Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project



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Institution Name: Houghton College
Original/Historic Place Name: Houghton Creek (Jockey St.)
Location on Campus: Route 19 (Main St.)
Date(s) of Construction: information unknown
Type of Place: Landscape site
Style: (Glossary)
Significance: education, history, landscape, religion
Narrative: see below
References: see below
pre- 2004other (canal served the Genesee Valley area for approx. 40 years)
ca. 2004-present (2006)other (abandoned, proposed greenway for recreational purposes)

The coming of the Canal was a mixed blessing for the hamlet of Houghton Creek, named after James Houghton. In the stretch of canal between Houghton Creek and the town of Belfast (about 8 miles), there were 14 taverns to accommodate the canal boatmen, who were a rough lot. When the canal was frozen over in the winter the hostelries brought in these boatmen, who would organize and gamble on horse races on the one-mile stretch in downtown Houghton Creek, giving it the unofficial name of Jockey Street. Out of concern for the children, James Houghton's son Willard began to organize Sunday Schools, became a founder of Houghton Wesleyan Church, and was later involved in founding Houghton Seminary, initially a high school and now Houghton College. When the church he helped found built its first building, Willard made certain that a large bronzed hand with index finger pointing upward was placed on the peak of the steeple to remind the brawling boatmen to look upward and change their wicked ways. The canal bed is still visible, and the pathway served the railroad for many years.


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Last update: November 2006