As told to Judy Garrison by Diane Reichert & Alice Jacobson
In 1952, after losing a portion of their farm to the Pepacton Reservoir project, John Eckert and Mary Firment Eckert sold the remaining portion of their Shavertown farm and moved to the Delancey side of Cabin Hill. But not before commissioning and purchasing a watercolor from George Ballantine that depicted the country store, known from 1923 until 1954 as the Atkins Store in Shavertown. Mary Firment had graduated from Andes Central School and John Eckert was president of the Andes Creamery for several years.
On Saturday, July 23rd, the four daughters of John and Mary Eckert made a donation of that same painting to the Andes Society for History and Culture, unveiled during a morning ceremony, including refreshments at the Hunting Tavern Museum. Three of the daughters were present: Diane Reichert, Sally VanBenschoten and Mary MacNaught. (The youngest daughter, Sharon, lives in Tennessee, and was unable to attend.)
Alice Jacobson, who was present, recounted to me some of her personal memories and connections to the buildings. Her grandmother, Amanda, worked at the store, post office and laundry in the building built by her first husband, Lester Hulbert, who was killed by a lightning strike in 1918. Born Amanda Bramley, she was known after her first marriage as Amanda Hulbert, and finally as Amanda Fletcher. Alice had particularly fond memories of attending
Daughters of Mary Firment Eckert & John Eckert, from left: Sally VanBenschoten, Mary MacNaught, and Diane Reichert with the Ballantine painting.
square dances at Fletcher Hall, the old dance hall depicted on the right, where silent movies were also shown. Alice and her friend Marie Sprague, even as young as the age of 8, would hugely enjoy dancing there, and walking home late with grandmother Amanda.~