Zadock Pratt Museum - "Millennium History Feature of the Month" 

Throughout the year 2000, we highlight interesting items from Prattsville history.  
This is Number 3 in our new feature series.


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The Chatfield family teahouse over Schoharie River in the 1920's.  Click on the image to see a bigger view.  

April 2000 Feature

Perry Chatfield's family ran a teahouse over the Schoharie Creek
... and a tourist home, one of many in Prattsville
... Mr Chatfield remembers a lot about Prattsville in the 20th century

The town of Prattsville, charming with its beautiful nature and relaxing with its cool weather, was a perfect spot in summer for all the city people who were tired from the city life. Back in 1900s Prattsville was always full with visitors every summer. Nearly every house in the town offered bed and breakfast. One of those was the house where little Perry Chatfield lived with his family.

The house was not the only thing that Chatfield family offered to the visitors. Perry�s dad built a teahouse in 1920�s, right in front of their house. The teahouse was open only in summers, from Memorial Day to Labor Day. It was a very nice caf� where they served drinks, ice cream and sandwiches. It also had a beautiful view of Schoharie Creek.

The teahouse did very well and is well remembered by Muriel Pons, who was one of their visitors when she was a child.  Unfortunately they had to knock the teahouse down, because of the spring flood, as it was so high that practically spoiled it.

4-year-old Perry Chatfield with family and friends
4-year-old Perry Chatfield, in 1921, 
with Elijah V.Richmond, Ada Speenburgh, Bertha Richmond, Arthur Speenburgh, Vernon Chatfield and Edith Chatfield

Mr. Perry Chatfield, who kindly agreed to tell us this story, still lives in Prattsville, in one of the oldest houses in the town that was built in 1830.

He was born 1917 in Prattsville.  He went to the Prattsville school, of which he kindly lent us an old photo, which I used in a couple of other stories ... please follow this link to see the old school, now the Prattsville Town Hall.

Perry Chatfield�s life was full of changes and difficulties. He changed lots of jobs to make his living.

Mr. Chatfield worked in one of the two old creameries that were in Prattsville. But he had to quit after he got seriously injured in his hand. He had an operation, which left a scar as a terrible memory of it. After that he was a truck driver. By that time he was still living with his family.  

Perry got married in 1939, moved to another house in Prattsville. As the job of driver didn�t make much money, he had to start working on the structure of the road leading to Ashland.

Mr. Chatfield had a beautiful wife and three lovely children. Two of children live and work in Prattsville.

But Perry�s life didn�t settle down even there. He managed a store in Ashland, worked as a security guard in Gilboa, and then in Ski Windham, he was also in World War II for three years. But the longest job was in Victory Market, on Main Street in Prattsville (nowadays in its building is the Liquor Store) where he worked for 32 years.


Chatfield Tourist Home, 
one of many boarding houses in Prattsville that prospered in the 1920's and 30's. Some operated into the 1950's.

Main Street, Prattsville, 1904 - from Perry Chatfield's collection

Perry now lives in the original house that served as a "Tourist home" way back then.

I guess having a rough life was not a strange thing back then. But it�s thanks to those people that now we can have more comfortable life.

I enjoyed meeting Perry at his comfortable home and learning another bit of Prattsville history.  

Please join us next month for another Prattsville 2000 History Feature of the Month.

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Perry Chatfield in his WW II uniform.

Thanks for sharing an interesting story
with our website visitors, Perry !

Parry Chatfield and Sona Grigoryan in Prattsville

Our teenage website correspondent, Sona Grigoryan, 16, is a 1999-2000 exchange with the Cernikovsky family.  Sona, from Yerevan, Armenia, attends high school and lives in New York City and Prattsville.  Here she is interviewing Parry Chatfield at his home, in March 2000.  Sona is writing a series of articles based on interviews with old-time residents, to capture glimpses of life in Prattsville in the 20th century.

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Updated on:
21 February, 2019

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