Yester-Images of Lowville, N.Y. on postcards
by Larry Myers
When first entering Lowville from the south, many people have used this road.  Years ago it was known as Rt. 12D, but the DOT decided that it should now be known as Rt. 26.  In any case, here's how it looked in the early 1900s before it was paved.  A later view, after paving, showed the same view, same house.  The photographer, H.M. Beach expanded the view by continuing his sweep to the east for this view.  Photographer Duflo caught the same area during spring flooding, showing the flooded Black River in the background.
Another access to Lowville would be by rail.  Lowville had two railroads serving it.   Here's a picture of the two depots side by side on a card that was mailed in 1907.  It must have been a special occasion to bring these uniformed men down to greet the train on this card.  Here's a picture of the depot for the main line.  Note the taxis just to the left of the building.  Following the secondary railroad's tracks several hundred feet down the line brings us to this scene.  And following the line several miles to the east would have brought us here.
Getting back to the roads, here's what the road crew looked like in 1910.  Back in the village, the road crew's heavy equipment is shown on Dayan St.  Down next to the four corners there's more equipment and more workers next to Elliott's Clothing Store.  In an across the street view, you can see the workers pose for a picture with Coffey's Shoe Shop in the background.  I don't know if this is Coffey's Shoe Shop, but it's a nice one on a card published by E.A. Agens, of Lowville.
Let's go around the corner onto North State Street and visit Charles Ryan's Store.  You'll see Charles standing proudly outside the store.  He's the tall guy with glasses, a mustache, and arm akimbo.  Note also, his wife with the white blouse with the leg-of-mutton sleeves and the long, black skirt.  Postcard enthusiasts might notice the postcard sign in the window of the store proclaiming Lowville postcards for sale.  Here's the picture: you'll love it.  Talking about Charles Ryan, check out the tall guy with the glasses,  mustache, and arm akimbo in this picture.  And see the tall guy with mustache, glasses, and arm akimbo at Ryans Taffy Stand at the fair.  He's a little older in this picture, and on the far left, there's Mrs. Ryan with the white blouse and long black skirt.
Perhaps this next picture properly belongs to Syracuse, since it shows a scene at the NYS Fair, but I keep it with my Lowville cards because it shows the largest cheese ever made, in the factory owned by H.A. Rees of Lowville.  The thing in the picture I like is the truck. Note its solid wheels and solid tires.  Being a cheese manufacturing area, Lowville had to have its supply of cows.  E.E. Williams of Lowville, who was in the calf shipping business, is pictured  in this photo by Mandeville.  Of course all farmers and anyone who wanted to travel, needed a horse.  James Nefsey's Horses were well-known in the Lowville area.  If you were tired of hitching up the horse every time you wanted to go somewhere, you'd probably want to see L.C. Miner, the Lowville agent for the Metz Runabout.
Here's an important event;  The Grand Opening of the New Bijou Movie House at Lowville on February 2, 1914.  Mandeville produced this flash-light photo of the occasion.  This is a rough-and-tumble group of guys that comprised the Lowville Football Team.  Bless the person that first had this postcard.  They entered the names of the players: Back Row - Left to Right - Cooke, Toussaint, Harter, Phelps, Earnshaw, Starring, Fredenburgh, Edgbert.  Front Row - Archer, Keely, Bardo, McGovern, Steele.  No such luck of having names on this next photo showing the Lowville Basketball Team of 1907-1908.
Tell you what, let's travel around and see more of the Lowville area.  Here's the Pfister Greenhouse on a card that was mailed in February of 1908.  What say we go to the fair.  First,  the official gate to the Forest Park Fairgrounds.  This is what it looks like from the inside.  Once inside, we can look for a nice shady spot to leave the buggy.  And if the shady spots are all taken, we can park inside the oval of the track.  Then we can enjoy the sulky races, or perhaps see the aeroplane just over the buildings to the left in this picture, or   see the latest farm machinery on this card that was mailed in 1909.  Inevitably, as the shadows lengthen, we must leave the fairgrounds and return home to do the milking.
