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Maxwells Official Timeline Through the Years
~ by Marsha Collett
1875: A map from the Atlas of Madison NY by D.G. Beers shows an unnamed structure on the future Hotel Maxwell premises on Eaton Street (Beers).
1887: The building is now identified as a saloon and restaurant. Part of it also looks to be a drug store. For insurance purposes, the map notes that the building has a heating system and steam heater (Sanborn).
1892: Recorded in the NY State Census is the first mention of Mr. Micheal F. Maxwell in Hamilton, NY. The records note his age as 43, born in Ireland, a US Citizen, and a Hotel Keeper. His wife is Anna Maxwell: age 39 and they have 2 sons: Lawrence L. Maxwell: age 4 and Arthur W. Maxwell: age 1.
October, 1893: Another Sanborn Insurance map circles the saloon/restaurant to insure it for $3,000. The agency found the premises acceptable, unlike many others in downtown Hamilton, which they rejected outright (Sanborn).
February 19-20, 1895: The great Hamilton fire destroys most of downtown Hamilton. The fire started in the Rowlands & Beal furniture store on Lebanon Street in the mid-evening. No one was killed, but the estimated loss of property and stock was around $300,000- $400,000 (Progressive Hamilton, 10).
February 21, 1895: The Maxwell House lost $5,000 in property and $2,000 in stock during the fire. Total insurance coverage for the business was $5,000 (Hamilton Republican, 2/21/95).
October 17, 1895: The Maxwell House is rebuilt and renamed the "Hotel Maxwell". Better than ever with fine furnishings, modern technological comforts, and a patented fire escape, the Maxwell family even plans to live in one of the hotel rooms themselves. (Hamilton Republican 10/17/95). The architect on the project was A.W. Reyolds of Binghamton NY (Tryniski, Utica Daily Press 11/8/95).
November 2, 1895: The new Hotel Maxwell's grand opening (Tryniski,The DeRuyter Gleaner, 11/5/95).
November 25, 1895: The Hotel Maxwell holds a banquet for Colgate Academy's 14th annual Epsilon Kappa Society (Madisonensis Vol. 28 #5). This would be only one of a vast number of banquets held at the Hotel by Colgate students and affiliates.
May 6, 1896: M.F. Maxwell sells off his personal property to satisfy heavy judgments against him (Tryniski, The DeRuyter Gleaner, 5/6/86).
September 28, 1896: Most of the college football team is roomed at the Hotel Maxwell for the season. The college provides them with a "training table" there as it was often difficult to keep men in training in previous years (The Madisonesis Vol. 29, #1).
April 12, 1897: M. F. Maxwell dies at DeNike's Sanitarium in Clinton, NY. Brought from Utica in a friend's carriage at midnight, he was suffering from alcoholism. Dr. DeNike treated him with morphine and hot whisky. In the morning, Maxwell was dead from heart failure due to said alcoholism (Tryniski, Rome Daily Sentinel, 4/12/1897). Maxwell's obituary states that he lived in Hamilton for only 8 years. Previously, he conducted the hotel business for serval years at the Carpenter House in Randallsville, NY owned by U.G. Carpenter (Tryniski, Waterville NY Times, 1897).
September 7, 1897:After Maxwell's death, Mrs. Maxwell charges Charles Talcott of Boonville to mange the hotel. He was a manager at another hotel in Alexandra Bay (Tryniski, Utica Semi-Weekly Herald, 9/7/97).
June 16, 1898: The Maxwell Hotel changes hands. The new owner is John Keegan of Utica (Tryniski, DeRuyter Gleaner, 6/16/98).
1900: At this time, Hamilton, NY boasted 2 grand hotels in town: The Hotel Maxwell and The Park Hotel (c.1809). The Park Hotel, under the proprietorship of Mr. W. G. Lippitt, resided on the location of the current Colgate Inn (Peterson, 17).
April 7, 1900: The Colgate Sophomore class holds a banquet at the Hotel Maxwell during which, a group of Freshmen try to break it up. However, because the hotel was too well guarded, they first throw a rock through the plate glass window of the dinning room, then toss in a can of bisulphide of carbon. The intended stink bomb only rattles the upperclassmen, it does not disband the party (Tryniski, Utica NY Herald Dispatch, 4/7/00).
