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

Throughout the year 2000, we highlight interesting items from Prattsville history.  
This is Number 7 in our feature series.   

The Jacob Myers and Isaac Searles Furniture factory

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This year's Pratt Museum Summer dinner at the Waterfalls House 

Today's Waterfalls house was once a cabinet factory and a funeral home ...

... but you could not tell by looking at it today.  This is the house where I spent most weekends during my exchange student year, when I was not at school in Manhattan or traveling with my exchange family around the world.  Today's comfortable house looking over the waterfalls has an interesting history.  

The Zadock Pratt Museum summer fundraising dinner is held here, overlooking the Huntersfield Creek waterfalls. 
The house on Washington Street used to be the cabinet factory in Prattsville.  It produced thousands of items for local houses.  Some are still around to be seen, one at the Pratt Museum (below). 

The house is on the early maps of Prattsville.  Local newspapers carried advertising for the business.  First, the amusing Jacob Myers 1854 ad offering "as good an assortment of Furniture as can be found in any establishment this side of New York, and at exceedingly moderate prices.  He would also point out that his Furniture is made from the best of lumber.  He does not use the the rubbish of the lumber yard to make his Furniture, and then palm it off upon those who may be no judges of the article as first rate: but those who purchase of him may be sure of getting a well made, good and substantial article."  

Myers sold bureaus for $6 and up, French bedsteads for $2 - $5, and all sizes of tables from $2.75 - $9. He made chairs "at very low prices".  Read the ad on the right - click to see it larger size.

The Myers ad ran from October 1853 to the following year offering furniture and a new department, "ready made coffins ... at very low prices.  Having purchased a hearse and fitted it up in a tasteful manner, he is now prepared to wait on those who may require his services as undertaker."

Click to see a larger copy of the 1854 advertisement
The Mountaineer, 1854

Click to see a larger version of the 1869 advertisement

The Prattsville News, 1869
Isaac Searles advertised his CABINET AND CHAIR WARE-ROOMS in 1869.  His business, following Myers, sold chairs, dining tables, wash stands, bureaus, book-cases and other items. He expanded "The Undertaking Department !"  "No pains will be spared to make this branch of the business equal to any in this section."  Searles said he could "guarantee satisfaction, with Ready Made Coffins Constantly on Hand".  Read the ad above right - click to see it larger size.   

Isaac Searles table at the Pratt Museum - click to see a larger image
One of Isaac Searles' desks is in the collection of the Zadock Pratt Museum.  Click on the picture to see a larger version. 

Isaac Searles table at the Pratt Museum ... click the hot spot with his signature to see larger detail 
Searles signed the table bottom in 1866.  Click the hot-spot on the underside of the table to see the detail of his signature.

Click to see larger image

This chair, found in the barn at the Cernikovsky's house, and restored, is thought to have been made by Isaac Searles.
There are other Searles furniture items still in Prattsville. 


 This Searles chair is owned by Mr Andrew Dresser, of Prattsville.
In the Pratt Museum, there is a chaise lounge chair, often described as "the fainting chair", made by Jacob Myers in 1855, who had the furniture factory before Searles.   

Ed Brown, in 1939, was no longer running a furniture factory, but a full-time Funeral Home (right).  Al Shaver, after him, lived here - when there was a funeral, he would empty his lining room and hold a funeral there, replacing his living room later.  

Fred Decker did not like that inconvenience. Raising a family, he moved the kitchen and living quarters upstairs, while creating three "viewing rooms" downstairs.  

It was still a working funeral home when my exchange parents bought it in 1985.  They moved the kitchen back downstairs, opened the back of the house to the waterfalls and blocked off two of the three garage doors downstairs.

Tessie and Harold Shaefer across the street say they used to have some good Halloween fun in the house, running between and hiding in real coffins.  The house is a private residence.  

Click to see a larger image of the 1939 Edward Brown house and funeral home business

Ed Brown's Funeral Home in 1939.  Hand-written signs in the garage point to where items were kept for "Studebaker", "Hearse", "Ford Regular", "Ford S.S.Cord", a "Dodge" and others.
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Our teenage website correspondent, Sona Grigoryan, was a 1999-2000 exchange student with the Cernikovsky family.   Sona, from Yerevan, Armenia, attended high school and lived in New York City and Prattsville.  

Here she is interviewing Barbara and Tomas Cernikovsky.  
Sona wrote a series of articles based on interviews with old-time residents, 
to capture glimpses of life in Prattsville.

The story of the Isaac Searles cabinet factory and funeral home
is another in this series of "2000 History Features".

Sona and her exchange parents Barbara and Tomas Cernikovsky, at their house in Prattsville.

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Updated on:
21 February, 2019

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