delightful comments.

A few people recalled the bike route from when they were young. Bru B., for example, wrote

In 1968 when I was twelve, I remembered a news report (? channel 8 way back Bob Mills era) that this was one of the first bike trails as an organized function using the side roadway in New York State. It was the first time I noticed part of the road on the side just for bikes.

Back then it was special. It was more noticeable on Klem Rd because we went from Greece through Sea Breeze (after eating a Vic & Irv’s) to go to the cider mills on Five Mile Line Rd. so we used Bay to Klem to Five Mile. I remember those signs well. Some are still around as you have seen.

Cindy F. also reported that she “rode all the routes as a teenager,” and still sees the signs around town.

Others are still making local connections. Deputy Village Clerk Jo O’Neill noted that the village’s chief wastewater plant officer, John Carnevale, might be related (turns out he isn’t, though). Charlene wrote that she never knew James W., but worked with his wife Nancy at the Webster Public Library and went to school with their son Matt.

This adventure may not be over. As more people find the original blog, I might get even more comments, and more connections might be made. I’d love to hear from anyone who might know something about Mr. Carnevale, so we can continue to find more about his life and his bike route.

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Webster Museum excitement, and other mailbag news

17 Sep

The Village of Webster’s latest turn on the local television news stations leads today’s mailbag.

Spectrum News recently got wind that the Webster Museum has just reopened, and reporter Wendy Mills visited several days ago to find out more. She met with Museum president Tom Pellett, from whom she got a thorough tour of the facility and a great interview.

The piece aired earlier this week on Spectrum, but has also been posted to the website, You can click here to see it.

And since we’re talking about the Webster Museum, now’s a great time to remind everyone that the museum’s annual Barn Sale is taking place this weekend, Friday and Saturday Sept. 17 and 18, at 394 Phillips Rd.

This really cool sale features vintage farm goods and furniture, toys, books, holiday goods, household goods, jewelry, glassware and more. You’re sure to find something to love.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, and everything is half price on Saturday — or you can fill a bag for $5. This is the museum’s biggest operating expense fundraiser, so stop on by, find a treasure, and help them out.


A few notes from the Town of Webster:

  • The Town’s spray parks are now closed for the season. We can hope that summer is not quite over yet, but even if it hits 90 again, the kids can’t cool off at the spray parks until next year.
  • If you’re tired of putting up with abandoned homes in your area, the Town of Webster has given you some recourse to get them taken care of. If you suspect a home in your neighborhood has been abandoned, you can report it to the Town using a link found at this website. The site will also give you more information on what actually contitutes an abandoned home.
  • The section of Lake Rd. between Shipbuilder’s Creek and Stoney Creek Run is now open again after completion of a three-month construction project. You can check the status of upcoming construction projects and road closures on the Town of Webster website.

Looking ahead to October, Rochester Challenger Miracle Field will host an Art Exhibit on Oct. 1 from 5 to 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 2 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at CDS Life Transitions, 860 Hard Rd. in Webster. This will be a silent auction featuring artwork created by local artists with physical and developmental challenges.

The Pride of Webster, Webster Marching Band will hold its 35th annual Autumn Fanfare on Saturday Oct. 9 from 5 to 9 p.m. This is always a spectacular display of talent from several schools in the Greater Rochester area, and if you haven’t seen one of these shows before, you should attend this year. The theme is “Unbroken,” which should conjure up all sorts of special props and effects. More info to come as the date gets closer.

Also that same evening, the Village of Webster will host its third Family Game Night and Beer Garden on West Main St. More to come about this as well, but if you can’t make it to the Autumn Fanfare, put this on your calendars.

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Webster community mailbag

13 Sep

Busy weekend coming up, starting with the HUGE Webster Jazz Festival, which hits the pubs and streets on Friday and Saturday. Check back here tomorrow for more details about that, but here are a few other events coming up this weekend as well which might interest you:


The Webster Museum’s annual Barn Sale takes place this Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 394 Phillips Rd.

This really cool sale features vintage farm goods and furniture, toys, books, holiday goods, household goods, jewelry, glassware and more. You’re sure to find something to love.

The sale will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. each of the three days, and on Saturday, everything is half price — or you can fill a bag for $5. This is the museum’s biggest operating expense fundraiser, so stop on by, find a treasure, and help them out.

ALSO, the Webster Museum’s outstanding Ward Mann exhibit, highlighting one of Webster’s most famous artists, will be closing soon.

The museum is open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30, and the last day you’ll be able to see the exhibit is Saturday Sept. 25.


