Colchester History Connections Newsletter

August 1, 2012        Colchester Historical Society, Box 112, Downsville, New York 13755
Volume 2, Issue 2     Preserving the history of Downsville, Corbett, Shinhopple, Horton and Cooks Falls
Historical Society Room is open the third Saturday of each month 11 A.M.-3 P.M. and by appointment, please call Kay Parisi-Hampel, Town Historian at 607-363-7303.

Resorts, Hotels, Lodges and Campgrounds will be the focus of our first floor Town Hall display until the end of September.  Colchester has been a tourist destination since the late 1800’s and our popularity grew with the arrival of the railroads and the development of the State highway system.  Please stop by to see the history of the Downs House Hotel, the Eagle Hotel and Round Up Ranch in Downsville; as well as Mountain Lake Hotel and Casino in Cooks Falls, and smaller venues like Bidgood Cabins in Horton, Finnerty’s Hotel in Long Flats.  Vintage photographs (like the ones shown below); postcards and advertising materials will be included in the display. We will also display the Hotel Register from the Downs House from 1863, which was donated to our society by Jody Elmore.

Downs HouseEagle Hotel 1947
Downs House 1908                                                                        Eagle Hotel 1947
Round Up Ranch
Round Up Ranch 1949

Mountain Lake Hotel  High View Hotel Cooks Falls
Mountain Lake Hotel –Cooks Falls 1906                                         High View Hotel- Cooks Falls 1909

Corbett Bicentennial

Did you know that Corbett was orginally known as Campbell Flats?  The Corbett and Stuart Corporation purchased one hundred and sixty-seven acres of forest and farm land; originally known as the Daniel Campbell farm but later as the Bryon G. Landfield farm,  in early 1912. They began the construction of one of the largest acid factory plants in the world.  Along with the factory, Corbett and Stuart would also include the construction of the mill town which would house its workers, provide a company store, post-office, telegraph office, school/community center, a Johnson and Rhodes stone dock, saw mill and a D&N railway station.  The corporation had a close business relationship with the D & N railroad and maintained three miles of rail sidings at the factory.  When the railway station opened it was named after Merritt J. Corbett and the Campbell Flats name was changed to Corbett.

To find out more about Corbett, be sure to stop in at Town Hall beginning in October to view our display on the history of Corbett from it’s beginnings in 1912 to the close of the factory in 1934, the sale of the whole town to the Institute On Man and Science in 1976 and its Not for Profit incorporation in 1977.

If you have information, photographs, or memories about Corbett that you would be willing to share, please contact Kay Parisi-Hampel at 607-363-7303 or email:

Corbett Mill Town   Corbett Acid Factory

Corbett village early 1920’s                                                                                Acid factory

Re-organization of Colchester Historical Society
Members worked diligently through the first part of this year to revise and update the CHS By-Laws.  The first reading of the revisions took place in March and the final draft was approved at the June 26, 2012 meeting.  The new By-Laws can be viewed on-line at our website: or you can pick up a copy at our next meeting.  If you are unable to attend or would like a printed copy please contact Kay Parisi-Hampel at 607-363-7303.

New Trustees and Officers Elected
Betty Vernold, Linda Mills, Art Merrill, Anne Hood and Kay Parisi-Hampel were elected to the Board of Trustees for a one year term at the June 2012 meeting.  The Board expressed thanks to Stuart Williams and Joyce Townsend Williams for their years of dedicated service as Trustees and Officers of the Colchester Historical Society. 

Officers for the next year will be:  Arthur Merrill- President, Kay Parisi-Hampel-Vice President, Betty Vernold-Treasurer and Linda Mills-Secretary.

Members Work
We have met our goals of completing the By-Laws revision, electing new trustees and officers. We are continuing to work on our website so check back frequently to see what is new.  Betty Vernold has completed the Obituary files which hold a large amount of valuable genealogy information.  Members continue to volunteer for Work Days to catalog, sort and file information that has been donated on the history of Colchester.  Our next scheduled Work Day is Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at 10 A.M. at the CHS room in the basement of Town Hall.  If you are interested in Colchester History this is an interesting and fun way to discover the treasures in our collection.

Town Historian and CHS member, Kay Parisi-Hampel will be taking an on-line Collections Management course through Museumwise and paid by a grant from the South Central Documentary Heritage Program of the New York State Archives.  The course will cover mission and collecting plans, insurance and museum laws, security and disaster planning, cataloging and artifact handling which can be helpful in dealing with real-life issues and problems that face small historical organizations such as our historical society.

CHS member, Chris Altmann, has just published a new book about his hobby of metal detecting.  The book, From the Ground Up; Adventures in Metal Detecting, has received great reviews as a very humorous, informative and light read.  Chris will be doing book talks around the area and will speak at the Middlefield Historical Association on August 12th.  We have invited him to speak here and the date will be announced in a future newsletter. The book is available for $19.75 from Chris Altmann at or calls can be made to his East Meredith number 607-278-6153  to order your copy. 

Meeting schedule:
            August 28, 2012 at 7 P.M.         September 25, 2012 at 10 A.M. October 30, 2012 at 7 P.M.
            November 27, 2012 at 10 A.M.     December 18, 2012 at 10 A.M.           
            Colchester Town Hall—Basement Level-Colchester Historical Society Room
Questions and requests for information can be emailed to: