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Sponsored by: Hancock-Chehocton Historical Association

Dedication: The Hancock-Chehocton Historical Association dedicates this booklet to the memory of the late Lucile Howell. She was a dedicated village historian. Her interest in and knowledge of the history of Hancock was the guiding factor in the formation of the association. Lucile Howell 1907-1985

Centennial Booklet Committee:

Chairperson: PatriciaGreen

Researchers: Muriel Biggs Georgena Bouchoux Jack Casey Doris Chamberlain Adrienne Crosby Doris Davis Edith Mackin

Cover: 1850 Hand sketch by William Macleod. Wooden rail-road bridge can be seen to far right. House on left probably that of Charles Leonard, Sr.

This was digitized by Richard Lowe and there may be formatting or spelling issues, as we used AI-Technology to scan, detect and make this copy of the booklet available in a digital format to share online. We apologize for any mistakes and issues and encourage edits. Please email us any corrections to: [email protected] or comment below the article. This will be added to over the coming weeks 5-pages at a time.


Hancock was known as Chehocton until after the Erie Railroad went through in I 848. Though the spelling went through various stages Chehocton and Shehawken seem to have been the most common. It appears that the lands encompassed by the present village were once owned by Benjamin Sands, Samuel Sands, John Dusenbury, and Ezra May.

The relationship of Benjamin, Henry and Samuel Sands has not been determined, but they and Samuel’s brother-in-law, Dusenbury, earlier settled Partridge Island on the East Branch of the Delaware River before moving to the West Branch and starting settlement in that area. Samuel Sands owned the major part of now “West End” including hundreds of acres beyond the village limits. Ezra May owned the rest of the village and part of Cadosia. He sold land to Daniel Broadstreet (1820), Charles Leonard (1817), and John Hawk, Jr. (1822), the earliest settlers of the village.

We present a wilderness developing into the Village of Hancock. We will start our journey at the west end of the village. One Benjamin Sands was to have come to Chehocton in 1792 purchasing 3000 acres from the foot of Catholic Church Hill westerly. He built the first sawmill at the lower end of Sands Creek where the O & W Railroad later crossed. He also built the first plank house opposite the sawmill. This area is now the location of the Route 17 overpass at Exit 87. Further downstream at the present location of Kaplan’s Chevy-Buick, William Hall and Thomas Crary built a gristmill known as Hancock Mills in 1883. Various additions made a very large mill and the Erie built a spur into the mill for loading and unloading grain directly to and from the bins. The mill had a capacity of 40 rail cars. It was twice struck by fire in 1891 and 1899. When they rebuilt in 1891 they converted from water-power to steam. A 36-inch snowfall hindered firemen from saving the mill in 1899. Hall bought out Crary and rented the first floor of the E.W. Griffis store, the present Masonic Hall.

Following West Main Street easterly, we come to the location of Larimer Norton Wood Products. This area, including the lane immediately easterly and along the river, was the fann of Samuel Sands. In 1880, the New York Transit Co. built a pumping station on this site. Huge cylinders of iron tubing were laid underground from the oil region to Catatonk on the D.L. & W. Railroad, 75 miles to Hancock on the Erie road and eventually east to Otisville, a terminus of a branch line. It was expected to force oil here from Oswego without any intervening pumping station. Once the tanks were constructed crude oil was pumped to Hancock then loaded on railroad cars for shipment to areas of processing. It was very expensive to ship crude oil over rail, thus the idea of the pipeline was conceived. In January 1881, the average shipment was 62 cars a day; the most being 82. In April 1881, the rest of the line was finished and the large pump was started to pump the crude oil on toward Otisville.

The landmark smokestack can be seen in .the picture of “Oil City” as “West End” was known on into the early 1900s. The pipelines were abandoned in the 1920s and Columbia Gas & Electric Co. took over the lines in 1929 to furnish the village with natural gas. However, they did not purchase the local property. In 1934, E.S. “Nide” Ramburg and D.F. Carr purchased the property from Standard Oil and so began baseball bat production in Hancock. Mr. Ramburg became sole owner in 1935. The business was reorganized in 1959 as Ramburg Wood Products. In 1966, holdings were sold to Larimer and Norton, marketers of the Louisville Slugger.

Approaching the comer of West Front Street Extension and West Main we must use our imagination to visualize a time when most of this area was unpopulated. From 1815 to 1820 general trainings of the “Oil City” were held each fall on the flats to the north of Main Street. Militia came from all over the county to participate. These trainings were held someplace in the county each year up until the Civil War. By the late 1800s there was a large farm in this section. In 1887, it was owned by E. w. Griffis who moved a house from the lot between the Masonic Building and the former Hancock House to this site to have a new house constructed at the downtown site. He also had a large addition to the barn and a “new fashioned hennery” built.  

Making our way up Church Hill we can note some early houses as we pass by. The Collarini house, to the right can be noted to be two houses put together. Mr. Fred Whitaker, Sr. once noted that one of these was part of a Sands house. Two doors up is another early home. Looking across this block toward Front Street we see the top of a house situated beyond the railroad tracks. This property, when sold to James Munsell (Hancock) and Grover Buell (Windsor) in 1828 by Samuel and Artemisa Sands, was described in the deed as a parcel “occupied and possessed as part of the farm where Sands now lives, being a part of the farm conveyed by Philip Livingston to Henry Sands and John Dusenbury May 1804.” James Munsell built the long-dwelling house and used it as a store. It was later used by Marvin Wheeler and then Allison and Reeve Wheeler signed off a right-of-way to the New York Erie Railroad in 1836 and stipulated a crossing be made in front of his store to W. Front Street.

This was pursued in 1958 by Frank Cappiello, but it never came to be. The house, which partially stood on the right-of-way, was moved southerly two feet from the right-of-way ‘in 1921. This property was bordered northerly by the western end of the road from the East to the West (Branch of the Delaware River). The road led to the river and a fording to the Pennsylvania side. This was the major fording to Newton’s Store, the first in the area. The road from the East to the West proceeded easterly along present Front Street with various fording areas on the East Branch of the Delaware. About 1851-52, this road became the first hard surfaced road in this part of the county. Known then as the Delaware Plank Road, it was surfaced with three-inch hemlock planks and was twelve feet wide. it was a toll road that connected Hancock to Delhi. With the presence of the Erie Railroad and the building of the Plank Road, Hancock became a major shipping point and began to grow. The Plank Road continued successfully until the Midland Railroad in 1873 connected points easterly to the northern part of the county.

Teamsters made up songs voicing their resentment at the loss of livelihood due to the railroad: “May the devil take the man, that invented such a plan. It will ruin us poor wagoners and every other man.” The section of the road from Cotter’s Comer (E. Front & Read Streets) easterly to Cadosia later became part of the Liberty Highway or Route 17, a new road from the East to the West connecting New York City to the western part of the state. When .the current Route 17 Expressway bypassed the village, this section became part of Route 97 but is better known simply as East Front Street.

Now let us return our attention to West Main Street. As we near the top of the hill we see St. Paul’s Catholic Church situated on the north side of the street. The Catholic Church was organized in 1851 and was pastored from Deposit for many years. The Catholics are said to have used the Broadstreet house, presumably during the church’s early years before any edifice was built. The first edifice was built in 1869- 70 and dedicated June 12, 1870. This building was destroyed in 1883 when a cyclone swept through the village and it was lifted from its foundation and hurled in a heap in the yard next door. The building and furnishings had cost $7000. A small parlor organ was the only thing salvaged. The people went about raising funds  to erect a new edifice similar to the former except with no high spire but instead, a belfry. This, the present structure, was erected in 1884-85. Extensive interior renovations were made in 1895. St. Paul’s Parish Hall, now Father Rausch Memorial, was dedicated in 1954

Approaching the comer of West Main and Pennsylvania Avenue we overlook various historic sites. On the northwest comer is a large home once owned by Marvin Wheeler. This building is shown on the 1856 map St. Paul’s Catholic Church as belonging to Elisha Richards and probably was later added on to. On the northeast corner we have the home formerly owned by Mrs. Ethel Clark. This Victorian home either replaced a previous one or the former was moved over. The present house next door is obviously of an earlier time and though re-sided has retained the front style.

In 1890, the Scranton Branch of the O& W Railroad was built to connect with the former Midland Railroad east of the village. The depot was situated at the end of Railroad Avenue , now Pennsylvania Avenue.

O & W Station Railroad

Avenue continued southerly crossing the Erie tracks. Between Main Street and Front Street is the home formerly owned by Daniel Broadstreet. Broadstreet, who came in 1820, built at least part of this home uphill from its present location. He was possibly the first blacksmith in the new settlement. It is recorded that the oldest well in the vi!lage is located here and was 60 feet deep. James Munsell used part of this building as a store for two years, before building his own store westerly near the Pennsylvania fording. Broadstreet made axes marked “D.M.B.” which some said stood for ‘darned mean blacksmith’. As noted, the Catholic Church used it for a time. It was owned by Marvin Wheeler in 1869 and in 1888.

As we make our way easterly we pass by the Old Hancock Burying Ground, also known as the Community Cemetery. In 1820, when Ezra May conveyed a large parcel of land to Daniel Broadstreet, May reserved one acre for public purposes. He reiterated this reservation in a deed to Charles Leonard in 1822 in which he conveyed to him 70 acres adjoin-ing the Broadstreet parcel. He then specified its use for a schoolhouse, a meeting house, and a burying ground. It appears the section to the rear of the church was first considered for the burying ground and later, after the church was built, lots were sold by the Congregational Church in what was called the “Church Extension”, Hancock Burying Ground. These deeds constituted outright land sales and removed the church from rights artd responsibilities for the lots. The burying ground has become the responsibility of the Town of Hancock that sees that all abandoned cemeteries in the town are cared for. Earliest markers date in the 1820s and it is known one Samuel S. Keator was buried there in I 823 without a marker. When Benjamin Sands came in 1792 he had six to eight slaves. These slaves were buried in the plots immediately behind the church. The last burial was in 1943.

