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73 Park Avenue

73 Park Avenue

73 Park Avenue
Brockport, NY 

History researched and written by Carol L. Hannan
© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – March 2012 All rights reserved

James Seymour, Anson Durand, and John Hewett
Owners: 1821 to 1833 

Before pioneers moved into western New York, speculators bought large tracts of land which were eventually divided into acreage amounts suitable for individual families or farms. Such seems to be the case with the lot at 73 Park Avenue. James Seymour, who bought land to the east of Route 19/Main Street in Brockport, sold this parcel to Anson Durand, who lived Canandaigua, Ontario County. Durand sold the lot to John Hewett before moving to Missouri.

Hewett apparently lived in this Brockport area, at least for a short time. His marriage to Maria Thorp was announced in the Brockport Free press in 1832, but subsequent owners who have researched this property, do not believe that the Hewetts built a house on the lot. Maria may have been related to the Thorps who lived in Sweden Township and Ontario County. By 1840, these Thorps had left western New York to settle in Wisconsin. Perhaps the Hewetts followed suit. In 1833, their lot was sold to the man believed to be the first person to actually build and live in a home on the property.

Hiram Hammond Hatch
Owner: 1833 to 1875 

Hiram Hatch is believed to be the builder of the original home. It would have looked nothing like the elaborately decorated and expanded house that exists there today, as Greek Revival architecture was the popular building style in the 1830’s when the house was first built. As with many village homes of a certain age, subsequent owners expanded on the modest houses originally built by early village residents. When Victorian architecture and embellishment was stylish, home owners, to reflect current trends, sometimes added those elements to their houses; thus the original, simple Greek Revival structures might be transformed into highly detailed Victorian showpieces.

Hatch was a shoe merchant. His store was located on the west side of Main Street in a section destroyed by fire in 1837. One unusual observance about Hiram Hatch is that no surviving contemporary accounts could be found to verify his involvement in civic, social or religious activities outside of his shoe business. He was also reputedly a land speculator, though not on the scale of James Seymour.

Hatch and his wife, Adelaide Woodruff, had no children. In 1875, they sold their village home and moved to Rochester, where they died in 1888. Hiram and Adelaide, like so many of their contemporaries, are buried in the Brockport Cemetery.

Frank, Cecelia, Edith and Theodore H. Benedict
Owners: 1875 to 1950 

The Benedict family, parents Frank and Cecelia and children Edith, Roy and Theodore owned this home for two generations and made substantial changes to it, according to the history of the house which was compiled by later owners. Attributed to this family was the building of the carriage house, additions of front and side porches, bay windows, Italianate trim and quite possibly, further expansions to the rear of the home. The inside was remodeled by them to add a fireplace, additional bathrooms and a “modern” kitchen, according to blueprints which still survive.

Frank Benedict’s family came from Connecticut. His older brother, Edgar, became a retail shoe dealer in the village, first at C. Wickes & Co., which became Wickes & Benedict. Frank was a clerk in the store. Eventually Edgar’s original partner retired and Frank became a partner in the store renamed Benedict Brothers.

A charter member of the H. E. Huntley Steamer Co. and member of the Presbyterian Church, Frank Benedict passed away in 1917. His wife, Cecelia Whipple Benedict, was actually a distant cousin of her husband, as her mother, Susan, was a Benedict. Cecelia was a member of the DAR, claiming descent from Revolutionary War soldier Nathaniel Benedict, who was also an ancestor of her husband.

Ownership of the family home was transferred to daughter Edith, a schoolteacher; then to her nephew Theodore H. Benedict. More than one branch of the Benedict family lived in and contributed to village life – but that’s another story. Many of them, including Edgar, Frank, Cecelia, her parents and Edith are buried in the Brockport Cemetery.

The story of 73 Park Avenue’s first one hundred years should conclude with the Benedicts but there is yet another family of note, whose members documented the history of this house and now deserves some mention.

Edgar and Charlotte Coapman
Owners: 1959 to 1990 

The Coapmans lived in the home until it was sold by Edgar’s estate. Their young children were the first to occupy this home and family members still live and work in the area. The first Edgar Augustus Coapman to move to Brockport owned a garage and volunteered for service in WWI with Canadian forces before our country’s involvement. His son Edgar was an Air Force veteran of WWII. Several Coapmans studied law and practiced in this area.

Epilogue 2012
Through a succession of long-term owners who tended to the house with loving care, this home expanded in size, changed its style, yet remained one of the notable homes of Park Avenue. Aluminum siding covers the home but not the carriage house. The lot remains its original size and the home has never been used as a multi-family rental.

© Copyright by Carol L. Hannan – March 2012 All rights reserved