Main Street Cotuit 1932

downtown cotuit map

Downtown Cotuit Map
Walter Scudder

Buildings A,B,C: The Sears Block, owned in 1932 by Thomas Malchman of Falmouth.

sears store

Sears Store
Collection Fran Parks

The Sears Department Store, built on property purchased by Benjamin F. Sears in 1907 (the original 1 5/8 acres cost $200} occupied Building A until 1927. The sign over the door announced “Hardware, Tinware, etc., etc. Dry & Fancy Goods.” Mr. Sears carried a fascinating line of wares that ran the gamut from dresses, coolie hats and souvenir china with views of Cotuit (made in Germany) to hardware and candy – “about all you couldn’t buy was a plough.” The upper floor was, for a time, the meeting place of a men’s organization, the Beacon Club.

After Mr. Sears’ death in 1921, the store was purchased by Miss Emma Crocker from Mr. Sears’ estate for $9,000. Miss Crocker operated the store until 1927, when she sold the property to Mr. Malchman.

In 1932, the A&P grocery was located in Building A, Edward Souza of Falmouth, manager. The store had formerly occupied Building N, on School Street, owned by Eugene Savery. In the late ’30s, Herbert Long used the Building N, also for groceries and meats and, when the A&P moved out of the Sears Block, Herbert Long moved in.

Thomas Malchman died in 1950. The Sears Block was inherited by his daughter, Marion Malchman Myers, and renamed the Myers Block. It was Mrs. Myers who sold it on December 1, 1958 to the Cotuit Federated Church.

Interior Sears Store Collection Fran Parks

Interior Sears Store
Collection Fran Parks

The funds for this purchase came largely from several residents who wanted to beautify the village by razing the old buildings. Carter Whitcomb was the principal negotiator with Mrs. Myers. The church conveyed the property immediately, by gift, to the Town of Barnstable. The town hired Bob Hayden to tear down the old structure, and the real estate was added to the adjoining land as a Veterans Memorial Park.

Concomitant with this action, the Town of Barnstable, in what was really a swap, gave to the Cotuit Federated Church the Cotuit Elementary School property, directly opposite the church on School Street. The school building was razed, also by Bob Hayden. The church, using a $13,000 bond issue, purchased in $100 denominations by the villagers, erected a new Post Office which was rented to the U.S. Postal Service under a long-term lease. The old Post Office moved from the Myers Building to the new location on January 3, 1959.

Thus, the church gained parking space for parishioners, the Post Office got a new building, and the town got an expanded park. Keith Rapp, Carter Whitcomb, Elaine Mycock, Richard Pigeon and Cynthia Wesson were members of the Cotuit Post Office Building Committee.

Building B Barber Shop, leased and operated by Manuel Viera.

old post office corner old shore rd

Old Post Office, Corner Old Shore Rd.
Collection Fran Parks

Building C Cotuit Post Office, Miss Isabelle Crocker, Postmistress.

Incoming mail arrived in the late afternoon by the last train from Boston, and people congregated for a chat when they went down to pick up their mail after supper.

Earlier, the Post Office had been located in the house at 842 Main Street. When the Post Office moved over to Building C, Helen Robinson converted 842 Main Street into a home and office from which she ran a real estate business and law practice.

Building D Cotuit Firehouse, which housed a Model-T Ford engine that had, in turn, replaced a hand-drawn pumper with two small tanks. During the 1930’s, the Firehouse was moved to the High Street location, built as a WPA project.

Building E Cotuit Library

Area F Cotuit Memorial Park, a vacant lot in the 1930’s, owned by Walter c. Scudder. He sold it to the Town of Barnstable during World War II, to be known as the Cotuit Veterans Memorial Park of World War II.

Building G Charles 0. Harlow Grocery and Meat market, building now owned by Bruce Burlingam. Mr. Harlow, by repute, carried his out-of-work customers with a cheery “Pay me when you git it!”

Building H Gibbs Sandwich Shop, in 1986 known as Kettle-Ho, owned by Mr. Frates of Sandwich.

school street facing main st

School Street Facing Main Street
Collection Fran Parks

Building I Barber Shop and Pool Room, operated by Charlie Fred Fuller, located in the west end of Gibbs Sandwich Shop building. This enterprise had formerly occupied a site at 944 Main Street, now the Allen Crawford property.

Building J Arthur Gibbs’ home, now the site of Mycock’s real estate office.

Building K Eugene Savery’s shoe store at the end of School Street was purchased by Walter Scudder in the middle ’30s. The building was then moved across the street between Harlow’s market, (Building G), and Gibbs Sandwich Shop, (Building H), and was rented during the summers by L. Holtzman, a tailor from Roxbury. After his death in 1940, the building was sold to Ada and Charles Buxton for use as a private dwelling, and relocated to the corner of Main Street and Old Oyster Road, Santuit.

Building L The Christian Science Reading Room and a camera shop, operated by Cynthia Handy, was purchased by Walter Scudder in the middle ’30s and the building was torn down.

Building M Alice Handy owned the next building. She was the widow of Frank Handy, whose home is the present Cahoon Museum on Route 28 in Santuit. The structure was divided into two units. On the east end, Leah Savery, wife of Grover Savery from Little River, operated a dress goods and pastry shop.

The west end was occupied by the Cotuit Transportation Company. In 1936, Walter Scudder purchased the property from Alice Handy and, as the new owner of Cotuit Transportation, he developed the entire area, from Main Street to Savery’s store, for a service station.

The original Cotuit Transportation Company was owned by Fred Parker, Charles L. Gifford, and Benjamin F. Sears. They sold out to Stuart Scudder of Osterville. It was housed in a large metal building, shared and jointly owned with the V. H. Nickerson Plumbing Co., and located on the west side of the bend in Nickerson Lane. Franklin Maynard Gifford managed the business and his sister-in-law, Bernice Hoxie, ran the office. Taxi service was provided to the West Barnstable Railroad Station. The fare to and from the depot was one dollar, and remained so for many years; there was no inflation during the Great Depression. The company held a mail contract to carry mail to Marstons Mills, Cotuit and Santuit, and also transported freight, express and baggage to homeowners in these villages. All trains were met to bring guests to the Hotel Pines and Cotuit Inn as this was about the only means of transportation most people had in those days.

Building N In the late ’40’s, Walter Scudder purchased Building N from Roger Savery the grandson of Eugene Savery. The building was razed, and materials from it were used in the renovation of the service station. The new building was constructed by John Botello of Santuit during the fall of 1949 and spring of 1950. From this location Walter Scudder operated the Walter C. Scudder Inc. fuel oil business. The property was sold to Joseph Procopio in 1977.

Sources for This Paper

Milton H. Crocker
Phyllis Dudley
Fred Nickerson
Walter C. Scudder
Louise Harmon
Matthew Pells
Edna Adams
Bernice Hoxie
Melva Perry
Philip Brackett
Ethel Campbell
Gertrude McKinnon
Marion Malchman Myers
Udell Perry
Keith Rapp

In Memoriam

Milton Hinckley Crocker died January 9, 1986 at age ninety-one. Walter Crosby Scudder died March 2, 1986 at age seventy-five. The Historical Society of Santuit and Cotuit is grateful for the invaluable contributions both men made to the preceding papers.

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