Do you remember the Hillcrest Station in Essex, NY? Three weeks ago I shared a new-to-me vintage postcard (Instagram / Facebook) featuring an Essex service station (with Socony gas) by the name of Hillcrest Station. After winning the eBay auction for this intriguing glimpse into hyperlocal yesteryears, I combed through my collection of Essex artifacts and discovered that I have another vintage postcard depicting the same business from a different location. Needless to say, the Hillcrest Station no longer exists, so my hope in sharing the image on IG+FB was an attempt to learn a little bit more.
Little by little this former Essex business depicted in a pair of postcards is (possibly) getting demystified which is to say that a little amateur sleuthing has turned up a few leads. Let’s start with the other postcard photograph I have in my collection.
Same service station from a different angle. It’s not clear in the photograph above whether or not cabins were part of the mix, but this second image captures a sprawling enterprise including service/gas station, dining room, and travel accommodations. And the caption across the top of the card, “Hillcrest Cabins, one mile south of Essex, N.Y. on Route 22”, helps locate the property. This tidbit was corroborated by an intriguing tip from newspaper-sleuth, Paul Harwood, who found the following newspaper clipping in the April 21, 1934 issue of the Plattsburgh Daily Press.
This Essex town notices section refers to Hillcrest Station being located on Roger Hill. I’ve never hear this reference before, but perhaps other have? Of note, a front page article in the May 05, 1927 Ticonderoga Sentinel listing a juror panel for Essex County Court lists George Murphy as being from Essex and working as a “garageman”. That makes sense.
Scott Brayden also found newspaper mentions reiterating the location: “…located on Route 22, 1 mile south of Essex”. Here are two clippings from newspaper notices (1949 and 1950) to that effect. (NB: full broadsides at end of post.)
If we head south out of Essex on NYS Route 22, my best guess is that Hillcrest Station was located at the intersection with Middle Road. Some will recall this as the location of JJ’s Terrace (I think I’ve got the name correct). Others may also remember that Lincoln’s Hardware was across the street (location of present day Hub on the Hill). Or am I conflating things? In any event, Mary Wade also confirmed memories of Hillcrest Station. “I remember it in the Early 40’s, I believe it was still in operation then, maybe as far as after the war.” Perhaps additional recollections and photographs will emerge? I sure hope so.
Until then, I’d like to tease out the idea that Hillcrest Station was located at the intersection of NYS Route 22 and Middle Road. My hunch is based on more than the two photographs above and he news clippings. It’s based on a recent visit to the approximate location. I paused during a recent bike ride and took a few photographs that appear to offer some similarities with the historic photos above. I’m especially interested in the roofs of the main building in the foreground and the small cottage/cabin in the background (looking from Middle Road) as well as the trees. Hhhmmm…
Hillcrest Station Update
I’ve received some intriguing feedback from Sean Kelly:
That hill used to be called rogers hill and the intersection used to be called rogers four corners – my grandparents farm was the one by the railroad tracks with the dilapidated farm stand in front – my wife and I recently bought the brick house in bouquet at the top of the next hill (Orr’s Hill), which is where my great grandparents once lived. So I’ve been doing a lot of Bouquet research over the past two years!
There are some references to that intersection in the newspaper when they started paving route 22 in 1921/22 (it was highway 8063 then) and the steam shovel that was doing the grading got stuck. I think the easiest way to answer what you’re looking for is just to pull up the last deed transfer for that plot – it also references rogers four corners, and shows the transfer from George Murphy (who I think owned Hillcrest) to Ted and Aida burns in 1947. They ran it as a bar (not sure when it closed) called Ted and Aida’s.
Ted’s Terrace! That’s right, not JJ‘s Terrace as I’ve previously noted. Thanks for jiggling my memory, Sean, and for filling in these details with all of that history!
Hillcrest Station ’49 & ’50 Public Notices
If you’re interested in the 1949 and 1950 Essex County Republican broadsides excerpted above, you can access them here: