Communities & Neighborhoods
Chemung County NY
Recollections of Sputhport Corners

Old Hotel at Southport Corners
Photographed by Joyce M. Tice
01 JAN 2000 with setting sun on its face.
Article - Recollections of Southport Corners
Township: Town of Southport, Chemung County NY
Year: 1999
Submitted by Virginia WHEELER McElroy, 
Town of Southport Historian
Formatted & Published by Joyce M. Tice 2005
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RECOLLECTIONS OF SOUTHPORT CORNERS

BY RUSSELL G. JESSUP

This oral history of Southport Corners was told to Albina Davidson, Mr. Jessup’s daughter, on September 6,1999 so that history may be preserved.

On Budd Street… in the garage behind the concrete block building on the corner of Budd St., Mr. Minsterman started a bakery for bread only. When the business grew, they built a building (now Vasco). The bakery was Minsterman, Roche & Myers, and they delivered by horse and wagon. The building in back of that was a dry cleaning business run by Harold Havens and later became Knapp Cleaners.

In the concrete building on the corner of Budd St. and Pennsylvania Avenue was Darmstadt’s Grocery. In a small store connected to it was an ice cream parlor run by Louise Thomas and (woman) Rogers. When Russell was about 12 years old (1919) he delivered small orders of groceries for Mr. Darmstadt. His bicycle had a small wheel in front with deep baskets in front and a larger wheel in back.

When Russell was about 15 years old, he went to work at Smith and Loughhead grocery store and meat market on Southport Street (now Sturdevant Gallery). The original building of Smith and Loughhead was a blacksmith shop. Smith and Loughhead had a small cooler on a box on a Model T truck and delivered bacon, meat, etc. to customers in the Pine City area. About 3 days a week, Russell rode a bicycle around to various houses and took orders for groceries before going to school in the morning, then the deliveryman who took the truck and delivered the orders. Russell also delivered small orders on his bicycle.

In those days, grocery prices were only marked on the shelves, not on the item. Prices were totaled on a piece of paper. Most items were sold on credit. Groceries were not pre-packaged. Tea came in containers and had to be weighed vegetable shortening was called "compound’ and came in a 20# wooden tub. Vinegar and sauerkraut came in barrels. Sugar came in 100# bags and had to be weighed. Peanut butter came in metal containers and the oil on top had to be stirred. Crackers and cookies came loose and had to be weighed. Cube steaks were made by hand with a metal plate and metal cutter. Bananas came on a stem and a bunch had to be cut off the stem. Oranges came wrapped in tissue paper and were unwrapped and put in bins. Vegetables were bought locally from farmers. A lot of paper and string was used to wrap items.

Another grocery store, Newell and Ruggles stood where now is Chemung Canal Bank on Pennsylvania Avenue. Next to that (with a billboard between) was Welch’s Candy Store with an apartment upstairs. Across the street a building on the curve was a candy store and school supplies run by Angie Hopkins. On Pennsylvania Avenue, the X-Cel Dairy building was formerly a car dealer owned by Harold Cornish. He sold new cars, Studebaker and then Ford cars and trucks. Next to that was a gas station where today is Wilber’s Auto Sales on Pennsylvania Avenue. Behind that on Caton Avenue was Homestead Restaurant run by Leo Cahill.

Mr. Sterling ran a grocery store on the Corner of Cedar Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

There was a garage on the corner of Laurel Street and Pennsylvania Ave. known as Jewell’s Garage. They sold tires, gas and oil and did car repairs.

Mr. Russell Jessup was born March of 1907 and died November of 2001.

We thank them for preserving a piece of Southport History.

Albina Davidson gave this to Mary Jerram, Southport Deputy Historian.

Retyped for publication by Virginia WHEELER McElroy, Historian.

Chemung County NY

Published On Site On 04 NOV 2004
By Joyce M. Tice

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