Remembering the forgotten hamlet of Jerdan Falls

Updated: May. 16, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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CROGHAN, N.Y. (WWNY) - At a first glance, it looks like any other section of the woods: trees as far as the eye can see. But it’s within these trees where people can trace their family history.

“My great grandfather, Eli Chartrand, came here at age 14, worked in the tannery,” said Linda Brouty-Baxter.

She’s talking about Jerdan Falls. It was established in 1870.

Many people in that time period worked in the tannery. Linda Brouty-Baxter says it was the biggest in Lewis County at the time. But the hamlet also had a blacksmith shop, boarding homes, and a post office.

“It was pretty booming at the time,” said Brouty-Baxter.

Sunday was a chance for people to stop by and learn about the hamlet’s history through old pictures and a walking tour of where some of the buildings stood, like the blacksmith shop.

“You could definitely still find some remnants of what was happening here,” said Brouty-Baxter, who was giving the tour.

Some of the blacksmith’s work was on display as well. And Brouty-Baxter points out there is still one building remaining after all the years: the original woodshed that came with the school house.

Jay Seymour has lived his entire life in nearby Harrisville. He says he used to come camping in the area and always knew there was village here, but he never knew where any of the buildings were.

“And it’s cool, because I’ve driven past these places hundreds of times and never knew some of the ruins that are here. And it’s just fantastic checking out the old history,” said Seymour.

The land was sold to New York State in 1940. There may not be much left, just stone foundations covered in moss, but it’s the pictures and the stories that keep the memory of Jerdan Falls alive.

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