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Westfield got rid of a bad Main Street

Dibbles Dabbles

February 29, 2012
By Billie Dibble - Westfield Historian, 1976-2006 ( , Westfield Republican / Mayville Sentinel News

First published Jan. 31, 1985:

Prior to the summer of 1921 Westfield was known as far away as France for its bad Main Street as well as for its grape juice. Dust in summer and slush in winter made it unpleasant for pedestrians and sometimes hazardous for the ever-increasing motor traffic. There were big improvements about to be made.

No doubt the townspeople and merchants were apprehensive about the Main Street business section being torn up all summer, but they realized that something must be done to correct the deplorable situation, and they pulled together to see it accomplished. On Friday morning July 22, 1921, the paving of the state road through the heart of Westfield was begun. By Aug. 24 it was reported in the Westfield Republican that work was being rushed by the Hart Construction Company who had the contract for paving in the village. The work of excavating and grading was getting along nicely and the pouring of cement had commenced at the west village line on Monday, Aug. 15. The workmen were laying about 200 feet a day, but expected, when they hit their stride, to increase it to about 250. The work was being done in a first class manner.

Article Photos

Photo curtsey of Patterson Library
South side of Main Street when the paving was beginning July 22, 1921. Notice the Macomber house which was moved to 33 Elm Street at that time. The Brewer Block in the foreground and the Y.M.C.A. in the background were removed at later dates.

By Nov. 30, 1921 the dream had come true, the village pavement was completed and Westfield had a road to be proud of.

Main Street in the village was now a wide street paved with bricks from curb to curb in the business section and even beyond. Duplicate poles had been removed and new straight ones for the telephone and electric light wires had replaced them - all set in a line and inside the curb which greatly improved the appearance of the street.

The Main Street entrance to Elm Street had been widened by the removal of the Macomber building which stood at the southeast corner. The old house was moved to 33 Elm Street where it still stands next door to the village parking lot.

New water mains were laid and all service boxes had been removed from the paved parts of the street.

Fourteen manholes were placed over the valves of the water pipes. Side mains took care of the surface water problem.

The cooperation of the gas, telephone and telegraph and trolley companies made pleasant work of transforming our Main Street into one of the finest in western New York.

It took a lot of cooperation from many people. First the taxpayers had to vote the necessary money. Next the Board of Trustees had to work hard for the pavement.

Village president John F. Welch had been elected on a "paving platform" two years before and he was well qualified to put big things across. Mr. Welch made many trips to Buffalo, Albany, New York City, Erie and other places to confer with engineers, trolley officials and others in authority. He made the trips "without recompense." During the paving period, President Welch checked on the work daily.

The village trustees were justly entitled to praise for their cooperation.

The Nov. 30, 1921 article in the Westfield Republican concluded, "Last week it was washed and ironed by Street Superintendent William Ford - and it is now wearing its Sunday best."

For Main Street to be transformed from one known internationally as "bad" into one of the finest in western New York in four short months was truly and accomplishment to be proud of.

The February [1985] exhibit at Patterson Library and Art Gallery will be photographs of Main Street in Westfield through the past years. Plan to see them.



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