A Condensed History of Treadwell New York

by Margaret Hazlett
January 30, 1987

The township of Franklin includes the incorporated village of Franklin and the hamlet of Treadwell, eight miles to the east.

These two share the town government, but Treadwell has its own post office, fire department, emergency squad, ambulance and one church.

Treadwell is part of the Delhi School System. The Kellogg Elementary School is here. Older students attend Delaware Academy and Central School in Delhi.

Early settlers in this area were families, often from Connecticut, who had crossed the Hudson River and journeyed through the Catskill mountains. In wagons drawn by horses or oxen they followed the Catskill Turnpike. The turnpike, built in 1802, connected Catskill and Wattles Ferry. It was already important to the economy of the region.

By 1823 East Franklin, as Treadwell was then called, had four log houses and one frame house, a tannery, a potash and pearline oven and a flour mill up Roaring Brook.

William and Alvira Gay had settled here in 1819. In 1823 he became the leader of the first Methodist class, the real beginning of the present United Methodist Church.

The first school was built in 1818 near the present cemetery gates on the eastern end of the hamlet. In 1827 a new school was built to take care of the 74 pupils between the ages of five and fifteen. Religious services were also held in these early buildings.

Distilleries produced large quantities of whiskey which was sent down the Delaware River to Philadelphia. The hamlet had the nickname of "Jug City" because of the frequent trips some men made to refill their jugs at the distilleries.

In 1847 the name East Franklin was changed to Croton.

The family name of Treadwell recurred in local history from the early 1800’s. Minor Treadwell (b. 1784 - died 1863) was the first postmaster about 1824. Herman Treadwell (no dates) came from Connecticut in 1823. George B. Treadwell was born in 1818 and died in 1889. Hon. Chester H. Treadwell was a storekeeper. From 1881-82 he was a member of the New York State Assembly.

The Methodist built a church in 1847. They enlarged and remodelled it in 1877 at the same location as the present church. Horse sheds at the back of the church sheltered the horses during church services.

In 1854 the Baptists built their church on the main road close to the site of the first schools.

By 1856 a new and larger school was needed. It was built on Church Street on land that would now be the back lawn of the Kellogg Elementary School.

Taverns and inns had opened along the Turnpike to accommodate the stage passengers and those who were transporting their goods. The hamlet had a hotel at the crossroads with Asa Prime as the first hotel keeper and an inn at either end of the main road. The Bristol Inn on the road to Delhi, now owned by Mr. & Mrs. T. A. McDowell, dates from 1797.

The Hines Hose Company was organized in 1890.

In 1891 a new two-story school house was built on the site of the 1656 school.

An 1896 business directory of Treadwell listed 34 businesses and services. Some of these reflect the needs of the community when quick transportation by automobile was still a few years in the future. The hamlet supported five blacksmiths, a waggoner and five general stores. There were two doctors and an undertaker, a jeweler and watchmaker, a shoemaker, several builders and stone masons and five coopers. (A cooper made or repaired wooden barrels.) The early telephone office was located in the present general store in the 1890’s.

Because of confusion between the names of Croton on the Hudson River and the smaller Croton in Delaware County, the United States Post Office Department decided that this Croton should change its name in 1895. The residents chose the name of Treadwell in honor of Hon. Chester H. Treadwell.

As transportation changed from horses to automobiles, the horse sheds behind the church were torn down. Gone were the blacksmiths, the waggoners and the coopers. Some businesses shifted to larger localities. One exception was Claude Stoutenburg’s harness shop on the southwest corner of the crossroads. This building spanned Roaring Brook and housed the Post Office until the 1940’s. The Post Office then moved across the street to the apartment house, formerly the Croton House (hotel). It is now in Barlow’s store.

In 1916 the Baptist church burned and was never rebuilt.

In 1926 Judge Abraham Lincoln Kellogg whose career carried him from his boyhood farm home to the Supreme Court of New York State returned to Treadwell with plans for a centralized school. The A.L. Kellogg Central School opened in 1928.

Interested in the advancement of the entire community, the Judge encouraged the formation of a women’s club. On January 26, 1926, women met at the home of Mrs. Fox at the hotel and organized the Treadwell Community Improvement Club. The following year the club joined the New York State Federation Women’s Clubs and has remained a Federated club for sixty years.

The club has three objectives: 1. To promote civic improvement and public spirit in the village and community; 2. To aid in every possible way the work of the public schools; 3. To undertake such welfare and cultural projects as the club shall consider advisable.

The first Flower Show was held in the Odd Fellows Hall in 1934. The following year they raised the sum of $210.00 to aid in the repair of the extensive damage done to the Roaring Brook walls during the flood of 1935. The flood swept away a bridge and several buildings spanning the brook.

A sampling of sixty years of Community Club programs indicates the interests of the members: health, nutrition, old house restoration, Delaware County Social Services, speakers from the League of Women Voters, genealogy, Social Security, consumer protection, Foreign Exchange students and others. On the annual summer field trip the club has visited such places as the Upstate Home for Children, Pathfinder Village and the New York State Museum in Albany.

By the 1940’s Rudy Blank had constructed a fire truck on a 1931 Chevrolet automobile. A firehouse was built about 1945 on the Roaring Brook Road. Later it was enlarged to hold the more recent fire trucks and the ambulance.

The old Odd Fellows Hall, across from the Croton House, had been an active place for lodge meetings (both the Odd Fellows and the Rebeccas), dinners, dances, and entertainments. The two lodges left in the 1940’s or 1950’s, and a private owner bought the hall for a studio and small art museum.

