It is a great disappointment to me that Hedge Witch Botanicals is located in a building that’s almost a century and a half old… and yet I’ve never experienced any signs of ghosts or the supernatural here. (The house that I grew up in was built in 1776 and was full of ghosts!) Nevertheless, I was very interested to learn from Chateau, with whom I share a storefront, a bit about this history of this building…
As we prepare for our reopening, we have been reflecting on the unique history of this historic building. Chateau is situated on the corner of Broadway and Esselstyne Streets in downtown Cape Vincent, NY. Located “Where Lake and River Meet” in the beautiful 1000 Islands, Cape Vincent was originally the home of the Haudenosaunee, the indigenous people dubbed the Iroquois by the French missionaries who came to the area in the early 17th century.
Following the construction of the railroad to Cape Vincent in the middle of the 19th century, the village experienced an economic boom. Tourism in the 1000 Islands and trade grew the village, including our historic building, which was originally constructed in the late 1880s or early 1890s. By the early 1900’s it was purchased by prominent local businessman George Pillmore for use as a general store.
Per the Cape Vincent Historical Society, “In 1900 Cape Vincent was a ‘bustling town.’ There were seven grocery stores, three meat markets, a bakery, two drug stores, five hotels, a paint and wallpaper store, a book store, two clothing stores, two general stores, a hardware store, and a jewelry store. Businesses included lumbering, ice harvesting, seed raising, boat builders, hay dealers, photographers, monument salesmen, blacksmiths, milliners, tailors, draymen, and several livery stables. …There were five physicians, two lawyers, two undertakers, a dress maker, hay dealer, and a number of blacksmiths. At the same time, agriculture remained a mainstay of the community.”
Following Pillmore’s death in the 1930s, the building changed ownership, and by the 1940’s housed Rexall Drug Store, a pharmacy and soda shop operated by Michael Marlowe, and later by his widow Mildred.
Subsequently sold and divided into rental apartments in the late 20th century, the building was purchased in 2015 by Susan Castle and Dean White. With extensive renovations, Chateau opened in the summer of 2015, and was joined by Hedge Witch Botanicals in 2018.
Indeed, we are still renovating! With our shop and studios downstairs and our residence above, we are invested in the longevity of this historic building. Recently, we undertook some necessary repairs in the shop (goodbye, creaky floorboard!) and gave everything a fresh coat of paint— it’s amazing how it brightened the space! We look forward to showing off all of our hard work when we reopen May 27 for the 2022 season, and do hope that you’ll join us in celebrating another year in the beautiful 1000 Islands.