Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Underground RR Safe House

The Preston - Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse aka Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast is a proud recipient of the William G. Pomeroy Foundation "Legends & Lore" of the Underground Railroad historic marker.




Legends & Lore of the Underground Railroad historic marker.
This 1846 historic cobblestone home sets on a knoll on Salmon Creek; currently referred to as Maxwell Creek, and Preston's Pond, currently known as Maxwell Bay, on the banks of Lake Ontario in Sodus, New York.  The home was built by William Swales for his daughter Elizabeth and John Preston as a wedding gift. The Swales, Preston's and Gaylord's were well-known abolitionist.

During the early to mid 1800's, small schooners sailed into the Maxwell Bay to trade wheat for the flour once made at the 1794 gristmill that still stands on the property today.  There are accounts of a Captain John Garlock sailing from nearby Sodus Bay to the Maxwell embayment to rescue fugitive slaves and take them to Canada. 

Additionally, there are rumors of a tunnel that ran from the creek bed to the back of the fireplace in the Keeping Room (dining room).  Descendants of Elizabeth and John Preston, have stayed at the current bed and breakfast and have given accounts to Inn-keeper, Belinda McElroy, how their mother allowed them to stand inside the small compartment located behind the fireplace while a fire was burning. This was to allow the children to understand what the runaway slaves had to endure during this time.  Another story is that their mother (Mary Ellen Shumway-Gaylord) would tie a rope around their waist and allow them to go into the tunnel entrance down by the creek.

The "Legends & Lore" historical markers commemorate people, places and things, and serve to educate the public in local history and preservation of that history.  In doing so, it also serves in promoting historic tourism and fosters economic benefits to the towns and villages where such markers are placed.
Historic 1846 Cobblestone house. Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast
The property is on the State and National Register of Historic Places as the Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse. On April 26, 2016, Belinda and Patrick McElroy will hold a dedication ceremony at Maxwell Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast to commemorate the recognition and preservation of their historic property.
For more history of the Preston-Gaylord Cobblestone Farmhouse: