Middletown Historical Society of Steuben County

Middletown Historical Society of Steuben County Anyone is encouraged to become a member of MHS. See "Story" For Membership Form to be filled out, an Membership is from January to January.

Officers: President: Christine Jackson-Sullivan Vic President, Judith Masti, Treasurer: Crystal Myers. Trustees: Glen Triches, Troy Preston, Craig Vona Membership Committee: Nina Smith. You may visit the Middletown Historical Society Museum on Saturdays for the month of July- October or by appointment. Please consider becoming a member and help support the museum. To become a member of the Middl

etown Historical Society of Steuben County, fill out this form and send it with your dues to:
Middletown Historical Society Museum
41 Main Street - Suite 101 - Addison, NY 14801

Name: ________________________________________________
Address: ______________________________________________
Email: _________________________________________________
Telephone Number: (_____)_______________________________
Date: __________________________________________________
_____ Individual $20
_____ Family $25
_____ Senior Citizen $15
_____ Student $10
_____ Institution of Business $50
_____For Scholarship Fund $__________________
_____For Northrup School $__________________
_____For Operating Expenses $________________
41 Main Street
Addison, NY 14801



The Middletown Historical Society (MHS) would like to announce the beginning of our 2024 historical presentations!

On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at 41 Main Street, Addison, the Middletown Historical Society (MHS) will host Steve Cotton, the Canisteo Town Historian, who will present the story of Clara Comstock “The Orphan Train Lady." Clara was born in Hartsville, New York, and made a career with the NYC Children’s Aid Society. Steve's program explores her involvement in finding homes for over 12,000 orphans.

Come learn some interesting facts about this time in our local history. This is also a good time to see what is new and happening at your local museum and what you can do to help us!

Very Respectfully,

The MHS Board


Total eclipse – 99 years ago! On January 24, 1925 Frank E. Hewitt set up by Corning's Christ Episcopal Church, just a few blocks from his home and photo shop on Pine Street, using glass plates… which were already pretty much obsolescent by then. He took multiple shots, which would have required some very quick-but-careful juggling, and captured the entire sequence of the eclipse. Which, if we understand correctly, was better than Cornell University did. Apparently Ithaca was overcast, so all their preparations came to naught. Corning-Painted Post Historical Society archives Mt. Hewitt's complete sequence of plates.


John R. Catchpole (wife Anne, or Annie) resided at Bath's 17 Allen Street in 1925. Mr. Catchpole also operated a shoe repair shop, keeping busy enough, evidently, to have at least one employee. By 1940 he was working at Castle's shoe store on Liberty Street, and he was still there at least as late as 1954. In 1928 Mrs. Catchpole was Royal Matron for Salubria Court # 81, Order of the Amaranth... for women of Masonic families, especially active in local assistance, and in supporting diabetes research. We presume one of these men is Mr. Catchpole – can anyone identify either of them?


Drift back about a hundred years, and our Wednesday mini-series on Steuben County incorporated villages brings us to lovely Savona, in the Town of Bath. The Southern Tier Expressway isn't even a dream. Robie Road runs off to lower left; the Conhocton River runs serenely from the lower right. We see two of the three historic village churches. The Methodist church (center, with the tall spire) burned in the late 1940s, after which the congregation merged with the Baptists (squat bell tower) to create Savona Federated Church, which is still active, in that same edifice, today.


This lock in Gibson (Town of Corning) marked the beginning (or the end) of the Chemung Canal system, joining Corning to Seneca Lake, the Erie Canal system, and the Northern Tier of Pennsylvania. Barges moving through this lock brought all the factory equipment form Brooklyn Flint Glass Works, when they relocated in Corning after the Civil War. At 4 PM on Friday, April 5, Gary Emerson will five us a free illustrated program on Canal Days, in and Around Steuben. We hope you can join us, at Bath Fire Hall. (Corning-Painted Post Historical Society photo)


It's a snowy day in North Hornell, in 1916. But here and now, in 2024, official spring is already under way! And we understand that "experiential" spring will soon be among us. We suspect we'll enjoy it.


We're arriving in Painted Post by trolley, for our Wednesday mini-series on Steuben County incorporated villages. At dead center is a stone column, atop which stands a statue of an American Indian... or at least, what someone in a factory figured that an Indian ought to look like. Next to the crossbars on the right-hand utility pole is the sheet-metal “Indian” silhouette that preceded the rounded statue. (Both of these, along with an even earlier sheet-metal silhouette, are now in the Town of Erwin Museum at the Depot... they commemorate the original “Painted Post” of pre-European days.) Down the street past the trolley we can spy the old-style diamond-shaped railroad crossing sign. Up front we see a small child who, from the expression, would really rather be elsewhere.


