Sodus Bay Heights & the King of France

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An article published in the Newark [NY] Courier, July 31, 1924

Also published in the Spring/Summer 2015 edition of The Magazine of the Sodus Bay Historical Society

Sodus Bay Heights & the King of France


Romance, discovery and pioneer patriotism are entwined in a community development which has just been opened on the south shore of Sodus Bay as one beautiful by nature and
enhanced by the artistry of a noted landscape architect. It is both unique and idyllic in its compass of suburban summer camp life. Its name is Sodus Bay Heights. Its location is on the south shore of Sodus Bay, within easy motoring distance of Rochester, Syracuse, Newark, Lyons, and other places. In extent it covers 73 acres of rising ground. In beauty of vision it is unsurpassed anywhere in Western New York.


The romance of the tract lies in the fact that it was discovered and claimed by the voyageurs of Champlain back in the middle 17 hundreds and selected by the King of France as a strategic point for a frontier fort. This very parcel of land was by royal grant given to the family of a French count and it has remained within that noble family until the present time. Only a few years ago, the Countess Bon Hemert, successor of the original grantee, died in France. During her life she refused to sell it. Upon her death the heirs agreed to dispose of it. This is how it becomes now available as a suburban home site.


Its pioneer patriotism is bound up in the annals of the War of 1812 with England. On the knoll of ground in the center of the tract, American patriots stood watching the British fleet shell and sack the little town of Troupville, by which Sodus Point was known in 1813. Situated on the south shore of Great Sodus Bay, named “Assorodus” (Silvery Waters) by the Seneca Indians, Sodus Bay Heights is a gently sloping acreage, which at its apex is 126 feet above the water level, with an undulating roll from boundary to boundary, and commands a wonderful view of the 40 miles of jutting and peninsular shore and a sweeping vista of the waters of Lake Onario.


South Shore 600x357

……….. Postcard of the South Shore of Sodus Bay, early 1900s. Published by W.C. Draper, Sodus Point, N.Y.

Sodus Bay Heights 600x367

……….. Postcard of Lake Bluff from Sodus Bay heights. Published by Wm. Jubb Co., Inc., Syracuse N.Y.


Soon, however, it is to be changed into a community, patterned somewhat after the famed mountain camps. Graceful winding drives in harmony with the contour of the land will be laid out. Roads will be graveled and tile drained and the grade will be similar to that of Highland Park in Rochester.The landscaping will be directed by Alling S. DeForest.Particular attention will be given to the utilitarian properties of a natural stadium which will be patterned after the famous Hollywood Bowl. It is so constituted that an athletic field will be developed at the base and the sloping sides used as seating grounds for spectators. There will be built tennis courts, clock golf grounds and a playground for children which will have see-saws, swings, sandbars and other juvenile diversions. Access to the water edge had to be obtained, so the owners purchased two tracts on the Bay, one 110 feet long and the other 63 feet long, on which are five cottages and boathouses. These will be razed immediately. Two private roadways will be constructed over these to the water, giving uncontroverted access to all residents of the heights. Bathing beaches are of hard bottom. Boating piers will be erected for the water craft. Bathing pavilions will be built. A pumping plant will supply running water from artesian wells, fed by springs, to every cottage. Every resident must provide himself with sanitary septic tanks. There will be no outhouses. Only one house can be erected on each lot. Restrictions provide that every dwelling must be 15 feet from the street line and located on defined building lines so as not to effect the views of neighbors. Attractiveness in building will be insisted upon and must be approved by the tract owners. Purchasers of the tract from the French heirs, who are now officers of the company, are: President, James D. Bashford, retired merchant of Lyons, N. Y.; vice-president and treasurer, M. O. Engleson, vice-president of the Bank of Williamson, Williamson, N. Y.; secretary-manager, John J. Leary, retired manufacturer of Sodus Point, N. Y. All of these have splendid summer homes adjoining the tract.


Editor’s note:

So the area we now know as Sodus Bay Heights was sold in 1924. The Sodus Bay Golf Club was created and many tracts were sold to individuals who enjoy the incredibly beautiful panoramic view overlooking Sodus Bay. By the late 1920s, houses were being built on the Heights. Pictured below is a 1926 photo of a new house on Central Ave. It currently is owned by Vince and Jody Myerly and used with their permission.



The year is 1924. The French Heirs to the King of France have decided to sell the large Sodus Bay Heights tract of land to the Sodus Bay Heights Land Co., Inc.
They send out the following flyer. Are you in? click the following link to view the flyer and use the + and – keys to zoom in and out: