Many times while doing research
on Cazenovia and surrounding towns, I have been told of houses still standing
that once were taverns. Having been asked by the owners to "see what
I can find" on the history of some of these houses, I became increasingly
aware how many of these "inns" never were.
Nearly every farm had its tenants, and surely boarded an occasional traveler. Even in the earliest days the Town had regulations which allowed and licensed only those taverns which could actually meet the needs of the weary traveler.
At a meeting of the Town Commissioners of Excise held in 1813 it was resolved that those wishing to operate a tavern be "of good moral characters and of sufficient abilities to keep an Inn or Tavern, and that they have accommodations to entertain travelers, and that an Inn or Tavern is absolutely necessary at the place where they reside (or propose to keep such Tavern) for the actual accommodations of travelers..." In view of these regulations it can be seen that not just anyone could open a tavern.
Location played the most important part in operating a tavern. All of the identified taverns in the town of Cazenovia and surrounding areas are found on or very near the major roads of the time, or within the village or hamlets. The least known of the taverns are those that are situated throughout the Township of Cazenovia, and these will be the subject of this sketch.
Perhaps the earliest of the taverns outside of the village was that operated by Benjamin Alvord. Alvord lived just west of the Abell Corners, on the south side of Ballina Road, as early as 1794. About 1800 the Ballina Road was opened by the State as a "State Road" which brought people to Cazenovia before any of the well known turnpikes. This tavern is said to have been where Dr. Isaac Lyman first practiced medicine when he arrived in Cazenovia in 1799. It is not known how long Alvord operated the tavern, but he, a veteran of the revolution, died in 1809 at the age of 70.
Near Alvord's, Isaiah Williams kept a tavern for several years around 1812. Descriptions as to where the tavern was located differ, so it is difficult to tell exactly where it was. Henry Severence states that it was nearly opposite the tavern of Benjamin Alvord which I have been able to locate near the Abell Corners, and then he goes on to say that it was near the Dist. No. Nine school house. These two locations are not far from each other and the tavern was perhaps somewhere in between. Severence also writes of the squirrel hunts that were organized at Williams' tavern "to exterminate these pests that are (today - 1884) so assiduously protected by law."
In New Woodstock, on the Hamilton and Skaneatles Turnpike, there were two taverns, both operated by Smiths. The first tavern in New Woodstock was built some time before 1803 by Jonathan Smith in the west part of the village and it "was kept by him for many years". This is the house now known as the "Bell Tavern"
David Smith, brother of Jonathan, also had a tavern in New Woodstock, at the intersection of Main Street and School Street. David built the hotel in 1817 or 1818 and was proprietor until 1831, when he passed it on to his son Erastus and brother-in-law Asa Merrill. They kept it for two years, and Jonathan and Jerman Smith, brothers of Erastus, became proprietors.
After a few years Artemus and Orrin S. Smith, two other brothers, operated the "New Woodstock Hotel" together until Artemus died in 1858. Orrin continued on by himself for a few years. In 1869 the hotel was run by John Q.A.Blakeslee and Abram Burden, and in 1873 Chauncey J. Cook became proprietor, and ran the establishment "for many years". It is not known how long the hotel operated after this date.
As early as 1806 a tavern was operated by Willard Abbott, also on the Hamilton & Skaneatles Turnpike, now the Fabius Road, about 1 mile west of New Woodstock near the intersection of Kiley Road. Abbott applied for a tavern license as late as 1814, but it is known that he lived here until his death in 1831.
Solomon Merrick, who had a saw and grist mill on Limestone Creek above Delphi Falls operated a tavern in the hamlet of Union. 1812 is the earliest record of this inn, and it is not clear how long Merrick was the proprietor. Later in the century there was still a hotel here, operated by Levi Jones who is found here between 1850 and 1869. The house that now stands on the site is of later construction than that which would have been Merrick's, but possibly it was used by Jones. Merrick's tavern may be the large house, now much changed, that stands on the south side of the road just east of Union. I have no proof of this, but this was Merrick property and it is of sufficient proportions to have been a country tavern.
A tavern was operated on the west side of Cazenovia Lake by Philemon Tuttle in the 1820s, but little is known of this inn. Tradition says that it is the "Stebbins House" which is situated just below the golf course, but this is not true. Deed research has shown that Tuttle owned the land to the south of this property, and his tavern stood where the house of Mrs. Marjorie Mather stands (now 1999, Gary and Laurie Omans). The original structure had burned in the early 20th century but the present building was built upon its very foundations and in the same form. The characteristics of this house, which is unusually large for a farm house, and is fairly early, are very similar to other tavern structures, and like the suspected Merrick tavern mentioned above is of a particular character. Just north of this tavern was a toll gate for the Third Great Western or Cherry Valley Turnpike.