On October 10, 1823, Ezra May conveyed to Charles Leonard, John Hawk, and Ezra May, trustees of School District of the Town of Hancock, “the part of said acre of land hereby intended to be conveyed” being a parcel 50 feet east to west and 80 feet north to south at the south-east comer of said acre. The trustees had, previous to this conveyance, erected a building for a schoolhouse and holding religious meetings else-where on the lot (apparently just to the north of this parcel). On November 12, 1823, May added to his agreement that the land on which the school was built was intended to be reserved by him for use by a Presbyterian Society whenever it shall be formed. May granted to the trustees permission at any time to remove said schoolhouse fro~ the present site to the piece of land conveyed or elsewhere or to remain at the present site so long as it remained suitable for the above purpose.

Presbyterian Church as it appeared in 1888 without vestibule or clock

On October 13, 1830, a little group of people gathered at the school and, under the leadership of Rev. Samuel Austin and Rev. E. D. Walls organized the Presbyterian Church. In 1835, May prepared a deed to th~ trustees of the Congregational Church of the Town of Hancock for the one acre, reserving the school lot. On October 30, 1849, the congregation met at the home of Charles Leonard, their usual place of worship, to elect the trustees named in the deed. Even though the church followed the Congregational form of government it kept its relation to Presbytery. Sometime after 1861 it did sever its relations with Presbytery and remained so until it reorganized as Presbyterian in May 1898. After organizing in 1849, the people became eager to build an edifice. They obviously wanted the site occupied by the schoolhouse. In June 1850, the church and school entered an agreement. The school district released claim to the lot allowing for a church and burying ground and agreed to move its building from the southeast comer of the acre.

Photo dated January 2022
Photo dated January 2022

Photo dated January 2022

The congregation rapidly proceeded to construct its edifice, building so close to the school that a person stretching his arm out the school window could touch the church. The following year Charles Leonard deeded to the school district a 50 feet by 80 feet parcel easterly of the church lot. An attempt to move the school ended in its collapse. A new two-story, two-room school house was built on the Leonard lot. This building burned in 1868. The original edifice of the church remains today on the east side of May’s acre surrounded by the burying ground. It has undergone some changes over the years. The Rev. D. Cornwall, who had been an occasional pas-tor prior to 1841 and full-time pastor from 1852 to 1858, was remembered with a memorial window which originally was in the west end of the church. When remodeled in 1915, a vestibule was added and the window was moved to that location. In 1939 the basement was remodeled, providing Sunday School rooms and kitchen facilities as a gift of the late Roscoe Crary. Six beautiful stained glass windows and the organ were also gifts of Roscoe Crary in memory of his parents and grandparents, with one exception. Because Mr. Crary was a great admirer of Grover Cleveland, the inscription on one window and a bronze plaque bears Cleveland’s name. Five of the original cathedral type windows, restored by Jesse Anderson, are on display in the stairwell of the Read Memorial Library.

Photo dated January 2022 – Read Memorial Library & Museum

We can’t leave the churchyard without seeing and, perhaps, hearing the village clock. The clock was a gift to the village from Roscoe Crary in memory of his parents who were residents of Sands Creek. The clock struck for the first time at 11 a.m. on January 15, 1926. The openings in the tower were cut by Harry Kraft for the clock’s four faces. In 1962 an inspection was made of the clock and its mechanism. The cables had worn very thin and were considered dangerous because of the heavy weights, therefore, the weights were removed. After a silence of nine years, the clock struck once again having been repaired and converted to an electric system. As we meander along Main Street we see several of the older homes. Nestled in among the houses in the middle of the block is the former home of A.B. Stimpson, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Schmitz. This was one of the earliest homes in the village though it has since been extensively remodeled. As we come to the comer of Main and Leonard Streets, we approach an area of the village which greeted early settlers and which fast became the hub of the village following the emergence of the Erie Railroad. With the depot being located in this area, business shifted from the west end of the village to what is now the center. To the east side of Leonard Street, where Tinklepaugh’s Garage is now located, was the settlement of Charles Leonard, Sr. Having purchased the land north of the road from the East to the West to the top of the hill from Ezra May in 1817, he moved to the village in 1818 and built a frame house on this lot. However, after the building of the Erie Railroad, he moved further up the hill due to the closeness of the tracks. Mr. Lorin Leonard’s obituary (grandson of Charles, Sr.) states that part of the lumber of the original house was used to build the new one, presently the home of Mrs. Helen Mahon. Lorin’s son Charles reported moving a structure in 1904 from the “home lot” to become the the front structure of the old farmhouse. This appears to be the house across Leonard Street occupied by Mrs. Arnold Thomas. It was the home of Charles Leonard, Jr: in I869. Another old home in this section is now owned by Hubert Buckley, marked on the 1856 map as belonging to E R Titus “merchant in general.”

Returning to the West Main Street intersection, we want to mention a business that was formerly located in the building now occupied by the current car wash on Main Street. No building is shown here on the 1889 Proposed Water Works Map so we don t know when or why it was bu iIt but in 1911, Crown Cut Glass of Honesdale, Pa. purchased a 30′ by 90: lot on West Main Street on which a two-story 26′ by 36′ building was to be “put in shape” for a glass factory. A former employee says Crown Cut Glass was associated with Dorflinger Glass of White Mills, Pa. near Honesdale. Directors were Hugh McGranaghan, Edmond Cotter, and Harvey Williams, Hancock, and Peter Weidner, William Bonear, and William Okowitz, Honesdale. Mr. Okowitz became the boss of the factory. It was short lived and we are not certain when it actually closed but in 1921, George Fox purchased the building from Alfred “Dutch” Peaslee to expand his auto dealership next door.

Crown Cut Glass Photo

Back at Leonard Street, between Main and Front, is a grand build-e West of Leonard Street built between 1856 and 1869. The 1869 8 map shows the _home belonging to George Hawk. This was later purchased by Marvin Wheeler and belonged to the Wheeler Estate in 1889, the elder Wheeler having died in 1878. He had the home remodeled in 1874 before moving ~is residence there. One room was papered with silk paper from Japan. His daughters, the Misses Evelyn and Susan Wheeler, continued to live there. At a later date it was a tourist home and large din-ing room. A 1932 Vacation Guide advertised the Blue Shutter Lodge under new management of Eric Klaflke and Ernest Miller – dining room accommodates 40, tourist rooms for 30, catering to special parties. It was also run by a Brooks for a time, and in 1937 was the Risley House. The small building in the back was once a dairy and housed servants on the second floor. In later years the main building was Tyler’s Funeral Parlor, followed by Biedekapp. It remains a gracious structure today.


Across West Front Street is the Austin McGranaghan home, part of which was the Ed Tarbox harness shop, which was moved from across the street between the Stimpson and Hawk Houses. Seen behind this house is Point Mountain, an integral landmark of the area. Early deeds refer to the meeting of the East and West branches of the Delaware River as Shehocton Point or Chehocton Point. The entire mountain north to present Front Street was the Point Lot. Originally part of the vast lands of Sands and Dusenbury, Shehocton Point (today’s “Point Mountain”) was sold to Daniel Broadstreet in 1828 and then to John Wainright in 1835. It gradually became subdivided, but the mountain itself remained intact. Articles have been written about its unique location and geological structure. Atop the stately mountain is a monument that can be seen from all approaches to the village. It is unmistakable which mountain top designates the site of the village of Hancock.

Point Mountain Mausoleum (now abandoned) sits at the top of Point Mountain in Hancock, NY (overlooking the Delaware River and neighboring Pennsylvania). It was built as the memorial and final resting spot for Dr. Lester E. Woolsey (1872-1962) in the 1940s to house his remains. The mausoleum lies empty today. Dr. Woolsey was the longtime Delaware County coroner who had practiced medicine in Hancock since 1901. Dr. Woolsey was buried there only a few years, until the structure could not be properly protected and all the bodies that were entombed there were removed. Dr. Woolsey’s remains were removed to Old Colonial Mausoleum, Union Dale, Pa.

Point Mountain is a prominent peak that rises above the surrounding landscape. The mountain has a rocky summit that offers stunning views of the surrounding area. The mountain is part of the Appalachian Mountains and it is a popular destination for hikers.

In 1938, it was described in “Prospectus of Point Mountain Mausoleum Observatory and Singing Tower,” as a poem in landscaping and architectural beauty. In 1971, a writer for the Binghamton Press described the defunct mausoleum ” ‘ not as a poem, but a concrete and cinderblock ruin that never got its marble interior or granite exterior-and never will. Thus ended the dream of a magnificent park – “a sylvan spot sacred to thought and God.” Only the hollow structure remains to tower over the valley and river below.

Eastward across the railroad is the site of the earliest log cabin in the village built by Stephen Read in 1797. He came to the area as a land agent and stayed a few  years before making his home at present Read’s Creek. This section was known as Crooked Eddy because of the sharp curve the river makes as it reaches Point Mt. The Crooked Eddy Lot stretched far up Leonard Hill. This was an area of fording before bridges spanned the river. The crossing was made at Wheeler Street to an island in the river to LaBarr Flats near the present railroad bridge.

The Erie Railroad laid tracks in the village in 1848. The advent of the railroad spurred business in the village and more stores and hotels began growing. The depot was established in the center of the Crooked Eddy Lot just south of the tracks. Businesses sprouted up around tbe depot. The F. & E.B_ Smith Feed Mill that was located to the east oftbe depot was built by Hastings Frisbie around 1861. He stored Erie freight as part of his business. At the time of the Searles-Tarbox fire in 1899 it was owned by Peter Randall. Successive owners John Cassidy and Crawford Brothers continued the feed mill business until 1965. In 1967 it was sold and tom down to make room for a car wash.

