On the evening of April 5, 1814, the Town of Sweden was born at a town meeting held at the home of Reuben Stickney, on the corner of Lake and Swamp Roads. This meeting was held in accordance with the April 1813, State Legislature enacted bill which required the large township of Genesee County to be split into three new towns named Bergen, Sweden and Murray.
Sweden, Township 3 of the Triangular Tract, was incorporated in 1814 and included, at that time, the Town of Clarendon in Orleans County. The Triangular Tract lies between the Phelps and Gorham Purchase and the Holland Purchase on the west. Originally owned by Robert Morris, purchased in 1801 by LeRoy, Boyard and Everts of New York City, it was surveyed and laid out into lots that same year by Richard Stoddard. In 1802, Lake Road was opened from LeRoy to Lake Ontario which allowed access and purchase of lots.
Population of the Town: 13,716 (2000 census)
Brief history and interesting facts about the Town: Although Sweden was officially founded in 1814, there were settlers here before 1806. The development of the Erie Canal created a stopping point as the canal ended in Sweden in 1823. (It was not continued east on to Fairport until 1825.) In 1829, the Village of Brockport was founded.
Farming flourished in the area with such crops as wheat, corn and hops. The canal access allowed easy shipping of such commodities as well as the receiving of supplies.
In 1832-33, the Baptist Collegiate Institute was founded bringing higher education to the Town and Village. In this same year, the first fire company was founded.
The 1850's to the 1860's was a prosperous time. The NY Central Falls Line railroad transported milk to Buffalo and large wheat crops to Rochester, Buffalo and Niagara Falls. There were several farming industries in the area, the Johnston Harvester Co. and the Seymour, Morgan and Allen Co. which invented the Morgan Reaper, an improvement on the McCormick Reaper which was also manufactured here.
It was during this same decade that a local author, Mary Jane Holmes, published her second novel, Lena Rivers, which sold over one half a million copies. By 1907, the year she died, she had written over 40 novels. Mansions sprang up in the Village, several of which are still standing.
During the Civil War years, 1861-1864, 293 soldiers served from Brockport and Sweden. It is interesting to note, in those days, a conscripted soldier could pay someone to go in his place. After the war, during the years 1867-1869, the Baptist Collegiate Institute became the Brockport Normal School and included a school for the high school age children in the area. The first parochial school, Nativity, was created in 1876. This was also the year that the Monroe County Fair was held in Brockport. By this time, there were other businesses in Town such as the Moore Publishing Company (1845) a national subscription service, the Schafer Shoe Factory and the Capen Piano Works. In 1877, there was a big fire on Market Street which destroyed all Town records from 1850 to 1877. The Soldier-Sailor Monument was built in 1893 and is currently being restored.
The turn of the century brought the Spanish American War (1898) in which nine people in the area served.
In the 1900's, the Daily Canning Co. began with the manufacture of jams and jellies. This later became the Daily Wheat Co. and later still, the A&P Co., then Kleen-Brite. In 1912, an area water system was constructed which drew water from Lake Ontario. It is still in operation today!
In 1908, the Buffalo, Lockport and Rochester Trolley started up. The year 1917 brought World War I in which approximately 184 men served from the Town. An interesting fact is that the shortest soldier to serve in that war came from Sweden, a Mr. Coleman, who was only four feet, eleven inches. There was an influenza epidemic in 1918 which affected nearly everyone in Town. In 1924, the rural schools in the area were consolidated into the Brockport Central School District, the first such consolidation in Monroe County.
In 1929, the Great Depression began. In spite of the Depression, the Button Factory was built. In addition, the Brockport Hospital, situated in the Manley-Schaffer house on south Main Street, became the Lakeside Memorial Hospital. The Prose and Poetry Series, published by Singer Co. was compiled by Fanny Avery of Brockport. (Most school children used these books until the 1950's.)
In 1934, the Village library moved to a new location in the Seymour house. Also in 1934, the area suffered a big freeze which killed all the apple orchards in the area. In this time period, the Brockport Central High School was built and dedicated. In 1936, Brockport became known nationally because of the Idaho Case. This was a famous trial in which Judge Homer Benedict put a dog on trial for drowning a local citizen in the canal.
In 1938-1946, the Brockport Normal School expanded under Mr. Hartwell, who prepared it for its becoming part of the State University of New York (SUNY) system and its huge expansion in the mid 1960's.
In World War II (1941-1945) 490 people of the Town served. In 1948, General Electric built a plant in Sweden. The 1950's and 1960's brought more growth and change to the Town. Lakeside Memorial Hospital was erected at its present site on West Avenue, a local airport started on Colby Street, (dedicated in 1988 as a relief airport for Rochester small aircraft), Owens Illinois built a plant, and a quarry began on Swamp Road.
At this time, all rural and grammar schools were closed and the children were transported by bus to Brockport Central.
In the late 1960's, Brockport College expanded and Sweden Village, the first housing development, began. The 1970's saw a new Municipal Building for the Town and the Village on State Street. In 2000, this remains the Sweden Town Hall and the Village of Brockport opened their own Municipal Building down the street at the site of the former Seymour Library. In 1979, Brockport was the site of the Special Olympics. The 1980's brought more growth and expansion with the building of the Sweden Senior Center, Wegmans Plaza (rebuilt in 1989) and the creation of several new apartment complexes and shopping malls as business continued to creep south on Lake Road away from the Village center. In the late 1980's, because so many houses were built on farms, Agricultural Districts were formed to protect the farm land.
The 1990's finds farming still an important industry in Sweden with many fruit and vegetable farms still thriving in the area. It is a college town situated on the Erie Canal with two operating lift bridges, eleven active churches, two libraries (the Seymour Library and the Drake Library at the college), a small community based symphony, five volunteer fire companies, six cemeteries, a Village Police Department, a share of Northampton County Park, a senior retirement complex (Royal Gardens) and three museums.
Wal-Mart came to Town in 1992. The Seymour Library left its State Street location and moved to a more spacious structure on East Avenue. The Brockport Central School District added a third elementery school, the Fred Hill School, and extensively renovated the high school. Main Street was declared an Historic Business District and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The 2000's find the focus once again on the Erie Canal with significant restoration being done on the canal walls and much work being done to beautify the canal banks. Brockport was the location of the Regional Preservation Conference in 2000.
In 2002 a new community center was donated to the town.
Plans to capitalize on the historical significance of the area and to draw tourism to Sweden enable it to look to its future with excitement. It has come a long way from its beginnings as a terminus for the Erie Canal.