The Main Street Tour
As you travel Warsaw's Main Street, you will see evidence of the origins of the community and the changes that time has brought to this Western New York village through the past two centuries. Elizur Webster made the first purchase of land in what would become Warsaw in 1803. He chose the land for its potential as a milling site, using the waterpower available from the Oatka Creek (also known as Allen's Creek) as well as the agricultural potential of the valley lands. The combination of milling and farming formed the nucleus of Warsaw's economy until 1841, when Wyoming County separated from Genesee County. Warsaw became the county seat, providing support for the development of more mercantile and service businesses as well as the county buildings themselves.

Click here to see significant dates in Warsaw's history.

      The establishment of two railroad services connected the community to the larger national market. Warsaw's leaders proved adept at attracting manufacturing enterprises during the late nineteenth century.

Click here to see a sampling of Warsaw's businesses and manufacturers around the turn of the century.

         Warsaw's growth and its physical appearance was especially influenced by the salt industry. Between 1878 and 1894 Warsaw became the nation's largest producer of table salt. Main Street reflects the Victorian styles popular at the time.

Click here to see roads leading to Warsaw.

(Click images for details)
Southwest Corner of South Main and Jefferson Streets

The house on the Southwest corner is an example of Victorian style architecture. Note the decorative detailing on the porches, the siding, and the overall asymmetry.

Northwest Corner of South Main and Jefferson Streets

The house on the northwest corner reveals Greek Revival details under modern renovations. See especially the use of a temple-style porch and the wide entablature. As you proceed North on Main Street, you will see many houses with a wide band of trim emphasizing the cornice. This may be the only surviving Greek Revival trim on some of the houses that have been remodeled and covered with modern siding materials.

Going North on South Main Streeet

As you continue down the street, you will see many houses with Victorian detailing such as porches with columns, bay windows and decorative siding.

Common Styles on Main Street

Another common style in Warsaw is the Italianate, or bracketed house. This style was especially common in the 1840s to 1870s. The principal shape of the building is square, often with a cupola on the top. The roof overhang is large and there are prominent brackets under the roof.

Pictured is the old Warsaw Grange built around the turn of the century.

North Main and Allen Streets

At the corner of Main and Allen Streets, you will see a 2002 change to what was an old abandoned industrial facility. This had been the site of the Warsaw Elevator Company and other industrial enterprises. Click here for a brief history of iron based industries that culminated with the construction of the Warsaw Elevator Company.

Click the image to right to see the railroad station nearby. This depot served the factory, providing access to the transportation system. As the railroad freight service has been superceded by trucks as the major freight carriers, Warsaw lost its advantage in access that had been tied to the railroads.
235 North Main Street

This house has a number of features combining different styles. The mansard roof is a  later addition from the Second Empire style popular between 1860 to 1885, added to an earlier structure.

73 South Main Street

This is the only cobblestone structure in the village. It is a Greek Revival public building that served as a school for Warsaw from 1846 until 1873. Chester Hurd built the Warsaw Academy, as a story is told, from stones supplied by local boys from the East Hill for the price of a circus ticket. The cobbles range from one-half to two inches in height and from two to four inches in length. The cobble-stones are laid five to a quoin. Warsaw voters authorized $1,500 for its construction including windows six lights wide and three lights high.

Click here to see a brief history of Warsaw's early schools.

The masons assumed responsibility for the structure in 1907.

A boulder on the front lawn commemorates Elizur Webster's first house, a log cabin, which stood in the general area.

Stepping North on South Main towards the Monument

18 Livingston Street

If you look across the street, past the gas station onto Livingston Street, you will see a bracketed house with a wrap-around porch. This is a gracious blending of Italianate and Queen Anne styles. The home was owned in 1866 by one Cyrus Jefferson, a farmer and wool dealer, who became one of the wealthiest citizens of Wyoming County.

United Church of Warsaw

Both buildings were attributed to Rochester architect Andrew J. Warner and were built shortlty after the end of the Civil War. The connection between the two buildings is a modern addition. The Presbyterian spire is 175 feet. This church is a prime example of Warner's use of unequal facade towers. Warsaw has the greatest concentration of buildings attributed to Warner outside the City of Rochester.

35 South Main Street

The Post Office is an example of government-sponsored architecture erected in Warsaw during the Great Depression. The style is generally Colonial Revival. This building was constructed in 1934-35 as a public works project.

The Warsaw Cinema

The current theater stands on the site of the old Farman Theater, a community-built theater that could not reach economic sustainability. It passed into private hands and has undergone substantial renovations over the years. Note the Art Deco style decorations on the front of the building, now somewhat obscured by paint

Continuing on to the Light and then North Main

North Main Business Blocks

Victorian business blocks similar to those throughout New York State may be seen in Warsaw. At one time, Warsaw boasted elegant hotels on Main Street. Most succumbed to fire. On the West side of the street, you can locate the old location of the bank by looking  for the classical entrance conveying a sense of tradition and stability.

A disastrous fire in 1867 burned many of the existing small wooden storefronts. The fire corresponded with a time of manufacturing prosperity in Warsaw. As you walk past the storefronts, look carefully at the materials. Many of the decorative details are painted cast iron. This was a popular material for commercial buildings in the late 19th century because it was inexpensive, fire-resistant, and durable once it was painted.

Click here for a look at Warsaw business blocks in 1903 - Warsaw's Centennial

Click here to see Warsaw's grand old hotels.

Click here to see a beautiful old building burning and Warsaw's Fire Department.


