Monday, November 30, 2009

Big Commercial Real Estate Transactions 1945-46

The Village Center has witnessed quite a transformation throughout the past hundred years. Until the 1970s, the intersection of Main Street, Barton Hill, and Summit Street encompassed our business center that has since migrated to Rt. 66. Surrounding this Village Center retail district were mills and plants – Summit Thread, Starr Manufacturing, Bevin Bros., N. N. Hills Brass, the Gong Bell Mfg. Co. among others, many of which were the remnants of the fabled bell industry for which East Hampton was so famous.

In the mid 1940s two real estate transactions of significance occurred. In May 1946 the Carrier Block was sold by Mrs. Earl C. Hitchcock, Sr. (who had recently purchased it from the Estate of Mayo Purple, former President of the Gong Bell Mfg. Co.) to Spencer Jewell for $15,000. This building has seen both a fire and an explosion in recent years has been rebuilt and still remains as the 3 story building in the Center.
Mr. Mayo Purple in front of Carrier Block
In the 1940s it housed apartments, as it does today and 3 businesses – a First National Grocery Store, the Chatham Store - a hardware store operated by Howard Selden and the Chatham Pharmacy operated by the Hitchcock family.
The Carrier Block - First National, Selden's Hardware and Hitchcock Pharmacy and the O'Connell Block
Mr. Jewell constructed a plumbing shop that he occupied in an old section of the building in the rear on Barton Hill.

In January 1945, Stanley G. Warzecha purchased the O’Connell block and Purple garage in the Center for approx. $25,000 in what was then the largest real estate transaction in our history. The garage and two-story block were adjoining properties on the north corner of Main St. and Barton Hill. The garage had been a bus depot. Mr. Warzecha built a filling station and operated Steve’s Auto Sales – a Dodge and Plymouth dealership. The garage functioned as the Town’s Public Works facility from the 1960s to early 80s and today it is the parking lot for the Joseph N. Goff House.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Armistice Day

My grandmother always called November 11th Armistice Day for years and years after Congress in 1954 changed the Day of Recognition of those who served in foreign wars to Veterans Day. She had lived through that era of the Great War – the war to end all wars - which we now call WWI. Armistice Day was so named to honor those who had served, especially those who had died, preserving freedom. When America entered WW I, it shifted the stalemate that had mired Europe since 1914. The truce, or armistice, was the welcome surrender by Germany to the Allied American, British and French forces at Versailles outside of Paris where a cessation of fighting occurred at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918.

Today, an event of this magnitude would be instantaneously thrust in our faces with updates on our computer screens or broadcasts by every television news commentator or radio personality. In 1918 the news came via the transatlantic cable and was disseminated through a tried and true method of communication. The bells began to ring. Every church steeple and every citizen able rang their bells and everyone knew the war had ended. And I guess a certain pride occurred as East Hampton was known as the bell capital of the world.

Our community had not been immune to the war sending 139 men and 2 women off to the great battlefields of France. Four young men, Clarence Treadway, Nelson Tucker, Clarence Coe and Patrick Cavanaugh, were killed in action and several suffered wounds or the effects of mustard gas.

After the war, the creation of the American Legion first proposed by Lt. Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and 20 other Army Officers occurred. East Hampton veterans organized local Post No. 64 and honored their fallen comrades by naming it Treadway Cavanaugh Post No. 64, which stands today next to the Post Office on Main St.

Even though Armistice or should I say Veterans Day comes only once a year, we should all remember more often the sacrifices made by so many of our men and women to preserve freedom. I thank all our Veterans for what they have done on our behalf.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bill Dennehy Hall of Fame Inductee

The induction of William J. Dennehy into the E. H. Athletic Hall of Fame today, November 6th is a well deserved honor! Friends since childhood when we played on the same little league team - The Cards - and Bill and I graduated in the Class of 1966 from EHHS. His mom Peg and dad, Martin “Bub” Daly were great inspirations to him.

Bill’s credentials and athletic skill as an EH athlete are well documented. He is one of thre 12 varsity letter recipients in EHHS history. Richard Wall EHHS 1948 and Paul Peszynski EHHS 1956 are the others I'm aware of and are Past Inductees into the Athletic Hall of Fame. That feat alone is sufficient support for his induction, but I would like to comment on other aspects of the man. In my mind, the most important characteristic that defines Bill is “sportsman.”
He exemplified the Greek ideal of an athlete in competition – using one’s skills and ability in pursuit of excellence without doing personal harm or injury to his fellow competitor. On and off the field he is and was a gentleman. A fierce competitor, Bill achieved success not at the expense of others, but through his own skill, determination and hard work as a team player.
In a sports world riddled with bad conduct and all too often drug induced enhancement, it is refreshing to have someone of Bill Dennehy’s character being honored.
If my recollection is correct, Bill only fouled out of one basketball game in his 4-years at EHHS. One might ask how he could have been a contributing part or factor of the game. That assumption would be absolutely untrue. The paradox really explains the man. He is a sportsman whose accomplishments resulted from fair play, fierce competition and a never say die attitude. His conduct and these attributes are a world apart from dirty play and poor character.
I applaud the EHAHF. Its action serves as an inspiration to our future athletes as an example to emulate.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Can Drive for Food Bank

During WW II, our citizens were called upon to make many sacrifices and contributions for the war effort. It’s hard to believe, but our small town, 13,000 people now but fewer than 4,500 in the 1940s, sent about 480 men and women to serve in our military. On the home front, nearly every city and town had scrap drives – organized to collect metal and materials that could be recycled to support our troops and the war effort.

Today, we face a different call to arms. These turbulent economic times have stretched to the limits many families and fellow citizens. Many of our neighbors, their children, our elderly or those unable to find employment, are in real and constant need. I’m asking you, as so many did during WW II, to pick up the challenge and contribute to a very worthy cause – our local Food Bank.

Please join my colleagues and me at Prudential Connecticut Realty to contribute canned good or other items that may keep a child or neighbor or friend from going to bed hungry. In a country where we have been so blessed there are still those in need.

I’m asking you to reach out with your heart. Contributions can be dropped off between 8:30 am and 5:00 pm week days or between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm weekends at the Prudential office at 42 East High St.
The current needs at the Food Bank are:

Peanut Butter
Laundry detergent
Canned meats
Canned meals (i.e. stew, ravioli)
Spaghetti sauce
Canned fruit
Fruit juices
Wouldn't it be fitting?

Tom Brokaw called the men and women of the WW II era the “greatest generation.” Wouldn’t it be a fitting tribute 60 years from now for someone to characterize us as the most humane generation?