Directly behind the depot was the site where Stephen Read built the first log cabin in the village. It later served as one of the earliest schools in the area. In 1889, a building was constructed to house the Hancock Creamery and Cold Storage on this site. William Hornbeck established his Excelsior Mill there in 1905 or 1906. Local bass wood was made into excelsior that was baled and shipped by the freight car loads. The mill was sold to the Boston Excelsior Co. in the 1920s and has since been torn down.

A Hancock Herald article dated September 1, 1887, entitled “The Growth of Nine Years,” mentions the Hancock Chemical Works having a new storehouse near the depot, and, Mr. Griffis put up a coal house there for the business controlled by J.F. Smith & Co. Coal storage bins were also housed west of the Leonard Street crossing in the 1900s. In 1924 Harry Kraft, having purchased the present Bisbee Lumber site from Mrs. Martha Keery, built a carpenter shop and lumber storage sheds. This burned in 1931 and Kraft rebuilt a structure much the same size and style. Kraft sold to Martin Hermann Lumber Co. in 1946 who, in turn, sold to E.J. Kellam and James Bisbee in 1950. The lot southerly on the comer of the block was once tennis courts.

Across Mill Street on the comer of Yendes Street (Leonard) is the old silk mill. The site was formerly occupied by the mill of the Delaware

Lumber Co . In 1918, a 50′ x 158′ structure was built to house the Northern Star Silk Mill. The cinderblock addition was adde din 1949, and under new ownership, it bacame Hancock Mills.

These and other businesses occupied. Crooked Eddy Lot and were dependent on the railroad fro shipping their goods and bringing resalable merchandise. The Erie Railroad Co. incorporated April 24, 1832 and was constructed to run from New York City to a point near Lake Erie. Many years passed during which property for the right-of-way was purchased before construction began. The rails finally arrived in Hancock in 1848. The first bridge over the East Branch of the Delaware as made of wood and James Faulkner was contractor. The first steam locomotive, “The Piermont”, reached Chehocton on December 25, 1848 and ran out of steam, wood and water as it neared the east end of the railroad bridge. The Erie is said to have been the influential factor in changing the name of Chehocton because it was too easily confused with the town and station of “Cochecton” further down the line.

The only station ever owned by the Erie was originally built by Hastings Frisbie in 1846 for use as a grog shop. It first stood where the Wheeler Street crossing is now. The railroad purchased it when they negotiated for the right-of-way and moved it a few yards back and westerly to be used as the depot. it remained a monument of history until dismantled by Conrail some years ago now.

The length of the Erie from Piermont to Dunkirk was completed in 1851. The longest rail line in the country, it covered 461 miles. It was of such economic importance to the nation and the development of the West that President Millard Fillmore and his Cabinet, including Secretary of State Daniel Webster, and Senator Stephen A. Douglas made a two-day trip over the railroad in May 1851. Rain having ceased prior to leaving Piennont, Daniel Webster insisted a rocking chair be lashed to a flat car or him so he could better enjoy the scenery.

In 1951 an eighteen-car Centennial Exhibition Train was put on view in Hancock July 30. It included an 1851 locomotive with its baggage car and coach, a museum car, and several other display cars including “Daniel Webster” seated on a flat car.

Hancock New York’s Erie Railroad Station facing Binghamton’s direction.

Erie Station 1948 -Ariel View – Erie Station is left middle of the frame directly above what is now the current site of Bisbee Lumber Yard.

Erie Freight Station 1980s

The wooden bridge was replaced in 1870 by an iron structure. This was severely damaged in 1888, when two freight trains met head-on near the center of the bridge. Some injured livestock being transported to New York had to be shot, but no persons were injured. This wreck exemplified the need for double tracks which were completed in 1889-90. In 1939 there was a special train carrying the Civil War locomotive # 1, the”Wm. Crooks”, which stopped in town. The Erie brought many passengers to the hotels and boarding houses of Hancock and the surrounding area during the early 1900s. Passenger service was discontinued in the 1960s:

Three other major train wrecks have occurred in the village in recent years in which it was very fortunate no one was injured. In 1969, sixteen cars of a west bound freight left the tracks in the center of town plowing into several buildings on West Front Street. Rosenfield’s Economy Store, Cozy Corner Resturant, and the Delaware Inn all received Extensive damage. In 1975, seven cars derailed on the Pennsylvania crossing. Again, there were no injuries and this time, no damage to private property. n 1978 Front STreet was again strewn with rail cars. This wreck did extensive damage to the old Nichols building resulting in it’s demolition and replacement.

Conrail now owns the former Erie-Lackawanna rails, but the depot and freight station and all other structures associated with the railroad in its heyday are gone. *Leaving only a footprint of the original foundations behind that can be seen next to Bisbee Lumber and the current railroad tracks today, where a new pleasure train-line called hopes to build a new concrete platform and eventually a new station where the former used to stand.

Making our way along West Front Street, we pause in front of the Delaware Inn. Being situated across from the depot made it a natural spot for a hotel. However, before there was a hotel, our 1856 map indicates the site of the E.K. Carrier Store, dealer in boots and shoes. The 1869 map shows a restaurant. Undoubtedly this was the Continental Hotel.

Beore 1887, Business continued to boom and soon the hotel was too small. Mr. Shanly sold the building to Milo Scutt, who moved it to the back of his lot behind Wheelock’s Pharmacy. Mr. Shanly had a large beautiful hotel built which opened in 1890 as the Shanly Hotel. It has changed hands and names through the years and undergone some renovations, but the outside has remained much the same. Early peddlers arrived by train with gadgets and fashions and set-up their wares in the lobby in the morning. This shopping mall image phased out in the early 1900s. It has been known as the Jones Hotel, the Hotel Doolittle, and the Delaware Inn. This was the last of the great hotels to remain intact.

Just past the hotel to the comer of Park Place was a beautiful park (triangle in shape with a fountain toward the west near the train tracks, and fenced in to keep it clean and clear. This park is what what made up the area called Park Place, in the middle of the block, was a bandstand. The bandstand was presented to the firemen in 1923 and moved to Firemen’s Park for a refreshment stand. *This allowed for later buildings to be added to the lot that became the current Hancock General Store.

The block bounded by West Front, Wheeler, West Main, and Park Place was known as the Allison Block. On the West Front Street and Park Place comer was a two-story frame building built by Philo Beers about 1848. The first floor served as a saloon, dwelling, dry goods store and club rooms until 1876 when Mrs. Fish established a millinery store and lived on the second floor. It was owned by Mrs. E. Walker Griffis when it burned in 1909.

Easterly of this building was a three-story frame building built about 1837 as a two-story dwelling by L.H. Allison, Sr. The third floor was added in 1859. It, too , burned m 1909.

On West Front and Wheeler Streets comer was a magnificent building built by George Kingsbury for William Allison about 1858-1859 . Not to be outdone by Marvin Wheeler, Allison had two mammoth pillars constructed in the front of the frame building. Known as Allison Hall, the first floor was used for a store while the second floor was public room used by various organizations. It remained in the Allison family until 1905 when it was sold to Elmer Randall who operated the Delaware Drug Co. until the building burned in 1909.

The present building was built of brick by Wallace La Valley in 1912 where he sold groceries, dishes, music and other items. A small store in the rear was occupied by an electrical shop, a beauty parlor and a vulcanizing plant. The building was used by the Grand Union at one time and sold to Sam Rosenfield in 1949.

Across Wheeler Street stood two of the village’s oldest and most historic landmarks. It appears this block was first owned by John Hawk. It was owned by James Faulkner in the 1840s, Charles Knapp for a short time in 1852, and Marvin Wheeler in 1853.

The Victory Block, as it is now known, is referred to as the Marvin Wheeler Tavern Stand Lot on a deed sketch dated 1855. The southwest corner of the lot shows a saloon, the owner not named. Marvin Wheeler built a large structure with tall columns reaching the three stories at the site of this saloon. He had offices for his lumbering business on the second floor, and the third floor was used by railroad officials. A small building said to have been built by James Faulkner, was moved from across the tracks and placed to the back of the Wheeler building. It was used for the Post Office for a time. The’ 1856 map identifies this structure as a drug store and Post Office operated by F.M. & D.C. Wheeler, sons of Marvin Wheeler, druggists and general merchants. The building just to the east is identified as Marvin Wheeler’s store. This property was sold to Riley Read in 1856. We can only guess if both existed as stores for a time or if the map was made at the transition time. In 1869 the corner building was still a drug store and Post Office. Marvin Wheeler died in 1878. In 1889 his children, Marvin D., Susan, Evelyn, and Fred, sold the stately building to Peter Bleck, hotel owner from Equinunk, Pa. Renovations were made to the existing building to convert it into a hotel which he named the Shehawken House. It was used by many business-men who came to town to transact business.

A new innovation in town was the taking of summer boarders . which   made the hotel a thriving establishment. In 1924 Peter’s son Adam had an addition built to the back of the building for a public dining room and living quarters upstairs. The hotel was operated by members of the Bleck family until 1951. It was a magnificent building with its stately columns. No wonder Mr. Allison wanted his to be equally as grand. The Shehawken House came to its demise in the mid 1950s after being sold to Dean Fowler.

Just to the east of the Shehawken House was another early landmark. It was originally built about 1825 by John Hawk, who is said to have been one of the first hotel keepers. Part of this building was rented to E.R. Titus, who conducted a grocery  business. Various names were attributed to the hotel during its early years: The Dutch Tavern, Chehocton House, and, after 1851, the Chehocton Plank Road House or Delaware Plank Road House. Marvin Wheeler bought the property in 1853 and rented the Plank Road House to John Whitcomb, who made extensive alterations and operated the hotel until 1856 when Wheeler sold to Riley Read. Read remodeled and rented to Samuel Quicksall who changed the name to the American Hotel. He operated the hotel until 1861 when Riley Read himself took over. Darwin Read notes in his journal, “E.D . Read opened the American Hotel for Riley Read Tuesday night, June 4, 1861.” The intention was to open the following week, but soldiers arrived and the hotel was opened to accommodate them. He goes on to relate that other companies arrived about 4:00 a.m. and in the Fall the 101st Regiment came.