Let's look around town for a while.  Here's the 1907 version of the Windsor Hotel.  And a winter scene outside the Kellogg House. As with many of the b&w postcards, later editions in color were frequently produced.  That colored card was mailed in 1910.  This card shows the same hotel years later when it was called the Bateman.  The Strife House was still another popular hotel.  In this photo by Mandeville, you'll see a photographer on each end of the elevated porch.  Either Mandeville or one of his assistant's took this picture from the north railing showing the U.S. Cavalry marching by on June 12, 1908.  And Photographer Duflo snapped this picture when the Cavalry Military Band stopped in the street to play for the gathered crowd.  Another photographer, Shepard, took this photo of the Cavalry wagons approaching the four corners.  Sometimes the Cavalry made an overnight stop near Lowville as illustrated here.  It seems that Lowville always had an excuse for a parade.  In this photo by Carter, the occasion was Dr. Crane's funeral on June 5th, 1913.   Here's a lovely parade of the ladies in the O.E.S. in front of the Brahmer's and F.C. Snyder Stores.  Photographer Shepard caught this shot of the Governor Hughes coach on Shady Avenue in Lowville.  In case you're wondering just where along Shady Avenue that was, here's another shot of the same area that shows the Methodist Church in the background.
We saw Hotel Windsor earlier.  Here's a picture of the Windsor taxi.  I love the downtown lighting system pictured there. Right in the downtown section of North State St. we can see the contrast of old vs new transportation.  Here's what it looks like at the north end of State St.  Back on the outskirts of the business section we get a good view of the County Office Building, the Court House, and the Episcopal Church.  Some things never change.  Others do. For example, Park Avenue, when you needed a horse to travel this street.  The County Home has certainly changed since this 1914 photo.
The McCombe Tabernacle was erected on February 28th, 1917 in 8 hours by 65 men.  This photo by George Carter shows a street sign that says State Street.  Beyond that, I have no idea just where it was located.  ** Our thanks to Don and Bonnie Colton of Lowville for letting us know that the McCombe Tabernacle was set up opposite Lowville Academy at the site where Judge Fred Youngs had his home back in the 1950s.**  Mandeville gave us a nice view of the interior.  We've already seen the Methodist and Episcopal churches, here's the famous Presbyterian Church on upper State Street, St. Peter's Catholic Church which I assumed was on Shady Avenue, but Harold Feisthamel was kind enough to let me know that it was really on Church St., on the corner of Highland Avenue and, finally,  the Baptist Church on State Street near the downtown section.
The State Street School is pictured here with everyone outside.  Here's a very interesting close-up of some of the students.  In case you're wondering where the State Street School was, here's another view with a landmark that puts it more in perspective.  The Lowville Academy is pictured in a photo by Beach.  Another view by Mandevilleshows the students.
Between the Journal & Republican office and the Masonic Club was the Fairchild Market.  Everybody came out of the store and stopped the traffic for this photograph.  Lowville has long been well known for its beautiful homes. Robinson took this picture of the Blackmon residence.  The E.F. Brahmer residence is pictured here.  I'll bet they're the people that owned Brahmer's store we saw earlier.  The Knapp residence on State Street is located near  Lowville Academy.  I don't know just where the A. Kotary residence is located.  Perhaps some kind soul will email me.  Wouldn't it be great if someone discovered a picture of their home right here on this website?
