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Channing H. Philbrick Park - The old Linear Park

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Coldwell Banker Custom Realty

AKA: Linear Park; The Falls; The Hollow; Sgoh-Sa-Is-Thah; Irondequoit Falls; Irondequoit Rapids
The Town of Penfield hosts this 19 acre community park along an exciting stretch of Irondequoit Creek, where it drops over 90 feet in the course of one mile. The relatively steep drop in an otherwise flat region leads to some interesting rapids along its path towards Irondequoit Bay and eventually Lake Ontario. The community of Penfield has always had a use for this stretch of the creek. The power presented by the creek created a large community of mills that fueled the earliest industries in the valley. Although the course of the creek has changed over time, and all of the mills that once utilized it have been razed, evidence of this period can still be found in the crumbling foundations of a few of these remaining structures.

Named after former Town Supervisor, Channing H. Philbrick, the park serves a variety of purposes. The open field, picnic shelter and playground are a frequent host to parties and family gatherings throughout the summer months. Year-round, the creek is host to hikers, photographers, and fisherman who come to enjoy the sights, sounds, and the sense of peace and isolation this small sliver of nature offers in an otherwise highly-developed suburb.

The big draw here is the class III whitewater. Twisting, bouncing and spraying around the limestone mottled creek bed, Irondequoit Creek displays tremendous power for such a small waterway. The porous nature of the rock layers here acts as an amplifier as the water drums upon it, creating a thumping roar of water that fills the glen. It's both relaxing and exhilarating at the same time, and well worth at least a quick stop.



When walking the shady trails along this section of Irondequoit Creek, it is tough to imagine its banks lined with dozens of mills and factories. Although the course of the creek has changed drastically since then, some traces of these mills can still be found along its shores.

Irondequoit Creek's origins can be traced to a pre-glacial Genesee River, that carved out the valley that Irondequoit Creek now flows through. Irondequoit Bay was once the delta where this ancient Genesee emptied into the pre-glacial Lake Ontario. Sediment deposits from the last ice age pushed the Genesee to its current location to the west, while small tributaries still contributed to its former valley, forming Irondequoit Creek.

Prior to pioneer settlement, the Iroquois inhabited this region and named this section of the creek SGOH-SA-IS-THAH (smashing water against rock) hailing to the drumming sound made by rapids pummeling the limestone layers beneath.

Penfield was first owned by Jonathan Fassett, Sr of Vermont. The heavily wooded, hilly and swampy terrain was not of much use and it was sold, and sold, and sold again until Daniel Penfield, a wealthy land owner and merchant from down state, came to the area in 1795 and saw the potential of this stretch of Irondequoit Creek for the powering of mills. He bought the entire township that same year, but did not erect a sawmill until 1800. Soon after, several other mills were erected nearby. The principal industry here was flour, which was carried by land to Charlotte and then shipped north across Lake Ontario to Canada. The opening of the Erie Canal in the 1820s allowed for shipping to markets far to the east and the milling industry in Penfield thrived. The mills here included, but were not limited to grain, sawmills, triphammers, clothing mills, tanneries, clothing mills, distilleries. Other businesses sprung up to support the township and prosper from the power of the creek. Mr. Penfield maintained the water rights within the Township limits and thus had an interest in all of the businesses that utilized it.

Mr. Penfield encouraged settlement within his township by accepting produce and livestock in lieu of mortgage payments for new farmers as they settled on their land. As the milling business in nearby Rochester blossomed around the High Falls, milling on Irondequoit Creek diminished and agriculture took over as the principal industry in the town. Before becoming a town park, this area (specifically the open fields along the creek) was home to a sewage treatment plant that emptied right into the creek. It was removed and trails and park facilities were built. The park was called Linear Park until recently.

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Penfield Native - Traditionalist

Where has Tradition Gone?? Ok with all due respect to Channing Philbrick this will always and should have remainded Linear Park!! Why is it th mascot for Penfield has now changed to the Patriots from the Chiefs? Is it me or does anyone else think it is more insulting to Native Americans to change the name to all things the Patriots from the Chiefs? Mike sorry if you are to young to have been a Chief but just don't understand why these polotians feel the need to change something that isn't broken. Try reducing our taxes if your bored. 

Jan 08, 2012 11:19 AM
A Former Chief

Hey penfield native I love it! Next they will name Harris Whalen park to some washed up town supervisor's name that claimed he kepped taxes flat but increased all or assessments by 20%..... you are not fooling anyone!!

Go Chiefs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Jan 08, 2012 11:27 AM
Mike Liess
Coldwell Banker Custom Realty - Penfield, NY

Thanks for he comments "Penfield Native" and "A Former Chief", there is nothing wrong with wanting to hold on to our traditions, and as a former Chief it is a little strange seeing Patriots on Penfield Sports, personally I whould have not wanted it changed but it is a great reason to have a huge Chiefs only golf tourni at Shadow Lake every year! All Chiefs are welcome!

Jan 08, 2012 11:40 AM