Sodus Fruit Farm (1911) – Page

Photo and information from the 1979 book: “Wayne County: The Aesthetic Heritage of a Rural Area” by Stephen W. Jacobs with Photographs by David Plowden. Permission courtesy of the Wayne County Historical Society. The William Swales manor house is located on the north side of Lake Road, Sodus near present day Burnap’s Farm Market. The house cannot be seen from the road and is set back in on a tree lined dirt road.

Sodus Fruit Farm, Sodus

     A large rectangular stucco building, now the home of the resident manager of the Sodus Fruit Farm on Lake Road, is set like a manor house on the crest of a gentle hill.  With terraced gardens below and landscaped approach, this is the landmark feature of a large enterprise.  An old resident of the county maintains that this was a chapel used by English immigrants, and the form of the exterior makes this seem plausible.  The louvered belfry is located at the east end of the simple barnlike structure, rather than at the midpoint of the ridge as might be anticipated in a free-standing secular building.  The windows below, except for the diamond-shaped one in the gable, are probably much altered, and doors have been eliminated.  The long side is more revealing.  There, four widely spaced bays of tall windows extend with a small interruption, from near the ground to the roof.  This arrangement would have suited a chapel with balcony.

     The building was probably commissioned by William Swales, an Englishman with large holdings in the area.  An obelisk, the central feature of the family burial plot at the head of Maple Avenue, tells us that he was born in 1776 and died in 1855.  Swales is reported to have built two cobblestone houses in the vicinity.  Just to the right of the main building at the fruit farm is a large cobblestone structure long used as a carriage house. The larger structure as well may date from a mid-nineteenth-century building campaign.

      The present owners began in 1911 to set out extensive orchards.  During World War I student fruit pickers were put up in the stucco building.

     There now are additional facilities, including housing for migrant labor.

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