June 7, 1900: The Hotel Maxwell, in full patriotic decor, hosts a banquet for the 21 Civil War survivors of the 61st New York regiment. The town of Hamilton also holds a parade in their honor (Peterson, 9).
April 1st, 1901: Frank Shean becomes the owner of the Hotel Maxwell. Contemporary reports deem him a gentile landlord capable of providing a fine bill of fare at the Hotel (Hamilton Republican, 5/30/01).
Feb 2, 1903: Frank Shean, proprietor of Hotel Maxwell, dies at age 54. He was originally born in Verona in 1848. He was one of the best known and respected hotel men in Central and Southern NY (Tryniski, Buffalo Courier, 2/4/03).
Between Feb 2, 1903 and May 9, 1907: The Hotel Maxwell changes hands several times during this period. Owners of the establishment include: J.W. Welch, U.G. Carpenter, Arthur Burdick, and Charles H. Johnson (Tryniski, Brookfield NY Courier, 2/12/02; Brookfield NY Courier 1904; Utica NY Herald Dispatch, 2/28/06; The DeRuyter NY Gleaner 5/9/07).
June 22, 1909: The now named "The Hotel Hamilton" decorates for the visit of Gov. Charles Evans Hughes of New York. The Governor was present for Colgate's Commencement Ceremonies (Williams, 29).
1910: Ads from Colgate's Yearbook note a Mr. A.G. Stever as proprietor of the Hotel Hamilton (Salmagundi, 1910-1914). [Name should be A.C. Stever...a misprint on yearbook's part- Editor's Note]
December 25, 1911: The Hotel Hamilton hosts a special Christmas dinner, serving up an array of traditional holiday treats (Colgate Special Collections Achieves).
January 17, 1918: The Hamilton Hotel is sold yet again. On February 1st, the new owners will be Messrs A. VanWagner (former Commissioner of Public Works) and M. E. Overhiser (popular "Lunch Room" proprietor). Both men come from Syracuse. Sadly, Mr. and Mrs. Stever will be missed in town as they were well-known members of the community. They worked hard to provide the best serve at the hotel. Mr. Stever bought Mr. Overhiser's Lunch Room in Syracuse (Hamilton Republican, Vol 89,#32).
July 3rd, 1919: A farewell dinner is given for Messieurs Overhiser and VanWagner. Employees present gifts and best wishes to their former bosses. Mr. Overhiser also celebrated his birthday that night. Both sirs will return to their former city of Syracuse. The new proprietor: F. A. Herrick served as toastmaster of this occasion. (Hamilton Republican, vol 91, #4 ).
July 17, 1919: An announcement decrees that the Hotel Hamilton will start serving chicken dinners on Sunday night for 75 cents (Hamilton Republican, vol 91, #6).
October 5, 1923: A "For Sale" Ad announces that the Hotel Hamilton must be sold. It is a "Good all season business in the college town of Colgate University" (Tryniski, Troy Times, 10/5/23).
March 20, 1924: -Mr. and Mrs. Eugene H Moore from Syracuse purchase the hotel from D.G. Amidon, who purchased it from Mr. Vogt. The couple plan to redecorate and install a radio system, with which they could host dance parties and regular concerts. They also will re-name the hotel "College Inn" (Hamilton Republican, 3/20/24).
From October 1924 - June 1926: The hotel returns to D.G.Amidon who restores its name to the Hamilton Hotel. Under his second term as owner, he promises "superior service to Colgate Men" (Colgate Maroon News, Vol.57, #3).
June 24, 1926: D.G.Amidon trades the Hamilton Hotel to John Bolpaccio, a Syracuse real estate dealer. It is traded for property in Syracuse (Hamilton Republican, 6/24/26).
March 16, 1927: Remodeled, more attractive rooms urge guests to stay at the Hotel Hamilton, now under Delanos and Eva Weeden's names (Colgate Maroon, Vol. 59,# 22).
