An undated photo (check car) of the Longhouse and the Shorthouse.
Fri, February 25, 2022 11:05 a.m.
Over the next five months, the Lewiston Historical Association and the Lewiston Bicentennial Committee will team up with Niagara Frontier Publications to highlight news, events and features commemorating Lewiston’s first 200 years. These exclusive coins will count towards a grand celebration, scheduled for July 1-4, 2022.
505 Center Street and 515 Center Street: long and short house
This is the fifth in a brief series of articles giving an overview of the houses in our town and village, which were already erected when the village of Lewiston was incorporated in 1822. This one is a natural continuation of the discussion from last week on a related building, 535 Center, now DiCamillo’s Bakery. It used to be the store of Calvin Hotchkiss.
The Long House and the Short House of Lewiston are located next to each other on Center Street, 505 and 515 respectively. These two buildings were built by William Hotchkiss and his brother, Calvin, between 1815 and 1817. They were able to build such a large home because they took advantage of a government program for those injured in the War of 1812 called the Relief Act for the Sufferers on the Niagara Frontier.
The Long House, which William used for his home, was 128 feet long, including the shed; and the shorthouse was a smaller structure he used for his law practice. Hotchkiss would become one of the first lawyers in town.
The Hotchkiss family would live in the Long House for over a hundred years. The various architectural themes contained within the buildings are Georgian, Greek Revival, Federal and Italian. Of particular note is the mansard roof and Palladian windows, but the age of the building really shows in the hand-hewn beams that still show axe-cut marks and the wide-plank floor of pine and chestnut.
Another notable feature is the indoor bathroom system found in the longhouse. This 19th century contraption used a unique pulley system to transport ‘night earth’ to the yard where it could be sprinkled with crushed limestone to get rid of unpleasant matter and odours.
For a time the Long House housed Lewiston’s library, but both houses have since become places of private business. Currently, the Long House is home to Howard Hanna Realty and the Short House to Alternative Chiropractic.
Two similar views from the back garden, left in poor condition, right a current image.
The Bicentennial Committee has worked hard to prepare for a great celebration, and we encourage all current and former residents of Lewiston to plan to spend the whole weekend with us in celebration.
On April 30, we will be hosting a Chiavetta BBQ Chicken Sale at Lewiston City Hall. Tickets will be on sale soon. Details will soon be available to participate in this delicious meal and support our efforts.
Please consider becoming a sponsor for the celebration. There are tiered sponsorships for individuals, families, and businesses. We need your help to make this a huge success.
To find out more about the Bicentennial, see who is involved and to find out more about sponsorship opportunities, please visit www.Lewiston200.org.
July 1-4, 2022. Lewiston, New York. Be there!
Thanks to Ken Slaugenhoupt, Tom Collister and Austin Heinz for the article.