The Webster Public Library has a very cool poster exhibit of its own right now. It’s called “September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed The World.”

The posters are provided courtesy of the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, which explains,

“This educational exhibition recounts the events of September 11, 2001, through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks. Told across 14 posters, this exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection.”

The exhibition is on display through during normal library hours. You can also download the exhibition digitally here.to see it online. The library is located at 980 Ridge Rd., at the rear of Webster Plaza.

The library, by the way, is conducting a search for a new director, and they’d like the community’s input. Click here to complete a short, three-question survey to let your voice be heard.


Here’s a reminder about a super-fun event coming up this Saturday at the Rec Center. It’s the first-ever Family Mud Run, obstacle course and fitness trail. The flyer with all the information is above, but basically, we’re talking a non-competitive, untimed, half-mile slog through water and mud, with some challenging obstacles. It’s only $5 per person, and there’ll be giveaways and snacks afterwards.

Can you imagine how delighted your kids will be if you tell them, “Hey guess what? Why don’t we all go down to the rec center, run through some mud puddles, and get super dirty…just for fun?!?!” Bonus points when they find out you’re going to do it with them.

Click here to see a little teaser video giving you an idea of what the Rec has planned.

You’ll want to register ahead of time, and choose a time slot between 10 a.m and noon. Register for program #301202 on the Parks and Rec website.


Finally, here’s a useful tidbit from our friends to the south.

Penfield Rotary and Penfield Recreation will sponsor the annual Community Bike Drop on Saturday, October 2 at Penfield Community Center, 1985 Baird Rd. from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.

Keep those old or unwanted bikes out of our landfills by donating them to a good cause. All bicycles collected will be donated to R Community Bikes, Inc. for repair and redistribution to needy children and adults in the Rochester area. All types of bikes are needed, including children’s tricycles, toddler plastic bikes and bike parts. Receipts will be available.

R Community Bikes, Inc. is a grassroots 501c3 organization that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to Rochester’s most needy children and adults. Its mission is to meet the basic transportation needs of those in the community who depend on bikes to get to work and training sessions, as well as for recreation.

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Announcing some Webster on the Web improvements

12 Sep

In an effort to make Webster on the Web an ever more valuable source of local news and information, I’ve decided to try something new.

You’ll see that at the top and in the side rail of my Webster on the Web homepage I’ve posted links to two brand new sub-pages, titled “Local Links” and “Village Directory.” (If you’re reading this on your phone, you’ll find the links in the “Menu” button on top, or all the way at the bottom of the page.)

The Local Links is separated into three sections: Local Government, Community Agencies and Churches. Each listing within these sections has a hyperlink leading straight to that organization’s website (or at least that’s what I tried to do).

On the Village Directory page, I’ve made the effort to map as many village businesses as I could. To make the maps less cluttered, I’ve separated them into three categories: Retail Shops, Professional Services, Eat and Drink and Park. When you click through to the map (using one of two links), and hover over a dot, it will tell you what the business is and its address.

I did my best to be as accurate and inclusive as possible, but after you’ve had a chance to poke around a bit, if you see anything you think I should add, please email me!

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A Webster bike route mystery solved (mostly)

10 Sep

Sometimes the most interesting journey can begin with a simple question.

The journey I want to tell you about today began for me in July, when I’d stopped by the Webster Museum. I noticed a blue and yellow metal sign in the exhibit right inside the front door, next to the tall antique bike. It read, “James W. Carnevale Bike Route.”

I asked one of the Museum Ladies, “Who’s James W. Carnevale?” She thought for a second, then responded, “I don’t know.”

Thus began my quest. I knew I had to find out who Carnevale was, why a bike route was named after him, and where that bike route was. It’s been a journey that’s stretched over two months and involved almost a dozen other inquisitve folks who helped me along the way by poking into genealogical records, tracking down old newspapers, and asking around to those who might have known Carnevale.

I started by doing some quick internet research on my own, with little success. At the suggestion of the Museum Ladies, I reached out to the Webster Public Library to see if their research professionals could do a little digging.

With help from the NYS Historic Newspaper Database, in no time, my friends over there — Laureen Anthony-Palmer, Doreen Dailey and Sarah Hodges — had unlocked all sorts of articles and photos. We learned that:

  • Carnevale was born in April 30, 1930 and died suddenly in Syracuse on Jan. 22, 1977
  • he graduated in 1950 from RIT
  • he enlisted in the Army in 1951, served in Korea as an intelligence officer, and was awarded the bronze star for his work in photography
  • he worked as an engineer at Kodak
  • he served as Webster’s Recreation Commissioner and was an active member of the town’s Democratic Party
  • he’s buried at Webster Union Cemetery

Perhaps the most interesting photo we found was one from Nov. 5, 1986, which appears to show the Town of Webster presenting Carnevale’s widow Nancy with the exact Bike Route sign which now hangs in the museum. The caption mentions that the new signs would replace ones on the “established bike route.”