**Dorothy Arthur, whose home is also pictured with the Kotary home, has kindly emailed us to let us know that the homes are located on the upper block of Park Avenue.  Thanks to Dorothy and to several other viewers who have communicated this information.  In subsequent emails, Dorothy has generously conveyed these observations: "You referred to a card published by E. A. Agens.  Mr. Agens owned a jewelry store which was located near the Bateman Hotel.  The Agens were neighbors, living across the street from us on Park Avenue. The Brahmers , whose home you showed, did own the shoe store on State Street in Lowville.  This home is located just  three houses up the street from my home on Park Avenue. Later the Frank Grimms bought the home.  He went into partnership with his brother-in-law, Andrew Kotary, and established the firm of Kotary and Grimm, a super meat market here in Lowville for many years.  Some of us old timers well remember their flavorful home cured bacon, frankfurters and sausage. Their fine reputation extended many, many miles beyond the limits of Lowville! One other fact which may be of interest, concerns the J.E. Haberer family. John E. Haberer established the well known and successful J.E. Haberer Furniture Company in 1905 which continued in business until 1931.  The company owned its own timberlands and manufactured excellent quality bedroom furniture.  The Haberer residence is on upper Park Avenue near the fairgrounds.  The home is still in the family.  Elizabeth Haberer Avallone, the widow of Dr. Louis Avallone resides there."**
I know where this residence is located, on Collins St.!  It's currently the home of my dentist.  His office is up near the High Bridge.  I like the fancy decorations on the porch supports here on this photo by Duflo.  See a couple of beautiful homes on Trinity Ave.  Mandeville produced this photo of the J.E. Haberer residence.  This is a nice scene along Clinton Avenue looking down toward the Presbyterian Church.  This is a 1906 look at the High Bridge north of the village.  And if you've ever wondered why the hill northeast of the village is called Limekiln Hill, here is the reason as recorded by Mandeville.
While postcards produce an excellent pictorial history of an area, the cards were actually used as telephones are currently, to carry brief messages like this one from Lloyd Loucks who used this postcard to wish his grandmother, Mrs. C.M. Hitchcock of Lowville, a Happy New Year.  The photographers also had studios where they did official portraits like this one of Miss Kathryn Grau and this one of Mrs. Fort.  Both were done by Mandeville.  Finally, here's a portrait of "Clara Peters, and Gertrude" done by Beach Studio of Lowville, N.Y.
The guest book, at the end of this article, has been a wonderful source of information and now, even an old photograph from Lowville.  Richard Singer's grandfather's brother, William Singer, owned a meat market in downtown Lowville.  Richard mentioned this in the guest book.  I wrote back and asked if he might have a picture of the meat market.  Sure enough, he did, and here it is!  If anyone else has a clear, old photograph of an interesting scene in Lowville, and would like to share it here, email me and let me know.  I won't guarantee anything, but the idea has great possibilities.
Thanks to Gary Barnes, here's an image he supplied that he entitled "11 Clinton St., 1923." The postcard was sent to him by his great-grandmother's cousin, Leona Phelps, who lived in the house with her parents, Thomas B. Phelps (who was a Lowville Newspaper Editor) and Martha A. Freeman.

Thanks to Don Konkol, here's a great image of the 8th Contingent of Lewis County men who left Lowville for Camp Dix, NJ in 1918.

With a large number of postcard owners making available to me images of their Lowville postcards, it seems appropriate to display the cards in this format:

Looking up Dayan St.
The old Academy
The DAR lawn party
At the fair
The McCombe Tabernacle
Waiting for the train
Angle parking downtown
Downtown again
Downtown closer
The return trip
A different downtown view
Beasts of burden
Lower State Street
The commuter train
The 4 corners
July 4th Parade
The Baptist church
Winter travel
The Bandstand
The Band
The Band Again
The Booster Boat Float
Charlie Felton's Car
Train on the bridge
Train across the flats
The Bostwick House
The Cavalry
The Cavalry in town
The big cheese
Where's the plow?
The Final Turn
Parking in the shade
Governor Hughes visits
At the track
Boiling maple sap
Badminton at school
At the slaughter house
The Snell house
Trinity Avenue
Headed for Croghan
Waters Terrace
On North State Street
Chas. Ryan & his band
Waters Terrace & State St.
Here's mud in your eye
Parading downtown
The Times Block

If you've enjoyed this yester-view of Lowville via postcards and photographs, why not say so.   It'll be nice to hear from you.
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