The Maritime History of the Great Lakes
Watertown Times (Watertown, NY), Jan 20, 1888

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Live men rebuilding the Town-Will make it a Manufacturing town and a Summer Resort Mineral Spring a Chance for Capital-- Advantages Offered- A City Site the Present and Future of the Place Jumping to the Front.

The historic village of Sackets Harbor has been referred to in many an oration has been the theme of many a discourse and even the poet has sung of its past glories. But did any of these ever refer to the Sackets Harbor of today. Not one. The average reader of these scintillations from bright mind would think that the village had passed into history and nothing more was left of it, that the patriotic people who once dwelled there, who fought bled and died for their country, left their impress on history and that a future generation had shunned the spot. That this is to so a few hours in the honest village will convince one and all.

Sackets Harbor of today is not the place it was in history, it is a far more lively place. There are smooth wide streets, fine dwellings progressive business men, well kept hotels pleasant drives, a number of fine business blocks, wide-awake and active people who number nearly 1000 within its corporate limits, aside from the soldiers who are stationed in Madison Barracks and who help the trade of the village by using the money for luxuries which Uncle Sam pays them every two months

A year ago this month, fire swept away some of the historic buildings. In years gone by nothing but the ruins would have remained to be pointed out to the visitor. But it is a new generation who inhabit the place now. The ruins in several instances have been replaced by modern buildings for the transaction of business, active business me are using them, and inducements held out to bring in trade from miles around. This determination to rebuild Sackets appears to be shared in by the poorest as well as the wealthiest, all seemingly pulling together for one great object and that is to make a live progressive village of the one which is noted in history for something else. Occasionally one is found who talks of the glories of the past; but nine in ten are talking of what the village is to be in the future.

There is a live village organization with Charles Hall as president and the following trustees: James A. Reeves, Newton Washburm, John G Eveleigh, Josiah Ward, and George M. Read the latter of whom is an enthusiast on the subject of Sackets, unsurpassed harbor and water communications. There is not, in his opinion a better harbor on the chain of lakes and many an old lake captain will bear him out in this assertion.

Sackets Harbor, a railroad town and a lake town, in these days when steam is cheaper than water power for many purposes, is a fin place for woolen mills, and manufactories such as locate in inland towns. Were its advantages properly set before the people of the country were its cheap freight rates by water and railroad heralded to the world; l were its fine sites for summer residences pictured to the people; were its healthy climate in summer, and winter, its mineral spring and fine fishing, beautiful and safe harbor- were all these thing known as they should have been long ago, there would be a city there today.

There is an enterprise and energy to let these things be know now. Citizens are willing to aid financially otherwise, anything that will contribute to the growth and well-being of the place. Some have put their money into vessels and found a good dividend returned; others will help the right kind of manufacturing. There are no stones in Sackets for a live man to overturn; the people are awake and progressive. They want to make their town rapidly stride forward, and will help along anything leading in that direction. They welcome men with money; they give a hearty welcome to men with enterprise and no one will find them backward in any enterprise to promote the interest of the place.

There is talk of buying one of the hotels and enlarging it for summer visitor there is also talk of building a new and mammoth hotel where some old government buildings new stand, if the site can be procured and outside parties recognizing the situation are looking the grounds over with a view of making investments that will bring them in a snug income and build Sackets Harbor.

B. Eveleigh has more irons in the fire than another man in Sackets Harbor today. Nearly seventy-five years old he is hale, hearty and bids fair to be a centenarian. He came to Sackets in 1834, and has been there ever since. For a number of years he followed the occupation of carpenter and builder then branched out into business. Today he owns the Eveleigh house, a fine brick structure, eleven hundred acres of land a butcher shop, hardware store and several lake crafts. He lost a vessel some time ago that was worth $30,000 but his geniality did not desert him on that account even for a day. He has the contract for supplying the soldiers at the barracks with meat, fuel, and feed for their horses, but no one would think he had so much business on hand when is guest. The Eveleigh house is neatness itself. The table is far ahead of many pretentious city hotel. Rooms with pleasant views are provided for fifty guests which are crowded every summer. Were the qualities of the Gieleve Mineral Spring better know (which is only a step from the door) Sackets would equal Messena Springs as a health resort, aside from the other attraction offered for those seeking health and recreation. The Eveleigh house has a livery attached, has commodious barns for the accommodations of horses and guest or best are sure of the best treatment, as Mr. Eveleigh is surrounded with the best help.

L.W. Day has been in business in Sackets sixteen years, and has one of the finest drug stores to be found in Northern New York. Few drug stores in a village twice the size can compare with it. Twenty feet wide and 90 feet long arranged with an eye to business as well as beauty. The average person is at once struck with the enterprise which has brought this about. A stock of groceries, provisions and hardware is found in the rear. Mr. Day has twice represented that strong republican town on the board of supervisors showing the popularity he maintains amount his fellow townsmen. His store is a credit to Sackets Harbor, and the large trade he enjoys shows that his efforts to please the people are appreciated.

D. W. McEvoy is the person who has drawn to Sackets Harbor a large farmers' trade in the years past. Eighteen yeas ago he began business in that solid town on a small scale, and during most of that time he as had the contract to supply the soldiers at Sackets Harbor with meats and vegetables. Aside from this he had paid the best prices for poultry, eggs, butter and farm produce generally for shipment. One year ago fire destroyed his business, but with that indomitable pluck and energy characteristic of the man, he settled in the best quarters obtainable and began business again. Just as pleasant as if he had not met with a great loss, and just as obliging as ever, he has won back his old customers, and next spring will put his meat carts on the road again, which will be pleasant news to farmers within ten miles of Sackets Harbor, who have looked to him for their supply of fresh meats, as well as good prices for what they had to sell. Mr. McEvoy is a pleasant gentleman to meet always ready to accommodate his friends, and has the confidence and respect of his competitors as well as his customers. He has been successful because he deserves success.

