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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.
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.
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.
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.
South of the hamlet is the Cole-McDaniel home. Known in recent years as
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