Strolling South Main House Tour
This year’s tour afforded the opportunity to visit six wonderful homes at the southern entrance to the village: South Main Street, a historic area of architecturally distinguished homes. If you could travel back in time, you would see a very different area, one dotted with orchards of fruit trees and greenhouses bursting with roses and other precious flowers.
Some of the orchards were owned by the Clark family, who moved to 249 South Main in 1907. Charles Johnson Clark bought a home built for Civil War veteran Simeon P. Howard, a home flanked by extensive orchards. On June 23, 1904, the Monroe County Mail described the extent of these orchards: 50 acres, 2500 peach trees, 2500 pear trees, 600 plum trees, 500 cherry trees, 500 prune trees, 300 quince, and a quantity of apple trees. The Clark family sold the home in 1922 but purchased it again years later, in 1936.
Greenhouses were also part of Fairport’s landscape. One such complex of multiple greenhouses stood at the corner of Hulburt and Moseley Roads. They were built in 1885 by Rochester nurserymen Al and Dick Salter, who sold cut flowers shipped by rail to Rochester and delivered by horse and wagon to florists.
In 1918, George Hart, who had worked for the Salter brothers, purchased their business, planting 15,000 roses that first year and adding 25,000 more in his second year. He also grew gardenias. He soon joined forces with James Vick, owner of an established seed company, to form the Hart and Vick Seed Company. With hard work and research on growing roses in this climate, the company flourished. In 1933, the partners opened some of their gardens to the public and built a conservatory and trial gardens connected with winding paths for walking. The gardens became Victory Gardens for residents during World War Two. The Hart and Vick enterprise lasted well into the 1950s.
In 1967, Hart’s son, George B. Hart, sold the thirty-six-acre parcel for development, a contentious move as the property contained the last remnants of a beech-maple forest. Despite a campaign to have the town purchase the land and proclaim it forever wild, the greenhouses were razed and replaced with Harts Woods Apartments, which later became condominiums, Westage at Harts Woods. The town of Perinton, however, acquired nine acres, aptly named Harts Woods, which was declared a national landmark by the National Parks Service.
As you stroll down South Main Street, the sight of trees, shrubs, and flowers may trigger thoughts of a bygone era of acres of fruit trees and abundant glorious blooms.
Take time to smell the roses – and the gardenias too.
The Abner Wight House, 234 South Main Street – Lynn Barber
Abner Wight, a Revolutionary War veteran, built this house circa 1825. It was originally erected across the street at 249 South Main Street and moved here in the late 1800s.
It is a mix of Federal and Greek Revival, having been constructed at two different times.
Electa Griffith Barber's parents, Margaret and Russell Griffith, purchased the home in 1937 and lovingly restored it. The present owner is the third generation of Barbers to occupy the house. For more information on Electa Barber visit her page under People of Perinton.
The home was designated a local landmark in 2009. For more informartion visit the Abner Wight House page in the Village Preservation section of this site.
The Baumer House
208 South Main Street – Ron & Sue Roberts
Surrounded by mature trees and delightful gardens, this 1925 Colonial Revival style home was built in the pear orchard of the Brooks Farm.
The Roberts are the third owners of this property. Note the inviting three-season sunroom entrance with it bead board ceiling. Typical of the carpentry of the era, the multiple built-in throughout the home offer unique spaces for storage and display. The period light fixtures leaded-glass windows and fanlight over the front door were designed for optimum natural light.
Sue Roberts has served the community as the town of Perinton historian and Town Clerk. For more information on Sue Roberts, visit her page under People of Perinton.
The home was designated a local landmark in 2022.
The Martin Sperbeck House
200 South Main Street – Raul & Heidi Martinez
This is a house for porch lovers. It was built originally on 100 acres by Martin Sperbeck in the early 1800s.
When you cross the spacious front porch and enter the home, you are greeted with high ceilings and chandeliers, elegant wallpapers and refinished floors.
This home is being renovated to showcase the large rooms and detailed woodwork. The owners enjoy sharing their home with guests and have designed a large kitchen that overlooks the beautiful garden and grounds.
