Town History

Town Formation Timeline

  • 1790: Called Milan
  • February 20, 1802: The official Town of Locke was formed from Milton (Genoa, NY).
  • 1817: Part of Locke was taken off to form the Town of Division (Groton, NY).
  • 1831: Part of Locke was taken off to form the Town of Plato (Summerhill, NY).

Military Tracts & Soldiers

Cayuga County formed a portion of the Military Tract, which included some of Locke. Military Tracts were portions of land purchased from Iroquois Indians used for grants to veterans of the Revolutionary War. Locke had 38 soldiers who received tracts.

Locke had 63 soldiers in the War of 1812.


Locke has seven cemeteries:

  • Bird (only one in current use)
  • Bowker
  • Cantine
  • Chipman's Corner's or Howell Road
  • Edsall
  • Monaghan
  • Old Settler's


Locke had a fire on April 26, 1912, where 30 village buildings were destroyed. Another fire on April 10, 1975, destroyed 11 village buildings.

Hewitt Bros

The Hewitt Bros. produce business started on July 5, 1901, by O.D. and L.H. Hewitt. Today it is still Hewitt Bros. (Inc.), run by Gordon Hewitt at the same location (Water Street). They grind grains; mix feeds; blend fertilizers; and deliver heating oils, gas, diesel, lubes and oils.

Edwin Mackey

Edwin Mackey, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), was born and raised in Locke. He is very well-known, and is the best veterinarian in this part of the country. He has been in business on North Main Street for 55 years. He is now semi-retired.

Nachtrieb's Grocery Store

Nachtrieb's Grocery Store was on the corner of West Cayuga Street and Main Street. It was owned and run by Fay and Janet Nachtrieb from 1961 to 1984. It was previously owned and run by Janet's parents (Cook) for six years. Before them, it was run by her aunt and uncle (Dean). The store was sold to Patrick and Beth Dempsey in 1984. The name was changed to General Store and it is still in business.

Rodney's Gas Station

Rodney's Gas Station on the corner of Route 90 E and South Main Street was run by Rodney Sharpsteen and sons from 1948 to 1984. It is still presently a gas station and its name has changed to D&D's One Stop. It is run by Kenneth Alvord.

Rene's Diner

Rene's Diner on Main Street burned down in the 1975 fire and was rebuilt. It was Rene's run by Irene Misner until 1978 when it was sold to Paul Barbagallo who owned it until 1983. It was sold to Barb Seamans and changed to Barb's Diner which is still in business.

Grisamore Farm

Grisamore Farm on the corner of Goose Street and Cowan Road started as a dairy in 1926 by Maurice and Else Grismore. In the 1950s, it changed to poultry and was run by the son, Paul, and his wife, Christine. In 1951, it started growing strawberries and expanded into many kinds of fruit and vegetable produce. Three of their four daughters are employed. It is still very busy and in the family.

Alvord's Garage

Alvord's Garage is located on Maple Avenue and has been in business since 1964. It is owned by Covert Alvord and run by him and his son, Donald. It moved to Main Street in the early 1970s into Buff Misner's former garage located by Rene's Diner. After it burned in the 1975 fire, it moved back to Maple Avenue.


The Methodist Circuit Riders started riding through Locke in 1810. The church was built in 1849 and it burned in the 1912 fire. It was rebuilt in 1913 and merged with Moravia Methodist Church in 1969. The building was torn down in 1979

The Milan Baptist Church on Main Street was named after Locke's first name and it was started in 1831. This church is still very active, bringing many to know the Lord. The present pastor is Hartley Selfridge.

Hemlock Creek

Hemlock Creek runs north through Locke to Owasco Lake. It is a popular fishing and hunting area with a busy deer season


History from Town Historian, Esther Thorton