The Portville Historical and Preservation Society
17 Maple Avenue
Portville, NY 14770

www.portvillehistory.org
This week we have some old photographs and information on the original home of Henry and
Caroline Dusenbury.  Passed down through many generations, and changed some along the way, it
was a favorite landmark here in Portville until it was destroyed by fire in 1994.  Read the history of
the home, its former owners, the current owner, Anne L. Dusenbury, and the beautiful home she built
to replace it.  We will get to Edgar G. and Helen T.'s homes and the automobiles next time.  They also
had beautiful furnishings, art, and lavish gardens.

You may remember a story that we have on the History page, called
Social Life in Portville Fifty
Years Ago (1892), written by Fanny Bell Parish.  Her husband, Smith Parish, wrote a similar story
about his business and other aspects of life in Portville in 1892.  There are some amazing things to
know about our little corner of Cattaraugus County back then, mainly, no running water, no
electricity, and only a few telephones.  Here are some other things you may not know:

1895:  The village reservoir was built and the first plumbing installed in Portville.
1909:  The first gasoline filling station in Portville installed in a small bldg behind Parish's store.
1919 & 1920:  Electricity was first brought to Portville.  People could now buy appliances.

If you haven't already read about the
History of Smith Parish Hardware, don't miss it.

Another prominent citizen of Portville was
Guy Towser Lowrey (1831-1914), who was Portville's Justice of the Peace for over 50 years.  The late Bea L. Eldridge, a Town of Portville Historian, wrote
an interesting story about her grandfather and the home he proudly built for his family.  His home still
looks pretty good for its age!  Review
Bea's biography (1892-1975) in our Significant Women pages.  
If you haven't already read about the
History of Smith Parish Hardware, don't miss it.

Follow these links to read our newest stories this week:
The Dusenbury Homes
Portville As It Was in 1892 by Smith Parish
The Family and Home of Guy T. Lowrey by Bea L. Eldridge

If you are just finding our website and would like to read our previous homepages, go to our ARCHIVE.
Portville, New York
Credits

The lovely watercolor in our toolbar (at above left) is a depiction of the office at 17 Maple Avenue.  
The artist is Portville's very own talent, Marilyn Reynolds.
Welcome to PHPS
This page was last updated on 03-24-08
In Memorium - Repeated from last week

Melvin H. VanCuren, Jr.
1939 - 2008

Recently, we lost our longtime friend and Portville pharmacist, Mel VanCuren.  It was quite
unexpected by the family and a shock to our close-knit community when he passed away on
Saturday, February 8, 2008.

Mel was more than a pharmacist, he deeply cared about everyone he had associations with.  He and
Ellie have provided a much needed service to Portville for so long that it is hard to imagine the
neighborhood store being closed.  Always genuinely happy to see their customers and friends, they
always took the time to stop and visit with us, often times with Mel filling your prescriptions right
while you waited.  They were extremely proud of their family, displaying the latest photos of their
grandchildren and, of course, Mel's latest "big catch," complete with stories to go along with them.

The fondness that everyone felt for Mel was obvious by the large number of people that attended the
visitation and memorial service.  The family seemed to draw strength from their faith, as well as
family and friends, courageously enduring the long line of mourners.  Many spoke of their hunting
and fishing experiences with Mel, and Joe Caya even did an imitation of the famous "Mel VanCuren
turkey call," a favorite among the local hunters.  The moments of levity were a welcome relief from
the heavy sadness in our hearts.

We will all certainly miss Mel, and our thoughts and prayers are with Ellie and her family.  
Read his
obituary from the Olean Times Herald here.
Downtown Portville, looking south down Main St. toward
Smith Parish Hardware in 1960's
OTH photographer Darrell Gronemeier captures the scene days after the