THE

HISTORY

OUR PLACE

We love our community and our history! 

In 1837, James Clark was a contractor on the I & M canal extending two miles through rock, completing it in April, 1848. 1845

 

In 1845, he purchased a cement company and manufactured hydraulic cement. His business grew to manufacturing 100,000 barrels of cement a year. 

 

In 1885, he became president of North Utica and again in 1888. Mr. Clark erected the massive two-story Italianate building as rental property. It was constructed of two-foot thick limestone and hydraulic cement. The main facade was covered with brick and featured fluted Corinthian columns and included 12-foot-tall, round arched windows with stone hoodmolds and keystones. The two storefronts were initially separated by a central stairway that led to a second story theater, first known as Clark’s Hall and later as Cary Theatre. It successively provided Uticans with Saturday night entertainment. 

 

The building was left vacant from 1946-1956 and was purchased by the Bickermans, and   Frances Bickerman embarked on a major building rehabilitation. It’s reported that the place was filled with pigeons, and they hauled out 60 truckloads of plaster and bird manure. The building became Bickermans’ Hardware until Frances retired in 1993.

 

The Bickerman Building remained in the families of Frances’ three daughters, Marlene Ernat, Sharon Barnhardt and Marsha Klimek until 2020, when it was purchased by Matt and Jen Cetwinski.

 

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Occupants of Mr. Clark’s Commercial Building have been:

1912

Freddie the Greek Fruit Market, Undertaker, Crosiar Restaurant, Stevenson General Store

1915

Bud McCauslin Barber Shop & Pool Hall

1926

Jerry Fowlies Barber Shop

1928

Fuzzy Rose

1876

Post Office

1888

Higby & Briggs Drug Store

1888

General Store

1901

Clothing and Drug Store

1933

Smith’s Ice Cream Parlor

1940

 Davidson’s Ice Cream, Quandt In Business, Hatchery, Ideal Cafe, Joe Sheehy Restaurant

1956-1993

Bickerman’s Hardware

1992-2005

Carey’s Barber Shop

1993-1996

Wild Flowers

1993-1996

Weeta’s Boutique

1996

Country Village Studio Inc.

2020

The Bickerman

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Upstair Occupants Included:  

Professor John Peckham - music & staged plays, Evert Crosiers Movie House

Utica Gazette, Cyrus Young Opera House

1915-1921 Von Bosselman’s Silent Movie House 

Albert Johnson Insurance, Ralph Kingsley Insurance

1956-2010 Bickerman Family Residence