Honeoye Lake seen from Harriet Hollister Park.
Seven miles south of Valley Inn on the Canadice Hill Road, the town has a state park with more than a square mile of field and woodland, and with a spectacular view of the length of Honeoye Lake below. On a clear day visitors can see Lake Ontario to the north.
This land was first settled by John Wheeler in 1813. He stayed there seven years, then went to Ohio. In 1820, Preston Hayes, a cabinet maker, settled there. He left the farm to his son Alfred, who is noted on the map of 1874, (Waite, 89).
In 1940, Thomas G. Spencer of Rochester purchased the land. He was the president of Hollister Lumber Co., which had been founded in 1832. Later on, he became a vice president of Security Trust bank (Norstar).
On January 1, 1964, he donated 679 acres to the State of New York, as a memorial to his wife Harriet Hollister Spencer.
In the deed he stipulated the land be used as a wild life sanctuary and as a place for recreation. It fills those purposes, with deer, grouse, and wild turkey on the land as well as picnic tables and grills.
The park’s elevation is 2,133 feet above sea level. No hunting is allowed. It is managed by the Conservation Department and its road is maintained by the town of Canadice’s Highway Department.
Its lookout is a favorite spot for hang-glider enthusiasts, who sail down to the Honeoye West Lake Road (County Road #36), 1,330 feet below.
Mrs. Harriet Hollister Spencer was an ardent horticulturist. She especially liked to grow roses, and was a charter member of the Rochester Garden Club. She was also active in civic and social affairs in Rochester.
Today the park stands as a living memorial to this person who delighted in nature. Thanks to a generous gift, many people can now enjoy this remote area for its scenery, wildlife and unspoiled appearance.