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A LOOK BACK: The Original Town of Concord

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The Townsend Hotel on Genesee Road where Townsend road meet. Photo is circa when the Wiser Family owned it.  The original wood portion was known as the Townsend Hotel and served as a major gathering place in the early days of the Town of Concord, even holding town meetings.  The building suffered a major fire in the 1940s.

By Derek M. Otto

With the talk of comprehensive plans and a town supervisor election coming up next month, it’s funny to think the town was planned out the way it exists today. Erasmus Briggs wrote the History of Original Town of Concord in 1883. Looking back, its strange that the town didn’t have a major comprehensive plan and certain events changed the outcome of how the town formed.

In 1812, New York State formed the town of Concord in Niagara County to help the settlers have a local government.  Up until that time, the local government was in Batavia, and settlers had to go to Batavia to pay their mortgages and taxes.  From Concord, the only route that was cut was Genesee Road, which was a direct west-east route that went to the Genesee River and another road went north to Batavia.

In 1812, the original town of Concord comprised the southern portion of today’s Erie County.  Collins, North Collins and Sardinia were all part of the town.  Naturally, the new bustling hamlet of Fiddler’s Green would be a center of the town activities.

Initially, the town center was going to be on Townsend Hill; on older maps, Concord Center is listed as the center of the town.   By 1820, several developments were happening. Rufus Eaton became the postmaster and Fiddler’s Green was renamed Springville. Springville had just been given a post office on the major postal route.

A new north-south road was laid out between Springville and Olean.  By 1820, Springville, with is babbling Spring Brook and other cold springs, was becoming a commercial and population center.  Concord Center was becoming less the center of town.

Other things were also brewing and the town residents in the far west portions of the town, Taylor Hollow, were becoming upset.  Most of the town meetings were being held  in Springville or at the Townsend Hotel.  The local government, to them, was becoming Springville-centric. Actually, those living on or near Townsend Hill held the major offices in the town for the first nine years.   

By 1821, there was enough contempt in the east and west portions of the town that it was agreed that the town should split three ways.  The western portion of the town became Collins and later North Collins in 1851.  The eastern portion of the town became Sardinia.  Because of some surveying errors, Springville was actually part of Sardinia for a few years.   There was no major plan for the town, but circumstance changed the town dramatically in 1821.

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