This home was designated a local landmark in 2oo9. For more informartion visit the Martin Sperbeck House page under Village Preservation.
199 South Main –
Peter & Sara Hartman
This home was built circa 1890 in the Queen Anne style, popular between 1880 and 1910. The remaining features of this era are the windows on the upper front which had a pent roof above them and the cut-away-bay on the south side of the home. In 1923, a great deal of remodeling was done, including removal of a covered front porch and the addition of four columns. In 1957 a family room was added with an underground garage. In 2010, a covered patio was added.
In 1946 Elmer and Phyllis Hartman purchased the home along with eight acres, moving from the city of Rochester. They had five boys, all of whom became engineers. The house was painted pink to add a bit of femininity to Mrs. Hartman’s life. The current owners are Peter and Sara Hartman, who have two children.
The kitchen has handcrafted wooden cabinets and a sink and counter fashioned by Elmer Hartman from one large piece of stainless steel. Across from the kitchen is the eating area.
The dining room is warmed by a fireplace of Vermont Marble and a window with southern exposure. At one time an enunciator beneath the table summoned the kitchen help.
The formal living room at the front of the home has another fireplace and arched built-in bookcases. From the front window a rotator device that holds the annual Christmas tree is apparent. Display of the tree is a longstanding family tradition.
This grand house could tell many tales, including two about women who made their mark in the artistic world: Ida Dougherty Aylward and Kate Cox Goddard.
Ida Dougherty Aylward
Ida Dougherty Aylward, 1878 – 1955, was born in 1878 and grew up at 199 S. Main. She traveled by train on Saturday mornings to take classes at the Mechanics Institute (later the Rochester Institute of Technology) in Rochester. She graduated from Fairport High School in 1896, one of three in her graduating class. She graduated from Mt. Holyoke College in Hadley, MA, and studied at the Art Students’ League in New York City an at American illustrator Howard Pyle’s Brandywine School in Delaware between 1903 and 1905. She created stained glass windows for cathedrals and churches, and illustrations for several magazines, including Collier’s. In 1912 Dougherty married fellow artist William James Aylward, who served in World War I as a commissioned war artist.
More information about Ida can be found on her page: Ida Dougherty Aylward in People of Perinton.
Kate Cox Goddard
An artist of another sort called 199 South Main home. Kate Cox Goddard was recognized for her work with parents of disturbed children and became an authority in this new field. In 1848, she was the guest speaker at the Fairport Business Women’s Association, a meeting held at the Potter Memorial. Her topic: musical therapy.
Goddard was also a well-known children’s author, writing poems, books, and song lyrics. She sometimes wrote under the pen name of Almeda Babcock, the names of her grandmothers. She wrote for her son, Mark, and called him her “lab”: “What he likes, other children seem to like.” Her books were endorsed for supplementary reading in schools. In 1953, she traveled to Paris to translate children’s literature for the publisher Silver Burdette.
Kate Goddard was the originator and manager of the children's book department at Forman’s in Rochester. She made numerous speaking engagements promoting children’s literature.
Kate and John Gilbert Goddard married in 1925 and lived in the historic house for many years. Later, their son and his wife lived there.
203 South Main Street –
Chris & Vicki Hartman
This home was built in 2014 with ninety tons of concrete and insulated foam. It is all electric, geo-thermal, heated floors/cooling. It has about 3000 square feet of living space on 5.44 acres of land. There are three barns on the property, fruit trees, beehives, a trout tank and a bio-filtered reclaimed wetland and pond.
The owners Chris and Vicki Hartman live here with their two children and dog. Chris’s parents live at 199 S. Main Street, which is in front of 203. 203 South Main Street has a contemporary industrial design, but exudes comfort, heart and joy inside and out. The front doorbell came from Chris’s grandfather. It was on board a submarine chaser named “Friendswood.” Chris’s grandfather’s family spent many years on the waterways fixing subchasers and traveling.
Upstairs are three bedrooms, a den, a laundry room and two bathrooms, one of which is an “outside” type shower open to the elements. The insulated concrete flooring has radiant heat. There is a hot tub upstairs on the outside deck and a green roof strong enough for dirt to hold a self-sustaining garden.
