I was just reminiscing about the time Dr. Trudeau came by the house. Several times, actually. And Paul Smith came by repeatedly. And P.T. Barnum. Yes, yes. I wasn’t actually there. However, our little hamlet was the pass-thru to Paul Smith’s famous resort once upon a time. And after the railroad came in and the train station was built, our hundred-yard-hamlet was the station stop for the hotel, guests being taken the final two miles by coach.
When we took down our unfortunate old house, we found a little something underneath it. The foundation, beams, and log joists from an very, very old log cabin. From photos, we were able to see that the house dated to at least 1915. But underneath, the original structure was much older. Before the 1880s, the only real structures were a few trapper cabins along the main road. Perhaps the solution to the mystery lies there. There’s been a dwelling here on this old road a really long time. So, you see, all those folks really did pass within a few feet of our door.
Town-wise, we’ve had John Burroughs, Thomas Edison and Harvey Firestone. Marjorie Merriweather Post moved in down the street, summers only. Calvin Coolidge was here, using Miss Post’s camp as a Summer White House. I imagine one or two of them must have cast a shadow on our old front porch, being as the village store has always been next door.
True, the “new” Grange Hall (built in the 1930s) is now a good friend’s antique store. And the old Legion Hall has been turned into a beautiful house and studio. But most of the original building are gone. History disappears so easily. I used to idealistically think that I was not someone who would ever tear down a 130-year-old house. But, I’ve learned that a house is not good just because it’s old. Still, I felt a little bad about that; taking down the oldest house left.
I’m comforted a bit when I think about the fact that the original cabin foundation is now a rock wall along the front. And I have sixteen of those 150 year old logs from the original cabin structure. They’ll end up in our house, or maybe a nice, tough barn. I certainly can’t let that old trapper’s hard work go to waste.
Those rocks and logs belong to the property as far as I am concerned; and they’re staying right here.