The Chambers House

This beautiful and elegant home was built in 1903 by John Chambers, DR. Mr. Chambers was a prominent businessman here in Hamden and owned a hardware store in town, which now houses The Lucky Dog Country Store. His family emigrated here from Scotland in the 1800’s and held prominent positions in town, such as school commissioner and justice of the peace. Mr. Chambers’ father and uncle both had farms in the area of town know as Chambers Hollow. Mr. Chambers lived in the home with his wife Fannie and three daughters, Lillian, Christine and Ruth.

The lead carpenter on the construction was William Butler, whose name appears on the back of many pieces of the original moldings as well as the name of John Chambers and Hamden, N.Y. The moldings, the door, as well as the staircase pieces, all came from Chicago. The original order for the stairs is still actually written in black wax pencil on the underside of the stairs, and can be seen from inside the foyer closet. The door style is known as a Chicago five panel door. The skilled craftsmanship of the carpenter is visible throughout the house, and was all done without the use of power tools. The house revealed many artifacts during the restoration. They can be seen in the bookcase that is in the foyer.

The most treasured find is the diary that mysteriously appeared at the top landing of the attic stairs one day. It was the diary of John Chambers from the year that he turned 21. We leave it to your imagination how this could have happened, since it was not there when we originally inspected the house.

A note of interest: we saved a small piece of the original wall paper in the foyer which depicts a thistle, the national flower of Scotland.

The Dream

Our dream began in 2001 when we fell in love with Delaware County, especially the Town of Hamden. We had our minds set that this is where we would like to retire to and run a bed and breakfast. The search began for an appropriate property for our dream. When we came across this home it was definitely a diamond in the rough. We instantly fell in love with its wrap-around veranda, chestnut wood work and overall character and beauty. The project began by removing 100 years of wall paper, some up to seven layers, replacing windows, updating plumbing, heating, a new roof, new chimney, refinishing woodwork and floors. A labor of love that lasted for eight years and now we invite you to share our dream and see the finished project for yourself; by staying at our bed and breakfast. A multitude of thanks go out to family and friends who helped us realize our dream, especially our parents whose unselfish support helped us complete this project. And last but definitely not least, to our contractor, Glen LePinnet, from Walton, New York. Without his skill, knowledge, advice and hard work, this dream never would have come true. Thank you, Glen from the bottom of our hearts.

Town of Hamden

The Town of Hamden was officially formed on March 7, 1826, combining parts of Delhi and Walton. It became the 17th town of Delaware County, consisting of 53 square miles, and containing 1/26th of the total area of the county.

Hamden Village was geographically the center of town and county and had the first Inn of the town as well as woolen mills, grist mills, food store, one hotel and two churches. Primary industries were logging and farming. After the lumber industry declined, farmers turned to dairying. The great prices received for butter during the Civil War allowed many farmers to pay off their mortgages, construct new buildings, and purchase new machinery. As the butter industry declined the farmers shipped their milk to the city or local creameries. The last remnant of the local creameries was razed in the late 1960’s.

The first train on the Walton-Delhi branch of the NYO&W came through the town of Hamden in August 1872. It passed into history March 29, 1957. The town contained many businesses through the years, blacksmith shops, hardware store, grocery stores, harness, carriage and wagon shops. There was a gunsmith shop that was in business from 1867 until 1924. The shop can be seen as it was, on the grounds of the Delaware County Historical Association in Delhi. As the town of Hamden enjoyed increased wealth due to the sale of butter and milk to the Civil War effort; and then to the demanding market of New York City, new village and farm homes were built to reflect the new found prosperity and latest home styles. The Italianate style dominated between 1850 and 1880 and some fine examples can still be seen along Main Street.

After the depression of the early 1880’s prosperity slowly returned and new housing was needed. This era brought the Victorian style, no bare exterior walls and steep roofs such as our lovely home. The town has seen many changes throughout its history, some good, some not. We are hoping with the restoration efforts on our beautiful home, and by opening our Bed and Breakfast business, we can spark the rebirth of Hamden, and return it to its former glory.

Some Trivia From 1903

Here are some U.S. statistics:

Teddy Roosevelt was president.

The average life expectancy in the US was forty-seven.

Only 14 percent of the homes in the US had a bathtub.

Only 8 percent of the homes had a telephone.

A three-minute call from Denver to New York City cost eleven dollars.

There were only 8,000 cars in the US and only 144 miles of paved roads.

The maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph.

The tallest structure in the world was the Eiffel Tower.

The average wage in the US was 22 cents an hour.

The average US worker made between $100 and $400 per year.

A competent accountant could expect to earn $2,000 per year, a dentist $2,500 per year a veterinarian between $1,500 and $4,000 per year, and a mechanical engineer about $5,000 per year.

Ninety percent of all US physicians had no college education. Instead, they attended medical schools, many of which were condemned in the press and by the government as “substandard.”

One in ten US adults couldn’t read or write. Only 6 percent of all Americans had graduated from high school.

More than 95 percent of all births in the US took place at home.

Sugar cost four cents a pound. Eggs were fourteen cents a dozen. Coffee cost fifteen cents a pound.

Most women only washed their hair once a month and used borax or egg yolks for shampoo.

The American flag had 45 stars – Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Hawaii and Alaska hadn’t been admitted to the Union yet. Check out our flag, it has only 45 stars.