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.
Occupants of Mr. Clark’s Commercial Building have been:
Freddie the Greek Fruit Market, Undertaker, Crosiar Restaurant, Stevenson General Store
Bud McCauslin Barber Shop & Pool Hall
Jerry Fowlies Barber Shop
Higby & Briggs Drug Store
Clothing and Drug Store
Smith’s Ice Cream Parlor
Davidson’s Ice Cream, Quandt In Business, Hatchery, Ideal Cafe, Joe Sheehy Restaurant
Carey’s Barber Shop
Country Village Studio Inc.
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