HISTORY of ELM VALLEY
By William A. Greene (2016)
From notes of Mrs. Lena Mead; Allegany and Its History 1896;
History of Allegany Co. 1879
In 1795, Nathaniel Dike with wife Esther R. Burrill (Burrell), two sons, Isaac and James and daughter Phoebe, came from Connecticut and started Dike’s Settlement. It was the first settlement in what is now Allegany County, according to “Allegany County and Its People” page 44. This books states that Dike arrived here in 1795. The book “History of Allegany Co.” states that Stephen Cole was the first settler, arriving 1796. Today Nathaniel Dike is the one noted for being the first settler. It was first called Shoemaker’s Corners and later became Elm Valley.
The first birth in the new settlement was that of Daniel Cole born Feb. 18, 1797, he was the son of Daniel and Rachel Barnum Cole.
The first death in the new settlement was that of Zeriah Dike died Jan. 21, 1798. She was the daughter of James and Phebe Prichard Dike.
The first cemetery in what is now Allegany County is the Cole – Dike Cemetery, nestled on a hill over looking the valley behind the Paul Glover home in Elm Valley.
The small settlement was provided the services of a sawmill built in 1803 by Nathaniel Dike. He also had a crude vat for tanning hides in 1805.
The first wedding in Allegany County was that of Isaac Dike to Pamela Prichard of the Corning area. James T. Hyde, came to the settlement in 1796 from Vermont and later married Phoebe Dike.
Nathaniel Dike was born on March 28, 1747 in Killingly, Windham, Co. Connecticut, and died in Elm Valley on January 31, 1813 and is buried in the Cole-Dike Cemetery. His wife Esther Burrell Dike was born in 1744 in Connecticut and died on Oct. 11, 1818 and is buried in the Merwin Cemetery in Almond, N.Y. It was once said that she was an Indian but this proved to be not true.
The first religious services were conducted at the home of Nathaniel Dike in 1808, with Rev. Silas Hubbard, a Presbyterian minister, officiating.
In 1868 Hamilton Sylvester built a cheese factory on the upper end of Elm Valley and it was later sold to Uriah Stratton in 1881.
Sometime in the 1860’s or 70’s the Magner Brothers opened a Carriage, Wagon and Sleigh and Blacksmith shop in Elm Valley. They also sold lumber for building. Not much is written about them but one night in February 1876 a fire consumed the whole business. The loss was $10,000.
There was another cheese factory in Elm Valley that was still running in the 1920’s but was later torn down and the land sold to Elmer Ludden on which he built a house in 1933.
In 1886 Frederick Osborn was appointed the first Postmaster in Elm Valley. The postal room was connected to the Elm Valley Store until 1910 and then the post office was discontinued and a rural deliver system was used; it became RFD # 4.
The Erie Railroad had a switch in 1893, where hay was shipped. Later potatoes were shipped and farmers also received their lime there. Fred Osborn ran the scales and weighted the produce in 1900.
On Dec. 27, 1907 Jacob Hand and his wife Electa sold land to the Howell Condensed Milk and Cream Company. In Jan. 4, 1936 the name was changed to the Borden Company Milk Station. On Dec. 1, 1940 the business closed and the building was torn down and the land turned back over to the Hand family.
In March of 1903 plans were made to build a church for the growing community. A sight was donated and a large number of subscriptions pledged. The residents of Corwin Hill produced a comedy play entitled, “A Country Kid”, at the Elm Valley School and proceeds were donated toward the erection of the Chapel. A dedication ceremony was held on September 23-24, 1904, and the doors were opened to the congregation. The building cost about $2,000.
In May of 1943, a brief hurricane-type windstorm nearly pushed the little Chapel from its foundation. Later it was razed and turned into a store and an apartment. Now it is a house owned by Curt VanPelt.
The Elm Valley School House was built in 1876 as school district # 7. It was closed in 1934. Erma Burdick was the last teacher. The building was used as a community house for many years. It was used for a house for a few years and finally burnt in 2002.
