Forest Home Stories

By Martha W Hertel

March 1994

The Missing Chairs

One Sunday Morning several Forest Home Chapel church members were seriously conversing before the church service. It seems the chairs from the basement were missing, simply disappeared. No one knew anything about them. Finally a couple of teenagers, who lived nearby, mentioned seeing a vehicle loading chairs on the previous Friday afternoon. There seemed to be no secrecy about their removal.

Sunday evening or Monday morning, the chairs were returned. It seemed that a Cornell fraternity had arranged with the Forest Home School authorities to use their chairs for a special occasion. The fraternity members merely had confused the Chapel and the School.

Northrup’s Store

This was on the Aronson property (owners when this was written), at 220 Forest Home Drive, adjacent to the sidewalk. Fred Northrup lived there with his two adult children, Lou and Earl. Lou kept house for her father and Earl ran the store. Fred died about 1925, but until then he was a cobbler and children brought their shoes to him to be mended. Earl delivered bread and other groceries throughout the hamlet with his horse and buggy which he kept in the barn which is still standing above the house, on Warren Road.

The store was mostly a one room with a pot-bellied stove. It was something of a gathering place in evenings for a few residents. There was a glass covered case of penny candy in the store. Earl was somewhat round with no hair on his head. One young boy, with courage, asked Earl why he had no hair. Earl replied, “Because I chewed too much gum as a child”.

When buggys began giving way to cars, Earl put in a gasoline tank although he never drove a car himself. One high school boy bought a car for $25. He stopped for gas and Earl would not sell him any because the boy did not have insurance for his car. Insurance was not required by law, but Earl was looking out for the community.

Professor Herbert H. Whetzel

Professor Whetzel was a famous plant pathologist at Cornell. He built the house at 107 Forest Home Drive. He planted some fruit trees which needed to be sprayed early in the morning. The sprayer was noisy and the neighbors did not appreciate it. A weed appeared and was initially named the Whetzel Weed. It has since been identified properly and Professor Whetzel was not accused of bringing it to Forest Home lawns.

The community pooled resources each year for a Fourth of July fireworks show. They were displayed from the Whetzel front lawn, directing them out over Beebe Lake.

This is the Whetzel for whom the Plant Science Seminar Room, on the Cornell Campus, is named.

Gladys and Floyd Andrews

Gladys and Floyd Andrews owned the original house at the end of the road, on the lower fork of Halcyon Hill. On Thanksgiving Day 1927, it burned completely. All of the family and their guests escaped safely. A water brigade was formed, but all of the contents were lost. There was no fire department. The community joined together to help the family. Billy Mitchell was moving into his new house and he gave the Andrews the use of his old house, 110 Judd Falls Road, for the year. In the meantime, Gladys two brothers, Ralph and Walter Westervelt, built the family a new house at 304 Forest Home Drive, now the Trautmann house.

Mr. Andrews had been the Forest Home School Secretary/Treasurer for several years. The school minutes were lost in the fire. When the School District was incorporated in to the present Ithaca City District, the school minutes, since 1926, were given to the Dewitt Historical Society.

Acknowledgement: The text was transcribed in 2019 by Lucy Hertel Staley, Martha Warren Hertel’s daughter.