Veteran Observer remembers the old industries of Cazenovia, 1901
"Veteran Observer" remembers the old Cazenovia Industries, 1901
from the Cazenovia Republican, March 14, 1901
Daniel H. Weiskotten
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Cazenovia Republican
March 14, 1901
"Veteran Observer"

        From the early history of this place we know that the Holland Land Co., sold the lands tn this vicinity in farms, principally to New Englanders; that there were a good many settlers from Connecticut, and mechanics among them, who naturally developed the water power of Chittenango Creek.  Thus we read in the early years of the nineteenth century of the gristmill and sawmill near Mill Street and just below the grist-mill was the clothier works of Deacon Munson, whose water right was defined in his deeds as having the first right to 144 square inches of water.  During the writer's recollection, the following establishments had power from the Mill Street dam:  The grist mill of W. Burton & Son, the machine shop of A. Van Riper, where town clocks were made, S. Coin's threshing machine works, M.W. and J. Shapley's machine shop, and J. Chubbuck's furnace and on the south side of the dam, the saw mill of Burton & Son.  Going northward on the left bank of the creek, was the brewery of S. Twist and the steam power furnace and stove works of Elisha Allis.  On the right bank, the steam power distillery of J. & H. Hearsey, which was a great market for corn, barley and wood, and of the product whiskey, it may be truthfully said that there was no logwood or strychnine in it, only a little burnt sugar to give it the fashionable color.  On the left bank below Albany Street, J. Williams & Son's woolen mill was situated, whose principal products were satinet and Farmer's cassimere.  These were exchanged for wool at Mr. William's store, where G.E. Loomis & Co. are now. Adjacent to the woolen mill was a Morocco factory.  On the right bank was the Linseed Oil mill of E. Knowlton and the printing office of Henry Hitchcock & Co., publishers of Sander's Series of Readers and Spellers.  On the next power, on the site of O'Connell's Electric light plant, was Deacon Sweetland's paper mill, where writing, print, news, book and wrapping paper were made.  Henry Johnson was the foreman and Sewall Stone distributed the products and brought in rags.  Wood pulp was unknown.  On the next power at Cedar Grove was the five set woolen mill of R. & C. Jackson, whose products were plain and fancy cassimeres - also a saw mill and cheese box factory of Orrin Chandler's.  R. & C. Jackson's store was where the post-office is now located.  On this power John Hearsey formerly ground his grain for distilling.  On the fifth power was the tannery of Rufus Allen & Sons, who also carried on a shoe store and currier 's shop on the south side of Albany Street.  On the sixth power Mr. Ledyard Lincklaen had erected a substantial manufacturing building occupied on the lower floor by Melancthon Nichols, as a machine shop.  S. L. Greenwood had a threshing machine works there afterward and T. W. Thayer & Co. now occupy the same site for their extensive steam and water power sash and door factory.  On the seventh power was the Shelter Valley four story woolen mill of Williams, Ledyard & Stebbins, destroyed by fire in December 1869, rebuilt by them and occupied since 1881 by the Cazenovia Woolen and Felt Co., of Green Bros. and again burned down, Dec. 8th, 1900.  On this location there was formerly a saw mill and a fulling mill where on account of deficient power at his village mill, Mr. J. Williams sent cloth to be fulled and dressed by Calvin Weaver.  On the line of the now abandoned turnpike and just below the "Gate" was the saw mill of Henry & Jackson and later the Rope walk of K. N. Guiteau.  This was the ninth power, the eighth being the only one unimproved.  At Bingley, W. Atkinson occupied the 10th power with his Grist and Flouring mills, and the Messrs. Gibbs had a chair factory, and Titus Bacon a wool carding and cloth dressing works, on the east side of the creek.  Bacon's mill was driven by the Munger Brook, and S. Worlock & Son had a saw mill and plaster mill on the same stream.  The water powers on Chittenango Creek were unoccupied with the exception of Nourse's saw mill, to Chittenango Falls.  Here a fall of 136 feet would afford a grand power.  From the above narration, it will be seen that from Cazenovia Lake to the Falls, and below that to Chittenango, there is every few rods a grand water power, which, if the situation were in New England, would all be utilized.  The Lehigh Valley R.R. occupies the right bank of the creek to the Falls, and an excellent turnpike road, the left bank.  Mr. Henry Ten Eyck had a woolen factory south of Atwell's Corners in Pompey Hollow, and afterward purchased the Cedar Grove mills here.  At Mechanicsville (now Rippleton) there was the Billings' saw mill, wagon and blacksmith shop, and Ward's horse-power and thresher factory, where deClereq's cider mill now stands.  Until 1854 all these powers were dependant upon the mills at Cazenovia for their abundant supply of water.  When these mills shut down at 6 p.m., the water in dry weather simply ran back to storage in Cazenovia Lake, whose area is about 1400 acres, so that the mills had double the quantity of water for 12 hours, that they would ordinarily have for 24 hours.  Storm waters were also stored until the lake was full.  In 1854 the state of New York appropriated the waters of Cazenovia Lake and arranged gates and dams so as to fill and draw it four and one half feet.  They also built the Erieville Reservoir with an area of about 400 acres and 40 feet deep. The Chittenango Creek, which drains a very large district independent of the Erieville reservoir and Cazenovia Lake basins, can be turned into the latter by an ingenious arrangement of gates at the Mill Street dam, devised by the late B. W. Taber.  These gates also regulate the flow of water so that Chaphe's mill can use the water, or it will steadily flow in its own channel.  In the small dam above the junction of Chittenango Creek and the lake outlet is an automatic gate, originally put in by the writer, and hinged on the top and opening towards the lake so that storage for storm waters is afforded until the lake is full.  It will be seen that the Erieville and Cazenovia Lake reservoirs with the basin of Chittenango Creek between them, belong to a valuable system of storage for the Erie Canal.  Intelligent management of their gates with control at Cazenovia should benefit the state and the water powers alike.  Before its appropriation by the state, the Mill Street dam was six inches higher than in 1854.  Messrs. Parsons and Chaphe consented to such reduction rather than encounter threatened expensive litigation by owners of lake property.
        For the increased demands for water by the proposed Barge Canal, the state engineers have recently estimated the cost of raising the Cazenovia lake two feet, which would benefit the water powers immensely.
        From the above review it will be seen that a restoration of the manufacturing interest in Cazenovia, in part at least, is possible where the freights would be comparatively light and the cost of the product mainly in labor.  No more beautiful or healthful locality for manufacturing population can be found, and with the railroad and turnpike adjacent to the stream, conditions are unusually favorable and inviting.
        At Cazenovia village the manufacture of fine furniture, of boots and shoes, of saleratus and potash, of proprietary medicines, of figured goods and carpets was carried on, with many carpenter and blacksmith shops, etc.  Mr. Henry Ten Eyck had a woolen factory near Atwell's Corners and afterward purchased the Cedar Grove (Jackson's) factory here.  In the village there were seven general stores and some of them handled produce, such as butter, cheese, dressed hogs, wool, feathers, etc., which were forwarded to market for account of customers, the proceeds being placed to their credit.  The Erie Canal and Central R. R. at Chittenango approached by the plank road built in 1848, gave reasonable access to market.  We burned stove wood and were happy.  The Madison County Bank furnished the working capital for all the manufacturing and farming interests in this vicinity.  Although general business conditions have changed, it is believed that with united efforts, our community may be greatly benefitted.

Veteran Observer.