There was a gas station on the corner of the Alfred Elm Valley Road and the state road. It was operated by a man named Richardson and then by a man named Leonard. John R. and Mary Mayo were the last proprietors of the little station. It was in operation until the middle 1960’s.
There was a pea vinery located about a half mile up the road from the intersection on the right hand side of the road by the first bridge. It was opened in about 1941 and closed in the 1960’s. Earl Atwell was manager of the plant.
In 1923, E.W. Hand bought his Uncle Simeon Hann’s house (corner of State Road and Ray Hill Road). He found there was a great vein of sand and gravel on the property. He sold the product for the building of the Elm Valley – Alfred Road. Later Carl and Mary Harris Burch purchased the property and sold the sand and gravel to the local towns. When the four-lane was built in Wellsville, much of the material came from this pit. A Mark Ludden also had a small pit and sold gravel.
At one time there was a horse racing track in Elm Valley. It was located a short distance up the Alfred – Elm Valley road from the intersection, on the right hand side of the road. Some of the horse racers were Adelburt Hann, Prentise Burdick, and Ed Breese. Ed Breese ran a blacksmith business close to the track.
Elm Valley also had a couple of hotels. One was on the corner of the Alfred Elm Valley and State Roads, on the right hand side going towards Alfred, and the other was along the Erie Railroad tracks about a mile towards Wellsville from the Ray Hill Road. Unknown of any other information.
Ice was harvested off the Dyke Creek until the advent of refrigeration and saw mills were also along the creek. The last one was built in 1920 by the Sampson Brothers of Greenwood and was in operation for 3 or 4 years.
Frank’s Restaurant was located in Elm Valley for many years. It was known as one of the best Italian eateries in the county for many years. It finally closed its doors in 1975, when Frank Polemani could no longer manage it. The building was finally torn down in the early part of the 21st Century.
In the early 1960’s Clifford Nye and John “Jack” Padden had a tractor business there until the untimely death of Mr. Padden. Then Mr. Nye and one of his sons had a car business there. Then a Robert Ball had a tractor business there. After his business closed, The M&W Tire opened its doors and sold tires for a number of years. After that closed, the building sat idle for a few years. In 1986, Curt VanPelt purchased the building and has had an auto collision shop there.
Benjamin and Burdick had a truck repair shop on the Wellsville side of the Valley for years. The building is still standing and is owned by a private individual and he now has it up for sale.
In October 2000 Glenn and Sharon Thorp opened the doors to a new restaurant in Elm Valley called “Rockburgers”. It is a diner and ice cream shoppe. The inside is fashioned after the soda shops of the late 1950’s. Great music and great food.
The Hann house isn’t exactly in Elm Valley, but it should be talked about. Simeon Hann built this house in 1840. It is located between Andover and Elm Valley. It once was a stagecoach stop, an underground railroad house and also a family home for many years. It was lived in for over 100 years. After the last Hann died in the early 1960’s it was sold a few times and nothing ever happened. Finally the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Herr who did a lot of fixing to make it look like it was just built. In March of 2014 Barbara Strouse Rechenburg, third great grand daughter of Simeon and Rachel Adams Hann, bought the house and started turning it into a bed and breakfast. It opened on May 20th, 2014 and has been a great place to stay or have weddings and other social gatherings. Barbie and her husband have made this a home away from home.
The main occupation of the early families of Elm Valley and the county was farming. I don’t know how many farms were up and down the valley, but I know they are all gone now. A very important part of the county has long since vanished. How sad. The say change is for the better, but I sometimes wonder.
Note: In 1993 a Bronze Military Marker was placed at the burial site of Nathaniel Dike by the Andover American Legion Post #397. Prior to that date there was only a D.A.R. marker.
Below is a photo taken 2/22/2016 of the burial site
of Nathaniel Dike
First Pioneer Settler of Allegany County - 1795