The American Hotel was the center of activity during the Civil War. Fannie Read, daughter or Riley, entertained the soldiers by playing her spinet. Thus, was spun the love story of Hancock that purportedly resulted in Fannie becoming a recluse. Fannie was forcibly removed in 1929 and the hotel and its contents were auctioned off in 1938, see reference in the New York Times listing. The hotel was torn down to make way for the Victory Store.

Across East Front Street and the railroad from the Great American (Victory) is the old Marvin Wheeler Homestead. As far as can be determined this is the same house attributed to B. Faulkner in 1856. Marvin Wheeler was owner by 1869. The “old Wheeler house” was said to house the first Post Office about 1815. Wheeler planned to move his offices here in 1889, having sold the store to Peter Bleck. Wheeler had moved his residence to Leonard Street in 1874 and rented the homestead house. During the time he lived there, it was considered one of the finest homes in town.

We’ll move north on Wheeler Street to the comer of Main Street. Before taking in the immense history of the Main Street area, we want to mention the large white house near the top of Wheeler Street. This former home of Frederick Wheeler (1869) and later Hugh McGranaghan (early 1900s) was owned by Dr. F.M. Woolsey when it was remodeled and equipped with maternity and operating room facilities and made into Hancock Community Hospital in 1937. It served this purpose until 1957 when the new hospital was built.

Further down the hill on the east side of the street is the Hancock Baptist Church built in 1902 to replace the church they had outgrown on East Front Street. (This will be discussed later). The site of the present Post Office was occupied by the L.T. Robinson Feed Mill and Mixing Plant which burned in 1943. It was built by William Hall in the early 1900s and sold to Robinson in 1931. A place called “The Rink was located in the general vicinity of the Malcolm Henderson home. E.W. Griffis built a 40′ x 100′ skating rink on the lot adjoining Dr.Pettingill’s barn. In September 1887, “a grand hop at The Rink to benefit the Park” was held – “good music and a right good time.” Admission was only 10 cents and tickets for hop were just 50 cents. 1889 and 1890 Hancock Dramatist” programs have their plays being held at the “Rink Opera House.” In 1890 the Hancock Union and Academy Graduation was held at Hancock Rink. It appears the activity being held somewhat determined what the place was called. The mystery of “The Rink” is that none of the “old-timers” have recollection of seeing or hearing of it and no further information has been found. *Hancock Partners & Hancock Area Chamber of Commerce intend to rebuild “The Hancock Rink” in winter 2022 in the Town Square, almost exactly where it was built 130 years ago. Richard Lowe, who organized it’s construction said he had no knowledge this history existing before planning it’s size and location. The modern design was exactly 40′ x 90′ feet a near perfect match.

Situated directly behind “The Bank” (now an NBT Bank) is the home of Dr. Samuel Pettingill, who came to Hancock m 1848. The house originally was located on the corner where the bank now stands. A wing has been added prior to 1887. When the property was purchased m 1907 to build the bank, the house was turned half way, and moved back to its present position. A tiny one-room building that served as his office was located just east of the house facing Main Street. It was used as a dress-making shop by Emelia Kohler and temporary quarters for banking. It was moved across Main Street to the Read Block where it housed the Hollywood Beauty Shop (1908), the Realy Laundromat (1920), and finally Harold Baker’s Barber Shop in 1953 when it was again moved. The Read Foundation sold the block to Dean Fowler in 1953 and Fowler sold the old office to John Pappas in 1955. Living quarters had been added to the rear. Pappas divided the structure and moved them to his lot across the tracks to make them into living quarters.

Across Wheeler Street from the Pettingill house stood a hotel which surpassed and outlasted the Shehawken House and the American hotel. Known as the Hancock House for many years prior to its demise, it too went through many owners and stages. The date of the original building has not been determined. We do know that James Faulkner was the earliest documented owner on the 1856 map. An 1855 deed for the house next door states this property occupied by S. & H.W. Faulkner. Faulkners conveyed the American Hotel site to Knapp in 1849 and it is likely the Hancock House was built about this time.

As we’ve moved around the block and observed the 1856 map, we note that James and Susan Faulkner owned extensive properties in this area of town. They owned from the East Branch of the Delaware River easterly of Whe.elet Street to the railroad and on to include the Read Block and across Main Street where his properties probably had included the Pettingill Lot. He also owned north of West Front Street: the Allison Block, the area of the park and Park Place and across West Front Street to the site of the Hancock House bounded by Wheeler and Crowe Streets.

James Faulkner sold the Faulkner House to Charles Judson in 1856 and it became known as   the Stage House. Ownership was brief during this time. In 1866 George Allison took possession; 1867 Richard Morse; 1868 Gen. William Martin. Gen. Martin also operated a stage line between Hancock and Delhi.

A sketch of the Martin Stage House in an 1870 Hancock Herald advertisement shows the building as we later knew it. It appears that at sometime, either the east or west section was an addition. In 1870   Gen. Martin purchased the original Methodist Church built in 1840 and had it moved from the East Front Street site to the back of the Stage House facing Wheeler Street. It then became known as Hancock Hall and served as the Town Hall for many years. Many legal notices over the years indicated Hancock Hall as the place of auction of property in sheriff’s sales. It was also the site of many political and social meetings and social events such as the 1900 New Year’s Ball and Concert, and dramas put on by various local organizations starring local talent. In 1925 Mrs. C.H. Bell had the Hall remodeled into sleeping apartments.

Gen. Martin sold to Col. Abbott in 1872, who, in tum, sold to Calvin Griffis. Between 1873 and 1898 the property was owned by either Calvin or his son Otis. Calvin came to Hancock in 1852, bought 1100 acres of land and erected a mill. He purchased interest in the stage line from Hancock to Delhi and Hancock to Downsville. It was reported there were one hundred passengers a day on the Hancock to Delhi route during the civil war years. He built the present Masonic building in 1865 as a store and took over the Stage House in 1873 changing its name to the Hancock House. His son Elmo Walker Griffis associated with the business and probably became the more influential member of the family in town. Calvin and a son named Fred also operated hotels in Delhi and Calvin removed to that place in 1877 but continued to supervise his farm in Hancock.

“Hancock House” and West Main Street looking towards East Main St.
The “Keery Building” can be seen on the right of the postcard.

The Hancock House passed through the ownership of Kate More (1898) and Clay More (1907) to Mrs . Emily “Ma” Bell in 1908. Her ownership was the longest consistent in the hotel’s history running until 1946. It was a time of great productivity and heyday of the hotel. Mrs. Bell not only converted Hancock Hall to rooms, she also used the house next door as an annex for guests. A former waitress for “Ma” Bell recalled the delicious meals and there were no printed menus. The menu and all orders were done from memory.

Many noteworthy visitors stopped at the hotel during Mrs. Bell’s ownership; among them were President F. D. Roosevelt, James Braddock, Ralph Bellamy, Randolph Scott, Helen Hayes and Lefty Gomez., Three more owners followed Mrs. Bell before the razing of the great hotel. Harry and Grace Long took possession in 1946 and converted Mrs. Bell’s private living room into a bar room. The former bar room was used for private parties. Martha and DeForest VanGorder were owners from 1950 until 1955 when Paul and Rose Simik took Possession.

The hotel was a haven for hunters and weary travelers until its final days. Mrs. Simik sold to the Grand Union Co. in 1966. At the time of its sale there were sixty rooms and the tin ceilings were as attractive as they had ever been. Just west of the hotel was a gracious home known as the Griffis house. The house formerly on the lot was moved to the Griffis fann at West End. William Lumsden built the new house in 1887. It was the first house in town built with Boughton nails and had beautiful maple and cherry woods throughout. At various times it was owned by the same owner of the hotel. During Mrs. Bell’s ownership it was referred to as the Griffis Annex and used for summer guests. In 1937 Ralph Tyler leased it from Mrs. Bell for a residence and funeral parlor. The palatial home was converted into apartments before being razed and the site became part of the Grand Union ‘parking lot.

On the comer of West Main and Crowe Streets is the present Masonic Hall. This lot was part of the original Faulkner property. Calvin Griffis purchased the lot from Asa Truesdell in 1865. Mr. Griffis had the three-story structure built and operated a dry goods, flour and feed store. The Masons started using the upper floor for meeting rooms about 1868. Griffis sold to his son E.W. Griffis in 1887. The Post Office was located there at this time. In 1889 E.J. Cotter started in business there as The Red Store. William Hall rented the first floor in 1899 following the fire that destroyed Hancock Mills. The Hancock Masonic Lodge purchased the property in 1899 and continues to the present. In more recent years the first floor has been the law offices of Elwood & Elwood.

Across West Main Street, the site of the present Hancock Liquor Store has housed various businesses. Owned by Terwilliger in 1869 and 1888, it is possibly the same building attributed to J. Faulkner in 1856. It has been occupied by Pop Christy-ann (?), Harry Jones Pharmacy, Thomas Kinney, Vanderhoef, Maurice Leonard, Albert Schoonmaker Ben Stoker. Another section also housed Mrs. Sarah McGranaghan’s Millinery and Cosgrove’s Liquor Store. Terwilliger moved from this location May 1888 to the Post Office Store across Park Place.

Jones Drug Store, Facing Park Place, the original Erie Railroad Station can be clearly seen back left, along with the triangle-shaped Bluestone Sidewalk of the original Town Square called Post Office Square and also called appropriately Park Place.

