Temperance in Macedon

This article was printed July 4, 1980 for the dedication of the new temperance monument – author unknown.

Since 1845, a Temperance Monument has stood in Macedon Center, inscribed, “Total Abstinence 1845”. Macedon Center since has always remained dry but King Alcohol finally got to the rest of the town.

In the early 1840’s, a temperance movement was started in New York State and the people of the town decided to erect a monument to show the town was for total abstinence.

The Monument

Ira Lapham, eldest son of Abraham Lapham was very interested in the temperance work and on his own and with his own money procured from Vermont a marble shaft 9″ by 12″ at the base, 9′ high with was brought to Macedon via the Erie Canal.

Then came the question as to where to put it. Finally they decided the middle of the road at the four corners in Macedon Center where Route 31F and Canandaigua Roads cross, as near the center of the town as possible. Here it remained until 1913, whe it was then moved to the lawn of the Macedon Grange in Macedon Center.

The monument was dedicated on July 4, 1845 and an address was given by the Hon. William G. Bloss of Rochester. A picnic followed on the lawn of the present Historical Society Building (Macedon Academy). The Macedon Historical Society built an iron railing around it which rested on four cedar posts.

On July 4, 1895 a new railing had been built and they celebrated the 50th anniversary of the unveiling and the new railing. An address was given by Professor I.H. Clark of Sodus plus several other speeches by those present. Again a picnic was held on the lawn of the present Historical property. The festivities were closed with a display of beautiful fireworks.

A Prize

On May, 1845, a local option law was passed previous to the erection of the monument. This law provided for an election to vote for “License” or “No License”. The vote was held in May 1846. Many meetings were held during the winter to decide how they would honor the town having the least votes for “License”. The ladies of Pultneyville offered a prize of a beautiful handmade banner. On June 23, 1846 around 1,000 people gathered at Williamson Corners, in Williamson. A committee of two representatives from each town got together and they decided the banner should go to Macedon as they had the least votes for “License”, one version being three votes and another five.

Mrs. Salome Lapham kept the banner in her possession until her death, then it was in the possession of her children. At the present time, it is in the museum in Lyons.


April 1979, a two car accident at the four corners resulted in the monument being hit, the upright part knocked off the base and broken. July 4, 1980, the new monument the Historical Society had built to replace it was dedicated at a service at 3 p.m. with Assemblyman Paul Kehoe of Wolcott who spoke to the people. Also present was our Town Supervisor Wayne Scheik. Senator Frank Horton of Rochester who had several previous engagements hoped to stop and say “Hello” to the gathering. A Chicken-BBQ followed on the lawn of the Historical Society.

The above article does not mention that the monument also was struck by a car on July 14, 1944. The pictures below show the aftermath of that accident.