History of the Village of Painted Post, Steuben County, NY
From: Landmarks of Steuben County, New York
Edited by: Hon. Harlo Hakes
Assisted By: L. C. Aldrich and Others
D. Mason & Company, Publishers,
Syracuse, New York, 1896

PAINTED POST. - This pretty little village was incorporated under the laws of the State on the 18th of July, 1860, but away back in the early years of the present century a settlement was made on the site and some business was transacted. As early as the year 1801 a postoffice was established and Howell Bull was the first postmaster. He was succeeded by Thomas McBurney, February 18, 1805, and the latter was in turn superseded by John E. Evans, February 4, 1817.

According to Charles H. Erwin's history of the village, Francis Erwin erected a frame hotel on the village site in 1822, that being the first frame building in the village. During the same year Capt. Samuel Erwin built a framed store, and John Arnot, late of Elmira, was its first tenant. In 1812 the Erwin House was erected. " In 1824," says the same authority, John Wygant cut the sheet iron Indian," which long graced the village, perched upon a painted post. In 1848 A. H. and E. F. Erwin, with I. P. Bennett and Henry S. Brooks, erected an extensive foundry and machine shop, also a large business block of three stores. This was perhaps the leading enterprise of the village for its time and had the effect to add materially to local growth. Indeed, so vast and varied were business interests at this time that a banking house became necessary, and Asa Foster and Cephas Platt purchased and removed to the village the old Cayuga Lake Bank, of Ithaca. This was in 1851.

In 1850 the New York and Lake Erie Railroad was put in operation between Corning and Hornellsville, and two years later the Buffalo, Conhocton Valley and New York Railroad joined with the Erie at Painted Post. The Western Union Telegraph Company completed its line in 1855, and by this and the railroads the then little hamlet enjoyed commercial advantages equal to any municipality in the southern tier. The "Empire" block was built in 1841; a Masonic Lodge was installed in 1850, and. the Corning, Painted Post, Cooper's Plains and Monterey Plank Road Company was organized in 1852. Eight years later, or in 1860, the village became incorporated, officers were elected, improvements inaugurated and carried to completion, and the result was a permanent and attractive village, supplied with business and manufacturing interests, and inhabited by a thrifty, energetic and public spirited class of people.

However, this prosperous condition has not been established without local misfortunes and disasters, for at least twice in its history has the village been visited with destructive fires; the first in May, 1861, and again in February, 1873. But the burned buildings were in due time restored and the loss was only temporary.

The Painted Post Gazette was the first newspaper of the village, established in 1846 by Mr. Fairchild. The second paper was the Herald, founded by Ransom Bennett and B. M. Hawley. The Times made its first appearance in 1870, under the management of W. C. Bronson, H. C. Higman and S. H. Ferenbaugh.

The first school in the village, which was also the first in the town, was that taught by John E. Evans; and the first school house was built of plank on land furnished by Capt. Samuel Erwin. About 1848 or '49, Arthur Erwin built a large frame building on the south side of the river, and this was used for a district school until 1868, when the large and commodious brick school house was erected. About this time a union free district was organized, including the village tract and surrounding territory. The school has always been admirably managed and liberally supported, and now ranks among the best institutions of its kind and grade in the county. The present Board of Education comprises Dr. J. G. Webster, president; W. F. Bronson, secretary, and F. H. Loomis, T. F. Minier and W. A. Allen.

Referring briefly to the business and mercantile interests of this thrifty little village, it may be stated that all branches appear to be well represented, with little evidence of over competition. However, we are forced to remark that Painted Post is too near the city of Corning for the best results to local merchants, but, notwithstanding all this, we find several substantial business houses here, which may be noted about as follows: D. Forer & Son, and G. J. Blakeslee, large general stores; S. W. Gorton, grocer; Orcutt & Loomis, druggists; Ira Stiles, jewelry; W. F. Bronson, hardware; James Berlon and G. Wheadon, meat markets; B. C. Wood, gunsmith; A. H. Wood, taxidermist; Wm. Beebe and J. Johnson, shoe shops; A. B. Hurd and William Hill, wagon shops; E. A. Stout, G. L. McIntyre and C. Van Gelder, blacksmiths.

The manufacturing interests comprise the widely known Weston Engine Company, manufacturers of steam heaters and steam engines, without question the leading industry of the town. Stanton & Brewster and W. S. Hodgman have lumber mills, and Mr. Hodgman is also proprietor of a good flour and feed mill. F. J. Townsend manufactures a wire fence stretcher. The banking house of A. Weston & Co. is the only institution of its kind in the town.

The village officers of Painted Post are A. E. Gokey, president; J. D. Orcutt, clerk; L. B. Hodgman, treasurer; A. E. Gokey, G. W. Fritts, J. W. Borst and D. H. Lee, trustees.

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