216 Main Street: The L.W. Gage house


owadays part of the Library's lot, this is the site of a house that was probably built soon after Abraham Wagener's sale of the lot to Charles Bates. Bates had an interest in one of the Outlet mills, and purchased this lot in 1824, at the same time Wagener was selling off this whole row. It was, like the others, four rods wide and 17 rods long, with the rear line backing up against a two-rod-wide alley that ran north from Chapel Street. All the lots on Main and Liberty Streets retained the right to use this common right-of-way, which would have allowed access to carriage houses, barns, priveys and other outbuildings. Most people had no other driveway to Main Street until quite a bit later in the 19th century.

Bates is known to have lived in a dwelling on this lot, and he held on to it until 1831, when it was bought by Alfred Pelton, who is also known to have lived here. It changed hands three more times before the 1830s were over, in 1834 by Samuel S. Chapman of Benton, in 1835 by John Hatmaker of Milo (a founder of the Yates County Historical Society in 1860), and in 1835 by William Brooks of Penn Yan, one of the merchants upstreet, where he owned a building (with his brother John) known as the Brooks Block.

In 1836 it was sold again, to Mary Chidsey of Waterloo, for $1250; the price indicates a substantial dwelling. She died in the house in 1850, and it was taken over by her brother Jesse Cook, shown as the owner on the 1857 map of the village. He sold it to Ferdinand Griggs, who about 1860 sold it to Lyman W. Gage.

Cleveland says it was Gage who remodeled the old house to "its present modern style". The house was owned after that by Mary Jane Armstrong, Judge John T. Knox, and by the Christian Science Society, which acquired the house and lot in 1939 from the Knox estate.

The house was razed in the late 1970s to allow the library more parking and driveway space.




People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener

Related history:

     The County Seat
     The Return