Building Frost Town

1810s – The Frost Brothers

The name “Frost Town” stems from Jonathan and Jacob Frost, two brothers who built a second sawmill on Briggs Creek before purchasing Gamaliel Wilder’s original sawmill. By the 1840s the brothers had sold their mills to John Hall and Isaiah Wilcox, but the name “Frost Town” stuck as a schoolhouse, cemetery, and other buildings emerged around the intersection of Gulick and Frost Hill roads.

A history of Frost Town through historic maps, narrated by Dr. Alexander Smith.
An image of Frost Town’s School, South Bristol District No. 9. This building was later incorporated into a private residence after it was no longer a school in the 1920s. Operating for many decades, the school was featured numerous times in area newspapers. This is the only known image of the school before it became a private residence. Image: Private Collection of C. Clarke, Early 20th Century.
This newspaper article from the January 20, 1880 issue of the Repository Messenger describes Frost Town’s School No. 9 and industrious children alongside Gulick’s School No. 10 as well. Image: Fulton History Archive, 1880.

Early to Mid 1800s – Timber in Demand

The early 1800s was a booming era for Euro-American settlement and the industrialization of Western New York. This increase in logging activity was spurred by the construction of the Erie Canal and the incredible demand for timber as northern towns and cities rapidly expanded. The timber industry maintained its preeminence in the region into the early 20th century, though the old growth forests were largely logged-out by the mid-19th century.

This photograph depicts Codding Mill, which was in Bristol Center. This is one of the few images of early sawmills in the area, and the very large timber pictured in front give some indication of the area’s impressive forests. Image: Bristol Hills Historical Society, 1880s.
This image taken from a Real Photograph Post Card depicts a short track railroad that was once used to transport logs down Briggs Gully. While the railroad did not reach all the way up to the current Nature Center property, it nevertheless may have been used to transport Frost Town lumber further down the creek. Image: Private Collection of A. Smith, Early 20th Century.
A photograph of workman and their families at Meyers Camp, a saw mill and logging transport operation at the mouth of Briggs Gully and the base of Honeoye Lake. Wood from the area around Frost Town would have travelled down to Honeoye Lake for transport and processing. Image: Cumming Nature Center Mary Shedlock Collection, Late 19th/Early 20th Century.
This image shows the Meyers Sawmill on Honeoye Lake at the mouth of Briggs Creek in the early 20th century. This sawmill was the base of operations for logging barges transporting logs north on the lake as well as timber coming in from the hills around Briggs Creek. Image: Private Collection of R. Goodman, c.1900.
A Real Photograph Post Card of a logging barge in the early 20th century, bringing a load of lumber north to the top of Honeoye Lake. Most of the Finger Lakes used barges to transport logs north, especially the heavy oak logs being extracted from the forests south of the lakes. Image: Private Collection of R. Goodman, 1906.
Harley and Fred Hall taking a load of lumber up Weld Street in Naples with a Birdsell tractor. The Hall family bought one of the Frost Brother’s mills in the mid-19th century and operated logging establishments in first Frost Town and then Naples until the 1940s. Image: Naples Historical Society, 1918.

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