CATHERINE LAKE ELLSWORTH
In These Otsego Hills
— Even though our 1986 discussion of duplicate houses came to an end, we stayed on the general topic of Cooperstown houses when we wrote:
“Although we have discovered no “new” duplicated homes in the village during the past week, we have encountered an interesting fact. At the turn of this century it was possible to purchase a house from the then Sears, Roebuck and Company. One selected one’s dream house chosen from many different building plans, placed an order, and waited for the various sections of the house to begin arriving at the designated site. Since these Sears houses were so popular, it is not out of the question to suppose that Cooperstown might sport at least one such house. Indeed, rumor has it that 30 Fair Street, located on the west side of Fair Street between Main and Lake is such a house! There are some residents who remember when sections of 30 Fair Street came to the village via train and were thence conveyed to the site and assembled. Everyone, however, is not in agreement on this. Some maintain that 30 Fair Street could not possibly be a Sears house.”
To this topic we got the following response: “Cooperstonian Steve Walker called to discuss with us 30 Fair Street as a Sears home. Steve, who lived at said address for a number of years, feels that many of the architectural features of the house, such as the sunken living room, the marble thresholds, the intricate moldings, and the tiled roof, would seem to indicate that the house was really not of the mail order variety. We know that several people have consulted the book, Houses by Mail, which depicts the wide variety of house plans available from Sears. Evidently, Sears homes were at one time popular and fairly well built. The debate over 30 Fair Street continues.
“Two other houses, one within the village, one without, are also reputed to be Sears houses. These are 17 Brooklyn Avenue and its duplicate, the second house past the new A.C.C.Gym on the same side of the street.”
And while still on the topic of houses, we changed direction once again when we wrote: “Bob Ballard, Beaver Street, suggested that we ask how many village homes have been moved from other locations to their present site? We know of several, but assume that there must be more. We do remember when the McGown House, 25 Chestnut Street, was moved from the east side of Chestnut Street between the bakery and the Mobile station to its present location on Church Street where it functions as the Presbyterian Church House.”
This was followed by: “We confess we have not done any exhaustive research into the number of houses which have been moved in the village. We mentioned the McGown house two weeks ago and we remember when the only house on Court Street (which ran from Leatherstocking Street to Main Street) was moved to its present location at 196 Main Street. Actually this move occurred when Court Street itself disappeared during the construction of the present County Office Building. Court Street had the distinction, of that time, of being the only village street which had one and only one house on it. Was the address One Court Street? The house presently at One Elm Street was moved, we believe, from between the Clark Estate Offices and Worthington House on Main Street.
“Bob and Jean Ballard’s house at 51 Beaver was moved, so Bob believes, from its original site either at Elk Street or Fair Street to make room for the Clark Stable built in 1901 on the corner of Elk and Fair.
“Art and Ramona Goddard’s house, 34 Maple Street, and Rose and Angelo Pugliese’s house, now 180 Main Street were both moved in 1914 and 1915 respectively to make room for the railroad station which was completed in 1916. This building, today a private residence, is located off Main Street behind Bruce Hall, Inc.”
We also noted that the house now located at 74 Fair Street was moved when we wrote:
“The front portion of this house first stood on the southwest corner of Church and River Streets and was the original rectory for Christ Church. In 1890 as plans were being formulated to build a new rectory (which is still in use) the old house was sold for $80 and moved to its present location at 74 Fair. The back section of the house was added sometime later.
Our discussion of moved housed concluded when we wrote that we were told that: 26 Maple Street, formerly the home of Mr. and Mrs. William Taylor, currently the home of the Schellhammers, was moved to its present location, but from where or when we do not as yet know.
“In fact: There does seem to be bit of confusion concerning when and from where the house at 26 Maple Street was moved. Indeed, there seems to be some evidence that perhaps the house was not moved at all, but was built in its present location. Several individuals, including Margaret Smith of Hartwick Seminary, with whom we discussed the matter, seemed to feel that originally the house stood somewhere on the old Bundy Farm either above the Farmers’ Museum near what we call Artificial Pond, or closer to the Glimmerglen Road. Wherever the house’s exact location, suffice it to say that the move was a lengthy one. Shortly after the house appeared on Maple Street, the Devenpeck family purchased it. Bob Taylor’s mother, Grace, was a Devenpeck and sometime after she married Bill Taylor, they moved into the house. If anyone has any more light to shed on whether the house was moved or not, please let us know.”
And, of course, someone did which lead us to write: “We again turn our attention to the house at 26 Maple Street. We have heard from Betty (Bundy) Fry and from Hattie Devenpeck both of whom we thank. The house, originally a one story structure, was, as we have said, located on the property which now belongs to the Farmers’ Museum and was owned by a family named Hotchkiss as we had previously been told. The Bundy family purchased the property which they called Brightside and which was then eventually acquired by Edward Clark for Fenimore Farm. As we have also noted when the house was moved, it was transported in two sections with horses and skids to the new foundation at 26 Maple Street. At that time the house was owned by Ken Root of Roots Hardware Store. Mr. and Mrs. Devenpeck bought the house sometime after that. In 1950, when Bill and Grace Taylor owned the house, they added the second story.
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