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Filkins - Howes House

Filkins – Howes House

164 South Main Street, Fairport 14450 

S.Main164v2DDFritsch9.5.2019WebThis brick home at 164 South Main Street was built in 1875 by George S. Filkins. The Fairport Historic Preservation Commission (FHPC) recognized the importance of this structure to the village in 2020 by designating it a local landmark. It was built at a time of significant growth in the village, is associated with an historic personage and is a recognizable feature of the neighborhood.

Population and Economic Growth

The second half of the 19th Century was a time of industrial, commercial, and residential expansion in Fairport. In 1853, the New York Central Railroad line was built through the village. Industry boomed: factories clustered near the junction of the canal, railroad, and Main Street manufactured baking soda, boxes, lumber, carriages and wagons, barrels, silk thread, and candy, among other products. 

The village’s success is reflected in its rapid population growth: from 200 residents in 1848, Fairport jumped to a population of 1,000 in 1867, then nearly doubled to 1,920 by 1880. This home was built in 1875 along with many others during the doubling of the village population.

164 South Main is a 2-story square box-shaped form with a low-pitched hip roof and wide overhanging eaves. This is a very common form in Italianate houses.

Historic Personage – George S. Filkins
George Southworth Filkins (b. 1838, d. 1917), a Civil War veteran, lived briefly on the Hulburt Road farm when it was located at Hulburt and Brooks Avenue (Potter). His family resided there for many years. 

In the 1870's George began development of a large tract of known as Filkins and George Streets. He liked working with brick and is credited with building 160 South Main, 164 and 166 South Main Street, 53 Roselawn Avenue, 72 East Street, 35 Filkins and the “Filkins Block” at 45 South Main Street.

The brick for this home likely came from a kiln on Ayrault and Jefferson Avenue.[1] In 1889, G. S. Filkins purchased the stone yard of Watson & Doyle advertising the sale of  “quarry stone, sand, brick, tile, quick lime, cement and all mason supplies”. The yard was located on the south side of the canal between Chadwick store and the Green and McAuliffe’s lumber yard.[2]

He also built the Seeley Block at the corner of South Main and Cherry Streets (West Ave). George made important contributions as an early developer in the village. The family home on Hulburt was moved to the top of the hill in 1953. The home at 110 Hulburt was locally designated and named the Filkins – Carroll house to recognize his contributions to our community. 

Filkins died in 1917 at the age of 78, but is remembered as a successful entrepreneur. He was also a village trustee for many years and a member of the Raymond Baptist Church (Fairport Community Baptist).[3]

Notable Owners

Mr. Harrison J. Wooden (1839 - 1900) was the first owner of the home built by George Filkins at 164 South Main St. He was a contractor and builder. From 1882 to 1897 he operated a coal business, which was located in the Winnie warehouse.[4] He constructed at least nine buildings including his residence in 1898 at 16 West Church Street. At this time, he was constructing two houses on South Avenue. 150 West Avenue was identified as being built by Wooden.[5]

Mr. Wooden held a number of public offices, including Village Trustee, Village Assessor, Police Justice and was Justice of the Peace for eight years. In 1897, he was appointed inspector, by Superintendent Aldridge and was engaged in state work, inspecting on the canal at Buffalo near Forrest Port, and in Cayuga County, near Montezuma.[6]

Joseph P. Smith owned the home from 1896 to 1920. Smith for a brief time owned the Osborne Hotel and later was the proprietor of the Cottage Hotel. When the Rochester, Syracuse & Eastern Railway was first opened he served as a Ticket Agent. He owned the house for 24 years.

Addis Van Alstyne Adams (1903 - 1983) and his wife Margaret (1900 - 1988) purchased the house in 1937. The family owned it until 1995. (58 years) Addis grew up in Fairport possibly at 7 Cole Street. He was a graduate of Colgate University and got his law degree from Cornell. He was a lawyer here for over 40 years and served as the village lawyer for 8 years. He had once served as assistant attorney for the State Insurance Department in NYC. He was an active member of the Rotary for 40 years and in 1980 had been named a Paul Harris Fellow by the club. The Adams had a son. Addis V. Adams, Jr.[7]

Familiar Feature of Neighborhood

S.Main164v13DDFritsch2020LRThis house and 160 South Main have long been considered sister houses because they share many of the same Italianate features and were both built by George Filkins in 1875. They are both located on the corner of South Main and George Street. 

164 South Main is a 2-story square box-shaped form with a low-pitched hip roof and wide overhanging eaves. This is a very common form in Italianate houses. The fenestration has three openings on the east and north and 2 on the north side. The windows are tall and narrow with segmental arch surrounds with 2 courses of rowlock brick. 

Both 160 and 164 S. Main are 2-story square box shaped form with a low-pitched hip roof and have 10" brick walls.

The pattern of the brick walls is a traditional running bond consisting of all stretchers. The 10” walls are constructed with air space or a cavity between 2 layers of brick. Two of the openings on the north side are faux windows finished with closed shutters. The inside has plain walls of plaster and lath. These faux windows are original to the 1875 building. It appears that it was done for balance and symmetry.[8]


For more information on the FHPC and designated landmarks, go to the village preservation page or the village website.


[1] Architectural & Historical Survey of Buildings in the Village of Fairport, prepared by the Landmark Society of Western NY - 1976

[2] The Fairport Herald 12.14.1888.3

[3] Town of Perinton Historian article Filkins Family

[4] The map of 1872 shows C. Winne property and buildings along Parker St. on both the east and west sides along the canal

[5] Well-preserved Marsh Home Part of Tour, Fairport-Herald Mail 10.8.1996

[6] Business Directory for the Village of Fairport, 1898

[7] Addis V. Adams Obituary Fairport-Perinton Herald-Mail 8.31.1983.11

[8] Perinton Historical Society House Tour brochure - 1970.



The lithograph from 1885 shows 160, 164 S. Main on the corner of George and S. Main. To the south of 164 is another Filkins built house, 166 S. Main.



The windows are tall and narrow with segmental arch surrounds with 2 courses of rowlock brick. The brick walls are a traditional running bond consisting of all stretchers. Notice also the louvered shutters.



The front entrance has pilasters and an entablature over the segmental arch of the door opening. The door is a Dutch style.



Filkins liked working with brick and is credited with building many of the village's brick buildings including this one at 35 Filkins Street.



160 S. Main, built by Filkins is considered the sister house of 164. 



The "Filkins Block" at 45 S. Main is shown here in 1939. For many years George Filkins ran a meat market and grocery store here. The three story brick building was built in 1888. He cleverly tapped into the new municipal water works to power his sausage-cutting apparatus. Although the third floor was removed decades ago, the building still stands (2020).



For more information about George S. Filkins visit George Filkins: His Impact on the Village of Fairport and the Filkins in Fairport House Tour.


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ARCHIVED August 2023. Please visit for current information.