On the east comer of Park Place and Main Street is the Keery Building. This building also housed many different businesses. Thomas Keery Co. had offices on the second floor. At the time of the 1909 fire. across the block, it housed Att. Frank Taylor’s offices, facing Main Street, and Terwilliger’s Grocery and the Post Office, facing Park Place. The Post Office was located here from 1909 until 1959. Prior to Terwilliger, Kazenstein & Taylor, the Post Office grocers, occupied that store. When they moved to East Front Street in September 1887, J.E. Edwards took over the Post Office Store. Edwards transferred his store goods except boots and shoes, to E. M. Terwilliger in May 1888, and, Terwiiliger continued at the Edwards stand. Terwilliger was followed by (Earl) Barnes & (Thomas) Kinney Grocery. When Barnes retired, Kinney moved to the Terwilliger building. Mohrman took over the store in the Keery Building. Other businesses once located here were Kleinle Barber Shop, Gunster News Shop, Oliver Hewitt Barber Shop, Milton Phillips, Rose Units Auto Parts, and Lil’s Beauty Shop.

East of the Keery Building was a small building last used as a Iaundromat. One source reports it was removed from the Masonic Building site to this location. In 1890 it was occupied by Mr. & Mrs. N. H. Marvin and assistant F. M. Guild, who were jewelers. Mrs. Marvin conducted a millinery shop in 1909. Fifield had the Art Shop from 1919 until the late 1950s.

Another large old building once stood on the comer of Wheeler and West Main Streets. It too was owned by Allisons and originally was attached to the rear of the building that burned in 1909. It was used by Allison and his partner Reeves as a store. Hugh McGranaghan started his busmess m the village here in 1890. Mrs. C. S. Allison of Newark Valley New York rented the building to 1 W.Seymour, who conducted a grocery until he died m 1932. Howard “Pete” Chamberlain, who had clerked for Seymour and his brother Donald took over the store under the name Chamberlain Brothers. Later tenants were Thelma O’Neil, who had a gift shop, and the last business was the Night Owl Restaurant. In a small section of the back of the building facing Wheeler Street, S. H. Whitaker opened a meat market in 1887. This was later Baker’s Barber Shop.

A huge stately elm tree grew on this corner. Different sources attribute its planting to Stephen Read or Ebenezer Wheeler about 1841 from an elm switch stuck in the ground. It was cut down in 1967 due to disease, at which time it measured fifty-two inches in diameter. Entering East Main Street, the house east of the bank was owned by James Faulkner (1856), Charles Leonard (1869), and George Leonard (1888). When F. N. Conlon came to Hancock in 1895 he took possession of the store adjoining Mrs. George Leonard’s residence to conduct a general novelty store. He moved from there in 1896. In 1930 C. C. Scutt conducted an insurance business. It was later turned into a restaurant known as The Old Home Restaurant which became the Towne House.

The building next easterly was Edward’s Furniture Store. Mart Edwards started business here in 1872. By 1887 he had doubled the size of the store and erected a dwelling. George Beers purchased !11e sto~e from Edwards in 1890 and continued the furniture and undertaking business until 1924 when he sold to Allen R. Henderson. A three-story addition was built in 193 7. The undertaking business has continued under the direction of Malcolm Henderson and now Wilbur Biedekapp.

In June 1882 a disastrous fire consumed the remainder of this clock, buildings along Main Street in the Read Lot, and those across Cross Lane (Read Street) as far as Scutt’s Shanty Store (Conlon’s). The fire was discovered burning the roof of an old building formerly used as a wagon shop and owned by Darwin Read at the corner of Cross Lane and Front Street (Cotter’s Comer). A northwest wind forced the fire eastward toward the building housing Read’s Store and the Herald office. A barber shop and Read’s house burned, but, the Shanty Store proved to be the barrier in that direction. Meanwhile, the fire spread northward to Oskamp’s blacksmith shop, being run by Karkoff, and to Courtright’s wagon shop and a new building owned by Oskamp and occupied by O.L. Mallory as a saloon.

The fire crossed Cross Lane to Riley Reads old barn and adjoining icehouse and the American Hotel. The hotel. was saved with only charring of the corner and roof. There was fear of 1t spreading to the Allison Block and everything portable was being removed from buildings all over. The fire spread from the barn to Rieper’s Billiard Cue factory on Main Street and to the hub factory on one side and Rood’s store housing the Post Office on the other. Two other houses belonging to Riley Read on East Main Street were destroyed. They were occupied by Mrs. Couch and Mrs.Minard. Kelsey’s Meat Market northerly on present Read Street from the billiard cue factory was badly scorched.

Courtright took up temporary quarters in Lincoln’s old blacksmith shop then built new quarters on the same site. Karkoff erected temporary quarters at the same site, and E.D. Read transferred his salvaged goods first to the American Hotel then to the old Wheeler Store. Rood sold his goods from over the meat market; Mr. Newton, the postmaster, moved back to the old Post Office quarters in the Wheeler Store. Barber Kleinle moved to the Power’s building across from the Baptist Church. At the June 8, 1882 printing, the Herald “struggles forth from the old meat market adjacent to Weinman’s shop.” On June 22, they were to relocate in the building on the corner opposite the Baptist Church sold by Thomas Murray.

Businesses had to rapidly relocate to maintain their livelihood. The next three to four years saw many new buildings replace those destroyed by the fire. Amos Noble Wheeler came to town in 1861 and established a stove, tin and sheet iron business shown on the 1869 map on the southwest corner of the Allison Block. His son, Samuel N. Wheeler, joined the firm in 1871, and Louis Ensign in 1883 just prior to Mr. Wheeler’s death. The firm name changed to Wheeler and Ensign and they built a new store on the site of the present T &A Home Center in 1885. This had been the location ofNichol’s Hub Factory. The original store was only the left side of the present structure. The right side was added in 1896 when Conlon moved to that location. Conlon moved to East Front Street in 1906 and Wheelers expanded their business. The Wheeler family continued the hardware business until 1963 when Percy Wheeler sold to Milton Phillips.

The McGranaghan Store on the comer of Read and Main Streets was the longest running family business in the village. The history was related in the Hancock Herald January 12, 1956 , upon the retirement of Eugene McGranaghan. Hugh McGranagban and family moved to Hancock in 1890. The first store was started in the former Chamberlain Brothers building. The site of the present store was purchased from Bernard McGranaghan. There were two buildings on the lot; a saloon known as the Pig’s Ear and a meat market run by Mike Kelsey. Living rooms over the former were occupied by Mr. and Mrs. E.J. Cotter. These buildings were moved-the saloon to the back of the lot and made into living quarters; the market to Read’s lot just beyond Rood’s shop and used for a barn . William Lumsden, well-known contractor of the era, was contracted to build the new store measuring 36′ by 50′ and divided into three rooms. The comer room was rented to Sam VanOmam for a jewelry store, later to T.J. McConnell. The store opened September 1890, lighted by large oil lamps and heated with a large stove. “The country was saved many times by the statesmen seated on the nail kegs and cracker boxes, and spittin in the stove.”

Eugene McGranaghan was born soon after the family moved into the second floor of the new building. In the Spring of 1894, an addition connected the main building and the old Pig’s Ear. A hot water system was also installed that year-the first in Hancock. In 1901 , McConnell moved to the Searles building and an archway was constructed to connect this room to the main store and the shoe department was moved into it. The store was wired for electricity in 1908. In their twenty-fifth year the company did a large grocery business and employed eight people. Groceries were discontinued in 1922 and the store was remodeled with new floors, partitions removed and stairs changed. The store front was redone in 1927. In 1929, Sarah McGranaghan moved her millinery stock to the store. Lawrence McGranaghan took over in 1954 and remains with the store today.  

Looking north on Read Street, we see Hancock Central School at the end of the street. About where the flagpole stands was earlier Theodore Stimpson’s planing mill, foundry, and machine shop. The planing mill in. the center was gutted by fire in 1891. Read Street was newly constructed, having been planned by Stimpson in 1889. The Stimpson home was graced the end of the street since 1873. Hancock Central School was opened to students in 1933.

Across Read Street from the McGranaghan store is the Rood house. Excavation for Rood’s new house began in June 1882. The Post Office returned to the Rood building in 1890 with “Suyd” Wheeler as postmaster and remained there until 1909. The room housing the Post Office continued for many years as Rood’s Pool Room. An 1888 article notes A. R. Charles opened a bakery and ice cream saloon in Rood’s Store.

On the southeast comer of the Read and Main Streets intersection used to stand the City Market run by Fred Lipp Sr. The structure originally erected with a pagoda in 1877 was located at the top of Center Street adjacent to the former Vallequette residence. It housed the comet band for meeting, practice and giving concerts from the pagoda. It was later moved to the corner where it housed the Hancock Herald Office in 1888. Fred Whitaker Sr. moved his meat market there about 1896. Mr. Lipp purchased it in 1914 and operated the City Market until 1954. It was moved to Mill Street for a residence, being replaced by a service station which recently was razed for the construction of the new Hancock Telephone Co. office.

The former telephone office was the brick building just east on Main Street. This was the original site of the Shehawken Hose Co. # 1 organized in 1889, currently the law offices for Hancock Town Attorney Jeonard Sienko Jr. It was a frame building and was remodeled for the phone company. Adjacent to that is the Hancock Herald Office erected in 1894 by Herbert Wagner.

Continuing along Read Street toward East Front we come to the Star Restaurant. This building was the Wagner Hotel built probably in the 1890s. Annabelle, daughter of Jules Wagner, was born there in 1900. He operated ‘a pool room and bar downstairs and hotel rooms and living quarters upstairs. It once housed a car dealer and was later converted to a restaurant. A small shop on the right housed various businesses: a gift shop, a bakery, and the current dry cleaning and yam shop. The restaurant has been known as the Star for many years through different owners. It has also served the public as the Shortline Bus Stop. Many diners will lovingly remember the waitress “Stagecoach Annie” and Roy Decker who worked in the kitchen.