Further along the Turnpike is what is known today as the "Temperance House" which was not, as tradition says, built in 1793. In all liklihood it ws built by 1812 by Cyrenus Bartholomew.
add more stuff here.
Near Chittenango Falls, between the intersections of Lincklaen Road and the Gorge Road, was the "Traveler's Home" of Orrin Ransom. This establishment, known in 1869 under the management of James Brown, as the Chittenango Falls Hotel, most likely owed it's existence to the Cazenovia and Chittenango Plank Road which was opened in 1848. The plank road followed the present Rt. 13, but continued down the gorge west of the falls.
In researching the inns I found several proprietors which I could not connect with any known tavern in the Town of Cazenovia or otherwise did not address in this paper. These men were Phillip Kibbe (apparently of Nelson), Jesse Kilborn (Cazenovia village, perhaps near the Cazenovia Public Library), Jonathan Mills (Fenner or Nelson?), George and Sylvester Salisbury (Fenner or Nelson), Joseph Y. Cole (Palmer Hill), Cyrenus Bartholomew (Temperance House), William Powers (unknown), Elijah Risley (1800 census at Johnson House), and Allen Dryer Jr. (Park House, Cazenovia village). Some of these were proprietors of taverns in the village, and it is possible that some of these were located in the present Town of Fenner, which was part of Cazenovia until 1823.
While doing the research
for this series, I searched through many records, and uncovered many interesting
bits of information. What had previously been known about nearly
all of these taverns could make scarcely more than a few sentences.
This was the case with the Cazenovia House. Upon completion of my
research I had four typewritten pages of notes, which unfortunately is
far more than can be included within the limits of this sketch. In
light of this, the section on the Cazenovia House will be greatly abbreviated.
Also, as this is being written in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the building of the Lincklaen House, I will not subject this historic hotel to such a fate, and therefore will include a separate section devoted solely to the Lincklaen House.
When John Lincklaen laid out the village of Cazenovia in 1793, he included a feature familiar to many of the settlers he hoped to entice into the wilderness: a Public Square. The Square, in the very heart of the village, was the center of activity. Stores, shops and other businesses operated on all sides.
Throughout the early years of the last century, there stood near the four corners of the Square, four taverns. On the north east side, where now stands Smith's I.G.A., was the Cazenovia House, the longest lived of all the inns of Cazenovia. In 1798 the land where the Cazenovia House stood was obtained by blacksmith Hiram Roberts. The village accounts of 1802 and 1803 list Roberts as a blacksmith and tavern keeper. How long Roberts had kept a tavern previous to 1802, and how long he continued after this date is not known. As early as 1806 the hotel was owned by Lemuel Kingsbury. In 1809 Kingsbury removed the old Roberts building and built the tavern known for more than 140 years as the Cazenovia House.
Through the 150 plus years that a hotel operated on this site more than twenty seven proprietors ran the house. The longest that any host had stayed during the 1800s was Simon C. Hitchcock for seven years. During this century, we find Harry J. Williamson who ran the house for about twenty years. Other proprietors over the years had been Jeremiah Whipple - first Sheriff of Madison County, Martin Spear - later a well known tailor in the village, Michael Moulter and E. Jewett both of whom later operated the Lincklaen House, Perry Crandall - who was proprietor of the Stanton House for a time, and of course Walter White who owned many fine restaurants throughout central New York.
During the 1950s the hotel went out of business, the contents were sold at auction, and the old tavern demolished to make way for the grocery store that now disgraces the northeast face of the Public Square.
On the southeast side of the Public Square, on the site of the "Century House" stood the Madison County Hotel. (see my seperate page for a more revised history of the Madison County Hotel) The site was occupied as early as 1797 by the home and blacksmith shop of Elnathan Andrews, Cazenovia's first blacksmith, who had come here with John Lincklaen in 1793.
The recorded or identified proprietor was Eliphalet S. Jackson, in March 1811. Jackson had purchased the lot from Eliakim Roberts in 1806, so he was presumably here earlier than 1811.
