Cassadaga historian recovers old maps

OBSERVER Photo by J.M. Lesinski The Cassadaga Post Office, pictured, used to display caskets for the old Anson-Stewart Funeral Home before it became a post office in the mid-1940s.

CASSADAGA — Sometimes treasure isn’t as far away as some may think, as a new map of the village of Cassadaga was recently discovered at the Valley Historical Society.

Village Historian John Sipos addressed the board, as well as the room on his find, at the meeting Wednesday. “In our Valley Historical Society in Sinclairville, we have a lot of old things,” Sipos began. “Charles Sylvester from Sinclairville is always rummaging through the museum and he found an old hand-drawn map of Cassadaga.”

The exact dating of the map was deduced through a series of historical examinations of the area. “I’ve been looking at all the buildings and the Temperance House, which was one of the dead giveaways because that was built in 1850 and burned in October of 1895,” Sipos noted. “The Cassadaga Hotel, which was across the street, was built around the turn of the century.”

Sipos ultimately concluded that the most likely time frame of the map is around 1890-1895. “So I’m saying that this map is probably from around 1890-1895,” he said. “This is a find because it has a lot of places that people don’t realize happened.”

Going off that note, Sipos then went into detail on what used to be at some modern day locations around the village. “The post office was asking me how long have they been there, and I said, I think about 1943 or 1944,” Sipos commented. “Only because it was used as a funeral home display for caskets before that by Anson-Stewart, the old funeral home.”

Submitted Photo by John Sipos A copy of the map found in the Valley Historical Society, estimated to be circa 1890s, which Historian John Sipos presented to the Cassadaga Village Board at the regular meeting Wednesday.

Sipos went on to note, “The post office used to be on Main Street across from the dentist’s office, and where was the dentist’s office? That red brick house right next to the medical building.”

In addition to the post and dental offices, Sipos also gave a brief report on one of Cassadaga’s earliest bars. “You see where it says tavern? That’s where Louis Franz lives. That was called ‘The Pig’s Ear,'” Sipos stated. “And she has the original sign for The Pig’s Ear hanging on her front porch.”

Examining the map further, Sipos brought the overview to the lower portion of the map. “Going down Maple, the cheese factory was right at the corner here (of Mill),” he commented. “And that was when Mill Street was called Buttermilk Switch.”

One of the highlights of Sipos’ presentation was the explanation of Burnham on the map, which as he goes on to say, was a previous town in the county. “Of course you see where it says Burnham, because Cassadaga ended at the cemetery,” he said of Burnham. “They always built cemeteries at the end of a town or village.”

Sipos went on to comment, “Burnham was another town…Burnham had their own post office, right across the tracks, you can see where the railroad depot was, the general store, etc.”

Sipos closed out his presentation with a brief question and answer period, as well as a note on the furniture factory. “The Company House by the railroad tracks was a furniture factory that was owned by Claus Frederickson,” Sipos said of the company house on the map. “He had a rooming house and they turned it into the furniture factory.”