The corner of Read and East Front Streets has been known as Cotter’s Corner for many years. In 1852 David Tarbox, merchant from Honesdale, Pa., purchased the Alfred Pines Harness Shop at the junction of Cross Lane and Front Street. Ed Tarbox, grandson of David, came to Hancock in 1855 at the age of fifteen. In 1861, after working for his grandfather, he bought the business. The building and all its contents burned in 1871. Tarbox and his brother-in-law, Felix Searles, purchased the wooden structure on the site of the present Purcell Hardware store.

The 1869 map shows the Read Brothers Clothing and the harness shop in this area. The Read Building was probably closer to the present corner. In 1884 E.D. Read erected the main section of the present building and resumed his business which had been moved to the Wheeler Store following the 1882 fire. E.D.Read deeded the store and the attached dwelling to Louisa Read in 1887.

L.E. Vatet moved his dry goods store there in 1837 from the Lincoln building. He operated the New York store until 1895. In June 1895, Elmer Randall had “the building purchased from Geo. Taylor (meat cutter) moved to the lot on East Front Street adjacent to the New York Store, which he bought last week from agent Wesley Gould for $700.” Meanwhile, Edmond Cotter came to town in 1889 and started the Red Store in the present Masonic building dealing in groceries. In March 1896, he purchased the New York Store and moved his stock to that location combining the dry goods and grocery stocks. Next door, apparently in the building moved by Randall, was Ben Myers Photo Studio. This building was built into the main structure.

William Cotter helped his father at an early age delivering groceries to Cadosia In 1914 Bill started a meat business in the west side of the present Senia building In 1918, he joined his father in business becoming the E. J. & W. J. Cotter Co., better known as Cotter’s Store. The elder Cotter passed away about a year later. Dry goods were discontinued m 1920 concentrating on meats and produce. In 1937, Bill Cotter sold fifteen feet of store front to New York State, when the Liberty Highway went through, to make a wider corner. The store front was reconstructed making a flat corner entrance. William Cotter retired in 1958, selling to Frank Possernato who continued the meat and grocery business for a number of years. The easterly section later housed Alice’s Beauty Shop and Esolen’s Barber Shop. The back section facing Read Street was used by the WPA sewing women in the 1940s, then by the Red Cross. Fred Dix started in business there in 1946 selling insurance and real estate until about 1982 when the building sat idle. It was purchased by Calvin and Kathleen Westcott and Margaret Seiferth in 1987. They completely remodeled the building inside and out and operate the Olde Cotter Restaurant. The former barbershop is now a real estate and insurance office.

The west side of Read Street, when known as Cross Lane, prior to 1889, housed mainly the barns and outbuildings for the Read Hotel. In 1901 Frank Guild, having purchased the Marvin stock and repairing outfit, leased a plot of the Read Estate on Main Street opposite Wheeler’s store to erect a 18′ x 24′ building for a jewelry store. Val Iversen purchased the Guild building with an addition in 1920 from Vernon Whitaker and started the Socony Garage and Battery Hospital. He remained there four years before moving to East Front Street. In 1940 the building was vacated by the Hancock Coal Co. and moved to the middle of the block on Read Street. In 1955, it was Fred Stubb’s Hancock Bakery. It was last used by Sam Ferrell, Welfare Officer.

A small building adjoining the Guild building on the west housed the Hancock Water Co. This was moved in 1940 across the block to Front Street near Kinch Studio. It was occupied there by Pritchard’s Taxi Office. Kinch Studio was just east of the Read Hotel. Kinch Brothers of Walton photographed many local residents in the early 1900s.

These buildings were moved to make room for a new Esso Service Station. This was operated by Emmett Emerich, George Snyder and later by George Sherman as a Chevron Station.

Behind the service station was the Model Restaurant. This was constructed in the early 1920s by Harry Kraft as a showroom for Harry Hubbell, Dodge dealer from Fishs Eddy. Mr. Frank Fish had operated the Model Restaurant over thirty years when it was demolished in 1963.

Another restaurant was located on the Front Street comer. This too was built by Harry Kraft. The first owner, Cora Albee of Hale Eddy, had a small lunch room. In 1928 the Amber Grill was taken over by Mrs. Adam Hadlick. It was later operated by Ken Seymour and known as The Delaware Restaurant. When the property was sold in 1953, Mrs. William Bauerfeind was operator of the Central Diner. The last owner was Mrs. Betty Evanitsky before the building was razed in 1963.

Dean Fowler of Honesdale, Pa purchased this side of the block from the Read Foundation in 1953 planning to erect a Calso station, relocating buildings where possible. Instead, the remainder of the block was sold to Victory Markets in 1963. They demolished all of the buildings to expand their store and parking area.

As we proceed along East Front Street to the remainder of the business district we’ll stop off at the building just past the Olde Cotter Restaurant. In 1895, Elmer Randall broke ground for the 35′ x 50′ three-story building. The basement was to be finished for a meat market; the ground floor for a large drug store; the two upper floors large convenient rooms for tenants. Mr. Randall operated the Delaware Drug Store, hiring an experienced pharmacist from New York City. He had a small eatery on one side of the room. William “Willis” Collins had operated a saloon in the Tom Kane Building (Ann’s Bar). He and John Collins bought the Randall property probably in 1905 as that is when Randall moved to the Allison building. Collins moved his saloon to the new location and also operated an eatery. Willis Collins was married to a sister of John Shanly of the Shanly Hotel. The Shanly sisters helped operate the hotel.

In 1930, John Pappas came to Hancock after working various ice cream and candy establishments since his arrival from Greece in 1923. He purchased the Collins Hotel and started making homemade ice cream and candy and conducted a small eatery. He named the new establishment Kandy land and it became a popular. gathering place. Kandyland, managed by Mrs. Pappas, was a treasure for locals and tourist to enjoy delicious morsels.

Very little information is available about the building east of Kandyland. It has not been determined when or by whom it was built. It was built after the 1882 fire and has an apartment on the second floor. The first floor once housed Frank Smith’s Cigar Store and the Town Clerk’s office. In the 1950s, a Mr. Harris operated a jewelry and watch repair business. Two red houses across from the railroad date back to the early settlers. The house to the west in 1869 belonged to E.K. Carrier who operated the store at the Delaware Inn site. In 1888 tis belonged to Peter Thomas. The house to the east belonged to the Nichols family who operated a store across the tracks on Front Street.

Moses H. Nichols came to Hancock in 1850. He opened the wooden wagon wheel hub factory which burned in the 1882 fire at the site of the present T&A Home Center. He supplied the Studebaker wagon works in Indiana and others. His son William was a young lad when he came to Hancock. After serving in the Civil War, he returned to Hancock and joined his father in the firm of M.H. & W.H. Nichols. The frame building on East Front Street was built prior to the Civil War and Moses Nichols conducted a general merchandising trade. In 1891 the Nichols brothers organized the Hancock Building & Loan Assoc., W.H. Nichols, banker, the first of it’s kind in Delaware County. They constructed the brick building adjoining the frame store. This was the first brick building in Hancock. The bank failed in 1907 and the store was expanded through both structures. The store dealt in groceries, clothing, hats, boots, shoes, and sewing machines, and even organs at one time. After the bank failure, Jesse Nichols, son of William continued to operate the store. He did so until his death m 1961. The store dropped its line of groceries and clothing over the years and became a five and dime variety store selling threads, school supplies and penny candy. Robert Arnold purchased the property in 1964. He demolished the brick building due to its deteriorated condition. The wooden structure was remodeled and Arnold conducted a Montgomery Wards Sales Agency. Also in the building were the offices of the town clerk and C.C. Scutt Ins. The train wreck in 1978 did extensive damage to the structure. Tony Argiros, owner since 1975, had the building dismantled and the present building erected.

The building built by Tony Argiros still stands in this location since 1979.

The stores east of the Nichols Store were destroyed by fire in December I 899, two days after the fire that consumed Hancock Mills in West End. Following the harness shop fire at Cotter’s Corner m 1871, E. Barrows Tarbox and brother-in-law, Felix Searles, purchased from A. B. Stimpson his feed store located next to the present parking lot. In 1874 they enlarged this structure to carry hardware and other items. Another brother-in-law, Belfrage McGibbon, joined the firm which became known as McGibbon & Tarbox. Mr. Tarbox continued making harnesses and other leather goods. In 1875 Mr. Searles erected a store next to the Tarbox building. Searles conducted a men’s clothing store and tailoring business.

L. E. Howard came to Hancock in the 1870s. He started a drug store next to Searles. William Wheelock came in 1885 and worked for Howard as druggist. In 1893 they formed a partnership. All three businessmen lost everything . The greater tragedy was the death of Mrs. Ann Tarbox, mother of E. B. Tarbox and Mrs. Mary Searles. The Hon. and Mrs Wesley Gould, who lived in an apartment, also lost all their belongings and office equipment. Howard and Wheelock reopened next to the Post Office on Park Place. They placed a placard on a post in the ruins, “Things Got Too Hot Here, Have Reopened Next Door to the Post office.”

McGibbon and Tarbox temporarily relocated in the Peter Randall building south of the Erie Tracks across from the Allison Building. Searles took up temporary quarters across the street in the Lincoln building. In the spring of 1900 all the displaced businessmen started construction of anew buildings. Contractor Bussman had the contracts for all three brick structures and one for Milo Scutt. These structures still line the main business district of Front Street.

