This part of Walker Mountain Rd in Chippenhook has had numerous usages over the years. A store was built on this site by Daniel French sometime prior to 1813. The land was owned by John Hills (1761 - 1813) at the time it was built. The property changed hands a number of time following Hills death in 1813 . Julius Ewing (1809 - 1886) came to own it in 1862 when his father Daniel Ewing (1876 - 1862) died. Daniel had owned this site by 1833 as indicated by his having insured it for $50 that year.
The oldest part of this house was the "notions" store. What the original nature of the store was is not known. In a 1935 letter to Alice Keyes from John Ridlon (1852 - 1936) about his recollections of Chippenhook in 1867, John wrote:
Beyond the pencil shop was at one time a little notion shop where I once bought a pound of raisins and ate them all with my dinner.
See the Dr. John Ridlon, Father of Orthopedic Surgery entry in the people collection for more on him)
Immediately adjacent to this home on the south side was another structure that came to be used as a pencil shop mill. About that John Ridlon wrote:
Down at the corner where the road turns north was a little building where slate pencils were one time made. I have no idea where the soft soapstone came from to make the pencils.
In 1869 Julius Ewing moved the pencil mill to the backside of Charles Ewing's (1841 - 1893) home where it was converted into a kitchen and bedroom. This is the Ewing House which can be seen in the Homes collection. On March 3, 1869 Julius Ewing wrote in his diary:
Drawed the pencil shop to the south end of Charles house to finish up for kitchen and bedroom. It drawed hard the snow was deep and thawing so it packed as hard as ice around the runners had to lever it up often.
Subsequent entries reveal that Charles Ewing, John Hayes (1825 - 1911), and Varnum Taylor (1817 - 1883) were working on the addition. On May 13, 1869 Charles moved back into the house. He had the luxury of water pumped into the kitchen. A special thanks to Dawn Hance and Bette Ewing Fox for this history.
These photos are courtesy of Phil Mandolare in 2020. We would be most grateful for any older photos of this house.