The house is built with durable, reclaimed materials. The stairway to the second floor is made from reclaimed cypress wood from 100-year-old sauerkraut vats found in Ontario, NY. The bathroom has wallpaper made from maps and a copper sink.
Concrete is a durable, affordable and energy-efficient material. It can reduce carbon emissions and lower environmental impact. Concrete structures are designed to last for centuries and get stronger over time. These structures are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Concrete can be molded into any shape, size or design. Concrete is fire resistant, and it won’t rot, mold or rust. It is virtually maintenance free. There is no basement; the house built on a slab.
Chris is the third generation of the Hartman family on this land. His grandfather Elmer and grandmother Phyllis moved to 199 South Main Street in 1946. Chris is the founder and president of Headwater Food Hub, a company that works in partnership with sustainable farms and food producers. Vicki is currently an occupational therapist at Strong, but is also a ceramic artisan who made a lot of the tile work in the house.
The kitchen’s center island has a black walnut top taken from a tree that was in this location and felled to build the house. The countertops are concrete and tile work is a special touch. The dining table is made from reclaimed white oak. The slate chalkboard is from a school in Rochester, and the beams are Douglas Fir. A crane was used to lift them.
Concrete homes are nothing new, loved for their durability and longevity as well as cost effectiveness in design. They are less taxing on the environment, as an abundant supply of natural and recycled materials goes into concrete. This is in contrast to the average frame home, which uses three dozen or more trees.
Insurance is 25% less than for wood homes. Concrete homes are resistant to fire, high winds, and pests. Concrete homes cost 4 to 10% more to build but have lower utility costs and last many more years. Cement is actually an ingredient of concrete. Concrete is a mixture of aggregates and paste. Aggregates are sand and gravel or crushed stone. Paste is water and Portland cement.
The grounds include a bio-filtered pond system and a wetland and pond system, built by Chris Hartman. Behind the barn is a beautiful hand-built boat made by Matson Ewell, a prominent Fairport and PHS figure. The boat was built between 1946 and 1952. It was given to Chris, who is modifying it into a space to enjoy but not a watercraft.
209 South Main Street –
Fritz & Georgia May
In December of 1887, Richard Roberts bought a lot on a hill in the southern part of the village. A carpenter by trade, he quickly acquired stone, brick and other materials to build a home for his family, and the foundation was completed by June 1888.
Roberts worked locally and traveled to other job sites, for example, the Adirondacks. He was a staunch Republican, as noted in the Fairport Herald Mail in 1900: “away from home doing carpenter work, he expects to be home on election day to vote for McKinley and the rest of the Republican ticket, as he feels sure this is best for business, where he works and in all other places.”
209 South Main has had numerous owners, Fritz and Georgia May purchasing the home in 1971. The home has a Folk Victorian style, sharing characteristics with the Queen Anne style, such as a facing gable and a prominent front porch with spindles. The Mays have done much restoration to their home, for a total of five projects. When the cedar shakes were removed, the original clapboard was revealed as well as the outline of the porch, which was rebuilt. The summer kitchen became the office and laundry room.
The entrance to the home from the front porch leads to the original part of the house. From the front hall, the first room on the right is the front parlor. High molding with decorative corners and pocket doors creates a traditional feel.
Another parlor in the back functions as a family room. A Count Rumford fireplace in the room once burned coal. The fireplace, tall and shallow, reflects heat back into the room. A formal dining room is another room in the original part of the house.
The entrance to the home from the rear leads to a contemporary kitchen with cabinets built by the Mennonites. Adding charm to the room are numerous cupboards, a butler’s pantry, and a coffee bar.
A three-season room on the north side of the home, is a family favorite with its bead board ceiling and floor-to-ceiling windows.
The grounds include flower gardens and an inground pool between thehhouse and the carriage house, making this a lovely village setting.
For more information on architecture styles in our area, view the Architectural Styles Guide.
See the calendar for dates of upcoming tours and enjoy brief descriptions of past tours within the Historic Tours section of the site.