The Tarbox name identifies the building next to the present parking lot. Edward Tarbox continued the hardware business and was succeeded by his son Edward Belfrage Tarbox, better known as Ned. Ned Tarbox worked his father since his youth and took over the store in 1931. He sold the hardware business to C.E. Rogers of Unadilla in 1945 and moved to California. Rodgers stayed only five years and sold to Frank and Hazel Purcell, whose son George operated the business until recent years. Besides the living quarters, the second floor has been occupied by the law offices of Wesley Gould, V.N. Elwood, Robert Pine and John C. Hinkle.

Felix Searles returned to his old location in a new brick building and continued his men’s clothing business in the east side of the building In 1901 T.J. McConnell, jeweler, leased the west side of the store. It was later occupied by Joscelyn jeweler. Searles’ son Clarence continued the, clothing business for forty-eight years. In 1950 he sold the building to Att. Robert Pine. Pine rented the store to Carl Krause, Jeweler from Deposit. He rented the other half to Laurence Kinney, who conducted a five and dime variety store at that location for many years. Carl Krause purchased the building in 1956. His son Lee succeeded him in the store which specializes in deerskin products, jewelry and other gifts. The west side of the store has seen various occupants since Kinney’s retirement and is currently occupied by Ceramacraft.  

L. E. Howard purchased a lot across the street from the Nichols store from Milo Scutt. On this lot Mr. George Bishop had a meat market. It has not been determined if this was torn down or if it is the building now housing the gift shop of Wheelock’s. The Howard name graces the top of the new building, as does Scutt on the store next door. Howard and Wheelock continued in partnership until Howard’s death in 1904. Ralph Wheelock apprenticed with his father until 1913. After college and service during World War II, he joined in partnership with his father. William Wheelock died in 1934. Ralph and son, William II were partners until 1960. The store was remodeled in 1961. The store continued to be known as Wheelocks Phannacy under new ownership until the 1990’s. An opening has been made connecting the main building and the adjacent building housing the gift shop.

Milo Scutt operated the Shanty Store on the lot adjacent to that which he sold to L. E. Howard. Shennan Lewis wrote in a Hancock Herald article, It was well named-built of slab and unpainted native hemlock, plain unpainted board floor porch, low shed-like roof propped with wood posts. Kerosene lights poorly illuminated many alleys and dark corners”. Barrelled crackers, salt pork, flour, molasses and even kerosene and men’s clothing were sold. Scutt had the Shanty Store torn down and a two-story brick building erected next to the Howard building. He continued in general merchandising until he sold the business to F. N. Conlon in 1905. Conlon moved from the Wheeler store on Main Street in 1906; The Conlon Store evolved into a ladies dress shop and remained in the Conlon family until the death of Miss Helen Conlon in 1976. It is also under new management and is currently the law office Coughlin & Gerhart. The building is now owned by Hancock native and true preservationist Gerald ” Jerry” DaBreschia.

Behind what is now Marino’s Store, Eva’s Unisex Hair Styling, and Jerry’s Barber Shop, is the original structure known as the Western Hotel for three quarters of a century. This land was part of the vast territory owned by John Hawk Jr. This lot, 99′ x 330′, was sold to George Phelps and John Elwood in 1836. It is said that Phelps built the Western Hotel in 1850. In 1856 Darin Seely was proprietor. A deed dated December 27, 1864, transfers ownership from one John Hunter to John S. Powell of Equinunk, Pa. One source states William Shanty, brother of John Shanly of the Shanly Hotel, ran the Western Hotel between 1870 and 1873. A Hancock Herald article of November 1873 speaks of the sale of furniture from the Western Hotel. A ledger from the hotel from 1874 – 1904 denotes proprietors as John Powell, Thomas Furie, and B. F. Westbrook.

Deeds indicate John Powell as owner until 1881 when “Nelson Hyatt, committee of John Powell, a lunatic,” transferred deed to Thomas Furie. Furie maintained ownership until 1919 when he sold to F. M. & Lester Woolsey. B. F. Westbrook was apparently proprietor under Furie’s ownership. An 1881 news item acknowledging Furie’s purchase states,

“We hope the house will speedily acquire a better reputation.”

Another article says Furie overhauled the hotel. A flag walk was laid in front of the hotel in 1885. The hotel did indeed acquire a better reputation. It was noted for being “well kept, homey, and superior food.” A sumptuous dinner could be obtained for 50 cents and many people from local summer boarding homes were brought by horse and wagon to dine at the hotel. The dining room was upstairs, and the bar was down in a cellar sort of setting. Upon arrival, John Kirk, the hostler, met the wagons and took the horses to the barn in the rear to rub them down and feed them for the return trip. One evening in 1893 when Mr. Kirk went to feed the horses, his lantern fell and ignited the hay in the mow. Mr. Furie saved his prize matched black team and a colt and team of mules and two horses belonging to a J. H. Holmes of Kansas City. Five other horses belonging to Holmes were lost.

In some pictures we can see the stone in front of the hotel where passengers disembarked from the wagons. This later ~as moved to the Wheeler Street entrance to the store on the comer of West Main and Wheeler Streets. When that building was demolished the step was salvaged and relocated at the McGranaghan home at that comer of Wheeler and Vestal Avenue.

After Mr. Furie’s death the hotel ceased to operate. The Doctors Woolsey converted the hotel into apartments. In 1926 they began the addition to the front of the building. Various businesses have occupied these spaces over the years. The first addition was occupied by H. I. Levine, the Economy Store man. Sam and Nettie Rosenfield later took over this location. Both were clothing merchants. D.J. Marino, who had been operating a tailoring and dry cleaning and pressing business in town since 1922, purchased the building from Frank Woolsey, Jr. in 1947. At that time the Economy Department Store, and A&P and W.H.Clark Ins. occupied the stores with leases in effect. When the leases expired in 1949, Sam Rosenfield moved to the LaValley Building and the A&P moved into the vacated area. Mr.Marino occupied the former A&P spot. Marino’s Clothing continues under his grandson, Donald.

In the deeds to the next property we can see that Ezra May was the original owner of this part of the village. He transferred this section to John Hawk in 1822. Hawk sold a large section here to Marvin Wheeler in 1838. Stedman Lincoln came to Chehocton in 1836 and purchased a   99′ x 330′ lot from Wheeler in 1840. Lincoln was the six-foot six-inch stereotype of a blacksmith. He had also taken rafts down rive.r. He built a home and blacksmith shop which are now part of the Senia complex. The old house is behind the store front which has just recently been occupied. A well stood in the front yard and parishioners from the church across tbe street would stop for a cool drink after attend ing church.

The In 1877 Lincoln transferred title to his sons Fredrick and Charles. They sold a 30′ x 84′ lot on the east comer to Hugh Brown in 1883 stipulating the owner “shall never sell strong or spirituous liquors, wines, ale or beer.” They also retained the right for their father to have access to and use of the blacksmith shop which partially stood on ~e transferred property. The remainder of the lot was transferred to there mother and  passed back and forth in the family until 1900 when their daughter, Jennie Hall, sold it to Thomas Furie. Furie only owned it for three years before selling to Michael Frisco, father ofFilene Senia, present owner. Frisco put an addition to the front to use for a shoe store and repair shop. The west end was William Cotter’s Meat Market from 1914 to 1918.

Later the Candy Kitchen was operated by John Berras, followed by Pete Pappas and John Pappas-not our Kandyland Pappas-and finally Hazens. The A&P was located in the center for a time and the Victory moved in when the A&P moved to the Western Hotel site in 1936. Mike Frisco had a pool room in the addition on the east end which Tom Senia took over in later years. Finally, Filene Senia converted this to her dress shop. Stedman. A building was constructed on the lot purchased by Hugh Brown in 1883, which became Brown Brothers Grocery Store. In August 1887, Brown sold to Kazenstein and Taylor, the Post Office grocers who moved from Park Place. The old Methodist Parsonage was moved from across the street and rebuilt into the existing store. Kazenstein and Taylor moved into their new store in October 1887. In 1907 the business was transferred to the Kazenstein Co. Lewis Hoahg had clerked for the E.J.Cotter at the Red Store. He left to work at the Keery store in Fishs Eddy and later returned to Hancock. He and Charles Read, J.D. Valentine and George Kazenstein formed the Kazenstein Co.

In 1919, Hoag became sole owner. He continued as Hoag’s Bakery for many years. In 1937 he sold to Alex Gisoldi who had a shoe repair shop across the street. Gisoldi rented the store for a time before moving across the street. It housed a restaurant at one time which intended to sell alcoholic beverage, but, the original deed was upheld.

As indicated, a church stood across the street on the lot that is now the village parking lot. The Emory Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church that organized in 1831 constructed a church on the site in 1840. John Hawk Jr. transferred the property to the trustees in 1841. The original structure was moved to the rear of Martin’s Stage House (Hancock House) to become Hancock Hall. A new beautiful edifice was built by Fishler. The cornerstone was laid on September 22, 1870. In 1900 the church was enlarged and remodeled and a week-long celebration took place. In January 1925 fire again struck its deadly blow and the churchwas destroyed. The lot was sold to the village and they rebuilt in 1927 at the present East Main Street site.

On the lot now owned by Kaplan Chev-Buick at Center and Front streets was a blacksmith shop. In 1856 the lot. was owned by L. Dan and later deeds refer to this as the Dan Lot. In 1869 a Welch was owner. At about the center of the block on Center Street, behind the present garage, was a school. This school was in session in 1858 when the village was divided into two school districts. The building still stands and has been a residence for many years.