Another clue.

The pieces were coming together, but we still didn’t know where the bike route was and why it was dedicated to James Carnevale. But I was undaunted.

Knowing that Carnevale was a former Recreation Commissioner, I got Webster Recreation Director Chris Bilow on the case. Chris checked with some of the Rec Center’s long-time employees to see if they knew anything about Carnevale, with no luck. BUT, in another email that same day, Chris sent two photos someone had snapped of a James W. Carnevale Bike Route sign which is still standing at the corner of Drumm and Herman roads.

That was exciting news. But the trail seemed to have reached a dead end there (no pun intended).

Until just two weeks ago, when I received an email from museum volunteer and research goddess Cherie Wood, who had the bright idea to consult Esther Dunn’s Webster Through the Years, a comprehensive guide to Webster’s history. Sure enough, Cherie found a huge piece to the puzzle.

The article Cherie found explained that the bike route was originally established in 1968 to, in part, “create additional interest in healthy recreational activity that can be practiced as a family group.” The 14.5-mile route took riders (in general) west from Holt Rd. to Klem, then along Bay, Volk and Dewitt roads, ending at Inspiration Point. There riders would turn around and wind their way back. (An image of the whole article with route details follows this blog.)

While there’s nothing in the article about this being that “established route” referenced in the caption above, I think we can assume so. And perhaps we can also infer that naming the bike route after Carnevale was a way to honor his service to Webster as Recreation Commissioner.

So that’s where we are right now. It’s been fun unraveling the mystery, and I deeply appreciate the help that I got from the library, the museum, and the Rec Center folks in tracking down all these details. I feel like I’ve gotten to know James pretty well; I even visited his grave at Webster Union Cemetery to pay my respects and thank him for his service to the town. (And for providing such a fun mystery.)

If made it all the way to the end of this very long blog, thank you for your interest. And if you happen to know anyone who knows anything about James Carnevale, or if you see one of the signs in your travels (rumor has it there might be one at Klem and Five Mile Line), please snap a photo!

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A few notes of interest:

Webster Museum reopens this weekend with exhibit on Webster artist Ward Mann

18 Aug

If you think you know the Webster Museum, read on, because you haven’t seen the new and IMPROVED Webster Museum.

This Saturday Aug. 21, the museum is opening its doors to the public again after a long hiatus thanks to the pandemic. And boy, is it looking spiffy, both inside and out.

The first things that will greet visitors on Saturday are two gorgeous gardens that flank the front door. Volunteers worked for weeks weeding the overgrown and unsightly gardens, prepping the beds, then choosing and planting a beautiful variety of shrubs, annuals and perennials in anticipation of this week’s grand opening.

The spiffiness continues inside, where display cases have been refurbished, walls have been painted, and exhibit spaces have been re-imagined. Many of the tried-and-true exhibits, especially those representing Webster’s basket-making and apple industries, have remained pretty much the same. But several other exhibits have been updated or changed out, and new ones are being planned highlighting Webster’s bakeries, dairies and gas stations.

Webster Museum president Tom Pellett reports there have also been other, less evident changes. “The museum is also “revamping our attack … to be more educational,” he said.

“We (older folks) are getting to be the only people who actually went into the old stores in the exhibits,” he explained. “There are a lot of people who arrived late, like in the 70s, that have no idea what some of the older areas were like here.” Plans include adding audio-visual components to help support that mission.

The museum kicked off its grand re-opening with a special members-only event last Sunday introducing the current exhibit, honoring the life and works of Webster artist Ward Mann. In a half-hour presentation, Ward’s son Craig — who flew up from North Carolina — and former art teacher Dick Kane detailed Mann’s early life, career as a Xerox engineer, and how he ultimately discovered his true passion: art.

Mann was a talented, versatile and well-known artist who lived and worked and painted in Webster from 1961-2005 and also had a studio in the artist colony at Rocky Neck, Massachusettes.

A team of 20 volunteers worked for months conducting research, coordinating with the Mann family, gathering the materials and compiling the exhibit. The result is an impressive presentation which includes 21 original Ward Mann canvases displayed throughout the museum, original sketchbooks, biographical information and a slideshow of many more pieces from Mann’s collection. The pieces on display represent all of Mann’s chosen media: sketches, watercolor, oil and pallet knife.