The one remaining general store is Barlow’s, in continuous service since 1841. The list of store keepers reads: T. C. Rich, 1841-1853; Chester Treadwell, 1853- 1875; Daniel Munn, 1875-1901; G. Wheat, 1901-1930; Harry Barlow, 1930-1960; Calvin Davidson, 1937-1984; Ted Barlow (son of Harry Barlow), 1984 to the present time.

Paul Maurer had his part-time barber shop upstairs in Barlow’s Store in the 1940’s and 1950’s.

In World War II women began going to work along with the men at the Scintilla Magneto Company, a large manufacturer of airplane parts in Sidney. So many area people worked there that one man bought an old bus and offered regular service from Treadwell to Sidney for the three shifts per day.

On March 13, 1948, the Methodist Church burned with extensive damage to the interior. By means of generous contributions and extremely hard work the church was restored and ready for its centennial observance and rededication on Sunday, September 19, 1948. For six months services had been held in the school.

Treadwell had always been primarily an area of small family dairy farms, but during the 1950’s and 1960’s the number of family farms decreased. At this time the larger farms with 70-75 cows in the dairies were increasing in number, thus keeping the milk production at about the same level with fewer active farms.

Some of the small farms are now used only for residences, some not at all. More people have come in from city areas, and some mobile homes are in use.

After World War II the business employing the most people was the Treadwell Lumber Company. The sawmill which was on the right at the beginning of Case Hill burned in 1969. The mill was not rebuilt but the Lumber Company carries on a wholesale business. The owners have been Alton Cole and Warren Weerheim, Alton Cole and now his son James Cole.

In 1967 the Kellogg Central School consolidated with Delaware Academy and Central School of Delhi. The former central school in Treadwell is now the Kellogg Elementary School.

The A. L. Kellogg Foundation, formed after the consolidation, states a brief summary of its purposes: "To perpetuate the memory, spirit and intent of a benefactor, Abraham L. Kellogg." He left a legacy in trust for school district #16 ". . .would be controlled and regulated by a school board, elected by the people from the said district #16." The Board of Directors of the A. L. Kellogg Foundation believe that this legacy belongs to the people of the former district #16, towns of Franklin and Meredith, and for them to decide on its use regardless of what educational system or programs they may be a part of or associated with."

For recreation young adults use the school gym on winter evenings. This gym was added to the Central School in 1956. In summer the playground, baseball diamond and tennis court, all school Droperty, are in constant use.

The Community Improvement Club continues an on going program, the Home Nursing Loan Closet. Hospital beds, walkers, etc., are available at no charge. Members have landscaped the park along the brook. They researched the history of their houses for a Local Heritage project which placed second in a ten-county competition. In the 1978 state competition the club placed first with the project "Reach Out and Touch", the coordinating of all available resources to improve the quality of life in a rural community.

When a more modern ambulance was needed, the club assisted the Fire Department and Emergency Squad by organizing the fund-raising campaign in 1983.

The America the Beautiful Fund of New York gave the club grants for workshops on photography and art, 1979-1981, open to everyone in the community, including youth.

Rudy Blank’s garage closed in the mid-1960’s after thirty years of service. Now Harold Leitenberger and his son Jim own and operate the Treadwell Carburetor Company. Roland Pinney and David Ulmer have a sawmill on the Jackson Hill Road. The Treadwell Pottery (Charles Castro, potter) at the corner of Warner Hill and the road to Delhi was active for about eight years.

During the 1910’s a "spiritual community" called The Farm operated a 300 acre farm up Tupper Hill on Campbell Road.

The Winners’ Circle was a horse training farm in the area known as Arabia for several years. it burned in the early 1980’s and was not rebuilt.

Through the club’s efforts the Bookmobile of the Four County Library System now makes regular monthly visits to Treadwell.

Three antique shops are located in the area: the Squire's Tankard, Donna and Tom Briggs, proprietors; Long Acre, Jim and Muffy Hogan; and Hidden Hill, Charlotte and Al Meyer. Bill Degenhardt operates a wood-working shop called Antique Reproductions.

In recent years several professionals -in the arts have made Treadwell their home. Charles Winters teaches photography at the State University of New York at Oneonta. He has published a book, The Catskills, Land in the Sky. His pictures have been seen in magazines and at exhibitions.

Barbara Scheck is a paper maker who works in both Western and Japanese styles and also in techniques of her own devising. She studied in Japan in 1983.

Sculptor Joseph Kurhajec divides his time between Italy and his home and small art museum in the old Odd Fellows Hall on Main Street. He works with metal combined with unconventional materials. Charles Roy Purcell makes prints (limited editions) and paints local scenes. Uri Shulevitz illustrates children’s books. Mila Macek is a painter.

As the only local church since 1916, the United Methodist Church has a unique opportunity to serve the community. It provides space for the Treadwell nursery school, the Blood Pressure Clinic, Scouts and Brownies, and Community Improvement Club’s special meetings of public interest. Young people of varied church backgrounds share the youth programs.

Sources for this condensed history of Treadwell:

"History of Treadwell" by Mildred Murphy, 1922
"History of Treadwell" by Mabel Anderson, approx. 1950
Old newspaper clippings from Arlowene Kellogg

Margaret E. Hazlett
January 30, 1987
Reprinted with permission from the author as originally written

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