John Weinman operated a blacksmith shop on the Dan Lot in 1888. A picture of the shop in the early 1900s recalls the partnership of Barnes and Matteson. C. E. Barnes came from Equinunk in 1908. When C.E. Barnes sold the shop to Val Iversen in 1924 there were two other buildings on the lot. Between Hoag’s Bakery and the blacksmith shop, was a little building that was Kleinle’s Barber Shop. Charles Kleinle was a village barber more than fifty years, first working with his father near the Cotter building when the shop was destroyed by the 1882 fire. He retired in 1929. In 1934 Iversen built a one-story display area between the existing garage and Hoags. On the comer, to the east of the blacksmith shop was Charles Stephens Shoe Repair Shop. At a later time there was a restaurant and finally the building was removed. Iversen continued the garage and auto sales until 1950 when he sold the business to Jacque DeZee. Later operators were Charles Walters, Wilfred Fritz and Norman Crawford, who briefly operated a service station. Mr. Iversen sold the property to Ralph Kaplan in 1957.

Across Center Street, at the present Sears Catalog Store site, was the Sutterlein Block. A cabinet shop and a building owned by Edwards are noted here in 1869. In 1882 Michael Farrell purchased from Titus the vacant lot adjacent the Baptist Church (Two Rivers Trading).

In 1888 a building belonging to M. Farrell was located near the corner. Albert Sutterlein operated a meat market on the corner in January 1897 when fire struck. The meat market and Dr. Gidney’s dental office were destroyed on the first floor and all was lost in the living quarters above. The date of the erection of the present building has not been determined. Brown and Morde of Deposit are said to have started the business continued by E. E. Hackett and, later, Hackett and Busfield. In 1934 S. S. Busfield had been in the furniture and undertaking business for more than a quarter century when he sold one-half interest to Ralph Tyler. There was a bowling alley in the east side for a time. Busfield made extensive alterations in 1940 for new tenants. Later occupants were D. J. Marino and the Grand Union Co.

Just to the east of the Busfield building is the Schenk building. Schenk conducted a dry goods business and toys and groceries. He had a brick fire wall built between his store and the Sutterlein building, the first of its kind in Hancock. This saved it from the Sutterlein fire. Following Mr.Schenk came the Hancock Co-op Store managed by Gould Orchard (1922), Jones Pharmacy (1952), and Jim Bolles Meat Market, In 1937 Lucy Hockenbrocht operated the Capitol Resturant which wad continued by various owners.

The next building easterly was the original site of the Baptist Church. Organized in 1859, they met at Allison Hall. With the advent of the Civil War the Hall was needed by soldiers, so they met at the Congregational Church until a church could be built. The edifice was dedicated in 1861 and stood where the present Two Rivers Trading is located. By 1899 they had outgrown this church and proceeded to raise funds for a new structure. In 1902 they had sufficient funds to begin construction at Wheeler Street and the edifice was dedicated in May 1903. In 1915 the old building was sold to Hose Co. #2 and demolished to the ground floor. The present two-story structure was built to house the hand-drawn equipment. The second floor was meeting rooms. In 1927 it was converted into the central fire station to house the two motor trucks. The second floor was extended the full width and length of the building. In 1941 further remodeling was done to accommodate a third truck. The anticipated need for a larger facility for the fire fighting equipment and village hall led to the construction of the present Municipal Building in 1953. The former site was sold to John Pappas.

On the south side of East Front Street, adjacent to the present municipal parking lot, was Alex Gisoldi’s shoe repair shop when he came here in 1934. He purchased the business of Joe Lombardi and later moved across the street. The building now houses the Village Beauty Shop.

Next door was a large building best known as the Lord Building. It was owned by E. E. Olmstead as a store in 1869. Mr. & Mrs. M. E. Lord operated a dry goods store in 1888. Thomas Hamilton was an instructor of the Select School upstairs prior to the formation of the Union School. Daddy’s Club (American Legion) occupied rooms in 1919. In 1949 Charles Esolen purchased the property from Anna Conti Davis, who had recently procured it from Dr. F. M. Woolsey Jr. At the time of sale, Mr. Esolen was employed in his father’s barber shop in the building. Another part was occupied by Hart’s Novelty Store. Dudley Hart started a paint and hobby shop at the foot of Academy Street prior to this location when he added variety items. The third section of the building had just been vacated by D. J. Marino. Other businesses occupied the building in the   mid 1900s. The structure was demolished in the 1960s and was only recently replaced by the new Country Bake Shoppe & Deli.

Information on many of the buildings in this section is still sketchy. The next lot was the John Klein residence in 1888. Most people today remember it as Ann’s Bar & Grill, now under new management. This building or the next may have been the Kane Building which housed ‘Willis’ Collins’ Saloon prior to 1905. The B&R store was owned by C. Powers in 1888. A large section here was owned by Taffney in 1869. After the 1882 fire, barber Kleinle moved to the Powers Building. It may have been this one or one further down the street. Various businesses have been located in the east end of this building. William Smith operated a furniture store on the west side for many years before selling to Mr. & Mrs. Roger Ostrander.

The Capitol Theatre was built by the International Odd Fellow Organization(IOOF) as a lodge in 1909 following the destruction of Allison Hall. The first floor was for entertainment purposes, including a stage and gallery with a twenty-foot ceiling. The second floor was for lodge, preparation, reception and other rooms. The front was buff pressed brick with blue stone trimmings. Henry Busfield was contracted to make the concrete blocks-an estimated need of 5000.

For many years it was known as the Opera House. Silent movies, home talent plays, minstrel shows, medicine shows, and traveling troupes, including the cast of “Uncle Tom’s Cabin”, performed on the stage. The second floor included a balcony and two boxes for paying guests. The auditorium was used for basketball games and dances and as District 3 polling place. Daddy’s Club occupied rooms from 1920 to 1927. Harvey English came into possession of the building and added a glass front, new steps,. box office, and had the auditorium floor elevated for better viewing of the stage. Keeping up with the times he installed rest rooms, new seats, the wide screen and Cinemascope. In 1972 the building was sold to Ben Zion Reznick who had operated the theater for five years.

Two or three dwellings were moved to make way for the IOOF building. One was the double house now across the street from Sync Satellite Systems once known as the Shakespeare house. A second building was cut in two- one half was moved back behind the present B & R store; the other half was moved back behind the present Village Beauty Shop. One of these, it appears, was Patrick Farrell’s Saloon in 1888. Patrick Farrell came to Hancock in 1869 and commenced a grocery business.

The corner lot was owned by Jesse Ayres in 1888 where he had a butcher shop. Henry Blencoe sold the old building to C. E. Barnes in January 1909. He had it moved next to his blacksmith shop. It was moved to Leonard Hill by George Bishop the following year. Blencoe moved his meat market into the new building in March 1909. In June 1936, barber Keith DeGraw moved into a room at the Ace ReStaurant. In October of the same year Mrs. Leona Stonson rented the restaurant from Perry Hoffman. Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Buckley purchased the restaurant from her father, William Davis, in 1943 and continued there until 1962 when they sold to Tony Lombardi. Another house stood at the entrance to Old Bridge Street. This has been reported as the first Hancock Herald office and was moved down Front Street across from the present Circle E Diner.

Two Bridges: Erie Railroad and Old Bridge Street looking toward Front Street.

Old Bridge Street ran close to the railroad bridge. It was the first bridge to span the East Branch of the Delaware connecting the main village with Brooklyn Side.

To the east of Old Bridge Street was the property of Richard Powers in 1856. In 1876 or 1878 Richard Powers was having a new building finished. Wilmarth owned the lot for a time prior to M. Farrell in 1888. As 1900 rolled around M. J. Gales was proprietor of the Empire House. In 1909 he had the wooden porches replaced with concrete. In 1928, under F. M. Woolsey’s ownership, the building was renovated into a garage where Ed Persbacker moved his Chrysler dealership. In the 1950s, Joe Palm conducted a plumbing business. The building was later tom down for an Esso Service Station which was eventually remodeled for the present Country Store.

On the lot next door “Coney” Forester made soft drinks and made deliveries by horse and wagon. In 1888, a Allen and Fisher owned property in the center of the block. In 1953, two houses were bought and tom down to make way for the new municipal building and fireball.

The comer lot at the present Route 97 was the old Hawk homestead in the early 1800s. Samuel Wilmarth operated a blacksmith shop in 1869. His shop was one of the few in the area having an ox pen, a heavy wooden contraption with straps and tackle for shoeing oxen. John Klein acquired the shop in 1878 and continued the blacksmith shop. The shop was remodeled into a two-story wagon shop in 1895. In 1901 it was a three-story structure. In 1938 when the wooden structure was tom down it was the Public Service Garage owned by Penny and Wright of Cadosia Arthur Bullis leased the station. The present building was constructed and later sold to DaBrescia.

We are going to end our journey here though sonie other early businesses were further down Front Street and on Brooklyn Side. information is sparse on some of them, such as the Union Hotel at the foot of Academy Street. The only comment found about the hotel was that it was a “disreputable place.” Academy corner also had Morley’s Mill. The Hancock Union School and Academy was located where the apartments are now on the hill. Almost every block had a grocery a some time or other. Arnold’s Garage was the precursor of Kuehn’s manufacturing.

Blake’s store and laundry is now the homes of daughters Dorothy Cappiello and Gert Clark. A little further down we have remains of Bennett’s store. There are still so many places to investigate. We hope you have enjoyed walking in the footprints of our early settlers. Any additional information about Hancock’s past would be appreciated, and, maybe, one day we’ll retrace the Footprints of the Past.


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Molly Yes Press, 1981.

Gould, Jay. Map of Delaware Co., N. Y. Philadelphia: Collins G.

Keeney, 1856.

“History of Hancock from an Oldtimer.” Hancock Herald, 21,

February 1889.

Lester, Wellington. “James K. Hornbeck, 1884 – 1934.”

“Local History Landmarks.” Unknown Author. .

Piennont to Dundirk: Railroad History Made.” Bergen Evenmg

Record, (Bergen, N.J.), 13 February 1960. . . .

Read, Darwin. “Personal Journal.” Excerpts prmted m various

Hancock Heralds.

The Growth ofNin~ Years.” Hancock Herald, 1 September 188? 

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Century Book Circle, 1915.