At the event, Pellett noted that it’s been 17 months since “the door slammed shut” back in March 2020. It was an unfortunate situation, but he added that being closed for so long “allowed us to do some things not normally done because of visitors.” Still, he added, “It’s so good to be back.”

Ironically, when the museum closed those many months ago, staffers were readying a brand new exhibit which would have introduced the community to a famous and highly respected local artist: Ward Mann.

“The public never saw it,” Pellett said. The downtime, however, clearly helped museum staff members build an even more in-depth and meaningful exhibit.

The Webster Museum will welcome the public back on Saturday, Aug. 21 from 2 to 4:30 p.m., then again on Saturday Aug. 28. Regular museum hours will resume in September, when the museum will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m. The Ward Mann exhibit will be here for just six weeks, so don’t miss it.

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster. Admission is free, but donations are always welcome.

Below are two of the paintings in the Ward Mann exhibit, and a slideshow of some of the other museum exhibits and gardens.

These two paintings are on display along with 19 other original works, memorabilia and hundreds of slide-show images of works not on display. Ward himself donated MINUTEMAN to the Webster Museum in 1977. Ward’s sons Craig and Kim donated ROCHESTER JUNCTION at the installation of the exhibit.

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The Webster Museum is bloomin’ beautiful!

23 Jul
The Webster Museum before its garden transformation

In anticipation of its re-grand opening next month, the Webster Museum is getting a facelift, both inside and out.

Inside, display cases are being refurbished, walls are being painted, and exhibit spaces are being re-imagined. Visitors won’t see those improvements for several weeks yet. But the beautiful updates being made OUTSIDE the museum are a different matter.

Thanks to the hard work of museum volunteers and Village staffers, the two gardens that flank the museum’s front door have been totally transformed. Not only have the weeds been yanked and all the old mulch raked out, but unsightly old shrubs, bushes and roots have been removed and replaced with a beautiful collection of new plantings.

The replanting project started innocuously enough when a few volunteers got together to weed the front gardens. Conversation soon turned to how nice it would look if some of the older plantings were removed and new ones put in their place. Things started to get really serious when museum volunteer Diana Strassman did some research and pulled together an entire list of historically accurate plantings which they could consider choosing.

The project got yet another boost when Jude Lancy, the Village Board museum liaison, got wind of the discussions and enlisted the Board’s support.

The first step was to get the existing gardens cleaned out. Superintendent of Public Works Jake Swingly and several of his staff members made quick work of that, doing the heavy lifting (literally — they had to move some antique farm implements out of the way first), and preparing the beds by clearing out the old mulch and plantings.

The Village team (L-R): Brandon Boutillier, Jim Scott, Dan Bortle, Mike Bradshaw, Mike Northrup, Jake Swingly. Not pictured: Jim Clancy

Then, a few days ago, museum volunteers convened at Welch’s Greenhouses to purchase the new plantings.

And here’s another “Why I love Webster” moment: Welch’s DONATED $500 in plantings and labor. Not only that, museum volunteers opened up their own wallets to purchase about $200 more in additional plantings.

Wow.

The same day the volunteers were at Welch’s purchasing their plants, Welch’s owner Bill Vendel and his helper Jake Wilhelm were already at the museum, planting the ones they had donated. By early next week, everything should be in the ground and Swingly and his team will have topped off the job with some new mulch.

When it’s all done, the new gardens will sport a wide and colorful variety of shrubs, annuals and perennials, including hydrangias, junipers, euonymous, weigela, sedum, and more. It’s going to be a spectacular and beautiful welcome for museum visitors.

Check it out for yourself when the museum reopens to the public on August 21 and 28, 2 to 4:30 p.m. Regular hours will resume on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday in September. The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the Village of Webster.

Here’s a gallery of photos from the plant-purchasing expedition to Welch’s:

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Great news from the Webster Museum

30 Jun

The Webster Museum is opening again! The Webster Museum is opening again!

After a long hiatus thanks to the pandemic, the Webster Museum will be opening its doors to the public again in August, on Saturday, Aug. 21 and Saturday Aug. 28, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. both days.

Regular museum hours will resume in September, when the museum will be open Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 2 to 4:30 p.m.

The opening exhibit will feature the paintings of artist Ward Mann, who lived, worked and painted in Webster from 1961 until his death in 2005. His family has generously provided many of Ward’s paintings for this exhibit, memorabilia from his studios in Webster and in Rocky Neck, MA and slide shows of many of his other works.

