The Old Corner Store

Harvey Granite's play "The Woman in the Box" and  Warsaw's prominence in the abolitionist movement has piqued deeper research.   Richard Baker, trustee of the Warsaw Historical Society, recently discovered some old photos of the "old corner store" located at South Main and West Buffalo Streets.  It's probable that the centrally located store was the scene of much talk about slavery during the underground railroad era.
 The first photo is of a wood building constructed  in about 1820.  Shortly thereafter Andrew W. Young operated within it a  mercantile business for about ten years.  Thereafter for a few years, Young partnered with Joshua Darling in 1830.   Upon Young's leaving the dry goods business to start up Warsaw's first Anti-Slavery newspaper, Darling operated the store as sole proprietor for about ten years.  He was then  joined by  Allan about 1850.   It is well established that these three business men shared anti-slavery ideas with other Warsaw abolitionists  including Augustus Frank and Seth Gates.

 It was in about 1850 that pregnant, Anna Jones and her daughter arrived in Warsaw concealed in a wagon. As portrayed  in Granite's play, the Allen Breck and the Joshua Darling families protected Anna Jones  from  slave catchers before she  bore a son and died from consumption about a year later.   It also projects concerns about her surviving  children and  fear of their recapture.  The play also illuminates the spirit of the early Warsaw community's seemingly coordinated efforts to protect the children and other slaves fleeing to Canada in the face of the then harsh fugitive slave law.

  Andrew W. Young who ran the "corner store" first as sole proprietor and then  in the early  1830's in partnership with Joshua Darling  became editor of the "American Citizen" in 1836.   The "American Citizen" was Warsaw's first newspaper calling for abolition of slavery.   Later in life, he wrote numerous books arguing the humanitarian  obligations of American citizenry.
 Joshua Darling who partnered with Allen Breck for a few years during the 1850's continued operation of the corner store for several years until he went into banking.  The old wooden "corner store" was replaced with  a rather grand four-story,   brick building in 1870.  The massive building was built  for the Warsaw Furniture Company and burned in 1894.

 Darling funded creation of Warsaw's first bank with $50,000, Wyoming County Bank, in an old wood building and became President of the Village in 1860.  He thereafter housed his bank in a newly constructed brick building which exists today  at  the corner of North Main and West Buffalo Streets.

 Trustee Baker examined the photos and the presently existing corner building at southwest corner of Main and Buffalo Streets.  He believes that after the four-story building was substantially damaged by fire in 1894, that  the damaged remains of the  two upper floors including the beautiful mansard roof of the building as depicted in the second photo were removed.    The bottom two stories were repaired, a new flat roof constructed and facade embellishments added around the turn of the century.   He points to the turn of the century  post card of the corner building which shows the adaptive results of  the salvage effort which resembles its appearance today.    The original brick of the first two stories of the original four-story building is still visible in the alley way between the village office building and the existing two-story building.  You can see where the old brick was interweaved with the newer brick in that alley way.

 To find places associated with the underground railroad, the Warsaw Historical Society uses maps, photos, oral histories and Young's "History of Warsaw".  The Society invites everyone to check their home's history for association with the underground railroad.