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page 162 -- O.F. Heath, "Furniture Dealer and Undertaker"

updated 30 November 2016
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One of the most beautiful cards in the Earl J. Arnold Advertising Card Collection hails from one of the smallest communities in New York State. Furniture & undertaking & picture frames & carpets, etc., O.F. Heath was involved in several trades. Northville, the small village with a grand reputation, has a Wikipedia page of its own.

Northville, NY, where the chimney swifts return on 6 May every year! Here it is on Google maps:

Northville NY from YouTube

Downtown Northville in Aug 2014 as captured by Google Street View
The two buildings on the right also appear on the postcard below the video.
Northville featuring some details of
downtown buildings (YouTube)

The building on the right, originally O.F. Heath, 1880's (see enlargement below) as of this early 1900's postcard in the Diver collection houses Garrets Undertaker & Furniture. While this combination of activities most likely would not be carried out in the same storefront today, furniture manufacturers in the 19th century made caskets as well as chairs, etc.

An enlargement of the photo shows a smartly dressed woman getting a sneak peak at the window display of the DeWitt & Co. 5 & 10 cent store:

"The Brick Block" above, former home of O.F. Heath, was eventually replaced by a fire station.

Sometimes the back of these old postcards have messages. This one hints at an activity, but what is it? Is Archie a dancer?

We get a glimpse of the O.F. Heath storefront itself from another postcard dated 1906:

entering Northville via Route 920H off Rt. 30,
Google Street View Aug 2014
Minor tweaks in Picasa bring forth the outstanding colors in this card.
A beautiful card from a beautiful village!
Northville has preserved a number of its historic structures. 

The former Chequer & Krested blacksmith shop, at 122 Bridge St. has been restored and was surveyed by the Town of Northampton Historic Landmark Commission. According to the Commission's inventory, this is the building where Hubbel's oilcloth corners were first manufactured. Here it is on Google in 2014:

Below is an interior shot of Willard's General Store in Northville. According to "Northampton, Times Past, Times Present" by Charlotte D Russell, 1976, and quoted on Rootsweb, "Reuben Willard built the 3 story brick faced structure on the corner of Main & Water Streets in 1888 as a general store. His son James R Willard later took over, followed by Fred Farhart with a Fruit Market, and in 1916 by William R Smith with a fruit, vegetable, confection & ice cream business. Smith sold out in 1930 to Dake Ice Cream Company."

note reflections on polished wood (?) ceiling

As you can see from the topographic map (USGS 1900) below, Northville was served via Sacandaga Park by a branch of the Fonda Johnstown and Gloversville railroad.

The railroad and much of Sacandaga Park were swallowed by the creation of Great Sacandaga Lake in 1930.
From YouTube, "At the Railyard:"
"Published on Aug 19, 2012...when the sewing machine came into popularity in the middle of the 19th century, it caused a boom in textile production. In Gloversville, New York, the main product of the textile industries was fine leather gloves. 20 years later, there were 116 glove and mitten manufacturers, and the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville Railroad was constructed to haul their products out to market. What would it be like to experience the railroad 80 years later, in a simulator? We'll find out in this the railyard!"
Maps play a big role in historical research. USGS historical topographic maps are very helpful in spotting railroads and buildings as they existed in the early 20th century. Though I have had good luck just using a simple Google search, here's one way to get these maps through the USGS site:

"Download free USGS maps"

Google maps can then be used to pinpoint more recent history. I have used this technique with good results many times. Here's how to work the Google end of the puzzle:
"Using Google Maps to Explore Railroad Track Routes"
from YouTube
"Published on Mar 31, 2012 - Google Maps makes a fabulous research tool to use when studying prototype railroad track routing. In this video companion to the April 2012 issue of Model Railroad Hobbyist, we show how to follow the railroad tracks of the old Nevada-California-Oregon branch of the defunct Western Pacific Railroad (now the Union Pacific Railroad)."
With patience--great patience I'd say--it is possible to overlay Google Earth maps with topographic maps. This is time consuming because the maps are to different scales and may also have been made from slightly different perspectives. Still curious? Here's a brief YouTube instructional video:

"Prospecting with historical topographic maps"

Here's Northville, overlaying current Google Earth with the 1900 topographic map shown above:

Not everything is lined up perfectly, but this gives the viewer a good idea
of what things looked like before and after Great Sacandaga Lake filled.
For a long time it was not clear why cards from Northville businesses were showing up in Emma

Jane Arnold's trade card scrapbook. It turns out Northville was not far from Robert Earl Arnold's

birthplace: Broadalbin NY, and could have been where he went in an attempt to recover from his

Civil War-related respiratory problems.

(Google Maps)
ICE OUT! Published by George W. Stevens of Northville, NY very early in the 20th century, the postcard below shows typical spring conditions in northeast US streams and lakes when winter's ice thaws.

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