Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Story of Eight Susquehanna

Carpenter Charles Lee Root came to Cooperstown in 1862 to work on a Clark Family property called Fernleigh, located along the banks of the headwaters of the Susquehanna River. He stayed on in Cooperstown and worked on every Clark property until the Lord called him home. His name is inscribed ("C.L. Root") in the cornerstone of the old firehouse on Chestnut Street, which can still be seen, preserved for its historical value, in the vestibule of the newer twentieth century firehouse at the same location. Mr. Root was the carpenter foreman on the Otesaga Hotel in the early 1900's, and built a home for his family with the same excellence in substance, craftsmanship, care and quality at the address of 8 Susquehanna Avenue. The house at 8 Susquehanna was continuously inhabited by Root family descendants until Malcolm Root died at the age of seventy in 2001.

Steve and Vicki Newby were fortunate enough to acquire the house in 2002 and always like to say that the good thing about this house was that they didn't do much to it and the bad thing about this house was that they didn't do much to it. Most of the original hardware was still in use or present on site, as was a great deal of knob and tube/silk-covered electrical wiring - still operative and in use in 2002! Vicki was initially dismayed at the electrician's insistance that all this old wiring be replaced until he explained in terms of safety. ("You're living on Grace that this house hasn't burned right down to the ground with this old wiring!")

The Newbys set about performing tasks of restorative maintenance and renovation to this lovely old home, deeply sensing Mr. Root's spirit and influence in the details.

In the fall of 2005 Vicki needed a pair of earrings to go with an outfit for a special occasion. Remembering she had an old case of beads, earwires, and other such supplies, she located it and made the earrings she needed. While she had the beads out, she adorned a barrette to match and made a bracelet and necklace while she was at it. Her friends complimented her on these unusual items, especially the barrette. Not long after that, some of her coworkers decided to put on a holiday craft sale, with a commission percentage to benefit the Cooperstown Food Bank. Vicki made up a passel of barrettes to take and, to her surprise and delight, sold every one! In an "Aha!" moment, her new hobby became a sideline business.

She decided to create a website for online sales. On the night of March 12, 2006 Vicki was filling out the application for her new website and came across the question, "What is the name of your business?" Hmmm, business needs a name. Vicki brainstormed previous enterprises with which she had been associated and discovered a commonality in that many of them were named after places - Red Brick Studio, True Light Carrot Patch - geographic centers of creativity - and borrowed from her address, 8 Susquehanna, as a name for her new jewelrymaking business, Eight Susquehanna. So it has been, and so it is. EightSusquehanna.