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Augustus Elliott's Home


The articles in the Brighton-Pittsford Post written by Brighton experts regarding the "Brighton Bricks" have been very enlightening. Pittsford also had a brickyard that supplied materials for some of the earlier homes near the center of the village. That brickyard was located in "Lusk Hollow" near the corner of Stone Road, & South Main Street. That yard contained the type of clay needed for making good, substantial bricks and was operated by Elihu Doud.

The brick house, about which this article is written, sits well back from the road and is currently adjacent to St. Louis Roman Catholic Church. Augustus Elliott who operated a general store in Pittsford where the building that used to be the Methodist Church and is now Pittsford Picture Framing built the home about 1814. He also operated a distillery located across the street from his house. It was reported that Mr. Elliott made a great success of his business during the War of 1812 and reputedly sold large stores of whisky to the government for army supplies. The house that he built, was supposedly for his bride to be, Jane Penfield. Jane jilted Elliott shortly before the wedding and it was reported that he was so despondent that he committed suicide. That legend has been proven untrue, for he left his beautiful home and moved to Pennsylvania.

Few changes have been made to the exterior of the home. A "herringbone" design can be noticed when the building is closely studied. At each gable end there are four chimneys very similar to the Phoenix building that leads many to believe that this house and the Phoenix were designed by the same architect and built by the same builder. Steel rods were secured at each end of the home to make sure it stood straight and tall for many years.

Minor changes have been made to the interior. The home is entered through the beautiful doorway with its fan light, into a spacious hall, where a gracefully curving stairway with smooth balustrade of mahogany leads to the upstairs rooms. The mantles over the numerous fireplaces are Adams in design and were depicted in 1904 in the "American Architect".

Elliott sold the home to Judge Sampson who, in turn, sold to Mr. James Guernsey, of Lima, one of the first preachers in the community. Mr. Guernsey installed an elaborate system of water supply from "Osgoodby's Hill", about where the south end of Eastview Terrace is located. He also had a very successful business of exporting ginseng that he grew in the gardens behind the house. The property extended to Rand Place and Locust Street.

The home had many owners from the time of Elliott. It eventually sold to the Hargous Family, members of New York City's "Four Hundred" and used it principally for a summer home. This house is often referred to as "The Hargous House".

In 1921, Mr. William Briggs and his family purchased the home. At his death, his son, Mr. Theodore Briggs inherited. Theodore was the City Manager for a time and then president of Lawyer's Cooperative in Rochester.

St. Louis Church acquired the house and grounds in 1955 and turned the home into a Parish House next to the newly erected church. It has been used as a school, a library, a convent, and now a parish house. The home is still beautiful and well cared for and stands as a special landmark in the Village.

There are other brick homes near the Village center that will be discussed in later issues.