A New Sign Marks a Grand Old House in Almond

Hornell Evening Tribune

September 22, 2000


  The Almond Historical Society's Hagadorn House, built in the early 1830s, sporting a new sign made by Almond residents Bill Banker and Dick Baker.
The Almond Historical Society's Hagadorn House, built in the early 1830s, sporting a new sign made by Almond residents Bill Banker and Dick Baker.

By TAMMY JAYCOX - Staff Writer

ALMOND - In 1971, Kenneth Wetherby Hagadorn, third generation Hagadorn to reside here, bequeathed his house on Main Street to the Almond Historical Society. This Victorian dream land is open to the public as a historical museum and visitor's attraction.

The Hagadorn House is located at 7 Main St., showing its new addition. Bill Banker and Dick Baker of Almond recently made the new sign that overlooks the front lawn. Baker's family are long time natives of Almond, and his wife, Kitty, is the president of the village's historical society. Banker is an Alstom worker by day and a blacksmith by night.

The house was built in the early 1830s, according to Kitty Baker, by Jesse Angell, a prosperous merchant whose general store was located across the street from the house. In 1867, the house was owned by the John Wetherby family. His daughter, Cornelia Wetherby, married Dr. William Hagadorn in 1869. The young couple lived with her mother until her parents, the Wetherbys, moved to their farm and house. It then became the home of the young Hagadorns.

There were several generations of Hagadorns who lived in the house. The second generation to live in the home was William and Alice Simmons Hagadorn. The couple owned a hardware store across the road from the home. The third generation was Kenneth and Marie Dodds Hagadorn. Marie was a nurse and Ken was a postmaster in Almond. The couple never had children.

As one enters the front parlor, the Hagadorn's furniture is still intact, sitting, telling its history to all those who walk past. Kenneth's postmaster's desk sits by the front window, a memorial of his years of postal service. A mahogany chair, bought in 1910 sits aside a pile of early 1900s books and magazines as one looks at the Victorian hat rack with an umbrella stand and a Pier mirror sitting in the hall containing a cherry wood stair case.

Cornelia's diary mentions the addition of the kitchen area in her 1868 entry. The two parlors are believed to have been built around the same time Dr. Hagadorn built his doctor's office, which today is a gallery of Victorian garb, jewelry and accessories.

Passing through the second parlor doorway, one is mesmerized by the enormous cooking fireplace exposed on the back wall over looking the original Hagadorn center table and oriental rugs. The fireplace was uncovered almost intact in 1942 by Kenneth and Marie Hagadorn. The two were curious as to what was behind an abnormally thick wall, tearing it down to reveal the fireplace that had been concealed for a hundred years.

The Historical Society found that the former owner, many years ago, finding more efficient ways of cooking and heating than fireplaces, sealed up the cooking fireplace, with the kettles, cranes, and other cooking utensils. The Society believes that all the fireplaces that are now seen by visitors were at one time covered by walls. The fireplace lays amid the portraits and china collections donated by local families, including a painted grain cupboard and a desk from 1840.

From the front door, one is led up the staircase to where they are met by a small children's room, restored with an 1870s wicker baby carriage holding a small doll and other original Hagadorn belongings. The next door is the entrance into "The Roosevelt Room," named due to a claim that young Teddy Roosevelt slept there for one night. The room is now used as a workroom for society members containing resource material and general printed histories and photographs.

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