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County History

The Passing of Belvidere

(Following is from Belmont Dispatch newspaper, 4-18-1935, researched by Mary Rhodes.)

One-Time Thriving Hamlet Is Thing of Past. Erie Petitions P. S. C. For Permit to Remove Station Buildings

          With the Public Service hearing today in Salamanca, relative to the retirement of the Erie R. R. station buildings at Belvidere, that village once a thriving center of population and industry, and discussed strongly as Allegany’s county seat, will cease to be even a flag or a whistle stop.

          Belvidere had its inception back in the early fifties (1850s) when the Erie opened its railroad through this section. Its name came naturally from the Judge Philip Church’s nearby homestead.

          Back in 1860 French’s Gazetteer describes the place as one of the most important on the Genesee, stage and freight routes radiated in all directions. It boasted three saw-mills, a couple of hundred population, a church, a hotel, a saw and stave mill, a cheese factory and many small stores and mechanic’s shops.

          On the opening of the railroad through the town in 1851, history relates that Judge Church presented the station with a flag representing an engine drawing a large cannon and some sheaves of wheat in an open car, an Indian in ambush with surprised look with bow and arrow falling from his hands and a frightened deer running away. Beneath the design was the following:

“Where the fierce red man trod his pathless way,

In search precarious, daily food to slay;

Or, hid in ambush, sprung upon his foe,

Striking unseen the unsuspected blow;

Now steam, resistless, spreads his fiery wings;

Where want depresses, wished-for plenty springs;

Or ponderous weapons to our border draws,

Or writes on ocean waves Columbia’s laws,

Boast not, proud white man, in the arts of peace and war;

Look up to heaven and see how small you are!”

          The post office was abandoned just a few months ago in favor of a rural route from Belmont.

          Thus the decadence of a once thriving village is found on our own very doorstep, its passing overshadowed in these eventful times and with little meaning except to those who, now in their declining years, look back with fond, fond recollections and visualize the things that were.

 

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