BY SKYLER, DEB & TIM SMITH
MODERN DAY ~ When I visited Crosby’s mini-mart and gas station last summer Dad, Deb and I sat at one of their front tables and interviewed Crosby’s manager Sharon Schell who happens to be the mother of one of my good friends, Tabetha. She has worked there for 14 years and takes great pride in her commitment to the business. While I see a constant flow of cars gassing up at their station, Sharon explains that their greatest source of revenue is actually the food.
JULY SNOW ~ I had one question lodged firmly at the top of my list to ask her. About 8 years ago Dad and I were in our front room one day when all of the sudden we heard a loud bang come from the direction of the gas station and seconds later it looked like a heavy snow was falling outside our windows. I’ve seen a lot of snow fall through those windows, but never in July! We deduced that the emergency fire retardant system had been deployed but never really knew the story behind it.
I asked Sharon about this and she confirmed that it was the accidental deployment of their fire system. She acknowledged that it has happened two times during her tenure, both by employee mistakes as opposed to actual accidents. While the fire system should be set off automatically if there was an actual fire at the gas pumps, there is also a manual alarm in their office area which could be used if the alarm at the pump malfunctioned. In both of the aforementioned incidents, employee mishaps accidentally triggered the switch.
From my point of view I’d like to thank Crosby’s for supplying Mendon with artificial snow during the summer. Everyone in the hamlet has already shoveled enough real snow this winter.
BACKSTORY ~ Whenever possible I try to share the background of Mendon as it pertains to the various businesses in town. Located on the northwest of Mendon’s 4-corners, Crosby’s mini-mart/gas station stands on sacred ground when it comes to the history of the hamlet. Here’s the quick backstory.
It was during the 1790’s that the first people began to settle in Mendon. Much has changed since then, but one thing that hasn’t is that if you’re going to have people you need a good local bar. To that end, around 1800 a log cabin was erected on the current Crosby’s site to serve as Mendon’s first watering hole. That edifice served its purpose for about a decade until 1812 when the crude cabin was completely kyboshed and the Mendon Hotel was erected.
That hotel would stand guard at the 4-corners for about 150 years and some of those years were gloriously glamorous. From the 1890’s through the 1930’s the Mendon Hotel was one of western New York’s most elite and elegant establishments and that’s a story I plan on sharing with you all, in more detail, somewhere down the road.
But short term, I’ll be back next week to finish the Crosby’s story. And just to give you something special to look forward to, I’ll leak the secret that next week’s article will include my first poem of this series. Robert Frost is probably turning over in his grave as I speak. But don’t worry, you know I won’t let you down.