Chester Boot Company

Walker furniture store ca 1910. Photo by Ron Patch.
Chester Boot Co. business card. Photo by Ron Patch.

Here is some history of the old Jiffy Mart site in Chester. The earliest business I’m aware of that existed here was the Chester Boot Company. I don’t know much about this business other than it appears on the 1869 Beers Atlas as Chester Boot. I know of no photos of the boot company.

I have a business card from this company that reads: “CHESTER BOOT COMPANY, Manufacturers and Wholesale Dealers in MEN’S, BOYS’ AND YOUTHS’ CUSTOM MADE THICK BOOTS. CHESTER, VT.”

The next businesses that I am aware of here were Charles Walker’s Furniture House, followed by Guild’s Store.

From the “History of Chester, Vermont” by Chester Historical Society, 2011:

“Charles H Walker – 1899

The Furniture house of Charles H. Walker is today the senior business in Chester, but this is by no means the principle recommendation, it is also the house furnishing emporium of this section.

Charles Walker was an old timer, and commenced the manufacture of house furniture away back in 1845, and conducted the business activity until about 1890, when Charles H. Walker became the business manager, and is now the proprietor. The firm have discontinued the manufacture of furniture, owing to the low prices and close competition of recent times.

Walker’s House Furnishing Store, 40×100 feet, was erected in 1889. The stock is very extensive, and comprises practically everything needed to conduce to the comfort and luxury of housekeeping. Walker keeps cradles for the baby, and caskets for the dead, and the household appliances needed from the cradle to the grave. On the first floor is found a good stock of chamber suits, a beautiful display of crockery, and the best standard stoves and ranges and fixtures. The second floor is devoted to sofas, lounges, parlor suits, and a fine display of plain and fancy chairs, with wall paper and carpets. The undertaking department is in the rear of this salesroom. Mr. Walker is a practical undertaker, having taken a course in embalming in New York City, and his services are in frequent demand…”

Here you read this building was erected in 1889. This replaced the building occupied by Chester Boot Company. Whether it was lost to fire or torn down, I do not know. I have a photo of Walker Manor where Charles Walker lived. Walker Manor was across the street from Jiffy Mart. We knew this home as Adams Funeral Home.

Guild’s store

Next to occupy the building was Guild’s store. I don’t know much about Guild, but at the historical society we have a large collection of Guild, Hadley ,and Gibson family artifacts. These families were intertwined through marriage.

Those my age, give or take a few years, will remember the ugly tenement building that sat where the stone bank is today. Ted Spaulding told me some history of this building.

It was about 1940 when the Walker building was moved. It was moved from its original site to where the stone bank is today. You may recall the tenement had a flat roof. Ted didn’t recall if the building had a flat roof prior to moving or perhaps removed when it was moved. They took the gable roof off down to the second floor.

Buzzie’s Texaco

Many will remember Buzzie’s. Donald “Buzzie” Buswell ran a Texaco station here. Ted told me it was about the time the building was moved when the first service station appeared at this location. It was established during WWII by Phil Haus or Haws. Haus ran the station until about 1950 when Buzzie took it over. Buzzie ran it for many years.

Jiffy Mart

In Jan. 1986, I went to Portugal to buy and import antiques. When I left Chester the Jiffy Mart was under construction. When I returned home in late January the Jiffy Mart was open for business. It had a long run. Today Garrison Smith owns the property. I think it’s a prime piece of Chester real estate.

John Greenwood

Thinking of the boot company reminded me of John Greenwood. He lived where Gingerbread apartments are today. I was in this house many years ago. I remember a stick and ball fretwork separating two rooms. In the center of the fretwork is a large G for Greenwood.

Some may remember Dunham Boots down in Brattleboro. Ted told me Greenwood was a sales rep for Dunham Boots, and that he drove a Packard. Greenwood was a successful businessman.

This week’s old saying: “Two reasons to keep fishing. One, they are biting or two, they are not.”


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