Other proprietors include William Hatch, Lemuel White, Timothy G. Chidsey, Salter & Giles Cleaveland, John I. Gilchrist, and Ira Loomis. William Hatch hosted the first visit of a living elephant in the village in 1813 and he was also the second Sheriff of Madison County in 1810.
The hotel was purchased in 1834 by the stock company that was to build the Lincklaen House, and upon the opening of the new hotel in November 1836, the Madison County Hotel was closed. The building, mainly the back wing, was then used by the Masonic Lodge until their disbanding on December 24, 1838. The building was later split apart and the salvageable sections were moved off the site. The back wing, long occupied by Masons, was moved north, it being the double house on the west side of Sullivan Street. The house which stood just south of this, torn down in 1971 for the St. James Church parking lot, was also a piece of the old hotel. A piece of the east part of the front was placed behind the Lincklaen House, but this burned in the Casa Nova fire in 1895. The western (main) part of west front of the old tavern still stands today as the main part of Smith's Funeral Home. Although the Funeral Home stands on the south side of the Public Square as the tavern did, it is not on the site of the tavern. Deed research has clearly shown that the tavern was where the present Century House is located, and that the Funeral Home site was an entirely separate parcel after about 1838.
Several doors west of the Madison County Hotel, on the southwest corner of the Public Square, stood the earliest and only remaining tavern building on the Square. No one is exactly sure when this hotel was built, but Samuel Forman's store accounts, preserved at Lorenzo, would indicate that the building was built in 1796. This tavern known as the "Johnson House" was operated until about 1809 by Ebenezer Johnson. The structure originally stood at #34 Albany Street, and is said to have been moved in 1799 to the location two doors west to #30, where it stands today. (for a more complete and updated history, see my seperate page for the Johnson House)
It was here that many of the early Town meetings were held, and where the annual Fourth of July celebrations took place, with a "formal dinner, with its toasts, speeches and songs".
The house was owned by Johnson until about 1814, when he sold to James Sherman of Rome, and moved from Cazenovia. Sometime prior to 1810 Johnson had leased the hotel to Jacob and Ralph Day. Ralph Day is found here for a short time only, but Jacob continued until about 1813, when Daniel Day became the proprietor. It is not know how or if these Days were related.
Daniel Day was the last known host, and is found here as late as 1816. James Sherman, who continued as a resident of Rome, owned the building until 1828, but information has not been found indicating that he was an innkeeper, nor that the inn was operated by any others after 1816.
Although this is one of the best known of the taverns that operated within the town of Cazenovia, great confusion surrounds the history of this structure. Today it is known as the "Michael Day Tavern", but the author has yet to find a single shred of evidence that would indicate that Michael Day ever operated a tavern. All records found indicate that after coming to Cazenovia with John Lincklaen in 1793 Michael Day worked as a brick layer and mason. This confusion possibly stems from when the house was operated by Jacob, Ralph and Daniel Day. The first reference to the old tavern as the "Michael Day Tavern" appears in Monroe's Cazenovia, published in 1911.
Where the Presbyterian Church Manse now stands was the hotel of Amos Parmelee. It was built by Parmelee in 1813, on the site which was formerly occupied by the hardware store of Alfred Hitchcock. How long this tavern operated is unknown, as Parmelee is found here only until 1814, and no one else has been identified as operating this tavern.
When the Manse was built in 1870 the old hotel, long since a private residence, was removed from the site and placed on the south side of Albany Street just west of the Square. A newspaper account dated 1883 states that the old hotel was being torn down, but discrepancies in the article and other facts do not support this. What became of the building, or whether it was ever actually moved from the church lot, is not known.
The site of the Oneida Savings Bank was originally occupied the mercantile store of Eliakim Roberts, begun in 1803. The first Roberts store was wooden, and this was replaced by a brick building built about 1810. The building was later owned by Jacob and Henry Ten Eyck, and occupied over the years by small businesses.
It is said that the store building was converted into the "Lake House" in 1866, and kept by Bateman Boardman. It is also said that Lanson Lake, for whom the institution was named, was the first proprietor. Lake was a boarding house keeper according to the 1850 census, and died in 1857, so it is possible that the hotel was opened earlier than 1866. Another explanation for the name Lake House may be that it got its name because of its excellent view of the lake at the end of Albany Street. The Lake House was being run by Ashley Pratt in 1869, and then by Perry Crandall, former keeper of the Cazenovia House, in 1875.
