Town of Webster

1000 Ridge Road
585-872-1000

History

The site of present-day Webster was first discovered in 1669. French explorer LaSalle entered Irondequoit Bay (the land of the Seneca Indians), exploring Lake Ontario looking for inland waterways.On July 25, 1837, Daniel Webster had spoken to a large gathering of Whigs on the Rochester courthouse steps concerning currency regulation and the state of the economy. The Rochester Democrat editorialized that he was "the cleverest fellow in the world for embellishing a story."The Whig farmers from North Penfield, who were part of Daniel Webster's audience that day, were so impressed by his eloquence that when they petitioned the state legislature for separate town status from Penfield, they chose to name it in his honor.On February 6, 1840, Governor William Seward announced the birth of Webster, New York. Originally part of north Penfield, land was split off to create Webster. Residents numbering 2,235 inhabited the "new" Webster.

The first Town meeting was held at John Lett's tavern, south of the present Village. Town needs were discussed, and the necessary officials elected to meet those needs.In the early 1900's, citizens feeling the need for better fire protection, sanitation facilities, lighting, water and other improvements, proposed a separate Village be incorporated within the Town. On March 27, 1905, a referendum was approved, by a 27-vote margin, which resulted in the incorporation of the Village of Webster.Today, citizens interested in the history of Webster make up the "Webster Museum and Historical Society." Volunteers from this organization also staff the Webster Museum located on Lapham Park in the Village.The Webster Museum has several permanent historical displays and also changing feature displays at different times of the year. A 400-page book on the history of Webster, entitled Webster Through the Years, by Esther Dunn, is available for sale at the Museum.