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Grace Hanford House/Cottage
By Karen Cuccinello 2-2019

In my quest to figure out where old houses in Stamford Village are, I came across this beautiful house in the photo collection at the Stamford Village Library. The back of the photo just says Grace Hanfords house, so I started researching the Hanford's.

One newspaper article said they lived on Division St. which I figured out was renamed West End Ave. Then I looked in the assessment rolls and viewed the years that listed what street the house was on and what their property bordered. This verified that the house was on West End next to properties owned by Grant and the Episcopal rectory and bordered Lake St. Then I went searching for a newspaper clipping that I had found a while ago about a house and the New Grant House boarding house being destroyed in 1970. The article stated the house being razed was once part of the New Grant House property and was referred to as the Hanford House built in the 1880's. So sadly the house is gone, but I know where it was.

Grace VanDyke was born August 16, 1863, I believe in Stamford, to John C. (1839-1918) and Nancy Jane/Jennie (Older) VanDyke (1842-1916). She had a brother Clarence who died young and a sister Clara (Mrs. W.R. Hunt 1872-1943). Grace passed the Regents examination at Stamford Seminary in 1880. On September 9, 1885 she married Edwin C. Hanford (1862-1928) at her home on Main St. in Stamford. Erwin had moved to Stamford in 1884 from Franklin, NY. To them, one son was born John William (1886-1938).

Erwin established a drug business in the same building as his father-in-laws general store at the Hoagland block (later Harris Store, 126 West Main St), corner of Main and River streets. He conducted his pharmacy here from 1884 to 1893 when the business then removed to what was then known as the Mattice building at 119 Main street, where they operated a pharmacy under the name of Van Dyke & Hanford. They remained partners until John C. VanDyke died in 1918 then it became known as the Hanford Pharmacy and his son joined the business in 1923. The building burned in 1924 and the Govern Brothers rebuilt what you see now that later became the Stamford Pharmacy. Erwin was also the proprietor of the New Grant House in 1901.

Their son John (and his future wife) graduated from Stamford Seminary in 1904 then attended Cascadilla school at Ithaca and graduated from Cornell University in 1909. On May 9, 1911, in Delhi, John married Carrie Edna Toomer, both age 25. They had two daughters Jane and Mary. In 1918 he enlisted in the naval reserves and served for about a year then graduated as a licensed pharmacist in 1926 from Albany College of Pharmacy. John and family moved around quite a bit with in NYS and their daughter Jane was born in PA. John also held quite a few occupations ending as a pharmacist in Waterloo, NY where he died. Carrie died 1946 in Delhi, age 60.

The Hanford House was often rented out to city people for the summer. The earliest date I found this occurring, in the newspaper, was 1897 and the last was 1929, after Erwin died. Before Erwin died they traveled quite a bit to try and recuperate his health, going to England, Quebec, Florida and Cuba. After his death Grace sold off the household goods and often spent winters in FL.

Grace still owned the house in 1930. In 1935 Mrs. Margaret Deitenback bought the house and named it Pocohontas Lodge and painted the porch posts to resemble totem poles. Malcolm J. and Ronald Walley bought the house in 1946 then sold it to Siegfried Stern and Emil Liebenstein, owners of the New Grant House, in 1950 and they made it into an annex for the New Grant House. At some point in the late 1950's Alexander Vorland bought the property and it became Lakeview apartments. In March 1958 the Hanford House porch roof fell off under the weight of snow and it was razed in April 1970. I could not find any information that would indicate that the Hanford's built the house but the timing fits.

Grace died October 4, 1948 in Oneonta and was survived by her two granddaughters. The Hanfords are buried with the VanDykes in section F-32 at the Stamford Cemetery.

The back of the family photo says the gentleman holding Grace is Wm B. VanDyke but I suspect it is John's father Abram. Does anyone know if the VanDyke Homestead, that I believe was on Main St., is still standing? Let me know at

More articles by Karen Cuccinello

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