Brocton Arch Historical

Brocton Arch Historical (HM1TMZ)

Location: Brocton, NY 14716 Chautauqua County
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Country: United States of America
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N 42° 23.317', W 79° 26.45'

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Has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996 by the United States Department of the Interior.

Brocton Arch Erected 1913

With unprecedented growth of the village, the Village of Brocton and Town of Portland wanted a symbol of its prosperity as the "Home of the Concord Grape". Many suggestions were made, but one was favored. At the time, municipal arches bearing community names and populations were familiar sites. So the idea of a double arch for Brocton was decided upon and approved by the Portland Centennial Association in 1913, the 100th birthday of the town. The association felt the arch would do for Brocton what the Eiffel Tower did for Paris.

Plans drawn by E. J. Baily, a local contractor, were of a double span, as wide as the streets and was high enough that interurban cars on the tracks of the Buffalo and lake Erie Traction Co. traveled beneath it.

In the summer of 1913 scaffolding was erected, under the supervision of George Ferguson, Sr., Village Superintendent. In July, a flat car of fabricated steel beams arrived by train. the beams were then transported by double teams driven by Charles Blair to the center of town. Then the steel beams, riveted together wider that street car rails, were swung into the air by a gin pole and block and tackle. Horses driven by Mr. Blair
strained to hold the girders in place so Mr. Ferguson and his crew could bolt them together.

After the scaffold was torn down, those who had watched the construction got a good look at the showpiece, a double arch, the twin bands of curved steel straddling the intersection like a giant X. The ends of the double span were anchored in concrete on each of the four corners. The crown of steel soared to a height of a three-story building. Where the spans crossed was a ring of reinforced steel, a corona, about six feet in diameter. The spans were luminated by Adison Burton, a local Electrician.

Construction was completed and a festival planned. A parade of bands, floats, firemen and veteran groups headed down Main Street marching under the arch. For days the monumental structure fluttered with bunting.

When World War I was over, someone climbed the span and hung a straw dummy from the corona. Then a bonfire was built and lit in the street below, so large that the flames reached the effigy of the "Kaiser".

Again, in 1963, when the community celebrated its sesquicentennial, the arch was decorated and a parade of bands and floats passed underneath.

Only one change has been made to the arch since its construction. The original "Brocton" sign, hung from the corona, had become so corroded with time and weather that it was considered hazardous to pedestrians and
motorists. In 1946 a neon lighted, "Brocton" sign was hung and the sign remains to the present.

Total cost of the project was $1200, $300 coming from the Village of Brocton and the remainder from the proud citizens of the Brocton-Portland community.

The twin arch still exists today as a monument of the community's pride. While not as impressive an engineering feat or architectural attraction as it once was, it remains an unforgettable landmark.

Surviving the test of time and elements, it is believed to be the only remaining four-way street arch in the United States today.

At dusk the arch is illuminated by 124 bulbs which switch off at midnight. in December, the white lights are mixed with red and green ones and Brocton's landmark gleams on the horizon as a jewel.

The Mill Stone

the Mill Stone donated by C. Harris and Melvina Burton was used in a gristmill in the 1820's located at the mouth of Slippery Rock Creek. This millstone was cut with many days of patient labor from a large granite boulder. A state geologist informed the Burton's that this stone was brought from its primitive bed in northeastern Canada upon ice in the glacial period of the earth's history.

Town Supervisor - Harold Smith

Town Board - Patricia Kurtz, Gary Miller, Robert Patterson, Luther Dean.

Village Mayor - James Rizzo

Board - Lavern Scott, William Maher, daniel Schrantz, Joseph Pisoni

Brocton Portland Tourism Promotion Group - Dr. Franklin B. Krohn, President. Barbara Herbst, Vice President. Inez Krohn, Secretary. Charles Burton, Treasurer.
Year Placed2013
Placed ByWilliam C. Pomeroy Foundation
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, August 11th, 2016 at 9:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)17T E 628339 N 4694102
Decimal Degrees42.38861667, -79.44083333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 23.317', W 79° 26.45'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 23' 19.02" N, 79° 26' 27" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)716
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 15 E Main St, Brocton NY 14716, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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