The Shacks on Big Tree Road
Legend has it that our great grandfather – Martin “Pops” Trott – came to the north end of Conesus Lake around 1918 to do some “fishing” with his friends, and immediately fell in love with the place. Easily accessible from his home in Rochester via old route 15 or the Livonia Railroad, he came down regularly and rented different properties for two years. Then in late 1920, he purchased land from the local farmer and over time built two fishing shacks. Supposedly, the timbers used to build the first shack came from his brothers, who owned the Trott Monument Co. in Rochester; the wood coming from the leftover pallets for shipping cemetery stones. While it made for a good story from Grandma, we can’t establish it as fact.
Pops and his wife had three daughters, Marion, Gertrude and Betty. By the late 1940’s, Betty had moved to nearby Honeoye lake with her husband Elmer Wittenberg (California Ranch property), Gertrude had married Arden Howland, and Marion was married to George Gantert. When Pops died in 1961, the lot was properly subdivided with Arden and Gertrude living next door. A small addition was built on our shack, and suddenly it became a cottage.
With Pops passing, the cottage became George and Marion’s summer residence, and their only daughter Patricia married Marvin Parker (our Mom and Dad). The four of us brothers were coming to the lake almost every weekend in the summers. It was our own little Shangri-La, with gobs of cousins and great 3rd of July parties. In 1982 they extended the front porch, effectively doubling the size of the cottage, and vinyl siding was added. It was still a one season, uninsulated, one bedroom cottage.
In early 2001, Mom called a family meeting in Rochester to decide what to do with the cottage. It was starting to show its’ age, NY property taxes were rocketing, and two of us brothers had left Rochester for North Carolina and Texas. Over lunch, (and to the surprise and delight of our mother), we all decided to take the big plunge and completely rebuild. The shack was about to become a home. Mom immediately started looking at house plans and graphing out floor space. By summer, we had an architect and builder lined up, plans approved. That September, the wrecker came and in all of 13 seconds and one wiggle of the backhoe bucket, the fishing shack was no more. By spring it was finished by local Livonia craftsmen, walls were painted and furniture moved back in. The official opening was July 3rd, 2002, and what a party it was!
Nicknamed “the Hummer” because of its overbuilt nature, we look forward to celebrating another 90 years at Conesus.