Evolution

Easton HSE M66 Store (2)

How many of you recognize the name “Tammany Corners”?  I’d bet not very many, and probably because the area of Easton that bore that name did so for a relatively short span of time during the first half of the twentieth century. But it was during this time when that area of Easton evolved into what many residents in the latter part of the century considered the center of the town.

It was 1780 when Daniel and Abigale Jackson purchased 65 acres of land and soon after built a house at what is now 439 Sport Hill Road. The farm they created would stay in the family until 1945. The north-south roadway that ran through their property would become known as the Jackson Highway, bearing that name until the early part of the twentieth century when the town officially changed the name to Sport Hill Road. The east-west roadway that ran just to the south of the house also split the Jackson’s land and it was at first the eastern end of Center Road; only later was it renamed Banks when that thoroughfare was extended east from Morehouse.

In 1907, Charles B. Tammany, a dealer in groceries and milk from Westchester County in New York, moved to Easton and into the old Jackson home when he married Sarah C. Galloway, the two-times great-grand daughter of Daniel and Abigale. Tammany soon opened a feed and grain business across the road. Within just a few years Tammany was elected to the State Legislature.

It was in the early 1880’s when Albert Van Wert moved to Easton and purchased the property to the south on the eastern side of the road across from the old Jackson homestead. He soon built a blacksmith shop on the property which he ran until he was well into his 70’s.

By the early 1920’s the area was known as “Tammany Corners”, likely more a result of Charles Tammany’s stint with the State Legislature than his moderate success as a feed and grain dealer. It was during this era that the area would see a great change.

George Halzack was born in Bayerovch, Czechoslovakia on January 1, 1894. He emigrated to the United States in 1910, and in 1913 he joined the Army. Upon his discharge from the service, he lived and worked in Bridgeport for a few years before he married Julia Kochiss of Easton in 1920. It was in 1923 when the young entrepreneur struck a deal with the aging Albert Van Wert to purchase the land that held the older man’s blacksmith shop, and then build his store. Halzack’s Country Store would become an virtual Easton landmark as it served several generations as a place to buy groceries, milk, newspapers, and gasoline for nearly the next 90 years. It still stands today where new owners operate it as the Easton Village Store.

Easton HSE George And Julia Halzack Peter and Nicholas

Julia & George Halzack with sons Nicholas and Peter c. 1923

It was May of 1924 when the three-year old Easton Volunteer Fire Company voted to buy a 50 foot by 323 foot parcel of land from Charles B. Tammany. In October of 1925, Treasurer Joseph Slady signed the note for the $4,000 mortgage on the new firehouse. It was soon after when the new firehouse replaced the old Osborne Hall – the room over the Ruman Brother’s Store – as the town’s new de facto social center. When both Center and Banks Roads were reconfigured in the mid-1930’s, a .4 acre plot of triangular land was formed directly across from the firehouse and the volunteer company voted in 1937 to pay the Tammany family $3,000 to purchase it and make it the company’s permanent Carnival Grounds. In 1941, the company paid Sarah Tammany an additional $2,000 to purchase the 1.5 acre plot that now houses the newer firehouse on the southwest corner of Sport Hill Road and Center. The original firehouse still stands and serves as the home to the Easton Volunteer EMS.

It was early in the same decade when Benjamin Silverman was able to purchase the land just to the north of the old Jackson homestead where his descendants still operate their thriving family farm business today. Silverman’s Farm began it’s long history with a cider mill, where its industrious  founder would press his apples for the next 60 years. Ben built his house at 451 Sport Hill Road in 1928 and soon he and his wife Rose began selling home baked bread and canned preserves along with Ben’s cider and apple harvest from a roadside stand he built just north of the family home.

So there you have the evolution of a small area of farmlands that today make up a large part of what many Easton residents consider one of the most important sections of their small New England town.

 

 

 

  4 comments for “Evolution

  1. Kathy
    February 19, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Hi,
    This is a very nice piece but please fix the year of George Halzack’s birth.
    Thanks,
    Kathy

    • bnelson
      February 19, 2019 at 12:07 pm

      Thanks! The mind sometimes sees what it wants to see and inverting two digits is always difficult for the author to see when proofreading his own work.

  2. Patti Popp
    February 19, 2019 at 1:00 pm

    Love, love, love hearing about beautiful Easton’s history. We moved here to save the John Jackson Jr.s home from being purchased and rebuilt. Although it was a mess, it is lovingly restored and fixed hopefully for another few hundred years. 1740 with all the original beams, modern housing just doesn’t have the character. If the walls could talk, I would love to hear.

  3. Meg Greiser Perry
    February 23, 2019 at 10:07 am

    Great story & thanks for the research, love hearing about the different parts that made/make Easton so great. Julia Kochiss Halzack has that unmistakable Kochiss face. You can help keep Easton history alive by supporting the HSE with a donation or membership.

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