Looking Backward - Lysander Goes to School - West Phoenix School, District No. 6

This week's story is about the West Phoenix School, District No. 6, 13th in a series regarding our rural schools. The schoolhouse once sat on the corner of Pendergast Road and Oswego Street. Just west stands Henderson's Farm, whose cows supplied milk to the school at two cents per head. The most visible vestige of the farm today is the Henderson Dairy nearby. As you order ice cream from the take-out window, you can stare at the spot where the school once stood.

Today, the Lamson Road bypasses the little hamlet on its way from Wright's Corners to the village of Phoenix. But, there was a time when the road ran right through West Phoenix and crossed the Oswego River on its way to the little hamlet's larger namesake on the east bank.

According to Pearl Palmer's "Historical Review of the Town of Lysander," laying out the Lamson Road in 1829 from Bett's Corners to Phoenix, "required fourteen men two days to 'blaze' the trees, that is to mark with a gash on the trunk the proposed route of the road. When about one-half mile from the river at Phoenix, the men made a decided turn to the left, in order to reach the river at the narrowest point." That same year, John Wall constructed the first saw mill on the west bank of the Oswego River across from Phoenix. One year later, he built a toll bridge across the river where the dam sits today. "In 1835 Mr. Wall purchased two hundred acres of land in Lot 42 of the Lysander township from the Baldwins." By the time, "John Wall owned four saw mills . . . His residence stood on top of the hill." He contributed one more local landmark on Feb. 19, 1842, "received by deed from John and Theodotia Wall, for the sum of fifty dollars a plot of ground on Lot 42 for a school building."

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