1927-1932: The building operates as both the Hotel Hamilton and Weeden's Chevrolet (Colgate Maroon Vol.52, #13; Vol. 61, #28; Vol. 65, #8).
January 22, 1947-November 15, 1950: Ads in the Colgate Maroon note a Swan's Home appliance Shop at 14 Utica Street, the location of the former Hotel Maxwell/Hamilton (Colgate Maroon, Vol. 79, #15; Vol.83, #9).
Mid 1960s: A business called "Clover Farm" occupies the space at 14 Utica St. (Colgate Special Collections)
December 10, 1974: A fire at the Nicols & Beal building threatens 14 Utica St. Colgate students in the upstairs apartments drop belongings to friends below on the ground (Colgate Maroon News, 1974)
1985: Edward K. Vantine, Jr. uses the Hotel Maxwell building for rental apartments and office space (Williams, 29)
April 16, 1999: A car crashes into 14 Utica St. damaging the windows of "Reflections Hair Styling Salon" and the Vantine Studios storage unit. Totally, there was $8,000 in damages done to the building. No one was hurt. The driver was a Colgate Junior (Colgate Maroon News, Vol. 134, #13)
February 2, 2001: The Hamilton Initiative purchases several downtown Hamilton buildings including the former Hotel Maxwell on Utica street owned by Vantine Studios (Colgate Maroon News Vol. 135, #15).
September 12, 2001: Scott Powell and Philip Scholl sign the lease on the downstairs storefront of 14 Utica Street to create a vintage candy shop. Maxwells Chocolates & Ice Cream is born. Philip designs the layout of the space and begins construction with help from the Hamilton Initiative (Powell).
March 8, 2002: Maxwells Chocolates & Ice Cream opens to lines around the block (Powell).
October 2002: The Hamilton Initiative decides to renovate the complete Maxwell building for Colgate Development and Communications offices on the 2nd and 3rd floors. Previously, after the purchase from Vantine Studios, the building's upper levels were left vacant. A Syracuse architecture firm is hired and pressed to maintain the character of the original Maxwell building (Maroon News, Vol.126, #20).
July 1, 2005: Patricia Drahos buys Maxwells Chocolates & Ice Cream from Scott Powell and Philip Scholl. Today, Patricia continues to own and manage the business which brings joy to Hamiltonians and tourists alike.
References and Works Consulted:
Beers, D.G. Atlas of Madison NY from the Actual Surveys of D. G. Beers. Philadelphia: Pomeroy, Whitman & Co. Colgate University, Special Collections, 1875. Print.
Colgate Maroon News. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University, 1926-2003. Web: http://exlibris.colgate.edu/digital/studentNewspapers.html. February 5, 2014.
Colgate University, Salmagundi. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University Press. 1887-1928. Print.
Hamilton Republican, Hamilton NY. 1901-1926. Web: http://exlibris.colgate.edu/digital/studentNewspapers.html. February 6, 2014.
New York State Census, 1892. Web: https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.3.1/TH-1-14753-40932-23?cc=1529100&wc=10935060. January 28, 2014.
Peterson, Carl. Hamilton 1900: An Exhibit Prepared by Carl Peterson. Hamilton NY: Colgate University, January-June 2000. Print.
Progressive Hamilton: A Description of The Village of Hamilton New York, Its Scenery, Material Development, Institutions of Learning, and Business Enterprises. Utica, NY: John P. Gomph, 1896. Print.
Powell, Scott. Personal Interview. February 2, 2014.
Sanborn Insurance Map. Colgate University: Special Collections, 1887. Print.
Sanborn Insurance Map. Colgate University: Special Collections, 1893. Print.
The Madisonesis. Hamilton, NY: Colgate University, 1895-1896. Web: http://exlibris.colgate.edu/digital/studentNewspapers.html. February 6, 2014.
Tryniski, Thomas M. Old Fulton New York Post Cards. Web: http://fultonhistory.com/Fulton.html. February 1, 2014.
Williams, Howard D., and Robert H. Kuiper. Hamilton Yesterday and Today. Sherburne, NY: Mid-York Press, 1985. Print.
~Special thanks to Harold Rollins for sharing information and photos relevant to this project.