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When our family moved into the Village of Dryden, three-quarters of a century ago, I was just a lad. Other kids and myself frequently walked, or rode our bicycles on the streets, one of which was Library Street.
The Southworth Library was on its present site on the corner of West Main at Library Street. Jennie and Cora Kennedy were the librarians. Going north from the library, number 8 had been moved from the site of the library and was the home of the Clarence Jennings family. Number 12 on the corner of Library and Elm Street was the home, I believe, of Edna Lamont and her daughters. Later it was the home of Harold Strong, and also the Funeral Home.
On the west side of Library Street at West Main, number 1 was the home of Lee and June Tripp, now the Sunoco Station. At number 3, Leon and Marion DeCamp made their home. Leon was a veteran of World War I and a rural mail carrier from the Dryden Post Office. At number 5 was the Old Opera House in which occurred many forms of entertainment, such as movies on Saturday nights, minstrels and traveling shows. Dryden High School played basketball there, although the court was small. The hoops were hung on the end walls, and the dressing rooms were down stairs beneath the stage. The stage was used for graduation exercises through 1936. I sat on the stage with the class of 1935, sixty-five years ago. The building was sold to Earl and Eula Lupton who converted it to apartments. After a fire in 1963 destroyed the top floor, the first two stories were rebuilt, and are used today for rental apartments - Southgate Apartments.
At number 7 lived a son and daughter in the home inherited from their parents, Anna and Frank (Deke) Johnson. Deke was the Superintendent of Willow Glen Cemetery for many years. He chewed tobacco and was one of the founders of the Spit and Whittle Club.
At number 9 lived Jennie Marvin, in the big Colonial with the dome on the top, later owned by the O'Sheas, and Volantes. It was sold in 1999.
The property at number 11 was purchased in 1904 and a building erected to serve as the Trinity Episcopal Church. My Mother's Aunt Judith Space was a member. The membership dwindled and the building was vacant in 1930. It was sold in 1932 to J. D. Bigelow and his daughter who resided next door. Harold Strong purchased the property in 1937 to use as a chapel for his funeral business. It is now owned by George Junior Republic and is a rental property.
Number 13, the last residence south of Elm Street, was the home of Professor John D. Bigelow and his daughter, Frances Scoville. He was Superintendent of Public Schools and often made an appearance at the Dryden school we attended. His daughter sold the property to George and Alice Bailey after his death. It remains in the Bailey family today.
I am leaving you at Elm Street as there were no houses north of Elm Street until after World War. II.
Written by Laurence Beach (Beachy)
Thank you Beachy for sharing your memories of Library Street with the Tompkins Co., NYGenWeb Site.
Transcribed by Janet M. Nash
George Goodrich, in the Centennial History of Dryden, lists the homes existing in 1897.
His first century history is available from Dryden Town Historical Society, Box 69, Dryden, New York 13053.
Cost is $13.00, postpaid.
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