Why walk when you can ride? Once again, the dog proves that it is among the smartest of animals. Jim and Nelson Sanford have a job they're going to do, or maybe they've just finished one. Or, could they just have posed this scene for the photographer? Whichever way, it's clear that neither they nor their team are afraid of hard work. (Town of Hornellsville)


Jane Schryver kindly shared this photo of the creamery in Jasper... Steuben County was once dappled with dairies, creameries, and cheeseries, some of them operated as co-ops. Wagons would pull up every morning, if not more frequently, laden with milk cans from the farmers. While most of the fellows are posing forthrightly for their photo, one guy ostentatiously lounges. Did you notice the man on the roof?


Arkport Dam, built after the catastrophic flood of 1935, helped keep the flood of 1972 from being even more disastrous than it was. The dam was a “New Deal” construction, as was the nearby Arkport Central School. At 4 PM on Friday, March 1, our director Kirk House will present a free illustrated program, “Our Great Depression, Our New Deal,” in the Bath fire hall.


We thank Wayland Town Historian Sandy Booth for sharing this old photo of Bob Hughes, in a bygone beaver trapping season. As with most of the forest-dwelling creatures, the Steuben County beaver count rebounded in the late 20th century, as much of our land reverted to woodland, following several generations having been kept clear for pasture and cultivation. Perkinsville is an unincorporated community within the Town of Wayland.


In 1933 William H. Cramer Jr. stood out at Cramer Road in West Union... pretty nearly the last road in Steuben!... and used his Kodak Brownie to snap a picture of the family farm. The house was already on the property when Marcus Martin Cramer bought the land in 1880, and he built the barn 13 years later. The place is still owned by Cramers, but house and barn are now both gone. William H. Cramer, Jr. and daughter Laurel Cupper are both Society members; they prepared the article “Youth Endures” in the current Steuben Echoes. We thank them for also providing this photo and information.


Some commenters recently have mentioned how our forest, as it exists today, has largely grown up since 1900 or so. By then much of the land had been cleared for farming, for grazing, and of course also for use of the wood. Return of the forest was followed by return of forest denizens which had been mostly missing for generations. (Even the deer were rare within living memory.) One of our new returnees is the bobcat... seldom seen, but now present in numbers that support legal hunting and trapping seasons. The DEC provided this photo from Tracy Creek State Forest in Rathbone.


We join a chartered picnic bus for our Wednesday mini-series on group excusrions. Some of these Hornell folks show up in other group photos as well, so they must have just loved picnicking! One of the fellows in the horse-drawn bus seems to have a women's hat on. Apparently the picnic is provoking a certain amount of giddiness. The year is 1885, and the photo is from Hornell Public Library.


We like this photo of an Addison parade for the usual reasons... view of Main Street, marchers in action... but we ALSO like the fact that we see Market Basket, along with A&P... two grocery chains that were once so pervasive that there was one, if not both, in almost every town. We also see Radio... Shack? As a retail store chain, the name goes back to 1962 or so -- but it may simply be an independent shop dealing with radios and other electrical apparatus. Notice the man at right, using a wheelchair. (Photo thanks to Rebecca Towner, via Janie Ferguson)


The Canisteo and Jasper Rapid Transit Company. My, how far we have come!


Going back even before European occupation, hunting and trapping were important to life in Steuben... either for “own use” or for sale and trade. That's not as significant as it used to be, but Steuben is now one of New York's most productive counties for deer take and turkey take – bringing in many visitors (and their dollars) in addition to local folks. Janie Ferguson shared this 1966 photo from Christine K. Jackson. Her father Stacy Jackson and grandfather Raymond Farrand are examining their take of raccoon skins in Cameron.


We've finally had a little snow – or a LOT of snow! That reminds us of this photo Jane Schryver shared, with the Canisteo Living Sign on a quiet winter's day. Keep warm! (The Living Sign was created in 1933. The original trees, suffering from age, were removed in 2016, and replaced with 260 young pines.)


