For a historical perspective on town planning, “Inside Chappaqua” invited Town Supervisor Susan Carpenter to tour the New Castle Historical Society’s exhibit: A Stroll Downtown: Then and Now. This vision of the town; replete with historical and contemporary photos, provided the setting for a lively conversation.
The tour begins at Victory Corners, the intersection of Bedford Road and King Street and proceeds down the steep hill. Along the way, changes and similarities with the town of yesterday abound. A scene depicting the paving of lower King Street refers to the rural nature of the hamlet; still evident in the few remaining dirt roads.
A receipt from William A. Schley’s Chappaqua Hardware and Co. demonstrates the viability of this type of enterprise. Today, Chappaqua Paint and Hardware fills this niche. “It’s very convenient to have a local hardware store,” Carpenter observed.
The proliferation of factories on North Greeley came as quite a surprise. Bishop’s Shoe factory (succeeded by the Acme Ball Bearing Company), a lumber yard, pickle factory and cooperage occupied this section until the 1920s. Today, this area is occupied by Rite Aid and the shuttered home of Bistrot Maxime.
The photo of Hyatt’s Auditorium brought the idea of a cultural center to mind. “People would love to find a place for live theatre and musical presentations,” Carpenter related. In yesteryear, this building housed the exchange for the town’s 150 telephones. Movies were shown on the second floor. This three-storied structure reflects another option being considered by the town. Since most building sites are currently occupied, the addition of second and third floors are being considered as a method of expansion.
At the conclusion of the tour, Carpenter looked ahead to the future. “It’s time to think about the next step,” she mused.