The day I selected to travel further up Route 6 was supposed to be our sunny promise before a big snowfall. It WAS sunny when I left my house, but quickly turned cloudy, with an odd yellow sky. That coupled with the snowpack would have made Disney World look depressing, but in the end I thought that the conditions actually helped to show how Meshoppen may have looked in the early 1900's.
Meshoppen was originally named Sterlingsville, after Daniel Theodore Sterling, a merchant and large mill owner. Daniel Sterling was a descendant of the early New England settlers, and a prominent member of the community. I would have known none of this if it wasn't for Addison Alexander Sterling's obituary. Addison was the son of Daniel, and thank goodness obituaries of bygone days had more information in them than some history books, because I feel this important piece of information is left out of a lot of materials I read through on Meshoppen.
In fact, Meshoppen seems like an afterthought. Wikipedia would have you believe that the word stemmed from the Unami-Len'api term Mel'ansch'pen'ing which, most unfortunately, means "Vomit-place." But you know that Wikipedia isn't always reliable, and I'd like to think that this little "let's-name-Meshoppen-vomit-place" incident was merely a disgruntled Meshoppenite trying to get back at the little community for something. I much prefer the countless OTHER interpretations of the name, which say it means GLASS BEADS, and was most likely chosen because of the barter that went on along the banks of Meshoppen Creek.
To say that milling was the industry of Meshoppen would be an understatement. The Old White Mill, also known as Sterling Mill and Pinnock Mill, is an historic grist mill located at Meshoppen. It was built in 1852, and is a 5 1/2-story, banked frame structure. The Mill sits on a stone foundation, and has a gable roof. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.
The other mill structure located in Meshoppen is the now vintage furniture store belonging to Kintner Milling Co. My guess is this was a lumber mill, as the Kintner family owned a chop mill in Mehoopany (another stop to be made in days to come), and the structure of the building lends itself well to lumber with massive loading docks and pick up areas. It could have also been a feed mill. Again, it is hard to know, except to read anecdotal information and surmise, as there are few on-line historical resources on the area.*
Structures in town are brick, square, stark and mostly redone here and there with elements that shy away from their original intent. Settlers at the time lean heavily on the German side. In fact some of the architecture of Meshoppen reminds me of the buildings of William Schickel, a German-American architect who was prominent on the New York landscape in the late 1800 to early 1900 period.
I couldn't leave town without focusing on one of the churches. I chose St. Joachim's because (a) it reminded me of the Street we lived on in Germany, and (b) I could find a rich history about it on-line. Plus it is an absolutely adorable church in a lovely setting, even in the Winter.
There is more rich architecture in Meshoppen, but I've left it for you to find. I can't do everything for you. My recommendation would be to come over the bridge and park near the grist mill, then walk up the streets on foot with your camera. There is a great ice-cream shop that is open in the summer just outside of Meshoppen on Route 6, heading toward the fair grounds. It is begging for someone to take a photo of it when it is packed with people on a hot summer day.
In the meantime, I found another piece of great historical significance on my way into Meshoppen. Burr's Poultry Farm. The Burr's is missing from the building, but the shadow of the letters still remain. I had no idea when I stopped that there was a wonderful love story associated with the farm, last run by Gail and Ron Burr. Gail and Ron were married on March 17, 1951. Ron followed his family's footsteps by operating Burr's Poultry Farm on Burr Hill, selling eggs and poultry and running the hatchery. He was a third-generation poultry farmer and retired in 1985. He was also a Wyoming County Commissioner from 1984-1988.
Gail and Ron, high school sweet hearts, lovingly ran the farm until Ron passed away. Gail followed him in the same year, a year in which they would have celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary. Love knows no boundaries. Standing on the grounds of this poultry farm you can almost hear the chickens cackling again. I would advise stopping here on your way into Meshoppen.