Visit the Webster Museum website to find out more about this exhibit and some fascinating Webster history (I especially enjoy the blog).

The Webster Museum is located at 18 Lapham Park in the village.

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Webster community mailbag

16 Jun

A few of the items in today’s mailbag are reminders about events happening this weekend. But first, a note that the Joe Obbie Farmers’ Market is officially open for business for the summer.

This early in the season, you’ll mostly find specialty items like syrups and honey, flowers and crafts. There were a couple of fresh produce stalls last weekend — opening weekend — with some beautiful strawberries. But the number of vendors and selection will expand every week, so make sure to check back regularly. And there was a food truck as well, which organizers have said will be a regular feature.

The market is located in Webster Towne Center plaza, in front of Old Navy and near the gazebo. It’s open every Saturday through November from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.


St. Martin Lutheran Church, 813 Bay Rd., will hold a huge garage sale this coming Thursday, Friday and Saturday (June 17-19). Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. All proceeds will benefit the church’s local missions and neighbors in need.

The Webster Thomas Players will present their spring musical, Cabaret live and in person this year at the Penfield Amphitheater, 3100 Atlantic Ave., in three shows June 17 to 19.

The production will be PG-13, but the subject matter is most appropriate for mature audiences, addressing issues around anti-Semitism and political fanaticism. Audiences will recognize many legendary musical numbers including “Willkommen,” “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Maybe this Time,” “Money,” and of course, “Cabaret.”

Cabaret will be presented in three shows:

● Thursday, June 17, 7:30 p.m.
● Friday, June 18, 7:30 p.m.
● Saturday, June 19, 7:30 p.m.

The rain date for all shows will be Sunday, June 20 at 7:30 p.m.

Reserved seating tickets are available for $12 in advance, and can be purchased online here. On the day of the show, reserve tickets will be $15 (if available). General admission “bring your own” lawn chair ($10) or blanket ($25) options are also available. You can see more details about these options on the website (websterthomasplayers.com).


It’s Sidewalk Sale Weekend in the Village of Webster.

Five village shops will be setting up some tables outside their stores this Friday and Saturday and offering some great bargains both outside and in.

At Yesterday’s Muse Books for example, all items outside will be 50% off, and inside everything is buy two get one free. The Village Quilt Shoppe will have lots of fabric, patterns and kits for 40% off. You’ll also find some great deals at Nest Things, The North Bee and Lala of Webster.

So take a stroll downtown this Friday and Saturday and meet some of our very friendly small business owners.


Webster doesn’t have an Independence Day parade, but you don’t have to go very far to enjoy one.

Penfield’s Independence Day Parade will be held Saturday July 3, beginning at 10 a.m. It steps off at Penfield High School, proceeds south on Five Mile Line Road to Route 441, east on Route 441 to Baird Rd., and north on Baird Rd. to end at the Penfield Community Center.

The town is dedicating the parade to all the people who helped the town’s resisdents make it through a very difficult 2020, and who may still be helping them cope. Help came in many forms during the pandemic: physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, financial and more.

Penfield residents who wish to contribute a name, or names, to the banner may submit them on the Town of Penfield website at www.penfield.org. Names may also be submitted via phone at (585) 340-8655, option 0. The audience at Penfield’s Independence Day will also have the opportunity to add their heroes’ names to the banner as it is walked through the parade.

The banner will be displayed in a prominent location after the Independence Day festivities, so the heroes can be recognized beyond the holiday.


Here’s this month’s Webster Museum History Bit:

Now and Then: Webster Baseball

Today’s baseball in Webster differs from the early days in so many ways.

Ball fields are all over town now. There are school fields and town fields and park field and fields owned by philanthropic organizations and pick-up games in empty spaces. There are many varieties of bats, balls, mitts, caps, helmets, uniforms and protective equipment, many of them tossed on grassy fields while players wait their turns.

Nineteenth century Webster baseball teams were loosely organized, equipped with one homemade bat and one hard rubber ball (that’s it!) and used the underhand swift pitch. Games were played on borrowed private property for at least ten years before the first organized high school game was played in 1888. Since then, Webster has fielded many excellent school teams and a number of players who went on to careers in professional baseball.

In the 1890s local businessmen organized teams and rented land now bounded by Lapham Park, Park Ave., Dunning Ave. and Elm Street. They fenced it and added a grandstand and ticket office. Uniformed and equipped, the teams from the town and from Nine Mile Point played teams from Rochester, Brockport, Parma and Penfield.

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