Parma’s Lake Ontario Beaches
Written by David Crumb, Hilton Historian and published in the Westside News (Spencerport, New York) on August 4, 2013
Zellweger, Davison and Alder Beaches
Part three of four
Just east of Hilton Beach, and accessed by the end of Huffer Road, is a small private beach known as Zellweger Beach. There, many small well-appointed homes have been built on both sides of the road over the years.
The first house on the south corner going west is Pete McCann’s home. It was once the administrative office of the Heinz Pickle Plant located at the end of Heinz Street in the village. When the plant closed, the McCanns bought the office and moved it to their lot at Zellweger Beach. It has now been beautifully remodeled into a year around home. The original land owner, according to Parma’s 1924 map, was William Hall, who owned 55 acres fronting the lake.
John and Ida Zellweger were the developers of the lake front lots. They were also the proprietors of the general store at Parma Center for many years. Many residents in those days bought a lot, but never built or developed it. They would just come down to the Lake on a nice day and have a picnic, swim, or just sun and relax.
On the other side of Huffer Road going east is Davison’s Beach, named for Mr. Ed Davison who discovered this beach while out sailing on Lake Ontario as a youth. He noticed two umbrella-shaped American elms from his position on the lake, proceeded closer, and saw undeveloped land with an old apple orchard and immediately knew this was where he wanted to live. Mr. Davison was an early Rochester industrialist who was known to be creative and innovative.
He had the first electrified home in 1914 west of the Genesee. His electric generating equipment house with its 32 volt DC lighting system, a wall covered with glass batteries, and an old car engine to turn the generator, was a marvel to watch while in operation. It is still standing on the property as well as his original 5 bedroom cottage.
His old boat house, located under ancient willow trees, was a point of reference for all boaters on the lake, and could be seen for miles from the west. Miraculously, it is still there having weathered all the severe storms on the lake since it was built nearly 100 years ago. The original small farmhouse for the property, which is noted on the Parma 1852 and also the 1902 Plat map, is registered to a Mr.
Edward Dickinson, and still stands in its original location.
It was always used as a rental property. One renter back in the 1940s came to Parma as a wartime refugee who had spent World War II in the Dutch underground. Never forgetting those horrific times, he built a bomb shelter near his property which is reputed to still be in existence. Mr. Davison named his property “Camp Oweenee” which is noted on early Parma maps.
Mr. and Mrs. Davison attended the Methodist church in Hilton, and welcomed the church members and their children, and their friends for many picnics and good times. The property today appears much unchanged from 100 years ago. Mr. Davison lived to the ripe old age of 98, and he and his wife had many years of well earned enjoyment at their quiet and timeless lakeside retreat. Today it is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Robert King. Information for this small sketch was obtained from Ed “Morrow” Gable of Hilton.
His old boat house, located under ancient willow trees, was a point of reference for all boaters on the lake, and could be seen for miles from the west. Miraculously, it is still there having weathered all the severe storms on the lake since it was built nearly 100 years ago.
On the east side of Camp Oweenee, or Davison’s Beach, is Alder Beach. Alder Beach is still the quintessential summer place. The cottages are small, casual and nicely kept, and are used primarily in the summer. The land was originally a 54 acre farm owned by Charles Hall. The lake frontage was purchased in the 1920s by Roy Kelly and a Mr. Bridgeman and sold off as lots. The Lowden family purchased some of these lots, and Marilyn Lowden Wright still enjoys the cottage given to her by her Grandmother Lowden. She has recently written a book of her memoirs where she gives a more detailed history of Alder Beach and her many enjoyable summers spent there.
Photographs used in this series have been digitized by Charles Nichols.