Monday, July 22, 2013


Ye Olde Landmark Inn, Bouckville, New York (J. Quinan)

19th century photograph of the Landmark building

Our first stop on the way to Roland Reisley's house in Usonia (in Pleasantville) New York was Ye Olde Landmark Inn on route 20 in Bouckville, Madison County, New York. Darwin Martin was born in Bouckville in 1865 where his father, Hiram, kept his cobbler shop in this cobblestone building until 1867. He then moved the family to a farm in Clayville, a village south of Utica. So Darwin, having left at age two, wouldn't have had a sense of the place though he would have passed it over the years as he traveled to Clayville  from Buffalo to visit his mother's grave. 

19th century photograph of Bouckville school children and teachers
The inn dining room had a number of framed vintage photographs of the building and one of the local children in front of their school. My pictures are pretty bad because I shot them through the glass but I was hoping to recognize one of the older Martin children -- Frank, Alpheus, Delta, or William -- from similarities to the photographs in the Martin Family Papers in the Archives of the University at Buffalo. Not without  magnifying glass, however (next time). Such is the life of a historian I guess.

Ye Olde Landmark Inn, east elevation (J. Quinan)
Detail of east facade of Ye Olde Landmark Building (J.Quinan)

The building is interesting, however, in an idiosyncratic way. Cobblestone construction is common in western New York (especially on route 104) and so are octagon houses thanks to inventor-author-phrenologist from Fishkill, Orson Squire Fowler. In fact there is a cobblestone octagon house (see below) a few miles east of the Landmark Inn. What makes the Landmark building odd is that it has four sides arranged to face the crossroad  (the Chenango canal ran by here too) but it is splayed open in such a way that four more sides wouldn't close in to form an octagon. Some of the upper windows are peculiar as well making the building a good example of folk architecture. It's a long way to Reisley's but we'll get there.
Cobblestone octagon House, Madison, New York (J. Quinan)

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