BY SKYLER, DEB & TIM SMITH
BUILDING HISTORY ~ In 1835 a cobblestone building was erected just south of Irondequoit Creek on Mendon-Ionia Road. Known as the Mendon Academy, the headstone over the front door of the building indicates that it was chartered as Mendon Academy District #2. It would remain a schoolhouse until 1950 when the Honeoye Falls Central School District continued its policy of absorbing the smaller neighborhood schools into the central location of the current campus. If you’ve ever wondered where the term “Central” comes from in the name of virtually every suburban school in the county, this example illustrates the concept. The old “one-room schoolhouse” approach to education was supplanted by the more efficient concept of combining the students into a “central school” location.
The current owner of the Mendon Academy, Chris Brush, enjoys sharing the history of her building, and deservedly so. In the lineage of this old cobblestone, she is currently the fourth owner/occupant of one of the most beautiful and historic buildings in the hamlet.
As a perfect reflection of her energy level, Chris now operates StudioMOVE, her all-encompassing fitness center, in this building. But before proceeding to the story on what Chris currently has going on, please allow us to connect the dots on occupants two and three (after the schoolhouse and before Chris).
After the schoolhouse closed, the cobblestone became the home of the Mendon Fire Department. Those Sentinel readers from the older generation may remember the days when what is now the St. Catherine’s / ballfield parking lot was the site of the annual Mendon Carnival.
After the fire department moved to its new digs on the corner of Mendon-Ionia and Mile Square Road in 1990, the building remained vacant for a few years. There was talk of the Town of Mendon purchasing the historic building but that never came to fruition. Eventually in 1992 the building was sold to Wayne and Ann Frank, a couple looking to move their gallery of fine art from the Corn Hill area to the suburbs.
CURRENT OWNERSHIP ~ And finally circling back to the present, the Franks retired and sold the building to Chris Brush in 2010. Chris’s primary vision for the space was a fitness center and to achieve that end major renovations would be needed.
First off, the building had doubled as the Franks’ home; they lived there. Living there was never Chris’s intention, so it’s easy to see how much interior work would be needed. Add to that, the fact that the second floor was largely unfinished and we’re looking at a new owner with her work cut out for her.
Next week I’ll be back to see if my girl Chris is up to the task. I’ll also move to another part of the building to visit Barb Amering who is the owner of the COOP, Mendon’s local co-op which features the works of over fifty local vendors and artists.