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55 Park Avenue

55 Park Avenue
Brockport, NY 

History researched and written by Carol L. Hannan
© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – April 2013 All rights reserved

Yale Parce and Louise C. Bulkley Forbes
Owners/builders(?): between 1902 to late 1940s

One of the newer homes on a very old street, this turn of the century structure may have been built by Yale and Louise Forbes, the first identifiable owners. Yale Forbes was the son of the Reverend Merrill and Maria Palmer Forbes of Wyoming County. Louise Bilkley was the daughter of area residents Guy R. and Elsie Smith Bulkley. Louise’s sister, Aurelia Heddon was her Park Avenue neighbor and her brother, George, lived only a block away on State Street.

Yale and Louise married in Sweden Township in 1884. They had two daughters, Gertrude E. and Hazel L., neither of whom ever married. Yale began work as a partner with his brother, Merrill, and later continued as a produce dealer until approximately the time he moved into the house at what was then 13 Park Avenue. He then changed careers and became an insurance agent for the remainder of his life. The Forbes family continued in the Baptist faith of Yale’s parents but only Hazel was mentioned in the contemporary accounts as being actively involved in her church. The greatest mention of the Forbes family was the many newspaper reports of their excursions to visit family and friends, especially those in Wyoming County.

After Yale’s death in 1938, it was Hazel who quickly reorganized the insurance agency and continued to run it from the family home. She was the final living member of the immediate family to pass away in 1946, after an undisclosed illness of several days. In her obituary, it mentioned Hazel’s membership in the Baptist Church, the local Needlework Guild and her assistance in a Lakeside Hospital fund raising drive. No mention of her mother’s passing or her sister’s life and death could be found. In fact, it seems that Gertrude Forbes never held employment outside of the home.

The Forbes family is buried in the Brockport Cemetery, which is also the final resting place of many of their relatives.

Wilbur M. “Buck” and Mildred “Millie”McCormick
Owners: 1846 to 2010

“Buck”and “Millie” McCormick were the next home owners, and like the Forbes, they lived here for many decades. Both public school teachers, the couple likely met at the Brockport Normal, now the College at Brockport. “Millie” grew up near Canandaigua. “Buck” grew up in Clarkson, the son of Merton and Alma M. Armer McCormick.

Is this, perhaps, the McCormick family of reaper fame, living once again in this area? Probably not, Merton McCormick’s father, Robert, was born in Canada and Cyrus Hall McCormick and his family lived in Pennsylvania and Virginia. Still, conceivably, there could have been a family connection in Ireland – many generations ago.

The McCormicks lived on Park Avenue for decades, yet there is little published information on their daily lives at historical sites, as they resided there later in Brockport’s history, when newspapers did not routinely include as many social “happenings.” The demise of local newspapers and the rise of confidentiality concerns will be the bain of researchers in years to come. Obituaries still give us a glimpse of the contribution made by residents to our community, and in the case of the McCormicks, those contributions were many.

“Buck” and “Millie” had a number of common interests, including membership in the Brockport United Methodist Church, the Western Monroe Historical Society, the Brockport Alumni Association and Mornings with the Porfessors. “Buck” served on the Brockport Village Board, was a member of the Brockport Exempt Fireman’s Association and a Kodak retiree.

“Millie” McCormick survived her husband and died in 2010. She enjoyed, of course, the company of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren! After a long life together, “Millie”and “Buck” are now at rest in Lake View Cemetery, Sweden Township, but still fondly remembered by their former neighbors on Park Avenue.

Epilogue 2013
Now known as 55 Park Avenue, this home remains a single family residence with an exterior probably much like it was when it was built. In the history of Brockport’s many older homes and their interesting owners, this dwelling’s full story has yet to be written. 

© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan - April 2013. All rights reserved.