219 Main Street: The Delos Hollowell house

219 Main St


braham Wagener sold this lot in 1823 to a widow named Elizabeth Chapman; she of course had a house built here. Cleveland thought the oldest part of the house standing on this lot in his day was built by one of the Dormans. The lot was purchased in 1839 by Olivia Lawrence, widow of Joel Dorman, and it's possible she built a new house on the site, but Cleveland doesn't often refer to a house built as late as that as the "old Dorman house." It seems more likely that it was an old house, built by the original owner, Elizabeth Chapman.

Olivia Dorman was a sister of Mary Stoakes who owned the lot immediately to the north, though Mary seems to have been dead before Olivia bought this property. On the other hand, it was Olivia Dorman who actually created the lot as it is now, since she bought part of it (44 feet wide) from William Griffin (her niece's husband), and an additional 25 feet on the north side of this from her sister Mary's heirs.

Mrs. Chapman lost her house and lot to Samuel S. Ellsworth, who had a mortgage on it which he assigned to the lawyer Levi Lyman. Apparently Lyman lived here for a few years. The land was involved in an exchange between Ellsworth and Mary Stoakes, and it was her heirs who sold the southernmost 44 feet of it to one of their number, Ann R. (Stoakes) Parrott in 1835. Ann (who was Mary Stoakes' daughter by her first husband James) married William Griffin, and the couple sold their part of the lot to her aunt Olivia Dorman four years later. At the same time Olivia bought the other 25 feet from the rest of the Stoakes and Miller heirs (her sister had remarried before she died, to Hendrick Miller).

The property was owned by a succession of women, and after Mrs. Dorman's death it happened again: her heirs sold it to Emma Lewis, who was the wife of Martin B. Lewis, brother of Judge John L. Lewis who lived across the street in Andrew Oliver's old house. They sold the place only three years later to Charles C. Miller, who was the owner in Cleveland's day, more than 20 years later.

It changed hands a number of times further until bought by William Delos Hollowell, of the hardware firm of Armstrong & Hollowell, who owned the store on the south corner of Main and Elm Streets.

Hollowell no doubt purchased the lot for its location in a row of the best houses in Penn Yan, with a park and the Court House across the street. He built a house that could well be termed a mansion.

Hollowell filled his Queen Anne confection with beautiful oak woodwork and built-in cupboards. Like his partner James Armstrong he had an interest in a sash-and-blind manufactory attached to a planing mill on the Outlet. If he used his own stock in his house, which seems likely, it was evidently capable of turning out some good high-style work.



Far right: The W.D. Hollowell house, built in 1886 on the site of a much older house probably built in the 1820s by the widow Elizabeth Chapman. The present house is quite an elaborate Queen Anne mansion; it displays the typical asymmetry, richness of surface detail, a number of gables, dormers and bays, and a porch decorated with spindle-work. The interior also contains some fine woodwork.

People related to this lot and structure:

     Abraham Wagener
  Samuel S. Ellsworth
     John L. Lewis
     Charles C. Miller
     The Dormans
     The Lawrences
     Levi Lyman

Related sites:

     225 Main Street

Related history:

     The County Seat
     The 1880s