In 1879 the Lake House was purchased and entirely remodeled with fanciful verandas and a cupola by Carl B. Stanton. The Stanton House, as it was then called, continued into the twentieth century under the command of Stanton, who leased it about 1885 to John Finch (Stanton & Finch were also proprietors of the Lincklaen House around this time). Finch was succeeded by Edward Parker, who ran the hotel for about a year, when Stanton again became proprietor in 1894.
The hotel was known as the Stanton House until about 1907, when it became known as the Park House. The Park House (no connection with the Park House in the east part of the village) continued for only a short time, and by 1910 the hotel was known as the Lake View House, which for a time was kept by Donald Savage. This Lake View House is not to be confused with the Lake View Hotel which stood at the Lake View Camp Meeting Grounds, on Owera Point at the north end of the lake. None of these hotels, the Park Houses, and the Lake Views, were in operation at the same time so there was no confusion back then as to which was which, but looking at them a hundred years later can be somewhat confusing.
In the twentieth century the building housed the Daley & Evans store, and the Victory Market. By the 1930s the building had lost much of its decorative woodwork, verandas, and its ornate cupola.
In 1966 the building was occupied by Dwyer's Pharmacy, and in 1970 a spectacular fire burned the building to the ground. A short time later, after filling in the unusually deep cellar the Oneida Savings Bank was built upon the site.
The Lake View Hotel at the head of the lake, mentioned above, was opened in 1873, and continued for many years under the various managements of D.P. Dean, W.H. Baker, Byron Richardson, H.S. Mather, and Carl B. Stanton (also of the Stanton House and later the Lincklaen House). Those who came from afar to attend the Methodist Camp Meetings during the 1870s and `80s stayed here. Campers were brought to the grounds by several steamboats which stopped at the Village Pier, West Shore Railroad Station, and other picnic groves around the lake. In 1891 the hotel, while owned by T.D. Wilkin, burned to the ground. Twenty years later the beautiful picnic grounds became a part of the extensive estate of George Allen known as "Owera".
In the east end of the village, where the Oneida and Third Great Western Turnpikes join, on the site of the former P. & C. parking lot, stood the hotel known as the Park House. When this hotel began is not known, but it is very early (JOTHAM CURTIS). A Mr. Cook operated a tavern in 1838 and `39 somewhere in this part of the village, but the location can not be ascertained. In 1846 the Madison County Whig advertised that William G. Burr had refitted the well known tavern in the east end of the village. Burr owned it for a number of years and leased it out to others. Oliver Whipple passed on proprietorship to Marsh & Allen in 1852, and in 1859 it was kept by C. Vincent. According to village maps, Burr continued to live in the first house east of the hotel until after 1859. By 1875 the hotel was gone and the lot was vacant.
On the site of the Atwell mill was a small and short lived inn known as the Grotto House, run by Patrick Farley. It occupied part of the building that was built as a distillery early in the 19th century by John Hearsey. It operated for a short time in the late 1890s
The Burr Block, where the Merchants Bank and Lodge are now, was converted to a hotel, known as the "Cazenove Arms" in 1894. The hotel, remodeled under the direction of Syracuse architect Archimedes Russell, had dining and sitting rooms on the second floor, with dormitories on the third, and spacious verandas on the sides towards Albany Street and the Public Square. How long the Cazenove Arms operated is not known.
From the mid 1870s to the
First World War, Cazenovia was a summer home for many. The lake attracted
throngs of city folks seeking the cool waters and a touch of peace and
quiet. The serenity of the lake and surrounding countryside also
attracted the wealthy from far away cities.
The wealthy were able to purchase lots in the center of the village or a large lot on the shore of Cazenovia Lake, and here they built their own summer "cottages". For the many the hotel at the Lake View Camp Meeting Grounds, the Stanton House, the Cazenovia House, or the Lincklaen House in the village provided safe haven for those who could not afford such luxuries or who would not brave the elements by "roughing it" in a tent or a small shanty on the lake shore.
The overflow from the established public houses was taken in by residents of the village who, wishing to supplement their income, rented out vacant rooms and served three meals a day to their boarders.
With the growing number of summer pilgrims, so the business of boarding grew. Throughout the village boarding houses opened and gladly served those needing the comforts of civilization. Much has been said, but little is been written of the wonders of life in the summer boarding houses of Cazenovia.
Fortunately a most wonderful description of this long past lifestyle is found in "What's Cooking in Cazenovia?", published in 1960 by the Ladies of St. James Parish, Cazenovia, and here I present it with apologies, as the author is unknown to me.