Look for elaborate details on this storefront, especially the Corinthian style pilasters.

Montgomery's Shoe Store - One of the oldest shoe stores in New York State traces its history back 150 years to early shoe manufacturing in Warsaw.

112 North Main Street

Note the delicate brackets supporting the second story balcony. This is indicative of a later style than most of the storefronts, influenced by the Art Nouveau style of the 1900s.

Civil War Monument

This is the symbol of the village dedicated in 1903. It commemorates veterans of the American Civil War and marks the civic center of the village. A bronze soldier tops the Corinthian column. Confederate cannons decorate the base.

Continuing North on north Main Street

Wyoming County Government Buildings

The new Courthouse, completed in 1999, is on the site of the former Sheriff's residence and jail, a late Victorian brick building with parapets and embellished cornices that was demolished for the construction of the new building.
The Public Safety Building's entrance uses pillars to echo the entrance of the Government Services Building.

Warsaw Public Library

The design of this building directly relates to the center of the Monument Circle. Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of the library in 1904 with a $10,000 grant.

140 North Main Street

This Italian Villa was built for the Frank family in about 1851 becoming an elegantly landscaped town estate. The carriage barn and fountain remain as evidence of its past. During the 1960's, the historic Frank home became the law offices of Charlotte Smallwood-Cook, New York State's first female district attorney. The grand old mansion has been recently transformed into the "Artisan Villa." Inside Ash-lin's Elegant Rose (florist), photography and beauty shops are open Monday-Saturday for tourists and customers. Please click here for more information about the "Artisan Villa."  Click photo to the right for photos of the Frank House and Frank Family.

150 North Main Street - Noble Tavern/Morris Home

This house was originally the old Russel Noble Tavern built before 1816 and was moved from its original location at Main and Genesee Streets to its current location. Click here to read more about this home's very interesting history.

Continuing North on the Northeast Side of North Main

160 North Main Street

This house is located at the corner of North Main and Elm Streets. Painted in four colors of brown, it was probably built in 1865. Charles George Bartlett, a dentist, bought the home on 3/13/89 for $2,500. George Bartlett died 7/20/1925 and left his wife Carolyn, his dental equipment, life use of his home and left his son Harry A. Bartlett his home at the corner of Main and Elm Streets. To his son, Will B. Bartlett, he bequeathed his house and lot on Short Street in the Village of Warsaw.  

164 North Main Street

There is disagreement about the origins of this house. It is described by Andrew W. Young in his "History of Warsaw" as being the original home of Warsaw's first doctor, Chauncey L. Sheldon. Young refers to this home as being built in 1817 and moved from South Warsaw to its current location being the home in 1869 of Dr. M. Baker.

Click here for more information.

170 North Main Street

This 1900 home painted in four colors of gray was the former home of E. T. Montgomery, owner of one of several lumber companies in Warsaw around the turn of the century.  Montgomery was also on Warsaw's Board of Trade during Warsaw's booming economy of the early 1900's and was President of the Wyoming County Republican Committee.

174 North Main Street

This home located at the corner of North Main and State Streets was built around 1818. Though the facade is substantially changed, it shows its earlier construction as probably an early farm house.

Continuing on the Northwest Side of North Main Streets

180 North Main Street

This is another example of Greek Revival style, this time executed in brick. The foundation is cobblestone. Built between the 1830's and 1840's, the home was occupied by Miss Sutherland who was a sister to Mrs. John A. McElwain. John A. McElwain, as noted in Beer's History of Wyoming County, owned much land and was instrumental in seeking formation of Wyoming County in 1841.

General McElwain was one of the first to organize the Wyoming County Agricultural Society in 1843. As a member of the Senate in 1852-1853, he was responsible for the passage of the law that abolished the old district school plan in Warsaw and adoption of the union free school plan. In 1843, John A. McElwain built the brick, Bingham Hotel on the corner of Main and Genesee Streets. The rather grand hotel was the first brick building errected after the Court House, but it was destroyed by fire.

Click here to see a 30-horse combine.

188 North Main Street

This elegant house is brick Italianate originally built between 1844 and 1846. Major alterations made in about 1900 added a bay window, a porte cochere, and changed the main entrance to the house. The alterations however, left the basic Italian Villa shape prominent.

Linus W. Thayer, the first occupant, later honored with the honorary title of General, was good friends with Grover Cleveland, another lawyer, who married a Wyoming County girl, Fannie Folsum.

Click here for more information.

189 North Main Street

Across the street from 188 North Main, this house was constructed at the same time as the Thayer home. It was built by Dr. M. Baker in 1840. In 1883, Dr. William Gouinlock being interested in the salt industry moved from Canada and purchased it. He completed major renovations including addition of an additional story that transformed the appearance of the house from Italianate to Eastlake. This building is now used as law offices and apartments.

207 North Main Street

This wood frame home is an example of the Eastlake Victorian style. Look at the porch and front peak for delicate gingerbread design.

Continuing on North Main to the Wyoming County Community Hospital

More Victorian Style Homes

As you continue North on Main Street, you will see more examples of Victorian style homes. Gradually they give way to commercial buildings. The Wyoming County Community Hospital, with a main structure built in 1952, marks the beginning of the commercial expansion of the Village northward that has dominated development in the 1980s and 1990s.

Wyoming County Community Hospital

Early building origins of the current Wyoming County Community Hospital began in an old Victorian style home followed by a large duplex, now occupied by Zeches Store, and currently the sprawling complex on North Main Street. Wyoming County Community Hospital website

Please also click picture to learn about early health care services.