One branch of business which has made the Harbor noted beyond the confines of Jefferson county is the fish business conducted by Clarke & Bowe. Mr. Clark is a resident of Buffalo now and the business is in the hands of Mr. Bowe one of the pleasantest gentleman one could wish to meet. The firm receives its fish pretty much all from the Canadian and upper lake waters and has a steamboat of its own. The Thistle to do the necessary lake work. They have done a business the past year of upwards of $75,000 and of this amount scarcely $1,000 worth of fish were taken from American waters

Of course, the most of the fish are caught in the summer time and frozen. And, by the way this freezing process is little understood by the public. As soon as caught the fish are packed in galvanized iron pans, on which a cover is put, and then the pan is surrounded by broken ice and salt. In twenty-four hours they are taken out in one solid chunk and packed in tiers in the store room where they are kept frozen until wanted for use. Galvanized iron pipes run through these storing rooms, in a vertical position, and they are kept full of broken ice and salt All along the lakes where the fish are caught the firm has freezing and storing warehouses, where the fish are frozen before they have time to spoil in the hot sun. In the summer they are brought to Sackets by boat, stored in ice, and in the winter they come by rail in car load lots, repacked and shipped to the wholesale trade throughout the country.

Some of the hardy fishes have been known to come alive again after being frozen several months, on being placed in water. Clark & Bowe have facilities for storing on hundred tons of fish at Sackets Harbor. The house has been long established and through honorable dealing and furnish the best fin has worked up a trade which amounted to something over $75,000 the past year. So thoroughly are they versed in the business that they have been able to make a profit while others who tried to compete with them have gone to the wall.

For twenty two years R..M. Earl has catered to the public at the Earl House a commodious hotel with accommodations for 75 to 100 guests. Three times has he enlarged the house to meet the ever increasing trade and today he has one of the finest hotel properties in this part of the state. In his hotel is a public hall 20 x 100 feet with a neat stage erected for entertainments of various hinds and where public balls are frequently held. As in times past the Earl House is headquarters for the soldiers. It is there the majority of the officials take meals.

From General Sherman down to a second lieutenant, the officers have sat at his table and partaken of hte sumptuous meals set before all guests. Connected with the house is a good livery and trusty drivers, and in the fishing season guest are furnished with fine boats, careful oarsmen and the latest improved fishing tackle. R.H. Earl son of the proprietor is the gentlemanly clerk. Like his father he was born to keep a hotel, and the guests who cannon be satisfied at this hotel is hard to place indeed.

A. Sterne is perhaps the greatest fur dealer in this part of the country. He has frequently done a business through his Canadian agencies amounting to $75,000 per year during the past fifteen years. Of course he has made money as a man so well versed in the fur business is sure to do. A clothing firm in Sackets were his debtors and he was obliged to take the stock to secure himself. He was enjoying a nice trade when the fire came and swept stock and store slick and clean He was just about starting for Canada when another firm offered to sell to him. He made an offer, which was taken and secured a fine stock of shelf and heavy hardware, groceries and provisions, at 66 cents of the dollar. He took his son into partnership and added crockery and many other tings to the stock in trade. In the spring he will add paint and glass to his stock.

Mr Sterne is a stirring energetic business man, is a close buyer, and as he does a cash business can afford to sell at low prices. He has one of the neatest stores in Sackets and has evidently settled down to spend the remainder of his life there, but does not intend giving up his fur business entirely, With plenty of capital to back him it is safe to say that ere another year his store will contain nearly everything the trade of that vicinity demands. His patrons speak of him kindly and this indicates that a large trade is assured him.

H.J. Lane hardly waited for the fire of a year ago to be smothered before he began making plans for resuming business. As early in the spring as possible the erection of a new block was begun and before the paint on the interior was dry, his new stock of goods arrived. His new store is away ahead of the old structure is 30 x 70 feet on the inside, with front entrance through two doors. Counters run along the side, the rear and through the center and shelving all around, with a store house in the rear, and commodious cellar, well lighted and warmed, enable him to put in a stock of goods which embraces pretty much everything the farmer or the mechanic may need for the necessaries of life, and a few luxuries. In dry goods he has a fine stock of the latest styles, in boots and shoes his styles are the latest. and of course his groceries and provisions are for the best trade. >From clothes pin to a silk dress his stock is complete.

Once he had several peddling wagons on the road, and he learned what the farmers wanted; took orders for nearly everything. The fire stopped his business, but he put in his new stock with a view of continuing that branch of business and consequently his stock in variety and excellence, is not equaled by any of the stores in Watertown. Mr. Lane is a progressive, pushing man, enjoys a large trade, and believes the fire will prove a good thing in the long run to Sackets, as those who were burned out have displayed more energy in rebuilding and holding out inducements for a large trade. Certainly he has a right to feel proud of his new store and so have the citizens of Sackets Harbor.

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Jan 20, 1888
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Richard Palmer
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Public domain: Copyright has expired according to the applicable Canadian or American laws. No restrictions on use.
Maritime History of the Great Lakes
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Watertown Times (Watertown, NY), Jan 20, 1888