Andrew F. Oliver came to this area a year before his identical twin brother
William. In 1818 he advertised that he was practicing medicine out of Giles
Kinney's public house a few miles west of Penn Yan. He bought the property
of which this is a part from Abraham Wagener in 1819. The original lot was
8 rods wide and 17 rods deep (132 feet x 280 feet six inches), about an
The exact date when
Oliver built and moved into his house on this site is unknown, but probably
took place about 1820. At that time the village consisted of a cluster of
houses and shops at the head of Main Street, the mills and a couple of shops
at the foot of the street, and almost nothing else in between.
The doctor's house
certainly must have dominated its neighborhood. It was a long (five-bay)Federal
structure with chimneys running up inside the house, New England style.
Each no doubt had at least two fireplaces, more likely a set on each floor.
The three-bay gable end faced the street, and the whole sat towards the
north side of the lot, leaving a wide yard between the house and one built
about 1824 on the corner by shoemaker Alexander Hemiup.
It's known that Dr.
Oliver had his office in a separate building.It was a small frame structure
that stood close to the street and some distance south of the house. In
1827, when Dr. Oliver was appointed the County's Surrogate, his office was
there. It was also used as a meeting-place for the Medical Society and,
after 1860, the Yates County Historical Society. It was moved in 1872 to
Chapel Street, behind 200 Main Street (Dr. William Oliver, Andrew's son,
had his office in his home). In the 1920s it was moved again, to Commercial
Avenue, where it served as a residence, then as an office for the Cotton
& Hamlin plant there, then as a residence again. It was apparently taken
down many years later, possibly as late as the 1970s.
Dr. Andrew died in 1857, the eldest of his surviving children inherited
his house. This was Jane, who with her husband John L. Lewis Jr., had lived
there with the old doctor. Their sons were born in the house, as had been
all but one of their aunts and uncles. Jane's stepmother Almira went to
Glendale, Ohio, after her only daughter married and moved there.
At that time the Lewises
remodeled the old house, adding a wrap-around porch with curly decorations,
eaves brackets and other Italianate amenities, giving the house its look
as shown in surviving photographs and in drawings (there's one in the 1876
Centennial Atlas). In 1880, Judge Lewis was still there, with Mr.
and Mrs. Charles Ketchum keeping and maintaining the place.
The lot was part of
the property inherited by Carrie and Jennie Oliver in 1902, when their father
Dr. William died. At just about this time the old house was either rebuilt
or very completely remodeled. The porch was reduced to just the east (front)
facade and a two-story bay window added on the south side. The place was
occupied by a number of lodgers: in 1905 it was a railroad conductor named
Wallace Stoddard, and seven others, and in 1906 an osteopath named C.M.
Bancroft lived there (his office was in the Cornwell block downtown).
In 1935 the directory
states that the house was in apartments. By this time Carrie and Jennie
Oliver had sold it to Charles Kelly (the sale was in 1928). It was again
remodeled after this, when the front porch was removed entirely and the
east entrance doubled, with a single portico. The windows have been replaced
and the clapboards covered with shingles, so that it's impossible to tell
the building's age from outside; only the shape of the facade and the interior