How much fun would it be to ride in a TWO-horse open sleigh – hey? The Drake family had a fine home in Corning and a fine “cottage” on Keuka Lake, in Pulteney. They spent much of their summers at “Drake's Point,” but also enjoyed it in the winter, too. Those who know better can say so, but we identify this as a two-horse four-passenger bob sleigh... those four sets of runners each being a bob. (Courtesy Corning-Painted Post Historical Society)

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 13, 2023: We only have 21 calendars left in the Museum. Order yours today as 2024 is right around ...

UPDATE AS OF DECEMBER 13, 2023: We only have 21 calendars left in the Museum. Order yours today as 2024 is right around the corner!

Hi Folks,

We now have the 2024 Middletown Historical Society (MHS) calendars, and we're more than pleased!

Of the 76 calendars (to include the proof copy) that we received, only about 45 calendars remain in the Museum.

For those who have already ordered their 2024 MHS calendars: We expect to get them in the mail to you this week.

For those who haven't ordered but want to: What are you waiting for? Hurry and place your order on our website (at https://www.mhsofsteubenctyny.org/dues-donations--merchandise.html) or stop in at the store at 41 Main Street during our normal hours before the holiday rush begins!

The calendars are $16 each (plus shipping for those who wish the calendar mailed to them).

You may still purchase the calendars online at Lulu.com.

Finally, you can also get your calendars at Wades Building Supply in Addison as well as at the Addison Apothecary on Main Street, Addison.

Thanks as always for your support.

The Middletown Historical Society Board


Folks today are surprised at the numbers of hotels that even small communities had, a century or more back. (Though if we counted up all of our motels, maybe the numbers would be similar, just spread out a bit.) Even small Kanona once had five hotels – it was a stopping and changing point for three railroad lines. Damoth House, seen here, was near the “Four Corners” in Savona (which had two railroad lines), and the building survived into the 21st century. The writer (around 1907) uses the old construction “agoing.” Joseph Dimmick operates his business here – perhaps he's the one selling 15-cent ci**rs. Among the people gathered for this photo we see a very small boy, a mature young man standing tall, and an elderly gentleman seated – the Sphinx of Thebes would have felt right at home. Those who know Savona well may be able to estimate the time from the sun's reflection in the upper left window.


He was one of the most brilliant men of his time – a Cambridge University graduate, a man who exchanged foreign-language tutoring with John Milton. But in 1636 he was on the run through a New England blizzard. Parliament ordered the hangman to confiscate and publicly books written by Roger Williams, in which he used both civil and theological arguments to demand religious liberty for all – numerous groups in Steuben have benefitted from his labors. At 4 PM on Friday, December 1, our director Kirk House will include Williams in a free presentation on “Forgotten Freedom Fighters.” We'll also have a “Give History for Christmas” table of books, posters, and more (cash or check only). We hope you'll join us! (“The Banishment of Roger Williams,” by Peter F. Rothermel, 1812-1895; image in the public domain)


41 Main Street
Addison, NY

Opening Hours

Wednesday 1am - 4pm
Saturday 10am - 1pm


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MHS of SC ~ Our Story

Officers: President: Mary Bielski, Vice President: Julia Masti, (Also Cameron Historian), Secretary: Position Currently Open, Treasurer: Vi Powers. Trustees: Jeremiah Clark, Joseph Crance, Mary Jane Gill, Kraig Hamilton, Leslie Smith, (Also Woodhull Historian), Christina Jackson Sullivan. Janie Ferguson has been the the On-line Communications Director & manages our MHS FB page for the past three years, & Hal Sisson helps with information on the MHS FB page, too.

We are closed in December, January & February. We are currently only open on Saturdays from 10 AM till 1:00 PM until further notice. You may also visit the MHS Museum by appointment.

Please consider becoming a member and help support the museum. To become a member of the Middletown Historical Society of Steuben County, fill out this form and send it with your dues to: Middletown Historical Society Museum 41 Main Street - Suite 101 - Addison, NY 14801 Name: ________________________________________________ Address: ______________________________________________ Email: _________________________________________________ Telephone Number: (_____)_______________________________ Date: __________________________________________________ ANNUAL DUES ENCLOSED _____ Individual $15.00 _____ Family $25.00 _____Senior Citizen $10.00 _____Student $10.00 _____ Institution of Business $50.00 DONATIONS ENCLOSED _____For Scholarship Fund $__________________ _____For Northrup School $__________________ _____For Operating Expenses $________________ Location: 41 Main Street Addison, NY 14801