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In These Otsego Hills

December 27, 2012

Long may she stand ...

Although we have noted many celebrations held in 2012, we have never quite gotten around to acknowledging one that is, for us at least, rather noteworthy. It was 100 years ago this year that Gerald Donaldson and Maude Mae Ellsworth purchased the lot and built the house that still stands at 105 Pioneer St.

And during the ensuing years, the house has only been inhabited by Ellsworths, either naturally born Ellsworths or Ellsworths who have joined the ranks of the family by marriage. Three generations of only sons as well as only children, Charles Donaldson, Gerald Bernard and Christopher Cuthbert Ellsworth grew up in the house, making the family one with three-generations of graduates of Cooperstown Central School.

The house was originally built for $5,000 which seems almost unimaginable especially when it must be remembered that at the time Gerald Donaldson Ellsworth worked for the post office at an annual salary of $900. In today’s world, it seems quite unlikely that anyone would be able to build a house at over five times his or her annual salary. But evidently, it was possible to do so in 1912.

Since then, there have been a number of repairs and renovations which have been either necessary or desired. It is our understanding that not terribly long after the house was built it was determined that there was a problem with the concrete blocks used for the foundation. Thus at some point in time, the he-we’s grandparents had a second supporting foundation poured around the foundation except for the foundation under the front porch. And the decision on their part to not do the foundation under the front porch would come back to haunt us lo these many years later when we had to hire someone to crawl under the front porch and reinforce the foundation there.

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In These Otsego Hills
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