Adjacent to Roger’s Mansion at the Southampton Historical Museum there are a collection of historic structures representing the town’s Main Street as it might have appeared in the 19th century.
One of the historic buildings recreates the iconic Hildreth’s.
“In 1842 Lewis Hildreth opened Hildreth’s first general store, still located at its original location on Main Street in Southampton. In those days, merchandise came by ship to Sag Harbor and was carted by horse and wagon to Southampton. This was the only form of transporting goods until 1870, when the railroad was finally linked to the East End. Hildreth’s new store was stocked with bread and crackers by the barrel, wheels of cheese, salt, flour, fruits, vegetables, sugar, coffee and tea. Housewares and Dry Goods were sold – as they are to this day. The invention of the telegraph in 1844 made ordering faster and easier. Fabrics became popular with the development of the washing machine in 1858. In 1876 the telephone was invented, eventually changing forever the way we communicate. As the decades passed, butter churns, spittoons, buggy whips, scrimshaw, buffalo robes and whaling harpoons began to fade into memory as America approached the Twentieth Century.
In 1870, Lewis Hildreth contracted smallpox on a buying trip to New York and died shortly thereafter. His widow Amanda and their two sons Edgar (age 18) and Henry (age 15) took over the store and it became E.A. and H. Hildreth’s.” via
Sewing notions were important as everything was made at home. Even now, Hildreth’s is one of the few stores in the area that sells fabric, thread and other sewing notions. They also offer yarn and knitting supplies. I’ve been intrigued by the knitting group that meets at Hildreth’s on Saturday mornings. Perhaps I’ll try knitting this winter.
The Singer corporation was founded in 1851.
Hildreth’s remains a vital part of the community.