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Covert Tour 2006

The Interlaken and Ulysses Historical Societies hosted the self-guided “Hamlet of Covert Tour” on August 5, 2006. Located on Route 96, Covert lies between the Villages of Interlaken and Trumansburg, and much of its history relates to these two communities.


 The Grange Hall was moved to its present site circa 1913 from Steamburg where it was known as “The Little Gem Church”. Currently known as the Interlaken Grange, the building has been used for the past 93 years for Grange and public functions, including the well known chicken and biscuit Election Day dinners. The large pot-belly stove which was a favorite gathering spot for its members is no longer in use, but the rest of the interior and exterior of the building has changed little over the years. Grange members exhibited memorabilia and discussed the work of the Grange.

Mary Gregg’s, “Tales of Covert Kids”, a humorous memory of the activities and stunts of the thirty or so kids that resided in or near the hamlet of Covert during the 1940’s and 50’s, and tales told by parents of other generations antics, was included in the tour program. Copies of the program are still available, see the gift shop.


  The Covert Grange Building. Once a church in Steamburg, the building was moved piece by piece to its present location. Many Grange meetings and other social events have been held here over the years.


Covert Baptist Church, founded in 1803. The church was built in 1850 and remains in activue use today.

From the Grange, visitors moved to the Covert Baptist Church which was erected in 1850. Organized in 1803 by Minor Thomas, its first pastor, the church was referred to as the “Mother Church of the Seneca Baptist Association” of Seneca County.  Currently there are approximately 30 members who attend regularly. Although minor renovations have occurred over the years, the building has been altered very little. Exhibited in the church were a variety of local historic quilts and an array of vintage clothing.

The Town of Covert Town Hall was built in 1848 on land donated by Col. Chauncey Pratt. The first annual town meeting was held in the new lecture room on March 12, 1850. The timber-framed, three bay structure with wood cladding exhibits typical Greek revival features, and is still fitted with the original 16 over 12 and 12 over 12 sashes. The room on the second floor was used for debates and meetings for various clubs. No longer used by the Town due to the lack of modern amenities, the building has been vacant for many years. Exhibits included photos of the Hamlet of Covert covering the past two centuries, not only homes and businesses, but also many of its residents.

  The Town of Covert Town Hall was built in 1848. It has been used for Town Meetings as well as by other groups over the years.

   North of the Town Hall is the Pratt-Gregg-Salm home. Built in 1835 by Col. Chauncey Pratt, the large brick Greek revival structure remained with his descendants for seven generations until Tom and Betsy Salm purchased it from Judy Gregg in 1983. The home’s basic footprint is unchanged. Tom and Betsy have done a great deal of historical restoration, and the home is beautifully decorated with antiques, colorful decor, and Betsy’s nationally known artwork. The dairy barn is gone, but the old corncrib shop still stands amid the beautifully landscaped lawns, gardens, and pond.

North of the Salm’s home is the Old Covert Cemetery also referred to as the Covert Baptist Cemetery. Burials date from March 1804 through 1882. There are over 110 known burials, with most of the headstones still visible. The privately owned Pratt vault, resting place for several members of the Pratt, Gregg and Noble families, is adjacent to the cemetery and will be open for a peek inside.

And Let My Memory Cherished Be, Remembering the Families of the Old Covert Cemetery. was written using census records, and other primary records, briefly describing  who these people were. Photographs of all the headstones are included as well as corrections on the published data based on the headstones and records of the time.

  Pratt Vault and Old Covert Cemetery.
  South of the hamlet is the Cole-McDaniel home. Known in recent years as “The Pillars”,
Minor Thomas Coburn began construction of the home in 1851 and completed it 1854 at a cost of $1,000.00. Of classic Greek revival style, an 1898 article in The Free Press and Sentinel refers to “one of the most conspicuous and commodious farm houses between the lakes”. Rich and Gretchen McDaniel purchased the home in 1986 and found it in serious disrepair. Through years of restoration, once again the building is solid and beautiful with lovely gardens adding to the charm of this elegant home.

As visitors finished their tours they were invited to visit the former Arden Road barn which now resides on East Covert Road on the former alfalfa field of the Gregg farm. Moved and restored by Americana Winery and Vineyards, the 1840’s English style post and beam barn has become the main facility for the winery. Wine tastings are  available year round.  www.americanavineyards.com




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