- Mon-Sat: 10am-6pm
- Sun: 12pm-6pm
Maxwells Chocolates and Ice Cream Shoppe is a small, family owned business nestled in the heart of picturesque Hamilton, NY. Like many of the other businesses in the area, our storefront is a part of a greater building rich with history.
After the Great Fire of 1895, which distorted much of downtown Hamilton, Mr. M. F. Maxwell re-constructed the Hotel Maxwell building. A marvelously modern establishment at the time, the new Hotel Maxwell consisted of 20 guest rooms/suites, a luxurious office, a reading room, a restaurant, and a guest dining room (the door of which is still in Maxwells Chocolates). The hotel was remarkable for being outfitted with the brand new invention of electricity. It also had hot water on demand, plumbing, heat, and even an electric bell system. All of these features were the epitome of high technology during the era. Contemporaries of Mr. M. F. Maxwell were amazed at the intricate details of his hotel. They remarked on the beautiful oak woodwork, the “Neer Gager” steel ceilings, and the fine furnishings. Mr. Maxwell’s hotel was a wonder as was the man himself. Guests proclaimed him a grand host and an admirable manager full of vigor. He had a pleasant personality, a trait that undoubtedly attracted businessmen as well as families to stay at his hospitable hotel.
Despite the fact that the Hotel Maxwell is no longer in business, Mr. Maxwell with his energetic spirit is remembered. Our store was named in honor of his famous hotel and to this day, customers come into the shoppe asking where they can check in to the hotel. They are often disappointed to hear that it only a fond memory.
Over the years since the absence of the Hotel Maxwell (which was later re-named the Hotel Hamilton), the Maxwell building has been a location for offices and various different small businesses. In the 1980s, Edward K. Vantine used it for offices and rented the upper floors as apartments.
Finally, in 2001, in an effort to revitalize the downtown Hamilton area with the help of the Hamilton Initiative, the space was renovated into what is currently our old-fashioned candy shoppe by Scott Powell and Phil Scholl. Maxwells Chocolates and Ice Cream officially opened to the public on March 8, 2002. As Scott Powell recalls, “there were lines around the block.” The older generation of the town certainly found the new candy store a nostalgic dream come true as they remembered the “Sugar Bowl” located on Broad Street during the 1920s and 1930s. Like the “Sugar Bowl” before it, Maxwells offers a selection of ice creams with an old fashion soda parlor atmosphere and a wonderful array of chocolates and candies. It seems applicable to apply the “Sugar Bowl’s” famous ad slogan to Maxwells as well: “No dentistry necessary, Let us fill that sweet tooth!”
Today, Maxwells is owned and operated by the Drahos family. Patricia Drahos purchased the store in 2005 and has loved running the business ever since. The store always welcomes kids and adults to “take a step back in time”. Surely, with its long history, the Maxwell building serves as a perfect backdrop to this immersive nostalgic experience.
For the complete “Historic Photo Timeline” of the Hotel Maxwell building along with reference citations, please click here.